So, in this context, we were surprised to receive some criticism from a couple of our readers last month questioning why we were discussing the impacts of the pandemic on the building industry and academic processes…”What does Covid-19 have to do with the façade system?” We were advised to “…stick to technical content directly related to the façade.”
The Façade Tectonics Institute is, above all else, a community with a shared mission to accelerate the transformation to a resilient and sustainable built environment. We don’t believe that reductionist thinking will get us there. Social considerations, for example, are as relevant as technical factors in optimizing the pervasive influence of the building skin. Functional obsolescence and brand perception determine the service life of a building or façade system more often than age-related degradation. The accelerating pace of social change is an existential threat to our building stock. We see the façade system as the ideal lens through which to critically consider these myriad issues.
With the support of our membership, we will continue to explore these linkages, focusing on the building skin but also on the issues that shape the context of the façade system. But never fear, technical considerations will remain the backbone of our endeavors, and we assure you there will be plenty of evolving technical content.
This brings us to the issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. What does that have to do with building skins? In my early research in sustainability, I was surprised to find that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change listed inequity as the number one barrier to sustainable development. The Architects Declare movement also includes inequity along with climate breakdown and biodiversity loss in its manifesto. We continue to move in the wrong direction as a global population. Recent events have highlighted economic and social disparity and triggered unprecedented global demonstrations. Clients are stepping up their demands for women and minority participation on design teams. Research and experience confirm the advantages of diversity at all levels of the workforce. Design and construction firms need to step up their game. This month, we link to a 2-part series from Paula Melton with BuildingGreen, who lays out why this not only matters but is vital to the building industry.
Pay special attention to the item regarding the release of documents and an RFI from the Department of Energy. Please take the time to review and respond to these important documents. The Institute intends to provide a response, but it is also important for as many of us as possible to participate in providing feedback on the critically important work the DOE intends to pursue.
Lots of stuff in this edition; always lots to talk about when it comes to SKINS! So, take a look. We hope you enjoy.
We do love hearing from you, even if it involves a healthy dose of criticism! We can’t promise agreement with your comments, but we do promise consideration. Please let us know your thoughts. Send your comments to email@example.com.
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