Kinetic Shading Systems

A Parametric Approach to Optimizing Daylighting Performance





This study focuses on experiments in kinetics and architectural skins. More extensively, it introduces a solution for environmental design issues and daylighting optimizations for kinetic facades. This work explains how dynamic geometry can be inspired from a biomimetic design, as well as the ways in which the selection of appropriate strategies from nature can be used to design dynamic geometries for kinetic facades that reduce the artificial lighting load.

The first step in this research, after creating a dynamic shading geometry, was to develop a research map for understanding the optimization steps for dynamic geometries and ways of determining the variable parameters that affect lighting. This helped us to understand the relationship between the variables in dynamic geometry and daylighting as a design factor. Therefore, this work discusses the way to adjust these variables based on the angle of the sun, in order to receive and absorb the desired daylight reaching workspaces throughout the year.

In this study, dynamic shading was applied to an office building in Houston, Texas, with a fully-glazed steel frame on both the southern and western facades, and dynamic geometry only on the southern facade. The experiment focused on optimizing the daylighting performance by using various integrated software to modify the design and motion of the kinetic facades.

The dynamic geometry simulations were carried out with the Rhinoceros and Grasshopper software packages. The geometry of the dynamic shading device was optimized by adjusting the angle and size of the opening through Galapagos for Grasshopper. Daylight use was measured by DIVA and the sun’s radiation was analyzed in Ladybug for Grasshopper. Subsequently, the outcomes were compared to a base case with no shading. The results showed significant improvement in terms of the useful daylight illuminance values. Hence, the main parameters were recognized as the dominant constraints that could affect the daylighting performance of the indoor working space. In the meanwhile, the dynamic geometry of the “opening angle” was one of the parameters effective in creating a balance between the spatial daylight autonomy and the annual sun exposure of the indoor working space.


Daylighting devices are important components of any regular climate-responsive façade system. However, the evolution of parametric CAD systems that impact both architectural and regular forms has shifted to a focus

Members Only


Parametric Design and Margining Variables

Parametric modeling offers a holistic control for design objects in all processes. The algorithm uses its core method of generation to produce a series

Members Only

Biomimetic Strategy for Managing Light

While facade designs that focus only on the grade, immovable shading, and solar panels are widespread, increasing research on the structures of kinetic geometries that imitate biometrics have proven that

Members Only


This research presents a method for optimizing a façade design system’s devices for controlling daylighting performance in buildings. It is divided into three main sections, as follows:

Data input,Process, andOutput

Members Only

Data Input

There is a need for basic research on this topic, especially that which evaluates the performance of the system. This includes an understanding of the static and dynamic variables and

Members Only


Model simulations and daylighting are included here. A parametric model for both indicators is elaborated upon below, based on a realistic representation of the building that considered the physical and

Members Only


The case study location was chosen to be Houston, Texas (Fig. 4). The south façade of the office building space was selected for investigating the dynamic geometry. The dynamic geometry

Members Only

Daylighting Simulation Methodology

The simulation was conducted using the DIVA for Grasshopper plug-in for the Rhinoceros modeling software. The Radiance interface and Daysim were used for the annual simulation and illuminance computations. A

Members Only

Base Case Simulation Results

Daylighting availability was analyzed for the base case’s southern-facing orientations. Overly lit areas reached 44% in July and 57% in December. However, no partially daylit areas were found in the

Members Only

Application of Dynamic Parametric Shading Devices

The concept for the dynamic façade's geometry was influenced by the adaptive morphology of the Carne lily (or Bird of Paradise plant). This flower reacts to the sun by changing

Members Only

Relationship Between the Sun's Radiation and the Dynamic Facade's Design

Sun radiation analysis with dynamic shading devices in the south side of façade on July 21st from 9am to 2pm.

Sun radiation analysis with dynamic shading devices in the south

Members Only


Based on the design objective, this research using Grasshopper, a plug-in for the Rhinoceros modeling software. Grasshopper allows a designer to parametrically change the model because each design parameter is

Members Only

Conclusion and Future Work

Combining parametric design with evolutionary optimization is a valid strategy for exploring solutions to the environmental performance problems of buildings. A comprehensive setting for the design problem and further improvement

Members Only

Rights and Permissions

Adriaenssens, Sigrid, and Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, Kilian A., Baverel O., Charpentier V., Horner M., Buzatu D., “Dialectic Form Finding of Passive and Adaptive Shading Enclosures”, Energies, no.7 (2014), 5201-5220 ISSN 1996-1073

ArchDaily, Dario Goodwin. "Building Elements Come Alive with this Pinecone-Inspired Material that Reacts to Moisture" 08 Jul 2015. Accessed 6 Jun 2017.

ArchDaily, (Accessed 6 Jun 2017), ‘Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium / Pattern Design’.33

ArchDaily, HygroSkin-Meteorosensitive Pavilion / Achim Menges Architect + Oliver David Krieg + Steffen Reichert" 09 Sep 2013. Accessed 6 Jun 2017.

Ashour, Yassin, and Branko Kolarevic, “Optimizing creatively in multi-objective optimization”, Spring Sim-SimAUD, Society for Modeling & Simulation International (SCS), 2015, 128-135

Brown, Nathan Collin. "Multi-objective optimization for the conceptual design of structures." PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016.

Elghazi, Youmna, and Ayman Mahmoud, “Origami explorations a generative parametric technique for kinetic cellular facade to optimize daylight performance”, shape form and geometry applications, eCCADe, no.34 (2016): 399-408

Gadelhak, Mahmoud, “Integrating computational and building performance simulation techniques for optimized facade designs”, Computation and Performance, eCAADe, no.31 (2016): 1-9

Gadelhak, Mahmoud, and Werner Lang., "Optimization of office building facade to enhance daylighting, thermal comfort and energy use intensity, BSO, P.1116 (2016)

González, Javier, and Francesco Fiorito. "Daylight design of office buildings: optimisation of external solar shadings by using combined simulation methods." Buildings 5, no. 2 (2015): 560-580.

Jang, Do-Jin, and Sung-Ah Kim. "Kinetic Facade Design Using 3D Scanning to Convert Physical Models into Digital Models." World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Civil, Environmental, Structural, Construction and Architectural Engineering 11, no. 4 (2017): 458-465.

Lavin, Cristian, and Francesco Fiorito, “Optimization of external perforated screen for improved daylighting and thermal performance of an office space”, International High- Performance Built Environment Conference, Science Direct, no.180 (2017): 571-581

Park, Jong Jin, and Bharat Dave. "Bio-inspired Parametric Design for Adaptive Stadium Facades." In Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building-Conference Series, vol. 2, no. 2 (2014): 27-35.

Pesenti, Marco, Gabriele Masera, Francesco Fiorito, and Michele Sauchelli. "Kinetic solar skin: a responsive folding technique." Energy Procedia 70 (2015): 661-672.

PHONGPHETKUL, P. and WANKANAPON, P., 2017. “Daylight and Energy Performance of Automated Shading with Parametric Design: Case Study Bangkok”. DEStech Transactions on Environment, Energy and Earth Science, (eesd).

Rogler, K., 2015. Energy Modeling and Implementation of Complex Building Systems, Pt. 3.

Schleicher, Simon, Julian Lienhard, Simon Poppinga, Thomas Speck, and Jan Knippers. "A methodology for transferring principles of plant movements to elastic systems in architecture." Computer-Aided Design 60 (2015): 105-117.