parametric design, architecture and art

IMAGE ABOVE: average sun vectors reaching shops

If you have been recently following our activities on facebook or twitter, you may have heard about our design for the CLIMATE RIBBON™ in Miami, a project we develop for Swire Properties Ltd., with the main architects Arquitectonica and wind specialists RWDI.

The vision behind the project is now becoming reality and it’s a pleasure to share the details of the design process via this blog.

Climate Ribbon (TM)

In the Context of the world’s current dialogue on sustainability, Swire Properties together with Arquitectonica and Hugh Dutton Associates have embarked on a design for their new Brickell City Center that takes the question of ecology as a primary driver of the architectural concept.

The centre (image above) comprises a 4 story commercial centre on several distinct city blocks in downtown Miami’s Brickell district,

topped with a series of towers for apartments, offices, and a hotel. The CLIMATE RIBBON ties these blocks together, forming a shelter to improve the microclimate for the public in the pedestrian circulation streets using purely passive energy design strategies.

The CLIMATE RIBBON design strives to improve the environmental quality of the shopping center by responding to the following design objectives:

Rain Shelter

Main circulation routes and escalators are sheltered from rainfall.

Sun Shading

Shopfronts that would normally be exposed to direct sun radiation are protected for the majority of the sun rays. Priority has been given to midday and evening sun in the hotter seasons as these seasons and times of day are most associated with higher temperatures. Circulation routes and restaurant and café areas have also been provided with protection.

Breeze Flow and ventilation

The shopping center is not air conditioned and it is open to the streets that cross through the development. Though air conditioning would be a means of ensuring a predictable air temperature inside the shopping center it would not be considered ecological or economic to do so. The CLIMATE RIBBON strives to improve the perceived temperature conditions for the public in the shopping center by encouraging a breeze flow in the public spaces through harnessing the summer trade winds. A ‘scoop’ at the eastern end collects the trade winds coming up 8th street from the sea, and ‘spoilers’ downwind at the western and northern ends create low pressure points to help draw the air through the public streetscape.

Rainwater collection

CLIMATE RIBBON surfaces are inclined and sloped to channel rainwater to specific collection points where it is stored and re-used for planting irrigation and other purposes.


GENERATIVE GEOMETRY: The drawings above shows preliminary studies for the geometry of the CLIMATE RIBBON™. Light blue dots represent all intersections between solar rays reaching facades and blade’s plane. An adjustable function permits to find the geometry that stops the maximum sun rays (dark dots) while keeping a reasonable height > see the high resolution image and watch the video below.

Parametric Responsive Design

The design of the CLIMATE RIBBON is a response to these climate performance parameters and the architectural form is therefore an expression of them. It is a topographical composition of a facetted grid of steel framing, glass covering and architectural fabric shading blades that complement the angular expression of the main building forms.

Digital and model-based quantitative and qualitative simulations were combined to develop a performance-based foundation for a comprehensive approach to the design. Virtual simulations of airflow and annual sun paths were carried out. Physical wind tunnel tests were used to confirm the airflow predictions. Independent fluid dynamic simulations were carried out to measure airspeed, temperature and comfort conditions.

Climate Ribbon grasshopper file

IMAGE ABOVE: parametric definition of the CLIMATE RIBBON in Grasshopper


IMAGE ABOVE: solar reflexion studies

Climate Ribbon

IMAGE ABOVE: fabric blades of the CLIMATE RIBBON™


A press-kit with texts, images and videos is in progress.
Please contact us for any press inquieries.

You can also find more images, videos and drawings on facebook and flickr.
Here are some website featuring the CLIMATE RIBBON:

The CLIMATE RIBBON is an architectural feature designed by
HDA | Hugh Dutton Associés
Main Architect: Arquitectonica
Client: Swire Properties

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