Facade Tectonics SKINS

SKINS: August / September 2021

Carbon crisis: The embodied carbon challenge

Climate scientists have been warning us for years, of course, that we are approaching a tipping point -- a moment when some nasty feedback loops would kick in to accelerate global warming dramatically, and the result would be a drastic increase in the occurrence of extreme weather events floods, fires, hurricanes and the like.

Read the rest from Andrew Himes of the Carbon Leadership Forum>

Graph plotting annual emissions over years of building life

Embodied carbon

Embodied Carbon 101 from CLF

This resource aims to provide a high-level overview of embodied carbon — how it is defined, its significance in the global climate crisis, and why it is an important consideration for policymakers.

Explore now.

EC3 header

Embodied carbon

Addressing climate change through façade design - Vaclav Hasik

There is a growing awareness and interest in understanding the carbon footprint of material manufacturing, opening doors to new opportunities in facade design and manufacturing innovation. There are steps and decisions we can make today to help fight climate change.

Read on.

Graph of global warming potential of facade materials.

Embodied carbon

Embodied Carbon in Building Enclosures: Why It Matters - Laura Karnath

While the majority of the embodied carbon in a building typically comes from the primary structure, the enclosure is both critical to energy performance and a significant source of embodied carbon in new buildings, and even more so in adaptive reuse projects.

Check it out.

Kaleidoscopic graphic pattern

Embodied carbon

Kaleidoscope: Bringing the Lens of Embodied Carbon to the Early Design Process - Becca McGee Sturgeon

Kaleidoscope brings the imperative topic of embodied carbon further into the design process, offering a simple, straightforward tool to quickly make apples-to-apples comparisons of typical building systems for use in early design decisions without the need for a 3D model.

More from Becca>

Play button in hands

Embodied carbon

EC101 Webinars from Boston Society of Architects

This playlist of 12 videos is a comprehensive course in embodied carbon reduction, from basic literacy to structures, envelopes, and interiors.

Watch now.

mullion samples with varied glazings in front of mockup


A structural terra cotta mullion: What?!!!

In what should stand as a model of collaborative industry research, John Neary of HOK led a team including TriPyramid Structures and Permasteelisa in the development of a structural terra cotta mullion to a full scale mockup as part of Boston Valley Terra Cotta’s Architectural Ceramic Assembly Workshop (ACAW).

Must-see video!

Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards with headshot of Doris Sung


InVert™ receives National Design Award for Climate Action!

Designed by TBM Designs’ Doris Sung, the InVert™ Self-Shading Window System minimizes energy usage by reducing the need for air conditioning in buildings by more than 25%. The system requires no electricity, controls, human intervention, or maintenance.

Check it out!

precast panel with curve

Student Work

Cool precast concrete enclosure studies from Washington U. in St. Louis

In an industry-academic collaboration, Assistant Professor Fernandez’s class was awarded $50,000 as part of a 4-year PCI Foundation grant in collaboration with Gate Precast, to lay the foundation of applied research in precast concrete building enclosures.

More + images.

Industry Calendar

September 27-29

Building Innovation Conference - Call for Speakers

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October 12-14

Obra Blanca

Mexico City, Mexico

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October 18-21

FGIA Fall Conference

Phoenix, United States

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October 20-21

BuildingNY 2021

New York City

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October 25-29

APT Washington 2021: Preservation Beyond Politics

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Previously Featured


Simulation vs. reality: Insight and inspiration

FTI's Helen Sanders (Technoform) provides her insight and reflects on key aspects of the Forum presentations, while probing key questions and identifying necessary actions moving forward.

Get inspired.


Thermal bridging: The missing key to low energy building design

One of the most significant developments in better understanding the thermal performance of the façade system has been the ASHRAE 1365 RP and the ensuing Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide. Explore thermal bridging with Ivan Lee, Morrison Hershfield

Read on.


Facade performance in the absence of fossil fuel

We need high performance buildings that mitigate our impact on climate change and adapt to an already changing climate - and it just so happens that in order to get there, efficiency, especially in the façade, is a prerequisite. - Christian Cianfrone, EllisDon

A must read from Forum keynote.

Codes & Standards

No timid steps: Be bold and generous!

Across the entire world, the only places you’ll find high-performance buildings being consistently constructed at massive scale are those places where it’s the only way to get a building permit. - Duane Jonlin, FAIA, City of Seattle, Department of Construction and Inspections

Tough love.

Measurement and verification

Simulation vs. reality: Measurement and verification

The technique of achieving the High Performing Building is very much in development… This article explores the need for measurement and verification and PCL's process and approach. - Stephen Montgomery and Lori O’Malley, PCL Constructors Canada

Read on.

Vitruvian Honors & Awards: Submit an entry now! LAST CHANCE!

FTI is introducing a new biennial honors and awards symposium. The inaugural event is happening December 2, 2021. The competition submission deadline is October 4, 2021. Learn more and nominate a project or person!

Organizational Members of the Facade Tectonics Institute


Kuraray, Schüco USA


Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Permasteelisa Group, seele, TriPyramid Structures


Dow, Finishing Contractors Association, Lerch Bates, Technoform North America, Valmont Structures, Vitro Architectural Glass, WRNS Studio, W&W Glass


Antamex Industries, Heintges, Kreysler & Associates, MdeAS Architects, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Roschmann Steel & Glass Constructions, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, SOCOTEC, Inc., The Architect's Newspaper, The Miller Hull Partnership, The Ornamental Metal Institute of New York

Academics / Nonprofits

Aarhus University, Denmark, IIBEC, National Fenestration Rating Council, Rainscreen Association in North America, Universidad de Concepción, University of Utah, Western Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association