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Title: Facade stock + futures : evolution and speculation of the climate responsive building envelope
Author: Cullen, Sean
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 1494
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2019
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Building façades of the future require designs that are adaptive to the environment, sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of building users and intelligent to reduce building energy consumption. Consequently, climate responsiveness, as a central design and construction objective of façades, necessitates an appreciation of various principles, techniques and technologies currently employed. Despite current research and development, limited focus on typology is evident. Type is important to architecture as it allows designers to locate themselves in a landscape, provides common terminology and references architectural language that ensures detailed design iterations earlier in the process. As a result, this research proposes a framework for typology in the production of climate responsive façades. Using a unique methodological analysis founded in social constructivist grounded theory, the taxonomy transcends existing classifications in order to support deeper understanding and encourage new connections. By viewing existing façade systems as material culture artefacts, an evolutionary analysis of form and kinetics, in addition to technique and performance, is undertaken using biological phyletic methods. Listed chronologically and by type, a catalogue of 129 precedents describes key characteristics, including date of construction, architects, location, climate, principles and techniques. The thesis identifies six primary types – shaders, storers, buffers, producers, filters and openers – and a total of 52 subtypes. The material culture evolution analysis validates a reliance on type by architects, in form and principles, because of social learning mechanisms, the constraints of manufacturing and marketplace economics. However, the façade, as sign and symbol precipitated by climate considerations and consumerist culture, have brought rise to new paradigms in relation to semiotics in architecture, re-evaluated in this work. Furthermore, the historical importance of speculation in architecture as a means towards imagining new possibilities for climate adaptive façades is examined. In acknowledging this tradition, the research explores, through speculative design methods, the future responsive building façade as vignettes of text and image. Each polemic examines themes relating to the design, operation, financing and symbolism of the building envelope. In doing so, each questions how social, cultural, economic, political and environmental drivers can shape future designs, long before technical feasibility – critical in an accelerated culture defined by technological determinism.
Supervisor: Keeffe, Greg Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available