Design, construction and validation of MATELab: A novel outdoor chamber for investigating occupant-facade interaction

Alessandra Luna-Navarro*, Mauro Overend

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


Testing of novel facade technologies with human volunteers is essential for improving occupant interaction with novel dynamic facade systems and to increase satisfaction with its modulation of light, sound, heat and mass transfer between the outdoor and indoor environments. In the past 10 years, there have been noticeable attempts to develop chambers that endeavour to assess the influence of facade technologies on occupant environmental perception and occupant-facade interaction. This paper firstly reviews existing state-of-the-art chambers for occupant-facade interaction and establishes the principal design criteria and performance characteristics required for such facade test chambers. The paper then demonstrates how this information is used to design and construct MATELab, a facade test chamber in Cambridge, UK, devised for capturing occupant environmental perception to, and interaction with, the facade in a realistic, yet sufficiently accurate manner. Finally, results from a preliminary measurement campaign in MATELab are used to validate the experimental setup, in particular its ability to capture high-resolution data for assessing: (i) the influence of facades on Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ); (ii) occupant environmental perception and interaction with the facade and (iii) do so similarly to typical office spaces. It was found that MATELab can successfully identify the correlations between facade performance and IEQ and that occupant response can be captured with sufficient frequency and in a realistic manner. However, further work is required to improve the experimental setup, in particular, to monitor luminance and direct solar radiation within the indoor space in a non-disruptive, yet experimentally efficient manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108092
Number of pages22
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Chamber
  • Dynamic facades
  • Occupant comfort
  • Occupant interaction
  • Test room


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