Transfer Topologies

Exploring the Union of Structural and Thermal Flows in Cellular Facades





This research looks at the relationship of material and geometric distribution to set a methodology for integrating structural and thermal design. The basis being that today, a separation of concerns is witnessed between these two fields, resulting in excessive façade multi-layering and redundant material use.

The aim is to explore the feedback loop that can be created between a structural system and a thermal scheme in order to develop a deeper understanding of the synergies and clashes between both systems. This is done through investigating a multi-topology design language that capitalizes on an existing structural networks to carry out selective thermal exchanges. The intention here is to tune loading distribution to thermal opportunities on several scales and re-merge the concerns of thermal and structural design. This is done through applying a thermal hollow core wall design to maximize insulation potential in cellular facades that are structurally optimized for various loading.

Multi-scale optimization is carried out to address the architectural implications of the union of both these fields and map out possible integrations. The tested design proposition works with the idea of material removal, to tune the inosculation of flows in a thermal resistance scheme. The aim is to use cellular geometries to increase insulation potential through strategic material removal. Structural optimization +studies are carried out in addition to thermal physical testing to determine performance.


The research presented in this report intends to expand the notion of structure as a regulator of internal environments. This section seeks to identify the different ways in which structure

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When looking at the deeper material properties that highlight the disparities between systems of strength and thermal response, an analogy can be made across the existing material spectrum. Using Michael

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This section intends to form a base for the methodology of designing for both structural and thermal functions. It looks at the scales at which such an approach is relevant

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Calculated u-value

In order to understand the effect of the decrease in material and the addition of two cavity layers on thermal resistance the below study was carried out. Three cases

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Looking at the results obtained, three main conclusions can be drawn:

Calculated versus measured: As mentioned previously, the measured u-vlaue represents an increase of about 50% as compared to the calculated

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Conclusion and Future Work

Overall, this research set out to develop a methodology for integrating structural and thermal design and test a design outcome. The primary intention was to re-merge the concerns and have

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Architectural Implementation

The research presented in this report aims to develop a design workflow for analysis and testing in thermo-structural design. As a next step, the architectural implications are investigated to determine

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This project was advised by Panagiotis Michalatos and Salmaan Craig at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The author would like to acknowledge their guidance and support.

Rights and Permissions

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