European Facade Networks

A European approach for education and research



Photo of Ulrich Knaack

Ulrich Knaack

TU Delft

Photo of Uta Pottgiesser

Uta Pottgiesser

Chair of Heritage & Technology

TU Delft

Tillmann Klein

TU Delft

Andreas Luible

Hochschule Luzern

Siebe Bakker

TU Delft


The European climate and energy targets for 2020 demand significant improvement of the energy performance of buildings since one third of the end-user consumption is used for heating and cooling. Therefore, the building envelope is the central instrument to serve and demand significant technological improvements. This paper will present several European networks and areas of cooperation in the field of facade research and education. They reach from national activities that extend beyond the country itself to Europeoriented and funded programmes to activities that extend beyond Europe.

One activity that was purposely established with a European focus in mind is the European Facade Network (efn) and the accompanying traveling workshop programme efnMOBILE. The efn network is a group of currently ten European universities (Bristol, Bolzano, Darmstadt, Delft, Detmold, Istanbul, Lucerne, Odense, San Sebastian, Sofia), focusing on educational MSc programmes in the fields of facade technology and design.

COST action “TU1403 – the adaptive facade network Europe” is a EU-funded networking programme, which was developed as a development, educational and exchange platform. The COST network is oriented towards scientific research within the European community and encompasses 120 participants from 26 European countries. The group focuses on increasing knowledge by sharing knowledge and expertise between the various European research centres and industry branches. The overall target is to harmonise, share and disseminate technological knowledge.

The scientific Journal for Facade Design and Engineering – JFDE – was established as an open access platform for the distribution of knowledge and valorisation. Even though published at TU Delft, it specifically aims to include international contributions and a worldwide audience.

One example of a national activity that has international links is the 4TU.BOUW – Centre of Excellence for the Built Environment –, which will be explained in its principals, outline and financial setup.

All networks and activities target the development of building envelope technologies by improving energy reduction, energy generation and storage as well as user centred functionality. This is to be combined with the structured distribution of knowledge and development via valorisation (journal, conferences, books) as well as via education programmes by the participating partners like the MSc Facade programmes.


Building envelops are the interface between the outside and the inside function of a building. Having a direct impact on the energy consumption, sustainability and the environmental impact, they play

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In addition to the classical topics of architecture, structural engineering, building physics and fire protection as well as technical building equipment and finishing, the field of building envelope design and

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EFN – European Facade Network

The European Façade Network – efn network is a group of currently ten European universities (Bristol, Bolzano, Darmstadt, Delft, Detmold, Istanbul, Lucerne, Odense, San Sebastian, Sofia), focusing on educational MSc

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EFN MOBIL 1.0 + 2.0

Building upon the network developed by the efn, the interaction between the programmes and conferences and the opportunity granted by the Alcoa Foundation and the non-governmental organisation Architecture for Humanity

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Journal for Facade Design and Engineering – JFDE

Supported by the Dutch governmental grant organisation NVO for the support of open access publications, the Journal for Façade Design and Engendering JFDE was developed in 2012 and first published

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Cost Action

COST is a European exchange programme for researchers, allowing members of the European union and associated countries to send researcher joining exchange and cooperation programmes. Typically, each programme is active

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One example of a national activity as part of the European efforts in research, education and valorisation, supporting the development of façades and the building envelopes, is a Dutch activity

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Conclusion and Future Work

The developments undertaking in a European context described above highlight the potential of the discipline Façade Design and Engineering to become more broadly perceivable. It can therefore be expected that

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Rights and Permissions

Efn (accessed October 10, 2019) (accessed October 10, 2019)

Efn mobil
Ulrich Knaack, Uta Pottgiesser: Imagine 09 – Prototypen efn Mobile, 010 Publisher Rotterdam 2019
Ulrich Knaack, Uta Pottgiesser: efnMOBILE 2.0 / Efficient Envelopes, TU Delft 2017

JFDE (accessed October 10, 2019)

Luible, A et. al.: Adaptive facade network – Europe; TU Delft open, 2015 (accessed October 10, 2019) (accessed October 10, 2019)

Bakker, S. et. al. 4TU.Bouw 2014 – 2017, TU Delft open 2018