Façades+ comes to Los Angeles this month for a 3-day conference on design, buildings, and architectural envelopes. Talks and workshops kick off on January 28 with a keynote from Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos. The LA Forum spoke to the conference’s curators Alex Korter and Kevin Kavanagh about the power of façades.
Façades are perhaps the most prominent part of a building and successful facades relate to their immediate surroundings. One goal we have for the conference is to remind ourselves, and the audience, that cities big and small should reinforce a sense of local identity. L.A. should be different then New York, London, or Shanghai. The process of developing great architecture might be quite similar, but building should represent the regional condition of place and people.
We are nearing the point where we can almost build anything we can think of through various evolutionary leaps in fabrication. The next question we need to start considering is should we be doing outrageous engineering feats just because we can?
90% of the buildings that will exist in 50 years are already built and in a constant state of decay. Façade design on the large scale is going to have to start dealing with the existing building stock on a scale beyond anything undertaken to date.
Today, a high performing façade generally consists of a non-leaking, that is relatively easy to clean, and is a somewhat ineffective thermal barrier.
The next façades will need to move beyond barriers and become integrated systems that not only support other buildings systems but also interact with one another on a building, community, and urban scale. This is one of the steps necessary to achieve measurable performance that will make a real difference in curbing the impact on the environment.