EDITORIAL6 A C E UPDATE ARCHITECTURE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING
A C E UPDATEARCHITECTURE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING
ACE FOCUS As the primary environmental modifier, science needs to be carefully considered when dealing with a façade’s performance and its contribution to energy conservation. • LIGHT: Façades admit daylight while controlling solar gain and it is up to the façade engineer to establish the correct balance between the two. A good level of natural lighting minimizes energy consumption; a particular matter of importance to all businesses. • ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE: Temperature control can be a demandingFig 1 issue, especially if the façade of a buildingtheir geometry, relations and attributes. building is a task which now requires more involves complex geometry. Facades need careful consideration. For complex geometry to be designed such that they maintain Today, clients are increasingly investing designs incorporating free form or organic the inner environmental conditions andin architects with more imaginative designs. surfaces, the process of detailing the design keep air conditioned air in the place it isSuch advanced creations are certainly now within a 3D CAD environment can be designed to be.viable to design given the advances in BIM extremely time consuming, costly and fraught • WEATHER RESISTANCE: To ensureand parametric CAD. However, a façade with potential error. the maintenance of a building’s façadeengineer is an essential part of the team will be secure, its life performance isrequired to manage the transformation of a Façades are quite rightly the most visible considered throughout the productionbuilding concept from a unique artistic idea element of any development and generally process. Low embodied energy materialsto a detailed design meeting the required have the biggest impact on public opinion. are utilized, natural ventilation andenvironmental performance. The role of the In the UK the standard has been set high daylight strategies are developed andformally qualified façade engineer becomes by constructions like The Gherkin, Cardinal solar gain is carefully controlled.increasingly more valuable in the construction Place (Fig 2) in London and The Bullring, • NOISE INTRUSION: Limiting theprocess as a part of the professional team. Birmingham; all of which have put UK amount of noise intrusion into the inner architecture under a glamorous spotlight. workings of a building is fundamentallyFaçades – the past, present and future Architectural projects now often hold important to create the right conditionsFor centuries, the façades of buildings have the objective of being sublime landmarks for people to work, live and sleep andhelped define the period they were built in which consequently demands that façade this is an often ignored aspect of façadeand have created an identity for the places engineering plays a vital role in achieving a engineering design.where they stand, as an example of this successful avant-garde development. • DURABILITY: In order to deliver valuemuch of the architecture of India varies from and safety it is imperative that a façadestate to state; from the exquisite beauty of The Function of Façades design is based on robust principals thattraditional Rajasthan to the high- rising Façades have traditionally acted as the are able to deliver consistency for the lifeeclecticism of Mumbai. Throughout shielding, exterior layer of a building, expectancy of the building.history, many buildings around the globe designed to be tolerant towards weather whilehave needed to be constructed purely for allowing beneficial elements to filter through. The ideal façade breathes, insulates,commercial, practical and functional reasonswith minimal creative detailing due to therestrictive nature of engineering capabilities.That is unless dedicated to religious purposesor the aristocracy where the boundaries havebeen extended. World architecture today has taken greatleaps forward as a result of breakthroughs inscience, technology and engineering. Architectscan now be confident that distinctively shapedstructures can be built and so the demandgrows for the construction industry to benefitfrom the new viability of a new generationof architecture. Constructing the facade of a Fig 2 A C E UPDATE ARCHITECTURE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING August 2011 13
ACE FOCUSand protects with its structural, thermal, disadvantages depending on the complexity Based on the required form ofacoustic, water ingress and air infiltration of the surface. construction, glass and grid shell, unitisedfunctions permanently performing effectively. curtain wall or cladding have been consideredAdditionally the aesthetic impact of a UV method to date, the nodal net is automaticallydevelopment is inextricably linked to a building The UV method essentially flattens a 3D populated by a pre-prepared intelligentstanding the test of time. The façade is a vital parametric surface used in most modern parametric façade panel module. Eachconsideration often up to 30 per cent of the CAD systems into parametric space. For instance of the parametric façade moduletotal build costs and traditionally considered to instance the surface defined parametrically has embedded within it all the informationbe the high risk element of any new project. by f[u,v]=(u,v,Sin[pi u]Sin[pi v]) for necessary to manufacture each of its 0<=u,v<=1 would be flattened onto a constituent parts. Again the extraction of allDesigning a Complex Geometry Façade square plane defined between 0 and 1, a grid of this information is an automated process.A client or architect will approach the façade would be created upon it, which would then Following the initial design exercise thisengineering consultant with either an existing be translated back to 3D space ( Figs 3 to 6). embedded manufacturing information canproblem or a whole new project concept. A then be transmitted as a series of 2D drawingsfaçade engineer will take an analytical look Common problems such as ‘bunching’ or alternatively transmitted in a pure digitalat a design and develop a series of strategies and ‘point singularities’ often experienced form