The requirements of modern buildings towards their provided interior comfort and the reduction of their energy consumption are high.  The building envelope has a significant effect on the fulfillment of these demands. The environmental influences that a building’s envelope is exposed to and the requirements of the building´s use are in a continuous state of flux. Automation technology provides a possible increase of the building envelope´s performance by continuous reactions to the changing conditions. The research on ThinkingSkins is developed in the context of adaptive building envelopes and examines the potential of the interconnectivity of individual automated façade functions.

Today the required technology, i.e. sensors, actuators and their digital control, is available. Façade constructions are equipped with such automation technology to warrant its ability of responsiveness.  The building envelope takes on multiple climatic functions.  To comply with them, various different active building components are integrated in the skin of a building.  In their intelligent interlinking lies a key aspect of the research on ThinkingSkins.

At the design stage of buildings, computer-based, parametric definitions allow for setting relevant design aspects into interdependence. By capturing the various influences and requirements of the design as parameters, they can be transferred into a digital model and become negotiated towards an optimized solution. In the research on ThinkingSkins it is assumed that these strategies, derived from the concept of static building components, can be transferred to the dynamic control of façade automations.