Building facades are key to the building systems integration necessary to realize critical health, carbon, resilience and sustainability goals in buildings and urban habitat. In addition, facade system design and delivery may be the most rapidly developing building technology, with novel materials, assemblies and techniques introduced in the marketplace frequently. Yet these developments are occurring in the long-running absence of an appropriate framework for facade system performance evaluation. There has been no general convergence on the assessment criteria or, for the most part, metrics to accompany those criteria. The convergence of myriad and often competing variables that characterize the building facade mark the development of a comprehensive integrative assessment framework as a wicked problem. But the lack of such a framework inhibits meaningful development and adoption of innovative facade technology, leaving aesthetic considerations to drive application and compromising the evolution of performative system behavior. It prohibits a meaningful comparison between facade systems, or of new techniques with prior applications. Adoption of new facade technology is constrained as designers, building owners and, most importantly, authorities with jurisdiction at the level of city government, are unable to accurately value its performative contribution to occupants, to a building project or to the urban environment.
Very early efforts and thinking in the development of a comprehensive Integrative Facade Assessment Framework by the Facade Metrics Working Group of the Facade Tectonics Institute are documented here. A preliminary review of existing facade system metrics and assessment strategies reveals they are fragmented, too narrowly focused and lack the comprehensive integration to provide an accurate evaluation. With a strong focus on energy performance in new buildings, deep and vital considerations like retrofit and renovation strategies, passive survivability, durability and service life, and resilience are often neglected entirely. We outline some new directions that begin to address these gaps and suggest a data-rich, visual framework to advance progress with enhanced metrics.