Optimizing Facade Performance: A Deep Dive on Design Decisions

Building envelopes are at the intersection of design, performance, and occupant experience in architectural design. Facades influence many aspects of building performance, from energy usage to comfort, daylight, natural ventilation, and connections to the exterior. How does one balance these sometimes competing priorities while trying to realize a design vision for a project? This course is a deep dive focused on the performance of building envelopes based on in-depth discussions of the drivers for performance and recent research in building envelopes. Examples of research topics covered in the course range from thermal bridging and its impact on building energy usage to glazing design and selection and its effect on occupant thermal comfort. The course will utilize case studies of facade designs to explore the interplay between these performance goals and how they may get translated and applied in a building design. It will also explore the application of tools and simulations such as climate analysis or heat flow simulations of details that can be utilized to inform envelope design decisions. 

Class format: A balance of lectures, case studies, workshops, and design discussion as the vehicles to explore these issues. The coursework will primarily entail case study explorations and a design project where students will develop a building envelope design for a project selected through a discussion with the professor, such as a studio project or research interest. 

Students from all GSD disciplines are encouraged to participate. 

Prerequisites: None, however prior experience in energy modeling and daylight simulation or current enrollment in 6125, “Building Simulation,” is strongly encouraged. 

Please note this course will meet online through 9/15.