Form Follows Energy

The form follows energy manual informs the design teams on how to draw the right conclusions from the energy performance based analysis and enables the feed back of information into our design loops in an early stage of the design process. Dependent on location and building typology the parameters of direct and diffuse radiation and sun impact studies lead to conclusions that have influence on orientation, massing, program and envelope.

The UNStudio “Sun tool” enables a fast workflow giving detailed analysis on solar radiation parameters and shadow studies. The form follows energy manual guides the design teams to make the right conclusions from the analysis and how to bring this information back into our design loop.
How is it effected by building location and typology? How do we inform our 3D model? When do we change the orientation of the building? Do we change the volume or do we adjust the envelope according to the individual situation of the project? Where do you locate your program accordingly?


With these basic decisions we are enhancing the passive design methods and are able to create the most effective impact on the environmental benefit with the least amount of cost to implement.  
As one example of this workflow we take a look at the Zuidschans - 400 Beethoven project in Amsterdam where the building volume and envelope was informed according to several iteration loops. Due to the strong cost constraints on the possible investment for the envelope, an unitized façade system was chosen as the basic set up for the façade build-up. The envelope was subdivided into horizontal and vertical “pixels” which allowed the design team to create an adaptive façade based on 4 distinctly different elements. These elements were combined according to the solar impact study and created a seamless, density changing façade pattern.  

Posted by: UNStudio / Mazin Orfali

Team: Sontaya Bluangtoog, Grisha Zotov, Harlen Miller, Jan Rehders, Joerg Petri, Jan Schellhof, Romina Hafner, Milena Stopic.