- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 25 Nov 2021
A kinetic façade is one that changes dynamically rather than being static or fixed, allowing movement to occur on a building’s surface. This helps to create what the architect Buckminster Fuller called a ‘skin-like articulation’ effect, and is an extension of the idea that a building's envelope is an active system rather than just a container.
A kinetic façade can be used to manage light, air, energy, and even information. They can act to reduce solar gain as well as allowing the passage of fresh air into the building, helping to alter the interior environment. The moving elements of the façade can be programmed to respond to climatic or other environmental factors, time, levels and type of occupancy and so on to improve performance and efficiency.
The Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi has a computer-controlled facade made of umbrella-like panels. These panels open and close throughout the day in response to the sun’s movement, giving optimal shading and allowing light to enter the building as required.
The Berlin-based design studio WHITEvoid developed FLARE in 2008. This is a kinetic ambient reflection membrane, meaning that a building could have a ‘living skin’, enabling the façade to breathe in response to the environment. Stainless steel flakes tilted by pneumatic cylinders act to reflect natural light away from the building, maintaining a comfortable interior environment during hot weather.
The 2014 refurbishment of the Oxford Street Debenhams store (see top image). Designed by Archial Architects, included a cladding screen made up of 185,000 aluminium shingles which can move independently with the flow of wind to create a fluid or ripple effect across the entire surface, as well as providing some protection against rain.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building fabric.
- Cladding for buildings.
- Curtain wall systems.
- Dynamic façade.
- Fabrik by Shildan.
- Façade retention.
- Large-scale murals.
- Living façade.
- Schuppen house.
- The development of structural membranes.
- Wall types.
- DE Magazine - Why kinetic architecture is more than a spectacle
Featured articles and news
A definitive book on a pioneer of green architecture.
Using heritage as a catalyst for reviving historic centres.
Declaration prioritising sustainable urbanisation adopted.
Some brief words about the actuator.
After 34 years at the Institute.
To support the next generation of engineers.
CIAT reporting from the Competition and Markets Authority.
Making sustainable construction number one priority.
Interview with ECA CEO.
Many provisions came into force on June 28, 2022.
With room to expand.
Refurbishment, Energy Efficiency, Indoor air and process.
Why building acoustic considerations must be non-negotiable.
Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) is one example.
Inventors and innovators at ICE.
Life, death and art at the Stuart court. Book review.
Real estate, place adaptation and innovation.
Review and comment on the revised draft before July 11.
Write about something you know, help us build and grow !
A blended event and triumphant return.
Mark Reynolds succeeds Andy Mitchell as Co-Chair of CLC
Designing Buildings is 10 years old.
From alteration to deconstruction on DB.