Symposium Synopsis

From the outside looking in, enclosures establish the physical expression of the built environment, but beyond their aesthetics, they play an immensely complex and multi-dimensional role with respect to contemporary skyscrapers. The evolution of tall building façades is occurring at a rapid pace – more than any other period in history – resulting in a constant stream of new technologies, systems, and approaches. These innovations, while varied and diverse, speak to the importance of façades not only for the advancement of the tall building typology, but the betterment of human habitation in all forms.

As the interface between internal and external environments, tall building façades must mediate local climates with internal conditions suited for optimal human comfort. This imperative, combined with the drive to make tall buildings increasingly more efficient and better stewards of the urban environment, presents a major challenge for the industry. To this end, skyscrapers are now embracing strategies such as natural ventilation and double-skins, while drastically reducing unwanted solar heat gain through active or passive means. Meanwhile, parametric design software and BIM have enabled data-driven approaches to iterate exterior wall design options against performance criteria, while providing greater assurance that the selected enclosure system will be feasible to construct on site, even for skyscrapers of unusual shape.

Looking to the future, questions of durability and resilience are paramount. For skyscrapers to truly become prototypes for a “sustainable” future, their skins must be equipped to withstand severe external forces – climatic, geologic, or otherwise. The industry must also carefully consider the likelihood that countless aging, historic skyscrapers will require whole-building façade retrofits in order to continue their existence into the future. Thus, in many ways, the façades installed today will define the quality, longevity, and success of tomorrow’s cities.
The 2018 Tall Building Façades Symposium is organized by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in conjunction with Dow, Koltay Façades, Outokumpu, Permasteelisa Group, and Technal. It will comprise a significant, stand-alone two-day program incorporated into the CTBUH 2018 Polycentric Cities Conference, taking place in the host city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Through the discovery of new technologies and materials, review of emerging digital platforms, and examination of real-world case studies, this event will convene top thinkers for a robust discussion on the future of tall building enclosures.

Please join us in Dubai for this landmark occasion!

Header Image: Al Bahar Towers. Learn more about this building on The Skyscraper Center
CC BY-SA Still ePsiLoN

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