Materially Speaking: The Expanding Palette of Facade Materials and Systems

Great architecture is rooted in a deep understanding of material and process, and nowhere is this more evident than with the building skin. Emerging materials and diverging design practices are converging in an exhilarating exploration of facade applications. This material diversification is one of the dominant industry trends; it’s not all aluminum extrusions and vision/spandrel glass any longer. Formed FRP and GFRC; cast glass, steel, stainless steel and bronze; ultra high-strength concrete; digitally fabricated plate materials; new architectural glass formulations; and robust textiles in a range of opacity are among the material solutions being applied in facade system applications. This session will explore recent material developments and design trends in building facade technology through a series of recent projects, but with an eye to the future trajectory of these material-driven trends and their implications for the facade practitioner.

Silvia Prandelli, facade director for the New York branch of Werner Sobek Engineering and adjunct professor at Columbia University, will moderate this panel of three leading facade practitioners. Charles Blomberg is a partner and facade specialist at Rafael Viñoly Architects with decades of experience including many high profile facade applications. Bill Kreysler, of Kreysler Associates, is the leading expert in the use of FRP as a facade material, most recently completing the unique FRP facade for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art expansion by Snøhetta Architects. Edward Peck, a vice president and technical leader at Thornton Tomasetti for specialty glazing design and manufacturing, has worked with numerous design teams to integrate novel material technologies into high-performance buildings.


Silvia Prandelli

COO, Facades Director, Werner Sobek

Photo of Charles Blomberg

Charles Blomberg

Partner, Rafael Viñoly Architects

Bill Kreysler

President, Kreysler & Associates

Edward Peck

Managing Director, Thornton Thomasetti