Given their intrinsic features, adaptive facades are required to satisfy rigid structural performances, in addition to typical insulation, thermal and energy requirements. These include a minimum of safety and serviceability levels under ordinary design loads, durability, robustness, fire resistance, capacity to sustain severe seismic events or other natural hazards, etc. The overall design process of adaptive facades may include further challenges and uncertainties especially in the case of complex assemblies, where multiple combinations of material-related phenomena, kinematic effects, geometrical and mechanical characteristics could take place. In this context, experimental testing at the component and/or at the full-scale assembly level has a fundamental role, to prove that all the expected performance parameters are properly fulfilled. Several standards and guideline documents are available in the literature, and provide recommendations and procedures in support of conventional testing approaches for the certification and performance assessment of facades. These documents, however, are specifically focused on ordinary, static envelopes, and no provisions are given for the experimental testing of dynamic, adaptive skins. In this regard, it is hence expected that a minimum of conventional experimental procedures may be directly extended from static to dynamic facades. However, the validity of standardized procedures for adaptive skins is still an open issue. Novel and specific experimental approaches are then necessarily required, to assess the structural characteristics of adaptive facades, depending on their properties and on the design detailing. In this paper, existing fundamental standards for testing traditional facades are first recalled and commented. Special care is spent for the validity and reliability of conventional testing methods for innovative, adaptive envelopes, including a discussion on selected experimental methods for facade components and systems. Non-conventional testing procedures which may be useful for adaptive skins are then also discussed in the paper, as resulting from the research efforts of the European COST Action TU1403 ‘Adaptive facades network’ - ‘Structural’ Task Group.
- Adaptive facades
- Experimental facilities
- Experimental testing
- Structural performance parameters
- Testing methods