which can simply be streamed intothat will need to be tested against the design using this technique have largely been ironed a CNC manufacturing process. This canintent, appearance, project budget and out due to custom commands adjusting the effectively drive the whole manufactureconstruction methodology. These will be grid lines in parametric space accordingly. process directly thus significantly reducingmeasured and adjusted against the project However, even with these functions it is still time and error in the manufacturingrequirements and the design process will not possible to use this method on extremely environment.commence with the parametric team skilfully complex or unusually shaped surfaces.beginning to virtually assemble the designs The various phases of such projectsas a digital prototype. Advantages to using this method are that normally include concept design, establishing it usually results in eye-pleasing and sensible specifications, structural engineering, full Wintech has undertaken a significant patterns. The main disadvantage is that it working design, procurement and constructionresearch programme into automating the breaks down for highly complex surfaces. documentation. A façade consultant can offerdesign of such complex facades. Utilising appropriate advice and assistance throughoutstate of the art parametric design tools and Node Equilibrium the whole design and construction cycle.a number of bespoke form finding analysis The node equilibrium technique randomly The cost of such façade consultant servicesalgorithms Wintech has succeeded in finding places a set amount of particles upon a surface are typically more than outweighed by thea general method to automate complex and then allows them to settle into equidistant resultant savings available in procurementgeometry façade design. equilibrium positions using a bespoke algorithm and improvements in the finished quality of created by Wintech. After the particles have the external envelope. Essentially, a free form façade surface is settled, a triangulation function is applied usingimported into the design environment and the particles as node points. This technique A Unique Technologythen given some direction as to nominal may be applied to any surface, no matter its Wintech have been able to develop a series ofpanel size and any principal panel divisions. complexity, but does not always return an eye- unique computer based technologies that helpAfter being provided with a surface there pleasing pattern with continuous contour lines deliver the most complex façade geometriesare two different approaches to creating going across the surface as produced by the UV with significant benefits over conventionalthe initial framework pattern; flattening method. analogue design processes.the surface from 3D space into parametricspace and then creating a grid which is then Figs 7 and 8 show the contrasting A key element of Wintech’s research hasprojected back into 3D space (called the results if each method is applied to the same been the optimisation of complex geometricUV method) or using a Node Equilibrium initial surface. Once the panelisation study is surfaces. Wintech have developed uniquemethod. Either of these methods may be completed a nodal net defining the vertices of optimisation algorithms which in simpleused but they both have advantages and each panel is available. terms populate the physical design withFig 3 Fig 4 Fig 5 Fig 6 14 August 2011 A C E UPDATE ARCHITECTURE CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING
ACE FOCUSFig 8 Fig 7intelligent code that allows the designer to deliver the most commentators who may view it as abstract art.efficient panelisation study possible for a given form and ultimately;automatically delivering information which can inform the The engineering systems that Wintech have developed are thedownstream manufacturing processes whilst embracing techniques culmination of a significant research programme and their ongoingthat can rationalise panels within irregular complex surfaces, optimised involvement with designing, consulting and testing on landmark projectto enhance the use of repeating panel configurations. façades. They certainly promise to assist the informed developer to construct avant-garde amorphous geometry building facades with greaterFaçades as Art confidence and ease than was ever previously conceived. The advent of complex geometry and parametric technology hashelped drive the delivery of a potential revolution of ambitiously For more details, Contactcreative architecture. Buildings can now be designed almost as an Wintechartist creates a sculpture. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.wintech-group.co.uk Since the outside of a building is naturally the first thingthat is in view, it is important that the façade gives a positiveand inspiring impression as it can reflect upon the reputationof the client. One single building that embraces complexgeometry can add a futuristic element to an otherwise ‘normal’scene. These high-profile projects have the ultimate aim ofbeing described as monumental or iconic, even critiqued by Author: Chris Macey, MBA, FSFE Chris Macey is the Group Managing Director of the Wintech Group of Companies, having responsibility for the technical and financial management of the group’s operations in all areas of the world. With over 30 years experience in the cladding and curtainwall industry, Chris has overall accountability for all aspects of the group operation, from both a strategic and tactical view, with individual involvement and responsibility for larger consultancy projects on a day-to-day basis. Wintech offers widespread, highly specialised façade engineering skills assisting in the strategic development of the facades of major projects through to specification, design, testing and audit. Services include finite difference, computational fluid dynamics, parametric modelling plus many others; aimed at reducing cost and improving the overall quality of the façades to major projects.Chris is a past Chairman of the Society of Façade Engineering, a co-sponsored body of the RIBA, IStructE and CIBSE, providing the independent accreditation of professional façade engineers across the construction industry.