Archives for category: Primary Source


Last fall a custom data visualization developed by our research team was featured on the information is beautiful website as part of their information is beautiful awards. In this post we discuss why we developed the graphic and how it is used.

Incident Solar Radiation is one of the most common types of analysis performed by architects at the conceptual design stage. Results indicate where solar heat gain might be an issue. These are areas where glazing should be minimized and exterior sunshades should be considered. Unfortunately, Ecotect does not have a way of communicating all of the results of this analysis in a single concise graphic format. As part of the research effort, we have developed a grasshopper definition that generates a graphic representation of both heat intensity and panel orientation in a single frame. Read the rest of this entry »

Developing the kinetic facade on the CJ R&D Center  presented some unique technical challenges in terms of visualizing a range of motion for a mechanical assembly of parts. As architectural designers, we’re accustomed to working with static elements. CJ called for new methodologies that would enable us to easily manipulate hierarchical structures of linked components, allowing us to visualize how a modification to one part would effect the whole system.   To do this, we used a combination of tools (inverse kinematics, wire parameters and animation constraints) originally intended for use in character animation within 3ds Max . Read the rest of this entry »

CJ FACADEAs part of a recent design effort here in the studio we attempted to develop a kinetic facade that could respond and adapt in real-time to both solar radiation and user input. The client, CJ Corporation of Korea, was enthusiastic about the idea as part of their “only one” initiative which promotes unique one-of-a-kind thinking. While this certainly isn’t the only kinetic facade in the world, it presented our team with a new set of challenges.

[vimeo w=460&h=259] Read the rest of this entry »

DECEMBER 6, 2010


Inventor Chuck Hoberman spoke about his work in the field of Transformable Design. He started the talk by discussing one of his earliest installations, the Hoberman Sphere.

A few years later, he launched a line of toys focused around the now infamous object.

He went on to show how his work has evolved into a wide range of objects from stage installations for U2 to mechanisms that enhance building glazing performance such as his adaptive fritting and tessellate projects.

In 2008 Hoberman Associates teamed up with the engineering firm Buro Happold to form the Adaptive Building Initiative (ABI),  “dedicated to designing a new generation of buildings that optimize their configuration in real time by responding to environmental changes.”

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NOVEMBER 19-20, 2010

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Integrated, High Performance Facade Solutions

Introducing the appropriate tools, tests and methods early in the design process can lead to more successful building facades.  The speaker, Eleanor Lee emphasized the importance of balancing HVAC loads, artificial lighting and day lighting to achieve optimal performance. She introduced several freely-available analysis tools that can be used at different scales of facade analysis to alert designers to potential human comfort issues (glare, solar heat gain, etc.)  Among these where COMFEN, a front end for Energy Plus;  BCVTB, a middleware used to integrate Energy Plus and Radiance; and DAYSIM, a Radiance based analysis program. More detailed descriptions of these tools can be found in the analysis tools blog entry here.

Eleanor also described research and testing performed through a partnership between LBNL and the New York Times on the Renzo Piano designed headquarters building in New York. LBNL performed extensive computational analysis and built a full scale mock-up in order to advise the client on the selection of appropriate automated interior sun-shading systems and optimal calibration.

Interior view looking west from within the daylighting mockup of the NYT headquarters building. Mockup of the NYT headquarters building elevation with exterior shading provided by ceramic tubes.

The results of their research can be found here.

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