The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

3form Consulting Research – BIPVs and Exteriors

3form Consulting Research – BIPVs and Exteriors
3form partnered with ITAC during the academic year of 2010-2011.  Professors and students collaborated with 3form’s Advanced Technology Group to conduct market research and develop preliminary design concepts. Initially the project focused on BIPV (Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics) and the recent attraction of thin film technologies.  Research conducted in this area determined the feasibility and marketability of BIPV and resin composite products. The team ran focus groups with three architecture firm types from Salt Lake City and Phoenix that would potentially use DIPV including Will Bruder Partners, Richard + Bauer, Jones Studio Inc., GSBS Architects, FFKR Architects, Gensler and SmithGroup.


The team then focused the research towards prototyping a flexible product for solar shading performance. Mockups and study models were constructed and tested for various profile, density, lamination, material yield optimization and installation procedures and methods. These findings led to the egg crate formed solar shading product concept utilizing 3form in both the vertical and horizontal elements on a facade with differing profiles for energy performance and daylighting requirements. The shading structure, termed CRATE, utilizes 3form vertical fins attached via an aluminum channel to allow both expansion and vertical movement to facilitate shifting within the system. The second attachment system is a universal elbow connection that allows the vertical fins to accept the horizontal shading profiles with a differing array of profiles.

AIA Convention

The research and CRATE concept was then further refined and visualized through the use of models, both physical and digital. The findings and visual representations were then compiled and presented at the 2011 AIA Convention + Expo within the context of 3form’s booth design. Models were created to conceptualize the findings within this existing framework, and then further discussion about promotional materials, such as a postcard, were discussed and created as needed. The research student team then travelled to New Orleans to both explore the context of a national architecture convention and realize their research findings with public interaction at the expo. A large rendering as well as physical model were created specifically for the expo, and the students met with architects from around the country visiting the convention to discuss their research.

Full Report HERE.