Dialectic form finding of passive and adaptive shading enclosures

Sigrid M. Adriaenssens, Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos, Axel Kilian, Olivier Baverel, Victor Charpentier, Matthew Horner, Denisa Buzatu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Form finding describes the process of finding a stable equilibrium shape for a system under a specific set of loads, for a set of boundary conditions and starting from an arbitrary initial geometry. However, form finding does not traditionally involve performance constraints such as energy-related criteria. Dialectic form finding is an extension of the process integrating energy-related design aspects. In this paper, dialectic form finding is employed as an approach for designing high performance architectural systems, driven by solar radiation control and structural efficiency. Two applications of dialectic form found shading enclosure structures, a passive and an active one, are presented. The first application example is a site-specific outdoor shading structure. The structure is based on a louver system designed to provide protection from ultraviolet radiation over a pre-defined target only when required, promoting natural lighting and ventilation. The second application example is a shape-shifting modular fac¸ade system that adapts its opacity in response to environmental fluctuations. The system can thus improve the environmental performance of a building. Moreover, the system explores elastic deformations for shape changes, reducing actuation requirements. These examples highlight the potential of the dialectic form-finding strategy for the design of high performance architectural integrated structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5201-5220
Number of pages20
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Optimization
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Active
  • Form finding
  • Numerical
  • Passive
  • Physical
  • Shading


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