The role of the building envelope - related to the energy performance of a building and the comfort of the user - is significant and, because of the sustainability aspect, is coming into focus more and more. Since the introduction of the double leafed façade, it is obvious that the climate performance of a building can be an important tool for architectural expression. Climate-oriented architecture is related to all aspects of building. It will affect the design as well as the building process and the construction itself. For this publication The Future Envelope 2, specialists from the fields of architecture, engineering and research were asked to share their practical experience and their visions for the future of the climate-oriented building envelope.
If there is one thing we can learn from the latest news about climate change and global warming, it is that building should no longer be built without a climate concept and an optimization of its use of energy. Façades play an important role in achieving these goals. The future façade will be more adaptable to the changing environmental conditions and it will encompass building service installations to make this possible. The façade is becoming a complex product, highly interacting as an integral part of the building, reacting on the environmental conditions and user needs.
Important steps have been taken, but we have to admit that we are far from building in an optimal manner in as far as relates to our climate. Climate-orientation is a necessity and we have to investigate how this can be done.
A new generation of tools is available today: computer hardware and software to calculate and simulate the complex relations of construction and building physics and devices that make the integrated design communication possible. But the practice has shown that being able to design something does not yet mean that it can be built. Climate orientation will have a big impact on the building industry. Will it adapt to follow the arising market needs or is it taking the opportunity to lead the trend and use it to its best benefit?
Can we continue designing buildings on a project by project basis, or will the growing complexity result in a way of building which is strongly related to a product driven architecture? In addition, it is important to look at the architectural impact of this development. What will the future climate-oriented façade look like and can it be a tool for architectural expression?
The topic is related to all aspects of building. It will effect the design as well as the building process and the construction itself. Specialists from the fields of architecture, engineering and research were asked to share their practical experience and their visions for the future of the climate-oriented building envelope.
Design of Construction, Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Dr. Ir. Jos Lichtenberg from Eindhoven Technical University underlines the role of Product Development for climate oriented architecture. Enlarged façade functionalities will lead to a more product oriented approach and to new building processes. He explains how the rules of the market will influence our approach to the future façade.
Nico Kremers, Director of VMRG – Vereniging Metalen Ramen en Grevelbranche (Dutch association for façade manufacturers) and head of the company Kremers Aluminium underlines the potential for innovation and concentrates on strategies for the future development of the industry through growth and integration.
Prof. Ir. Rob Nijsse is a structural engineer and a pioneer in the field of load-bearing glass structures. His paper shows the latest developments in glass and plastics, and the role of these materials as transparent building materials for architecture.
Dr. ir. Arjan van Timmeren is part of the Research Group Climate Integrated Design at the Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft. He describes numerous projects with a focus on climate design and its possible application in the façade technology. The result is the image of a building envelope with its functionality reaching beyond its traditional function as a climate separating element.
Ing. Bert Lieverse is general secretary of the FAECF (Federation of European Window and Curtain Walling Manufacturers Association). The impact of Climate oriented architecture on the façade industry is immanent. Climate orientation does not only mean geometrical adjustment of functions or increasing the insulation value, but the integration of new technologies in the physical façade space. This is challenging the traditional building teams. The “Living façade” is a model to describe the impact and the chances of climate oriented architecture on the façade industry.
Potentially, the first design phases have the biggest influence on the performance of buildings. Fundamental decisions are made during this stage because it is more difficult to introduce new ideas at a later stage of the process. Often, the Central European architectural style is exported to various other climate zones. The result are façades that counteract traditional climate concepts. In the scope of his PhD work Dipl.-Ing. Marcel Bilow develops a tool that explains the relationship between climate zone, façade layout and the technical building concept specifically for the design process.
Together with Yasmin Watts, Andrew Watts BA DipArch leads the façade planning office Newtecnic in London. His work focuses on new ways of construction and digital techniques. He is a teacher at the University of Bath and has published several books about façade construction. Andrew Watts believes that especially new digital design tools will be necessary to cope with the growing complexity of the future façade.
Over the past decade façade planning has grown to be a firm discipline in the building industry. The façade planning firm Emmer Pfenninger und Partner in Basel, Switzerland supports reknown architecture firms around the world. Based on an amazing series of projects, Dipl.-Ing. Kurt Pfenninger answers the question whether climate-orientation has found it splace within avangarde architecture.
The Delft architecture firm, cepezed, claims to use an integral design method with multiple material use in which various aspects such as spatial design, construction and installation techniques are forged into an indivisible whole. cepezed preferes construction elements which are prefabricated, wherever possible. The application of components produced industrially and under controlled production circumstances has a favorable effect on both the functionality and sustainability of buildings, and also offers great gains in the domain of process control. It leads to less use of materials and less transport, demountability and in this way is a strong contribution to climate oriented architecture.
For future façades we can expect a higher grade of adaptability and the integration of building service components. High quality standards, laws and regulations, the certification and warranties will lead to an even be more product-driven approach. From the architectonic point of view this leads to applications of systems rather than free compositions of materials. cepezed embraces a product-oriented architectural thinking and in this sense their work is an interesting contribution to this book.
This essay by Els Zijlstra is an excerpt of the book on the work of cepezed – entitled Prototypes, published by 010 publishers in 2007 and shortlisted for the RIBA Book Awards 2008 for excellent writing on architecture.
The Future Envelope is not conceivable without a direct and strong contribution to the climate concept of the entire building and the building environment. Climate design is one of the younger disciplines that relate to façade construction. Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Matthias Schuler is professor at Harvard, Graduated School of Design, Dep. of Architecture, and principle of his company Transsolar, has been involved in this subject matter for over 15 years. His projects are astonishing examples of how the performance of facades can be tailored to the requirements for energy consumption and comfort. If façade design is the micro level, urban planning is macro. In this paper Matthias Schuler explains why a successful sustainable build environment will have to start here.
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