Thesis Proposal

National University of Singapore


M.Arch : 2009/2010


Technique Atelier (DTS Track)

Student Name: Ibrahim Nazim

Thesis Project Title: Differential Performance skin

  1. Project Aims & Relevant issues (max. 200 words)

The aim of this thesis would be to make use of simulation tools and parametric design in the design of a ‘heterogeneous’ skin which allows differentiated environmental performance. The thesis also aims at exploring how such a façade can be modulated into a system of mass customised components.

The architectural skin is responsible for the regulation of environmental conditions. An effective selective filtration, by the skin, of the desired conditions into the building can deeply decrease the heavy reliance on artificial systems. And hence the energy needs.

The homogeneity of programmatic space, as promoted by modernism also gave way to mass produced façade systems, which, for the purpose of uniformity, homogenised the environmental requirements of the whole building in some cases, and to whole climates in others.

However, the environmental conditions, which the skins seek to regulate, are themselves not static. Neither are the programmatic spaces and the environmental requirements of those spaces uniform. Hence the provision of such homogeneous response to the performance requirement of the skin is not the optimum solution.

A common response to this dilemma is to allow the façade itself to change according to the changing requirements, by employing mechanical and movable elements in the facades which allow the users some control over the regulation. However, this is often the result of trying to maintain the concept of mass production. In such facades, the elements are each given a specific task and all such elements are sandwiched into one system.

The available simulation tools allow the architect to predict (to some extent), how the building will perform under normal conditions. It allows architect to simulate various programmatic usage and the resultant performance requirement throughout the day. This in turn, can allow the architect to predict how the façade needs to change through out the day.

As a result, rather than having a façade which changes (through mechanics), a static façade morphed from such (environmental and programmatic) requirements can be designed to achieve efficient regulation.

  1. Information Resources (main documents and contact persons)
  2. Proposed Brief (approximate size and principal components)

Rather than exploring all the performance requirements of the skin, the thesis would focus on the following functional criteria of creating an opening;

lighting requirements and the resultant thermal performance (shading required),

creating views and its effect on privacy.

The goal is to achieve these multiple performance criteria within a single constructible system, while providing differential internal conditions.

The thesis would look into the design of a space with a high dependence on the above conditions. The reciprocity between the environmental performance and the programmatic requirements would need to be assessed before they can be computed. The program and brief is to be decided once the initial framework has been established.

  1. Proposed site

South east asian climate


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