Bio-inspired adaptive facade shading systems (BIAG)


Pictures by ITKE, ITFT, EvE


Baden-Württemberg foundation

Funding period

01.01.2015- 31.12.2017

Hingeless shading systems inspired by nature are increasingly the focus of architectural research. In contrast to traditional systems, these compliant mechanisms can reduce the amount of maintenance-intensive parts and can easily be adapted to irregular, doubly curved, facade geometries.

Previous mechanisms rely merely on the reversible material deformation of composite structures with almost homogeneous material properties. This leads to large actuation forces and an inherent conflict between the requirements of movement and the capacity to carry external loads.

To enhance the performance of such systems, this research project is directed at natural mechanisms with concentrated compliance and distinct hinge zones with high load-bearing capacity.

In order to learn about means for gearing local flexibility by fine-tuning the composite structure and develop new strategies for efficient robust sun-shading systems this project focuses on the hierarchical structure of the wing cuticle of the shield bug (Graphosoma lineatum italicum), motion principles of compact foldable hindwings of insects and bio-inspired integrated pneumatic actuation.


Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), University of Stuttgart

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Knippers, Gundula Schieber, Anja Mader, Axel Körner

Institute for Textile Technology, Fiber Based Materials and Textile Machinery (ITFT), University of Stuttgart

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Götz T. Gresser, Larissa Born

German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research (DITF), Denkendorf

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Milwich, Lena Müller

Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE), University of Tübingen

Prof. Dr. Oliver Betz, Dr. Paavo Bergmann