Laboratory of Multiscale Studies in Building Physics

We have enlarged the traditional boundaries of building physics, which was to consider heat and mass transfer in buildings, especially in building envelopes, to englobe a fuller range of scales, from pore to urban scales. We situate our activities at the nexus of air, water, energy and materials. We are particularly striving to develop new mitigation/retrofit solutions at the urban material and local urban environment scales, conditions that are exacerbated by climate change. The urban heat island effect and its impact on local urban climate, thermal comfort, health and energy need to be understood and mitigated.

Our mission

is excellence in research, development, technology and knowledge transfer towards the important challenge to society that are

  • Understanding the urban heat island effect and countering its impact on local urban climate, thermal comfort, health and energy by mitigation approaches and solutions
  • Unterstanding the interachtions of fluids and porous materials from nanometer to meter length scales
  • Ensuring the hygrothermal performance and durability of building materials and envelope systems, especially in retrofit and heritage challenges.



our main aims are

1. To develop R&D, knowledge and technological transfer activities with a focus on:

i.      local urban climate and local heat island mitigation studies focusing on outdoor thermal comfort, building energy and urban materials

ii.     effects of water on porous materials

iii.    new durable and sustainable urban materials and retrofit solutions of building components from development, investigation, assessment to implementation

2. To develop a complete multiscale understanding of the moisture, air and heat transfer phenomena, taking care of their synergies and coupling, from the molecular to street scales



our core competences are

  • Multiscale modelling (porous media, buildings, urban environment) of coupled physical phenomena
  • Development of local urban climate models coupling main physical phenomena (wind, radiation, rain, heat and mass transfer) for urban comfort, health and building energy assessment
  • Advanced experimental characterization, including imaging of transport processes in porous materials and in flows in urban settings (wind and water tunnels with time resolved PIV/LIF)
  • Hygrothermal characterization and testing of materials and building assemblies performance

Through a longstanding collaboration with the Professor Jan Carmeliet, Chair of Building Physics at ETHZ, the activities of the Chair and of the Laboratory of  multiscale studies in building physics are joined and integrated.  

News worthy


Movie:  Sorption hysteresis of wood



Dr. Ivan Lunati

Dr. Ivan Lunati
Head of Laboratory (Abteilungsleiter)

Phone: +41 58 765 4111