Exploring the potential of Smart and Multifunctional Materials in Adaptive Opaque Facade Systems


  • Miren Juaristi Universidad de Navarra, School of Architecture
  • Aurora Monge-Barrio Universidad de Navarra, School of Architecture
  • Ana Sánchez-Ostiz Universidad de Navarra, School of Architecture
  • Tomás Gómez-Acebo Universidad de Navarra, TECNUN School of Engineers





Climate response, environmental resources, temperate climate, thermal performance, adaptive technologies, innovative systems


Climate Adaptive Facades are considered promising breakthroughs for the reduction of energy consumption, as energy exchange is enabled when the weather conditions offer benefits instead of threats. So far, conventional building envelops enhance thermal performance through opaque façade components and static insulations. Therefore, natural resources from the building environment remain untapped. Little research has been done in Adaptive Opaque Facades, even if their dynamic behaviour shows a strong potential to exploit environmental resources. For the successful development of these innovative façade systems, a balance between sophistication and benefit is necessary. To manage this objective, the implementation of Smart and Multifunctional Materials in the envelopes seems promising, as they are able to repeatedly and reversibly change some of its functions, features or behaviour over time in response to environmental condition. Consequently, to trigger the response of the envelope, no external actuator or complex software management would be necessary. Nevertheless, these materials do not fulfil all the façade requirements by themselves. Thus, they need to be combined with other adaptive technologies and building elements. This paper shows an initial definition of different façade configurations that include reactive materials which enable the adaptiveness of Opaque Façade Systems. The desired results are new facade roles suitable for a temperate climate, according to the potential of these multi-performance materials in the external layer of the envelope: the dynamic temperature change of the external cladding through the solar reflectance change and the enhancement or prevention of thermal loses through Shape Changing Ventilated Facades. To achieve these new high performances, an ideal approach to the thermal behaviour of each façade layer was done and required physical properties of each elements were highlighted. As a result, we propose a mapping of potentially suitable combination of reactive materials with other building elements that might enable the holistic adaptive thermal performance.

How to Cite

Juaristi, M., Monge-Barrio, A., Sánchez-Ostiz, A., & Gómez-Acebo, T. (2018). Exploring the potential of Smart and Multifunctional Materials in Adaptive Opaque Facade Systems. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 6(2), 107–117. https://doi.org/10.7480/jfde.2018.2.2216





Addington, D. M., & Schodek, D. L. (2005). Smart materials and new technologies : for the architecture and design professions. Amsterdam: Elsevier, Architectural Press.

Badarnah, L., & Knaack, U. (2005). Bionic breathing skin for buildings. Ebooks.Iospress.Nl, (Nerdinger), 612–619.

Balocco, C. (2002). A simple model to study ventilated facades energy performance. Energy and Buildings, 34(5), 469–475. http://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-7788(01)00130-X

Favoino, F., Jin, Q., & Overend, M. (2017). Design and control optimisation of adaptive insulation systems for office buildings. Part 1: Adaptive technologies and simulation framework. Energy, 127, 301–309. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2017.03.083

Ibañez-Puy, M., Vidaurre-Arbizu, M., Sacristán-Fernández, J. A., & Martín-Gómez, C. (2017). Opaque Ventilated Façades : Thermal and energy performance review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 79(May), 180–191. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.05.059

Karlessi, T., Santamouris, M., Apostolakis, K., Synnefa, A., & Livada, I. (2008). Development and testing of thermochromic coatings for buildings and urban structures. Solar Energy, 83(4), 538–551. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2008.10.005

Kretzer, M. (2017). Information Materials. Springer International Publishing AG Switzerland. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-35150-6

Lelieveld, C. M. J. L. (2013). Smart Materials For The Realization Of An Adaptive Building Component. Delft University of Technology. http://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004

Loonen, R. C. G. M., Trčka, M., Cóstola, D., & Hensen, J. L. M. (2013). Climate adaptive building shells: State-of-the-art and future challenges. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 25, 483–493. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2013.04.016

López, M., Rubio, R., Martín, S., Croxford, B., & Jackson, R. (2015). Active materials for adaptive architectural envelopes based on plant adaptation principles. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 3(1), 27–38. http://doi.org/10.3233/FDE-150026

Ma, Y., & Zhu, B. (2009). Research on the preparation of reversibly thermochromic cement based materials at normal temperature. Cement and Concrete Research, 39(2), 90–94. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cemconres.2008.10.006

Sánchez-Ostiz Gutiérrez, A. (2011). Fachadas: cerramientos de edificios. Madrid : CIE Inversiones Editoriales Dossat-2000, 2011.