Facade Tectonics SKINS

SKINS: July 2022

Plant-based Architecture and Living Facades:
The Intersection of Biology and the Building Skin

A question for architects and the building industry: Can our cities be part of the solution to the challenges facing humanity, or are they intrinsically and inevitably a big part of the problem? To move beyond the latter demands nothing less than a radical shift in the way we think about buildings. Let’s pull on this thread for a minute.

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Figure 3


Biofacades: Integrating Biological Systems with Building Enclosures

Writing for SKINS, authors Mary Ben Bonham and Kyoung Hee Kim expound on biofacades. This original article introduces performance benefits, challenges, and taxonomies for different forms of building-nature integration, and explores leading edge research and practice.

Read On.



Biobuildings: Can we Grow our Buildings and Facade Systems?

John Cumbers explores living structures that absorb greenhouse gasses instead of emitting them, that can self-assemble and self-repair, and that are durable and adaptive, among other numerous cited benefits. Pie-in-the-sky? Maybe not. - in Forbes; image efired - stock.adobe.com

Rean On.

Living Architecture


Living Architecture: Microbes and Urban Sustainability

Rachel Armstrong, a professor of experimental architecture at Newcastle University, gives a TED talk at Future Tech Week. She posits that contemporary building practices are severely outdated and inefficient, and here explores the potential of living architecture.

View Presentation.



Biomaterials: The Promise of Plant-based Building Materials

Interest in plant-based materials is growing along with the consideration of embodied carbon in buildings. These natural materials provide unique performance attributes including carbon sequestration, durability, adaptability, and low-to-no environmental impacts. - James Parks in Dezeen

Explore More.

Living Facade


Living Facade: Here's One for the Birds (and Bees)

In yet another outstanding ACAW collaboration, COOKFOX and Buro Happold with BVTC develop a living wall prototype informed by fabrication processes, biophilic considerations, and the accommodation of specific life forms. - Chris Walton in A’N

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Mycotecture: A Fungus Amungus?

Is mushroom architecture on the horizon? Mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus, plays a prominent role in soil health and gets trees talking. It also holds great promise as a fully biodegradable and regenerative living building material. –Tommy Minh Nguyen in Archi Hacks

Find Out More.

Ken Yeang


Ken Yeang and Ecoarchitecture: The World's Leading Green Skyscraper Architect

Don’t know Ken? It’s time! Author, architect, visionary and one of the early pioneers of green architecture, Ken was once named by The Guardian as one of the fifty people that could save the planet. He’s still at it; check out this TED talk.

Watch It Here.

Glen Small


Glen Small: The Father of Green Architecture

The exhibit is long over, but Eric Chavkin's review stands as a testimony to the visionary quality of Glen’s work. He anticipated early-on both the challenges we currently face and the most appropriate response, a response which we are only now learning to appreciate. - in Archinect

Read It Here.

USC Launches


USC Launches Facades Certificate Program

The University of Southern California School of Architecture in Los Angeles has just announced a new graduate certificate program titled, Building Facade Art, Science & Technology (bFast). The certificate programs comprise the school’s version of minor studies.

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Frontiers Journal Call for Abstracts and Manuscripts

Frontiers Journal is planning a special edition themed as Circularity by Design: Opportunities for Systemic Change in Construction. This is a critically important topic and truly a frontier of research and development in buildings.

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Book Cover


Rethinking Building Skins

RBS captures the insights of over 50 global innovators from industry and academia authoring chapters addressing the current and future challenges of facade design and delivery. This important book will appeal to all even remotely involved in the facade industry.

Check It Out.

Industry Calendar

September 26-28

Building Innovation 2022


Register Here.

October 12-13

Facade Tectonics 2022 World Congress

Los Angeles, United States

Register Now

December 8

PowerSkin Conference 2022


Register Now.

December 15-16

EFN Conference the Future Envelope - “Towards Zero Carbon”

Bozen/Bolzano, Italy

Sign Up.

Previously Featured


2012 Perspective on Future Window Technology

This 2012 article written by a team of researchers at the Windows & Envelope Group at Lawrence Berkeley Lab addresses early design concepts and prototypes for “superwindows”—triple-paned windows with two low-E coatings and krypton gas fill, highly-insulating aerogel windows and vacuum windows. At the time, these products were still in the research and development phases. However, all of these technological advances were considered critical to achieving better fenestration performance.

Read More.


Where We Are Today

This article by Helen Sanders explores the barriers to adoption of existing high-performance fenestration and the correlation between energy code stringency and business-as-usual fenestration performance across the globe. It is a call to action to support transformative codes and incentive structures addressing carbon, resilience and human health in the built environment. We have the products, and we know what to do, so let’s do it.

Learn More.


Fenestration Challenges

The May SKINS newsletter focuses on fenestration, that is – windows, curtainwall, storefront, glazed doors and skylights. There are very few structures that are built without these elements, not just because they are so crucial for occupant health and well-being, but because glass has become such a tremendously flexible and aesthetically pleasing design material. However, fenestration is typically the weakest link thermally in the building envelope. The performance of fenestration in a building can be the difference between it being energy efficient or an energy hog, between its occupants being comfortable or uncomfortable, and between one that can keep people alive during a power outage during excessive heat or cold events and one that cannot. High-performance fenestration is also key to getting to net-zero carbon buildings, managing grid peak loads, and the transition to all-electric heating and hot water. So, it is fitting that we focus on them in the May issue of SKINS.

Read the Rest from Helen Sanders.


Whole Building Design Guide

The Building Envelope Design Guide published by the National Institute of Building Sciences addresses both windows and curtain walls. It is meant to be a comprehensive look at thermal performance, moisture protection, fire safety, acoustics, daylighting and more.

Discover More.


Reflections on Views

Lisa Heschong, a keynote speaker at the Facade Tectonics Institute’s World Congress in October, is a strong proponent of daylighting and views. In this excerpt from her recent book, Visual Design in Architecture: Daylight, Vision, and View, she shares several examples to demonstrate their importance in buildings.

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Register NOW

For the FTI World Congress 2022 from October 12th-13th. Register here, and as a member get discounted rates.

Not a member yet or are you a member and haven't renewed yet. Don't miss out on all the amazing benefits you get as an FTI Member (e.g. Discounted registrations, access to papers, podcasts, and more) Sign up here or renew here.

Organizational Members of the Facade Tectonics Institute


Kuraray, Permasteelisa Group, seele, TriPyramid Structures


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


Antamex Industries, FreMarq Innovations Inc, Heintges, MdeAS Architects, Morrison Hershfield now Stantec, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Roschmann Steel & Glass Constructions, Schüco USA, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, SOCOTEC, Inc., The Architect's Newspaper, The Façade Studio

Academics / Nonprofits

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