Use of shadow analysis tools and generative design in Broadcasting Place in Leeds

Broadcasting Place in Leeds

Honoree in 2010 with Europe's Best Tall Building Award building intrigued by its dynamic lump. It distinguished by an unusual arrangement of stories and interesting, taking part in Trans context facade. Characteristic, red-brown elevation is common feature of all new buildings designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studio in Broadcasting Place complex placed Leeds Metropolitan University campus. 

The key to investment sucess was an innovative approach to elevation design. Designers wants to ensure proper lighting with avoiding of rooms overheating. To achieve this goal, relying on computer tools for insolation analysis, they conducted a detailed study of the facade. To aid in the design was employed UK's Building Research Establishment (BRE) - organization, which is dealing with, inter alia, creating of standards (BREEAM) and 
popularization of energy-efficient construction.
In creating of first concept architects baseline only on their intuition. They proposed more number of glazing at the base of the building, with decreasing upwardly form. Unfortunately, first results of analysis made by BRE forced designers to revision of such concept. Calculation proves, that greater differentiation of glazing number should occurs in horizontal - around the building. Vertical gradation was clear only on facades surface, with close neighborhood of other buildings. 
Architects in their work besides collecting data about quantity of daylight, conducted also analysis of solar energy. Data was received from BRE in the form of table from Excel software. In order to better understand and usage, it was plotted on a scale mock-up 1:500.
After those preparations architects proceeded to redesign the facade. Working in Excel they wrote script, which had help them use results of analysis in designing building facades. Algorithm, basing on data numbers about quantity of light and solar energy, generated proposal of panels layout. This action was impeented in two phases: analysis of data and panels placement. Firstly algorithm shared all facades on groups (four modules with 1,5 meters wide) and attributed them to the average values of insolation. Next, according to the result of analysis, it calculate proper number of glass panels and at the end - make random placement within a group. 
Unfortunately, random panels placement did not meet the primary assumption of the project, which was effect of panels "runoff" on the elevation. To achieve desired effect, designers use another script, this time functioning as a recursive algorithm. It task was 
increase the likelihood of full panel appearance directly under previous or lower, after the diagonal. New placement of panels in the part of the facade was created basing on panels placement in parts of the neighboring, insolation data and output system.
Architects choose the most interesting elevations generated by computer and refined them, by rearranging some panels within the groups. In rooms, where occurs overheating problem, thrusted upper panels or used glasses with reduced solar heat permeability. In places, where still occurs overheating problem or insufficient sunlight, designed technical facilities and communication. Project was tested according to oryginal values, to confirm designed amount of glazing property.