This research paper attempts to approach and investigate the dynamic shells. It analyzes the meaning of the facade of the building and the importance of the shell as a natural barrier between the internal and the external environment. Furthermore it examines how a dynamic facade can upgrade the building and simultaneously contribute to its efficiency and improve its whole operation.
Dynamic Facades is a kind of kinetic architecture which firstly made its appearance during the 20th century. Several attempts were made regularly in order to upgrade the building through its facade (geodesic dome, double skin façade etc.), but their common characteristic was the lack of interactivity. After some decades of research and experimentation and with the contribution of technology, from the early 60’s onwards, the kinetic facade began to evolve, and the first successful samples were observed. A key role in the evolution of the kinetic systems played the transition from analogue, mechanical and electrical technology to digital technology (computer systems), which was firstly introduced in the early 90’s.
The facades are divided in two main categories, which often interact. The classification is made according to the purpose for which the façade is used. The first category contains the ones which are created on the basis of the external appearance (they are moving either as a response to natural factors or automatically) and those, which are programmed to respond on the basis of the internal operations of the building.
Such a system takes many forms according to the final visual effect and the construction needs of the manufacturer. With the evolution of digital, mechanical and chemical technology many complex geometric movements and transformations of materials can be finally achieved.
An important factor in the development of the dynamic facades is the construction of their digital geometry in order to be able to assess the facade while designing it. The use of programs that guide the design of a system and control its motion, as well as the sensors which are used to automate the working process, facilitate the users and convert a dynamic facade into a smart object.
Our research on the forms and factors which affect the design focuses on the introduction of biomimetic science in dynamic systems. The latter have the ability to mimic nature in its geometry, its physical procedures or its system functions. Furthermore, the evolution of materials technology and the abilities of smart materials are studied and classified according to their properties.
Last but not least, we created two different models and experimented on them, while trying to delve into the needs of dynamic facades. Moreover, we visited and investigated three buildings with dynamic facades in Greece in order to get in touch with real examples of dynamic facades. Our goal was the further exploration of the internal and external needs and problems of buildings in order to study the practical aspects of dynamic facades.