In the 21st century; the information technology era, form oriented and sustainability architecture trends introduced changes to the building envelopes forms. Even with the huge amount of data and computer form-analysis tools, a lack of integration between the aesthetics of form generation and sustainable oriented form generation still existed. This integration complexity is because, currently, architects need to have a fair knowledge of different complex data included in the architectural product, i.e. the sustainability aspects, computer tools, spatial and functional aspects, and different systems and materials.
Thus, this research focuses on the effect of using virtual data (which are to be clearly defined throughout the research for each trend) with a form oriented and/or a sustainable oriented mindset. This effect is measured by using a set of fixed data using a parametric computer tool (grasshopper) which is to be manipulated using both mindsets. By fixing the used material to be shape memory nickel titanium alloy (SMA)–due to its direct effect on the form- and limiting its application on the building envelope, the research introduces a set of parametric data manipulation techniques. Those techniques are to reach a merely sustainable or aesthetic building envelope form, and also are to reach a geometrical application for SMAs upon the envelope; and by comparing the end products, the research results classify the generated forms and analyze their similarities and differences in terms of shapes and the data processing method; in terms of input and output.
The research’s results can generate a different prospective to the trends of architecture and form; trends that are formed by how architects manipulate their input data. In other words, the research uses the intangible information (solar loads in case of sustainable trends and geometrical measurements in case of form oriented trends) to generates tangible forms, reaching a definition for the yet intangible trend. The knowledge of the dependence of each trend on the processing of the data can provide a clearer identity for each trend; an identity not only shown in the building envelope but also expressed in terms of data and information.