Facade Tectonics SKINS

SKINS: March 2021

Skin Deep: Health, Wellness, and the Facade System

Here we are, a full year after the initial COVID-19 surge rocked the United States. It’s hard to believe we’ve been living through the pandemic for a full year at this point; and yet it also feels like it’s been multiple years. We are beginning to see glimmers of hope on the horizon as more people get vaccinated. Likewise, as businesses begin to think about bringing employees back to work, a newfound sense of optimism has emerged. Similar to the way Spring’s first green shoots are indicators of future flowers, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel that so many are seeing now is a sure sign that better days are ahead. Chris Payne of Gensler here. I usually serve as Content Editor of SKINS but this month I’m stepping into the Guest Editor role to tackle facade design issues through the lens of health and wellness.

Read the rest from Chris >

abstract people buildings


Let's Design Building Facades That Promote Happiness

In this perspective from Becci Taylor of Arup, the gauntlet is thrown down that it’s time to think bigger about the role facades play in buildings. Beyond simply protecting us from the elements, facades have the potential to actively promote the happiness of their users as multisensory environmental filters.

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daylighting building


Could Low-Tech Design Prevent Climate Change-Influenced Pandemics?

This blog post from Anthony Brower of Gensler points to the direct link between climate change and the spread of viruses. The post goes on to lay out several methods in which the facade can directly impact occupant wellbeing.

Read the blog post.

office hospital building


Ground Rules of Post-Pandemic Facade Design

Can we shift from focusing on economics to designing buildings that are carbon neutral because they reduce energy consumption, and participate in regenerating resources while offering ample space in which to live? Here are some fresh ideas by a few experts for the design of resilient facades and fenestration.

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green facade


Facades in Times of Pandemic

Will the COVID-19 pandemic change the way architects design their buildings? And, what characteristics should facades have in order to promote wellness in times of quarantine? This perspective, featured by Intelligent Glass Solutions, tackles these important questions.

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The First Triple Certified Facade

In this white paper presented at the 2020 Facade Tectonics World Congress, author Stephen Katz of Gensler presents a case study of the new Johnson Controls (JCI) building in Shanghai. With a hyper focus on wellness and sustainability, the building was the first in China to receive all three top sustainability certifications; USGBC LEED Platinum, China Green Building Design Label Three Star Certification, IFC-World Bank EDGE Certification.

Read the paper.

perforated metal

Case Studies

This Mental Health Facility Creates Calm with a Perforated Green Facade

The facade and interior spaces of this mental health facility were purposefully designed in an elegant and calming way to focus on patient wellness. Learn about the unique perforated metal screen use to achieve varying degrees of visual porosity.

Learn more.

stocks invest


Sustainable Investing: How is the Sector Measuring Up on ESG?

To be able to design healthier buildings requires investment from owners. Leveraging external frameworks like Fitwel will play an increasingly important role in assessing not only the environmental impacts of ESG, but also the social ones.

Read the article from PERE.

WELL health safety logo


Advancing Health and Well-being

The WELL Health-Safety Rating was launched last summer to assist organizations in formulating effective COVID-19 protocols that would allow building users to feel more confident in their return to buildings. Celebrity ambassadors have helped raise awareness and drive consumer demand.

Learn more.

Seattle skyline


Transform or Fail

In her February blog post, FTI President Helen Sanders notes that the structure of most U.S. model codes does not lend itself to the delivery of energy-efficient buildings, nor does it chart a fast enough path to net zero. We need bolder step changes and broader adoption of energy codes in general to make meaningful progress toward net zero.

Read the blog post.

Industry Calendar

April 9

PowerSKIN Conference

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April 16

Abstracts Deadline: Wagdy Anis Symposium on Building Science 2021

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April 20-23

Living Future '21 Inclusion + Unity

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April 21

Top Glass Conference & Exhibits 2021

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May 6

Facade Tectonics Forum: Simulation vs. Reality

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Previously Featured


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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