Adaptive Facades

In the field of adaptive facades, ILEK is a world leader in the research and development of building facades that can adapt to external conditions.

Due to their constant physical and design characteristics, previous building envelopes can hardly or not at all react to climatically varying outdoor conditions or changing user requirements. The aim is therefore to develop building envelope systems whose properties are variable, for example in their light transmission, sound absorption, energy reflection, microclimatic effectiveness for the urban space, heat transmission or external design. Such adaptive envelope solutions can automatically or in a controlled manner create the optimum interior and exterior situation for a wide range of environmental situations and user requirements. In the development and implementation of adaptive facades, the focus is on minimising the use of materials, resources and energy for room and urban space air conditioning, complete recyclability in addition to functional optimisation and increased user comfort.

Textile or foil-based multi-layer envelopes offer great potential for the integration of adaptive functions into the façade and therefore represent a focal point of research in the field of adaptive envelopes, in addition to the further development of switchable glazing. The further development of liquid crystal based glasses is carried out with the aim of creating small structured and controllable segments, which can ensure daylight autonomy and glare protection in a better way than the large area switchable glazings known so far. For effective control of the adaptive components, control strategies based on linear programming as well as self-learning AI systems are developed, tested and optimised.

The design of the envelope structures is carried out using various software programs for thermal and radiation balancing. For the quantification of the developed hull and frame systems, the institute has various measuring and testing facilities (hotbox, photo spectrometer, FTIR spectrometer, evaporation test bench, sun simulator) at its disposal. The developed elements can be examined and measured in real façade applications in the institute's own façade test building, and their influence on comfort in the interior and the energy required for conditioning can also be assessed.

Current Research:

Since January 2017, fourteen institutes of the University of Stuttgart have been working in close interdisciplinary cooperation on the question of how in view of a growing world population and shrinking resources, more housing with less material can be created in the future. Prof. Werner Sobek, head of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design, is the speaker for the Collaborative Research Center.

  • A07 – Entwurf und Analyse einer anpassungsfähigen kinetischen Hülle zur Optimierung der Lichtverhältnisse und zur Reduzierung der Strahlungseinträge in den Stadtraum
  • C01 – Adaptive Gebäudehüllen mit mikro- und raumklimatischer Wirksamkeit


To SFB1244 Website

Due to their minimal weight per unit area, their high mechanical strength and their aesthetic surface properties, membrane materials open up a previously unexploited ecological, economic and design potential for their application in architecture. By using lightweight membrane façade systems, significant savings in material, mass, CO2 and gray energy can be achieved in manufacturing, transport of building materials and building operation. 

To the top of the page