Special Issue "Adaptive Components for Building Performance Control"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gianluca Rodonò
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Catania, 95100, Italy
Interests: innovative building technologies; adaptive building envelope; parametric design; kinetic building component; sustainable building design; history of construction technologies; building refurbishment
Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Sapienza
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Catania, 95100, Italy
Interests: enabling building technologies; adaptive building component; sustainable building design; history of construction; building refurbishment

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

At present, it is difficult to give a fixed structure to the functions carried out inside buildings because of the fast changing needs of the users. Functions tend to be ever-changing due to the contemporary lifestyle, with a consequent variability of performance needed (e.g., thermal comfort, lighting needs, acoustic behavior). An effective way to achieve this may be to enable the building to change its shape. The kinematics may involve either the entire building, including its structure, especially in temporary pavilions or small buildings, or it may involve only some building components. In the former case, it is possible to improve the seismic or wind strength or change building solar exposition; in the latter case, kinematics generally involves the envelope, which is the main interface between the building and its surrounding environment. Via the kinematic mechanism of the envelope, it may be possible to adjust solar radiation, daylighting, ventilation, acoustic behavior, anti-burglary, and anti-fire protection. Over time, the need for kinematic mechanisms for the control of different configurations has resulted in the introduction of a system of sensors and actuators in building components. This leads to a complete automation of the kinematic mechanisms as a result of certain inputs which give rise to the so-called adaptive or responsive buildings. The wide variety of interpretations of this theme is reflected in the diversification of definitions (e.g., adaptive, responsive, convertible, smart, intelligent) that are closely linked with individual studies on the subject and are typically varied depending on the degree of automation integrated into the component. Active systems that are based on extrinsic control via the use of sensors and actuators need external energy resources. Passive systems, based on an intrinsic control, are distinguished by their ability to self-adapt in response to certain inputs (i.e., using Smart Materials). These components perform highly in terms of management; they do not require mechanical actuators, nor sensor and control systems. However, conversely, they do not guarantee individual control by users for their specific requirements. For these reasons, both systems continue to be studied for different fields of use. Adaptive building components require an in-depth and multidisciplinary design level to be effective. For this need, data interoperability is a fundamental prerequisite that is implemented with parametric design and the definition of workflows designed ad hoc to involve different simulation software. This Special Issue focuses on the application of the abovementioned types of components and possibly others not yet applied in current building technology and aims to collect original research or review papers to address (but not be limited to) one or more of the following topics: case studies of buildings where active or passive control systems have been applied with analysis of the consequent variability of performance, particularly concerning indoor climate control efficiency, duration of performance, and cost-effectiveness; design methodology for adaptive building components, in case of both new constructions and renovation projects; relation between design, process, and product of innovative adaptive building components with a special focus on enabling technology application and prototyping process; adaptive components in the experimental phase, with presentation of test results and highlight of possible critical application aspects. The studies should also underline the relationship between the suggested solutions and the local context with the support of case studies, and innovative smart materials for building performance control.

Dr. Gianluca Rodonò
Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Sapienza
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • adaptive building
  • responsive building
  • kinetic façade
  • intelligent building skin
  • smart envelope
  • climate-adaptive building shell
  • biomimetic adaptive building skins
  • climate adaptive building design

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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