The Materials Book

227 of form, material choice, aggregation, geometry, and the surface of building elements. Functional capacities such as heat transfer and storage, air permeability, and humidity absorption and evaporation can be designed and fabricated as intrinsic properties of building elements such as envelopes, walls, floors, and ceilings, providing a bespoke response to the building’s climatic and architectural context. Functionally integrated building elements help reduce the complexity of mechanical systems, potentially reducing the energy needed to condition space to the occupants’ needs and preferences. The impact is two-fold: these elements would not only conceive new, simple, robust yet efficient supply systems, but also, and more radically, conceptualize new building elements with custom functions such as walls that act as heat exchangers, facades that generate energy or regulate airflow, and columns that conduct electricity. The result will be new forms of hybrid building elements that are multifunctional, resource-efficient, and customizable. They can bridge passive and active approaches for indoor environmental control and energy supply. Digital fabrication techniques will therefore allow for the conceptualization and creation of next-generation building systems for energy conversion and indoor environmental control by embedding performative capacities into building elements. In addition to reducing complexity, emissions, and costs, these techniques will reconnect aspects of energy and climate to architectural design and construction.