Visualizing Building Performance in the Design of the Envelope.

Authors: Aaron Paul Brakke, Rodrigo Velasco.

ABSTRACT: A brief survey of issues prevalent in architectural debate reveals that computation and environment are two issues that have gained prominence over the past several decades, increasingly so since the beginning of the 21st century. Though both of importance, they are generally treated autonomously. On one hand, the environment is discussed in terms of global warming, the negative effects caused by the building industry and how to design in a way that will qualify a building for certification, such as; LEED, DGNB or Breeam. On the other hand, digital tools have stimulated a significant shift in the field of architecture. As digital tools have advanced from stages of ‘adoption’ to ‘adaption', the interest has been augmented by a stance that aims to emphasize the use of generative tools that can facilitate an iterative approach to design. While various practitioners limit their position exclusively to 'form', the authors argue that 'function' should not be eschewed. The concept of function should be expanded to include environmental performance and should also play a pivotal role in the form finding process. In order to discuss this theme, the authors present several case studies of building envelopes. First, a case that considers environmental performance is contrasted with one that does not. Taking into consideration the paradox found, the authors use an academic project developed with parametric modeling, building information modeling (BIM) and architectural visualization software to show another process that looks beyond the surface and incorporates feedback from the physical and climatic context as parameters to consider as part of the design process.