Kinetics in Building Facades Development of taxonomy of kinetics in climatic building envelopes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The prominence of climatically responsive building facades through the use of kinetics has proliferated in recent years due to a concern for the reduction in building energy demand and increasing user comfort. However, no resource provides an extensive catalogue of knowledge around how kinetics in the building façade are used, what they aim to achieve and where they exist. Consequently, the taxonomy acts as a useful tool to organize and better understand a body of knowledge that will become increasingly important for architects, engineers and clients in years to come.
Through a grounded theory approach, a database of existing projects is analyzed through categorizing and coding their kinetics as well as their ‘type’. Kinetics are coded: rotate (vertically or horizontally); linear (vertically or horizontally); flex; fold (point or linear); translate; and, scale. Each project is given an order of complexity, up to three, depending on the number of kinetic mechanics within the façade system. It results in 729 potential sequences, a vast number of which are still to be explored. ‘Type’ refers to: light (L); thermal (T); airflow (A); generator (G); and, a combination of each (TL, AT, AL, LG, TG, AG). These are cross-referenced with climatic indicators and date of completion.
The taxonomy allows for an understanding of how ‘type’ interconnects with climate conditions and how complexity of kinetics has increased over time. Similarly, it indicates the role of kinetic façade systems in managing lighting conditions, which historically lies beyond the remit of mechanical services – the environmental management system of choice in the last century. It also highlights how other types, like generator systems, are becoming more prevalent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSkins On Campus Bridging Industry And Academia In Pursuit Of Better Buildings And Urban Habitat Conference Proceedings
EditorsKaren Kensek, Douglas Noble, Matt Elder
Place of PublicationLos Angeles
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1882352463
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2018


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