Facades+ Premier Conference on High-Performance Building Enclosures
While attending Facades + in New York this week there where some key take always worth sharing.
The first is the most obvious; New York is a city unlike any other with the glass and glazing industry creating foundation and extension to the memorable skyline. The character of the buildings bring the city to life, each neighborhood and building has a story shaped in glass and metal. The timeline, character, function and use mean different things to all that planned, designed, financed, built and occupy the structure. This was a theme validated by the presenters at Facades + as they told their stories and shared expertise. We all play a part.
The second theme is one that needs more awareness in the building community and especially in the façade world; Visual and Performance Mock ups are critical. The worlds best designers, engineers, consultants and suppliers can prescribe a specification to achieve the aesthetics and performance. With the advancement of BIM and digital modeling we can render amazing schematics and “virtually” build the project before it even starts. But it is the real life coordination involved in a performance mock that will define the success of a project and set the aesthetic standards for the finished product. The form, function and constructability of glass and metal is dynamic and all things are not equal. Seeing is believing and therefore the glass and glazing industry needs to push the various stake holders in any given project to plan for and include visual performance mock ups on all projects.
The final thought; more credit needs to be given to the Glass and Glazing Contractors. The construction channel and installers responsible for bringing the design to life and getting the materials onto/into the building need to be at the design table early. There are so many details it is inconceivable to expect an architect or engineer to be the expert on everything. The most successful projects are the ones that take a collaborative approach and invite the installers and suppliers into a design assistance role. As an industry this needs to be more widely adopted. It also needs to be addressed that these services aren’t free or included in order to win the work. It may be built into the contract price, however, the precedent of invoicing for these design services up front will help the building community understand the value of the contract channel and knowledge they contribute to the success of a project.
Like the New York Skyline, everyone attending Facades+ has a unique story that when put in one room is unlike any other.