Zero-energy self-shading

2021-2022 | Research Projects
University of Stuttgart - Interne Förderung von Wissens- und Technologietransfer

Institute for Computational Design and Construction (Dylan Wood, Prof. Achim Menges)

Zero-energy self-shading

A smart facade demonstrator via 4D-printed hygro-responsive and variable stiffnessbioplastic composites

The objective of the project is to build a functional demonstrator of a self-shading facade system based on the existing hygro-responsive smart structures and material development. The system will be designed to passively and adaptively shade the building from high heat loads (typically during mid day in the summer months) while still allowing light and view through the facade. The demonstrator will be designed as a prototype to test and tune the operation of the system as part of a building facade. The adaptation and production of the smart structures for the purpose of self-shaping is the core of the project. The design and manufacturing is done using custom software and FFF 3D printing.


The project team combines material, manufacturing, and architecture knowledge creating a more unique path for design and development within the University of Stuttgart. The project consists of three critical objectives: the continued development and production of three biobased filaments with hygroscopic characteristics, the design and adaptation of the smart structure movement mechanisms for use in a glass facade panel, and the implementation and monitoring of the performance of the demonstrator. The demonstrator will consist of a glass facade panel within which the modular smart structures will be placed. During an initial testing and tuning phase the demonstrator panel will be installed on the roof facade of the Keplerstr. 11 building, after which the smart structures will be further installed and monitored in a visible testing facade as part of a planned research building in southern Germany (construction  early 2022). 


ICD Institute for Computational Design and Construction, University of Stuttgart

Yasaman Tahouni, Tiffany Cheng, Ekin Sila Sahin, Dylan Wood (PI), Prof. A. Menges

IKT Institut für Kunststofftechnik, University of Stuttgart

Silvia Kliem, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Bonten, Dr.-Ing. Johannes Benz


University of Stuttgart  - Universitätsinterne Förderung von Projekten zum Wissens- und Technologietransfer


Kliem, S., Tahouni, Y., Cheng, T., Menges, A., Bonten, C.: 2020, Biobased smart materials for processing via fused layer modeling. AIP Conference Proceedings, 2289. (DOI: 10.1063/5.0028730)

Contact information


Institute for Computational Design and Construction

University of Stuttgart, Keplerstraße 11, 70174 Stuttgart

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