Programmable passive actuation for adaptive building façade design using hygroscopic properties of wood

Rana El-Dabaa, Sherif Abdelmohsen, Yasser Mansour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper exploits the hygroscopic properties of wood and its passive response to fluctuation of relative humidity to develop a framework for programmable actuation in adaptive building façade design. This responsive shape shifting mechanism is specifically employed for the embedded actuation of dynamic shading configurations. Utilizing the hygroscopic properties of wood in adaptive shading devices embraces passive motion with a low-cost and low-tech approach, as a response to rapid climatic changes. Using physical experiments and image analysis, changes in the deflection and angle of curvature of wood samples in response to fluctuation in relative humidity were measured and tracked. A set of controlled hygroscopic parameters affecting the motion response of wood were deduced, including the fixation position, fixation type, and percentage and location of isolated areas of wood samples, thus achieving more control of response behavior and multiple shading percentages. A parametric script was developed using Grasshopper graphical algorithm editor and Ladybug environmental plugin to simulate shading configurations for the identified control parameters in the summer and winter solstices for an adaptive façade prototype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-259
Number of pages14
JournalWood Material Science and Engineering
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2021


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