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Facade researcher asks for new thinking in problem solving.

Torrential rains, storms, flooding: as climate change and globalization all take their toll, they also increasingly impact on the way we build. This holds especially true for the way we build facades.  Reasons enough for “façade2017” with the topic ‘Resilience’ to have focused on the durability and resilience of buildings.  The specialist conference, featuring international lecturers and speakers, took place on Friday 24 November 2017 at the University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen-Lippe in Detmold. 

‘Resilience’ describes the function and ability of buildings and their facades to react and adapt to changes of various types. At the conference, experts from Korea, India, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Turkey presented examples of resilient designs and constructions of buildings and facades. The talks were grouped under four focus topics: Global Challenges, Renovation of Existing Buildings, Responsive Facades and Architectural Concepts for the Future.

The architect Daniel Meyer (Zurich) presented challenging structures and facades based on the ITA building (Institute of Technology in Architecture) of the ETH Zurich. Of outstanding significance is here the digitally produced, wave-shaped roof construction. Even more  demanding on construction, the museum ”La Maison des Fondateurs” (completion 2018) was presented, with its spiral form and stable glass walls and the very special challenges of the environment in Switzerland with its heavy snows. https://www.luechingermeyer.ch/project/museum-audemars-piguet-apc-le-brassus/

The Indian monsoon rains present challenges of quite a different kind, as Daniel Arztmann of Schüco International KG (Bielefeld) explained. Aside from torrential rains the facades need to withstand storms and high temperatures. This requires new approaches: A Detmold Master student has developed special monsoon windows which allow air flow even in times of strong rains. Resilient facades need to be constructed in a way that allows easy exchange of individual damaged parts, without the need of replacing the entire facade.   

The facade of the Mashrabiya (Gensler) building in Kuwait City needs to cope, by contrast, with dry heat. The hotel and office building with its Arabic-style shading elements was presented by Taeyoung Kim (South Korea) who has worked for a long time for the architectural office Gensler. https://www.gensler.com/projects/four-seasons-hotel-burj-alshaya-centre

Wessel de Jonge, Dutch, introduced quite a different approach with the renovation of buildings from the 20s and 50s.  The problem with the Zonnestraal sanatoriums dating from the year 1931 is that this type of building was, according to de Jonge, not made to last more than 30 years. Without the support of the public sector such refurbishment would be impossible, as they are too expensive.  http://www.wesseldejonge.nl/zonnestraal1.php

When and why can a building withstand an earthquake? What kind of design helps to keep damage to the façade and the entire building at a low level? This was the research focus of Oguz C. Celik (ITU Istanbul), who provided an insight in his work. Mikkel Kragh (Odense, Denmark) showed more trends in resilient building and construction. Sanjay Seth of TERI (The Energy Research Institute, Neu Delhi) presented “Climate Responsive Facades and Sustainable Building Materials” in India. He pointed out the importance of the orientation towards the sun of newly erected high-rise buildings as well as the attention to mutual shading of buildings in close vicinity. By allowing daylight to reach even the lower storeys of buildings, massive energy savings can be achieved, according to Seth. http://www.teriin.org/

Robert-Jan van Santen (Lille) advocated a new approach to problem solving. The architect who works mainly in Hong Kong presented a window without frame and handle. This allows hazard-free ventilation in high-rise buildings which we find chiefly in fast growing Asian metropolis. Through two circular holes in the window panes, which are closed by specially developed “lids”, fresh air can enter. These lids can be designed individually by the residents. As van Santen explained. “Half of façade design is interior architecture anyway” http://www.vs-a.eu/en/

The concluding talk by Spencer Culhane (Schüco USA), a student of the International Facade Master at the Detmold School of Architecture and Interior Architecture, focused on the specific acoustic and architectural demands on glass facades for concert halls and musical performances.   

“The conference covered very many different aspects of ‘resilience’: globally and in terms of urban development, locally and culturally as well as technical and economical aspects. It was good to see how intensively students and lecturers exchanged knowledge and experiences with each other”, said Professor Dr. Uta Pottgiesser (Antwerp University) who moderated the expert conference.

Future dates:  

Façade Tectonics 2018 World Congress: 12/13 March 2018, Los Angeles

ICAE 2018: VIII. International Congress on Architectural Envelopes (Calls for Papers: 1. 12.2017):  20.-22. June 2018, San Sebastian

Facade 2018: 26./27.11.2018, Hochschule Luzern

Master of Integrated Design (MID), Vertiefungen “Facade Design” und “Computational Design”: http://www.m-i-a-d.de/mid-master-of-integrated-design/