Facade Tectonics SKINS

SKINS: February 2021

Talking Trees & Timber: In Buildings, Facades and Urban Habitat

Okay, okay; I have a tree-thing going on. This issue was supposed to be about green facades, but it morphed on me as I laid it out. But here’s the thing: if you don’t have a tree-thing going on, you should consider it. I read The Overstory (graciously reviewed here by our Val Block) followed by a viewing of “Call of the Forest” (item 5) while swimming in new information on and applications of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in buildings, inquiries about the potential of the use of timber in facade systems, and studying the carbon sequestration properties of wood. (I mean, where would we be without the breath-making mechanics of photosynthesis?!)

Read the rest from Mic >

SKINS February 2021


Timber Buildings: Fire as the Predominant Concern

Wood is a wonderfully versatile material and the potential of adding it (back) to the palette of facade materials has garnered significant interest. Fire resistance is invariably the immediate concern but does not necessarily exclude an integral use of timber in the facade system.

Learn more.

SKINS February 2021


Timber Facades: High-rise Wood Building Enclosures

From the Oak Ridge National Laboratory website, and from why wood to how wood to tall wood, RDH’s Graham Finch outlines the issues, advantages and considerations of wood as a building enclosure material in high-rise applications in this presentation.

Download the presentation.


Fire Safety and Code Challenges for Mass Timber in Curtain Wall Systems

In “Fire Safety and Code Challenges for Mass Timber in Curtain Wall Systems,” authors pose a code-compliance path for the use of mass timber in the facade system and suggest details (beautifully illustrated) for such a system. From the 2020 FTI World Congress.

Read the paper.

SKINS February 2021


Timber: The Urban Forest of the Future

“How to turn our cities into Treetopias.” Urban forestation is an antidote to problems of urbanization, reducing air pollutants and even obesity among the urban population. The urban canopy is waning worldwide but waxing in Europe, where the public realm is being reclaimed from the automobile.

Read more.

SKINS February 2021


Urban Forests? See What the US Forest Service Has to Say

“Treetopias” sound farfetched? Maybe not. Over 141 million acres of US forests are already located in the nation’s cities and towns. Explore the urban forest and the importance of urban green infrastructure on the US Forest Service website.

Learn more.

SKINS February 2021


Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees

Not quite ready to call yourself a tree geek? Sit back and watch this engaging documentary following visionary scientist, conservationist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger on a tree trek to some of the most beautiful forests in the northern hemisphere.

Watch the trailer.

Redwood Forest


Tree Magic - The Overstory

In this Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Richard Powers a series of fables is woven through a narrative populated by an expansive cast of unlikely characters, trees paramount among them; one a giant redwood named Mimas. Redwoods can live for thousands of years and grow to well over 300 feet tall. FTI’s Val Block reviews The Overstory.

Read the review.

SKINS February 2021


The Architecture of Trees

Written by architects for architects and others infatuated with trees, this 1982 labor of love has been reissued by Princeton Architectural Press and is reviewed here. Hundreds of intricate quill-pen illustrations at 1:100 scale depict some 212 tree species. For the recently converted tree-geek.

Read the review.

SKINS February 2021


1000 Trees – Heatherwick in Shanghai

Bosco Verticale established the precedent for the large-scale integration of trees in tall buildings. Currently under construction, 1000 Trees integrates plantings with the structural grid of a large scale urban development to act as the visual extension of a nearby park.

Learn more about the project.

SKINS February 2021


Seeing the Forest from the Trees: Reducing EPD Myopia (Part 2)

Minimizing embodied carbon in the building construction industry is pivotal for reducing its contribution to the climate crisis in coming years. Part 2 of this article provides considerations for glazing specifications for low embodied carbon that are far more effective than EPDs.

Read the article in US Glass Magazine.

Industry Calendar

March 18-19


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March 19-26

FTI Dialogues: Suppliers & Contractors

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March 24-25

GPD South America

Sao Paulo, Brazil

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March 24-26

ACSA 109th Annual Meeting

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March 30

The Future Envelope 13 – Conference on Building Envelopes

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Previously Featured


Latest issue: Journal of Façade Design and Engineering

The latest from our esteemed European colleagues, the last issue of 2020 features a range of façade explorations from a prefab rainscreen retrofit system to ceramic and green screen facades, with a few stops in between. Check it out!

Download for free.


2021 Construction Forecast

A brief overview of what some industry leaders are forecasting, including the AIA, Engineering News Record, Dodge Data & Analytics, Associated Builders and Contractors, and more, along with Val’s commentary.

Read the article.

Carbon Neutral

Conquering Carbon: Linking the facade system with carbon reductionc

In this continuing education resource article, NYC’s Local Law 97 is explored along with the potential for the façade retrofit of existing buildings, the importance of enhanced thermal performance and airtightness, and the concept of carbon trading in buildings. – Barbara Horwitz-Bennett in Architectural Record

Learn more.


Facades of The Future: Materials & Technologies Revolutionising the New-Generation Façades

Facade experts from around the globe weigh in on what makes an intelligent facade. As technology has enabled new fabrication capabilities, the facade materil palette has expanded.

Learn more.


Navigating 2021: FTI’s Helen Sanders pulls out her crystal ball

Lagging impact on construction of the pandemic, segment specific forecasts, supply chain and staffing challenges, design drivers, trends in code requirements, potential stimulus, the adoption of high-performance products and systems, the ongoing need for deeper industry collaborations, and more are discussed.

Read the article in USGlass Magazine.

Are you hosting a facade-related event?

Submit your event for inclusion in our shared Industry Calendar specially curated for Facade Geeks!

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