Double Skin Facade Design and Analysis for the University Research Building

Open Access
Kimble, Elizabeth Marie
Area of Honors:
Architectural Engineering
Bachelor of Architectural Engineering
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Richard George Mistrick, Thesis Supervisor
  • Richard George Mistrick, Honors Advisor
  • Kevin William Houser, Faculty Reader
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Lighting/Electrical Option
  • Facade Design
This thesis is based upon a study of the University Research Building (URB), a fictionally named project located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The University Research Building is being constructed to house three collaborative research labs: the Extreme Materials Institute, the Individualized Health Initiative, and the Systems Institute. Each of these research programs pulls expertise from multiple departments within the university, and the URB will provide laboratory and office space to foster communication and collaboration. The building will also be home to the university’s Computer Science department. This thesis report focuses on the redesign of the eastern façade of the building. The façade was analyzed with regards to daylighting, and a new façade design was developed which utilizes a double skin façade with operable louvers to help reduce direct sunlight penetration in the eastern workspaces. Research was conducted into principles, best practices, and case studies related to double skin façade design, and the results of that study are included in this report. Also included are mechanical and architectural analyses to determine energy and aesthetic impacts of the façade alteration. Finally, new lighting designs were developed for several spaces throughout the building, with the goal of creating high-performance, energy efficient lighting design while reinforcing the identities and goals of the research labs housed in the URB. Overall, the new façade will provide improved performance in the space. The greatest improvements can be seen in a reduction of direct sunlight penetration, as well as reduced cooling loads.