Urban Climate Canopy


Urban Climate Canopy.

The ongoing densification and urbanization of the build environment poses a series of challenges for its planning and fabrication. How can good air quality and comfortable micro climatic conditions be ensured in dense environments and how can we cope with the immense consumption of resources during construction? As these performance criteria become of mayor importance in the building sector it is crucial to avoid isolated building technological solutions, but instrumentalize these economic and ecologic requirements as design drivers and explore the resulting implications for the architectural design process.

The integrative capacity of computational design and digital fabrication strategies allows to improve key performance factors like micro climatic impact and material efficiency in conjunction with underlying fabrication and materialization constraints and opportunities. Thus allowing to linking building technological developments with exploration of a novel design repertoire. Especially the anisotropic character of fiber composite materials can form the base for development of material expressive and function integrating lightweight constructions.

The research studio “Urban Micro Climate Canopy” aims to synthesizes the research fields “climate responsive design”, “green technologies in architecture” and “explorative architectural fabrication” by utilizing the integrative capacity of fibrous lightweight structures to embed technical installations as well as biological functional elements that contribute to enhanced air quality and outdoor comfort.

Microclimatic functionalization of the mobile lightweight structure can be achieved by integrating selected plants with different properties, such as noise reduction, wind protection and air purification. In addition to the integrated lighting, we want to explore how further technical installations, such as climate-sensing sensors, can be wrapped into the fiber structure. This could allow for valuable data to be collected on the urban microclimate, as well as the impact of the installation on the perceived outdoor comfort.

The project offers the opportunity to work in a research oriented project at the interface between architecture, landscape architecture and urban climate research with an interdisciplinary team of diverse expertise:

  • Baubotanik, noise reduction, wind protection / roofing, air filtration, biodiversity, urban planning (Ludwig)
Functionally integrating fiber composite light-weight structures, light design, material efficiency (Dörstelmann)
Urban microclimate, outdoor comfort, simulation, modulation, sensor integration (Auer)

Studio task is the development of an urban microclimate hub which enhances outdoor comfort through a combination of its spatial design and functional features. Concepts can be developed on various scales ranging from installations, canopies or urban furniture.

The application potentials of such a structure, as well as their functionality and design qualities should be demonstrated through a 1:1 scale performance mock-up. Therefore, the studio is structured in following phases:


Skill building, development and evaluation of concepts


Group focus on a selected concept and its technical development


Fabrication and implementation, including robotic fabrication workshop excursion in Stuttgart.


Setup/de-installation and documentation of the exhibition piece at the Munich Creative Business Week


Opportunities and requirements of the studio:

  • Explore interdependencies between building technological and building cultural development
  • Creative use of materials and processes through experimental prototyping
  • digital and physical prototyping in an iterative workflow, where insights gained by process and material studies and computational design studies inform each other
  • Self-motivated work at the interface between research and teaching
  • Teamwork for the realization of a joint 1:1 demonstrator construction
  • Basic proficiency in 3D modeling
  • Practical and hand-on skills for the implementation of material experiments and test setups 



Gebäude, Begrünung, Energie. Potenziale und Wechselwirkungen. Abschlussbericht ZukunftBau
Link: www.baufachinformation.de/literatur.jsp

Dörstelmann, M., Prado, M., Menges, A.: 2015, Explorative Design and Fabrication Strategies for Fibrous Morphologies in Architecture. In Yuan, P., Menges, A., Leach, N. (eds): Robotic Futures, Tongji University Press, Shanghai, pp. 54-65. (ISBN 978-7-5608-5845-6)

Prado, M., Dörstelmann, M., Solly, J., Menges, A., Knippers J.: 2017, Elytra Filament Pavilion: Robotic Filament Winding for Structural Composite Building Systems. In: Menges, A., Sheil, B., Glynn, R., Skavara, M. (eds): Fabricate – Rethinking Design and Construction, UCL Press, London, pp. 224-231 (ISBN 978 1 78735 000 7)
Link: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1546589/1/Fabricate.pdf

Prado, M., Dörstelmann, M., Menges, A.: 2016, Integrative Design and Fabrication Methodologies for Fibrous Systems. In: Menges, A. (ed.): Material Performance – Fibrous Tectonics & Architectural Morphology, Harvard University GSD, Cambridge. (ISBN: 978-1-934510-57-5)
Link: issuu.com/gsdharvard/docs/materialperformance