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Advanced Building Skins 2016: cost-effectiveness of integrated engineering

The annual Conference on Advanced Building Skins, organised in Bern Switzerland the past two days, attracted 600 participants from over 50 countries. VK Architects & Engineers demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of integrated design with a case-study.

VK’s façade engineers were asked to optimize an initial architectural design of an intricate glazed roof. The engineering solutions had to meet high performance façade requirements with regard to

  • structural integrity
  • rain/water/air tightness
  • façade/frame design
  • energy and comfort performance
  • cost optimisation
  • construction methods
  • durability of materials
  • maintenance

Applying parametric design, VK Façade Engineering imposed some important restrictions to enable a prefabricated solution that optimized the material use, such as the amount of cutting actions and a minimisation of material losses. The parametric design also included rain water evacuation studies, and solar irradiation and daylight studies for an optimal position of the glazed elements. A detailed fire safety design showed that smoke curtains in the underlying atrium could be excluded.

Last but certainly not least, a feasibility analysis showed impressive cost-savings of the optimized design compared to the initial design.

With this integrated engineering’s approach, VK Façade Engineering contributed to a high performance, cost-effective solution without having to sacrifice the architectural quality. An important aspect of this successful form-finding process was timing: the optimisation process was performed at a very early design stage.