Imagine facades

The facade technology of the 20th century is related to the dissolution of the massive wall into a separation of structure and facade. Looking at the development of facade technology now, after 60 years of curtain wall systems, 30 years of element facade systems and 10 years of experience with the integration of environmental services in double facades, the peak of optimization has been reached.  By continuing the path of adding extra layers of additional technical functions, no further technical developments can be expected. Understanding facades - or better envelopes - as part of an integral building, we have to see that creating the future envelope has to be done on a 'network' basis: employing systems - but also methods of thinking - which provide the possibility  to develop different aspects simultaneously and combine them, as required.  The envelope has to be seen as a functional part of the entire building, serving parts of the demands by providing the needed technologies and qualities. In this regard, we actually have to withdraw from material and structure orientated thinking and construction - we have to develop the envelope as a hybrid system: materials, technologies and production processes have to be integrated in the summation and combined to an all-encompassing result. Imagine - Facades comprises various topics of strategic, material and technological developments. Aspects such as function integration, networking of elements, new structures and materials and lastly the addition of functions to existing structures will be investigated in 100 or so concrete ideas.

The facade technology of the 20th century is related to the dissolution of the massive wall into a separation of structure and facade. Looking at the development of facade technology now, after 60 years of curtain wall systems, 30 years of element facade systems and 10 years of experience with the integration of environmental services in double facades, the peak of optimization has been reached. By continuing the path of adding extra layers of additional technical functions, no further technical developments can be expected. Understanding facades – or better envelopes – as part of an integral building, we have to see that creating the future envelope has to be done on a ‘network’ basis: employing systems – but also methods of thinking – which provide the possibility  to develop different aspects simultaneously and combine them, as required. The envelope has to be seen as a functional part of the entire building, serving parts of the demands by providing the needed technologies and qualities. In this regard, we actually have to withdraw from material and structure orientated thinking and construction – we have to develop the envelope as a hybrid system: materials, technologies and production processes have to be integrated in the summation and combined to an all-encompassing result. Imagine – Facades comprises various topics of strategic, material and technological developments. Aspects such as function integration, networking of elements, new structures and materials and lastly the addition of functions to existing structures will be investigated in 100 or so concrete ideas.

/// Summary Imagine 01 – Facades

Authors :  Ulrich Knaack, Tillmann Klein, Marcel Bilow

Publishers:  010 Publishers, Rotterdam 2008

Delft University of Technology , Faculty ofArchitecture,  Chair of Design & Construction

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