Architecture and Building Systems

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Prof. Dr. Arno Schlüter

The Chair of Architecture and Building Systems (A/S) researches on active and passive systems for the energy supply and climate control of buildings with research projects and case studies ranging from components to neighbourhoods, from design to operation. The motivation and aim of our research is to realize a CO2-neutral built environment that efficiently consumes and produces energy while providing high user comfort.

The A/S group is also part of the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) at the Singapore-ETH Centre. Here, we research and develop efficient technologies and integrated design concepts for low-carbon buildings and cities in the tropics, taking the particular spatial and climatic challenges of Singapore into account.

Research projects on component, building and neighbourhood scale

Component scale: ASF and SoRo-Track

The adaptive solar façade (ASF) consists of delicate, movable thin-film photovoltaic modules that can be mounted onto a lightweight structure on the building envelope. Aside from energy production, they offer shading and daylight control for the interior as well as individual adjustments to the view by the occupant. The ASF modules are adjustable thanks to a novel component – the two-axis soft robotic actuator SoRo-Track. The A/S group is exploring and developing soft robotic actuators for future energy and climate systems in buildings. SoRo-Track has been designed for solar tracking applications – to rotate photovoltaic modules towards the sun as it traverses the sky and thereby to improve the generated power output.

Building scale: 3for2

In comparison to conventional office buildings in Singapore, the 3for2 concept reduces space consumption, at the same time, raising the comfort and increasing energy efficiency. Due to a different approach to indoor climate control and highly integrated design, the concept allows to build up to three floors in the space of two – hence 3for2. The building systems concept is based on 1) splitting cooling and dehumidifying, 2) using water instead of air for heat transport, and 3) using small, decentralized ventilation units instead of a single central unit. All three measures allow a much stronger interweaving of service systems with constructive elements, freeing up space and volume thus offering both new design potential and economic opportunities.

Neighbourhood scale: MuSES

The project Multi-Scale Energy Systems for Low Carbon Cities (MuSES) aims at identifying future demand and low carbon supply systems (thermal, electrical) for mixed-use, high-density city quarters with special focus on leveraging synergies between urban development, urban design and energy systems. A Singapore-based case study is used to undertake these investigations, assisted by novel spatial toolsets for energy modelling and analysis such as the City Energy Analyst (CEA) Toolbox which, as part of the project, will be further developed.

office building design comparison  
Comparison: conventional office building vs. 3for2 concept, © A/S Group.
MuSES scheme  
MuSES scheme, © A/S Group.
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