Thesis & Dissertations

Buildings’ Intelligent Skins: Potential Application for Improved Daylighting in Educational Buildings in Lebanon.


Energy consumption in buildings has significantly grown in the last decade due to the sheer increases in population and their respective demand for services. In Lebanon, the building sector absorbs about 50% of total primary energy, 36% of final energy, and 70% of electric consumption (IEA 2008).While these rates are relatively high, the building sector should strive to reduce the total consumed energy to minimum, to achieve the highest possible level of energy efficiency. Worldwide, the façade design and construction can account for between 15 % and 40% of the total building budget. Hence, by the utilization of the building fabric itself, artificial heating, cooling, lighting, and other energy importing systems can be minimized or avoided altogether (Wigginton & Harris,2004:14) The idea of intelligent skin has achieved a certain currency in the past few years. With such concepts it represents the introduction into design principles related to self-adjustment and responsiveness, made possible by new technologies. The definition of intelligence focused on in this study is related to the ability of the envelope to adjust to the variable climatic conditions and respond consequently, and its ability to predict similar future conditions. Accordingly, this study investigates the notion of Buildings’ Intelligent Skins, its characteristics that promote to better daylighting, and how it promotes to occupant comfort. Moreover, it investigates the design guidelines affecting daylight quality in schools and the potential application of intelligent skins for better façade performance. Thus, this thesis focuses on relating the three topics: facade design, energy efficiency, and occupant well-being. During the discourse of the study an intelligent skin prototype is proposed for a typical educational building in Beirut, and analyzed to conclude whether it’s application results in improved daylight performance in the classroom or not. A primary outcome of this project is the contribution to the understanding of the impact of intelligent skin design on daylight quality in the context of Lebanese schools. And as a result, the study provides definitive points to inform architects and decision makers on the importance of incorporating intelligent features within the initial phase of façade design. Finally, it proposes recommendations to develop effective legislations when it comes to designing healthy and sustainable educational environments.


Shirine Abdallah


Assoc. Prof. Hisham El-Arnaouty, Prof. Mohamad Fikry