Facade Consultant, Founder
Koltay Façades, Dubai
Iconic buildings are identified and recognized by their external appearance. The building envelope is the ultimate separation between the harsh external environment and the comfortable interior, filling a complex performance role. With the wide use of parametric design and the ease of 3D design information processing, traditional manufacturing methods and installation methods struggle to keep up. Designs that lack repetition have generally been perceived as uneconomical to build; however, this is slowly changing as we continue to develop computer-instructed manufacturing methods and computer model-driven installation processes. On large-scale developments, such as high-rise buildings, economies of scale make custom designs especially sensitive. Individually crafting each façade panel - instead of using mass production techniques - increases production cost as well as procurement time, which may render the budget out of reach and prompt painful value-engineering exercises and compromise the aesthetics. Façade engineers play a critical role in providing feasibility information during the design process, while constantly challenging the industry.
Today, technical limitations boundaries are being challenged, and architecture has gained greater freedom in realizing more complex designs within time and budget constraints. The presentation navigates through practical high-rise facade system types, recent industry trends, and provides some examples of façade case studies to demonstrate how customized designs can translate to reality, with the help of computer-driven manufacturing methods. In addition to these developments, the use of custom-shaped glass, bent-metal members, and freeform composite elements is leading the industry to benefit from higher efficiency in simpler geometries.