Tall Tales: Framing the Future of Tall Building Facades

Tall buildings are a unique, distinctive and much celebrated building type. Large markets in the United States, Asia and Middle East are in the midst of a rather unexpected and breathtaking tall building boom. But as we begin the press toward sustainable urban habitats, what future does the tall building have past the current boom? What will the legacy of tall buildings be as humanity looks back a hundred years from now? Many claim that tall buildings are inherently unsustainable. As many claim that they are absolutely key to achieving a sustainable urban habitat. Others justify tall buildings as cultural icons. But what are the implications of having a city crammed full of such icons — how many can society afford, and just what is the cost to society and the environment? This session will address the role of the building envelope on tall buildings by asking the question: are we building solutions with today’s building skins, or are we building tomorrow’s problems today?

Dr. Winfried Heusler with Schüco International will lead this panel of tallbuilding experts, including Peter Simmonds with Building and Systems Analytics in Los Angeles, Peter Weismantle with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago, and Christoph Timm with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York City, as they explore current tall building facade practices and their likely trajectory as we bridge the present to a sustainable urban habitat.


Winfried Heusler


Peter Simmonds

Principal, Building and Systems Analytics

Peter Weismantle

Consulting Director Supertall Building Technology, AS+GG

Photo of Christoph Timm

Christoph Timm

Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill