The Integration of Adaptive Elements into High-Rise Structures

  • Weidner, Stefanie ;
  • Steffen, Simon ;
  • Sobek, Werner
  • Published : 2019.06.01


Whilst most research focuses on the reduction of operative energy use in buildings, the aspect of which (and how many) materials are used is often neglected and poorly explored. However, considering the continuous growth of the global population and the limited availability of resources, it is clear that focusing on operative energy alone is too short-sighted. The tasks lying ahead for architects and engineers cannot be accomplished with conventional methods of construction. With a share of 50-60% of global resource consumption, the building industry has a decisive impact on our environment. If business as usual continues, resources will be significantly depleted in a matter of decades. Therefore, researchers of the University of Stuttgart are investigating the concept of adaptivity as a promising method for saving resources in the built environment. The term adaptivity in the context of building structures was first introduced by Werner Sobek. It describes a method where sensors, actuators and control units are implemented in systems or facades in order to oppose physical impacts in an ideal way. The applicability of this method will be verified on an experimental high-rise building at the University campus in Stuttgart. Thus, this paper describes this innovative research project and depicts the concept of adaptivity in high-rise structures. Furthermore, it gives an overview of potential actuation concepts and the interdisciplinary challenges behind them.



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Figure 1. Stock development and scenario from 1900-2050;Source: ILEK based on (Krausmann et al., 2017).

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Figure 2. Stuttgart SmartShell movement of bearings; Source: ILEK, Gabriele Metzger.

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Figure 3. Energy consumption behavior for active and passive design; Based on: Senatore et al., 2018.

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Figure 4. Experimental High-Rise Building, Picture of Mock-up.

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Figure 5. Different actuation concepts (a) parallel (b) serial;Source: ISYS.

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Figure 7. Adaptive frame, a full-scale prototype; Left: Visualization with adaptive elements (blue) Source: IKTD/ILEK;Right: Photography of frame at ILEK platform Source: ILEK.

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Figure 6. Effects of actuation on the passive elements (a) parallel (b) serial.

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Figure 8. Test results of the prototype frame for active column and passive diagonal, comparison measurements and simulations.

Table 1. Implied actuation forces for the load cases 1-5

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