Study: Form Follows Energy

The Sustainability Platform developed a 'Form Follows Energy' manual to inform UNStudio's design teams on how to draw the right conclusions from energy performance-based analyses. The manual enables information from these analyses to feed back 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 influence orientation, massing, programme and envelope.

The UNStudio 'Sun Tool' enables a fast workflow giving detailed analysis on solar radiation parameters and shadow studies. How do building location and typology affect our design loop? 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 we locate the programme accordingly? 

With these basic decisions we are enhancing our passive design methods and are able to create more effective impacts on the environmental benefit while reducing the costs to implement the least amount of cost to implement. The Zuidschans - 400 Beethoven project in Amsterdam offers one example of this workflow. We developed the building volume and envelope through several iteration loops. Due to cost constraints on investment in the envelope, we chose a basic facade system. Subdividing the envelope into horizontal and vertical 'pixels' allowed the design team to create an adaptive facade based on four distinct elements. These elements were combined according to the solar impact study and created a seamless, density-changing facade pattern.

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