October 10, 2019

Material Matters: Emerging Strategies and Design Practices for Facade Systems, Buildings and Urban Habitat

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The building facade system uniquely impacts both performance and appearance at the combined scales of building and metropolis. The outcome of a new facade system program or renovation largely determines the lifecycle success of a building, and together these buildings largely define the ongoing success of urban habitat. Nothing in architecture has seen more applied innovation over recent decades than the building skin. Yet, navigating the implementation of a contemporary facade system program remains the single most challenging component of building design and construction.  Escalating code requirements, increasingly complex facade system technology, emerging novel delivery strategies, convoluted supply chains and a constantly morphing risk environment combine to challenge the most savvy and experienced design and building teams. Join us as the Facade Tectonics Institute brings its celebrated Forum to Houston as thought leaders explore the amplified threats of climate change in this unique urban context.

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Confirmed Speakers

Andrew Blocha

Associate Principal Design, Perkins + Will

Erik Verboon

Principal, Structures Group, Walter P Moore

Gary Machicek, AIA, LEED AP

Vice President, Design Principal, Kirksey Architecture

Helen Sanders, PhD

Strategic Business Development, Technoform North America

Jim Larkin, PE

Senior Associate, Curtainwall Design Consulting

Kevin Gannon, RA, LEED AP

Director of Strategic Programs, TAKTL

Liz McCormick

Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+

Ambassador of Innovation & Collaboration, The Facade Tectonics Institute

Olivier Brouard, PE, LEED AP BD+C

Sustainability Engineering Specialist Team Leader, SOM

Rich Romero

Savannah Trims, Inc.

Ron Hull, PE

Marketing Manager, Kuraray America

Sheldon B. Davis, PhD

Vice President of Research, Development and Innovation, Guardian Glass

Steve Thompson, PE

Chief Engineer, Texas Department of Insurance

Thomas Bayer, AIA, NCARB, LEED GA

Technical Principal, HOK

William Rieck, AIA, NCARB, LEED GA

Senior Project Architect, HOK


Program is subject to change.
Day 1
10 Oct 2019
Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+
Erik Verboon

Session 1 – Texas Flood

The attributes of resilience are relevant at all scales of buildings and urban habitat, but nowhere more so than with buildings exposed to storm surge and flooding caused by torrential rain events. What do you do when existing structures don’t meet current flood regulations, or your facility is historically flood-prone, and you want to mitigate future damages? How can you make your facility or campus more resilient to potential flooding events? Are low-impact cost effective solutions available? The design and implementation of efficient, low-impact, and cost-effective floodproofing systems is becoming increasingly commonplace as owners become more cognizant of the effects flooding has on their long-term investments, Whether for a single facility or an entire campus, owners are implementing custom-designed active, passive and hybrid systems to best fit the parameters of the site, building(s), budget, and operations.
10:15 am - 10:45 am

Networking Break

Sheldon B. Davis, PhD

Session 2 – Material Acceleration

The explosion of new cladding materials could be traced to a number of causes: a trickling down of technology from other industries, the effort to do more with less, and the simple urge for novelty and innovation. As more products enter the marketplace, there's also a counterpoint, where traditional cladding materials are being manipulated and adapted for very specific needs. This session will look at emerging material developments ranging from glass to ultra-high-performance concrete. The unique design and supply chain challenges of introducing new materials and products to the facade system are also explored.
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

Lunch Break

Steve Thompson, PE

Session 3 – Blown Away

The pathway to sustainable and resilient buildings and urban habitat winds right through the building facade. Tall building facades are a particular concern in tropical cities subject to extreme weather events, especially with respect to wind. What are the risks and what are the issues with respect to securing insurance from Texas Department of Insurance for buildings in the windborne debris areas of Texas? This session will focus on managing the current and emerging wind threat, and includes a brief historical review of hurricane events in Texas and the U.S., damage that has occurred to the building envelope from windborne debris, improvements to building facade technology, and the continuing challenges of designing curtain walls and facades in highly transparent structural glass applications.
2:45 pm - 3:15 pm

Networking Break

Andrew Blocha

Session 4 – Sweat Equity

It’s about the fundamentals. We learn early on, as students and practitioners, the critical importance of climate in building and facade system design. Yet most of our lessons focus on the considerations of cold climates: thermal and condensation behavior, solar heat gain control, with accompanying strategies to optimize performance. Tropical climates present a quite different context for buildings and their skins, one that changes just about everything. This session drills down to look at the building science of facade system performance in hot and humid conditions. You may be surprised at the challenges, as well as the strategies for their resolution.

Closing Remarks


Rice University

Moody Center for the Arts
6100 Main St MS-480
Houston, TX 77005