November 5, 2019

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


New York City—a dynamic cauldron where the future of this singular urban habitat is in foment, with buildings as the main ingredient. The City recently announced its own version of the Green New Deal, passing the Climate Mobilization Act including legislated mandates for significant reductions in carbon emissions produced by the building sector. Nowhere is there more at stake in advancing the building stock toward truly sustainable performance metrics. Central to a solution is the building skin; the lynchpin to resilience and sustainability in buildings and urban habitat. The facade system combines attributes of performance and appearance like nothing else in architecture. The nexus of myriad, often competing, design considerations, the facade zone is the key to holistic building design and building systems integration. Join us in an intimate, provocative and forward-looking dialogue with thought leaders from all sectors of the building industry; owners, architects, consultants, contractors and more, confronting the most pressing issues of our time in the realm of the facade zone!

AIA CES Registered
Attendees earn 3 AIA LU|HSU credits 

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Program is subject to change.
Day 1
05 Nov 2019
Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+
Stephen Weinryb, FAIA, LEED AP

SESSION 1 – Delegating Design
Aligning Expectations and Managing Risk with Delegated-Design Delivery Strategy

Resilience, energy and carbon goals being developed for buildings and urban habitat demand massive innovation at all levels of building and facade system implementation—in design, fabrication and installation, of course, but also in areas less recognized as opportunities for innovation: procurement, supply-chain management, site logistics and, perhaps most of all, project delivery process. As facade design escalates in complexity to meet increasingly stringent energy codes and demanding performance and aesthetic requirements, the old model of design/bid/build becomes increasingly dysfunctional. New strategies of project delivery are emerging in response, among them a facade system delivery process referred to as delegated-design. With a select group of industry stakeholders, we will talk through the pros and cons of delegating the design and engineering of the facade system to the contractors who fabricate and install them.

• Why does project delivery strategy matter?
• What is delegated-design and how does it work?
• What are the advantages, disadvantages and special considerations of delegated-design strategy?• How does delegated-design compare to conventional design/bid/build, and to collaborative delivery strategies like design-assist and integrated project delivery (IPD)?
• How does delegated-design work to optimize facade system delivery and mitigate the risk associated with innovative and complex facade system programs?
• Who are the primary stakeholders in a delegated-design facade delivery program?
2:10 pm - 2:30 pm

Networking Break

Gabrielle Brainard, AIA, CHPD

SESSION 2 – Clearly Controversial
Exploring the Benefits and Liabilities of Highly Glazed Facades

A growing chorus of voices critical of contemporary architectural practice is pointing to the excessive use of glass in building skins as a primary culprit in the carbon emissions plaguing earth’s atmosphere. New York City Mayor DeBlasio raised the pitch most recently threatening a ban on “…the glass and steel skyscrapers that have contributed so much to global warming.” Building scientists have pointed to the fallibility of the tall glass curtainwall building type. The glass industry points to the significant benefits of glass in daylighting and connection to the outdoor environment. Architects want maximum transparency and minimal sight lines. Occupants want floor-to-ceiling glass. This demand continues to produce buildings with significantly compromised performance, a trend on a collision course with escalating code requirements driven by the pursuit of reduced carbon emissions in the building sector. Balancing the benefits and liabilities of glass in the building skin is the most challenging factor in building design and performance today. Academic and industry thought leaders peel back the layers of the glass onion.

• What are the benefits and liabilities of glass in the building skin and what are the appropriate metrics for their evaluation?
• If glass is good, is more necessarily better? How much glass is enough?
• Are we dealing with a design problem or limitations in facade technology?
• Are carbon-neutral or carbon-negative highly glazed facades technologically possible?
• How far are we from having such technology available and economically competitive?
• What are the challenges and opportunities in developing and implementing more robust and higher performing building envelopes?
3:30 pm - 3:50 pm

Networking Break

David W. Bellman

SESSION 3 – Skin-Deep Renovation
The Challenge of New York City’s Tall Curtainwall Building Renewal

Buildings generate a whopping 80% of New York City’s carbon emissions. The City’s Climate Mobilization Act mandates a 40% reduction in these emissions by 2030—a mere decade from now—and an 80% reduction by 2050, for all existing buildings over 25,000 square feet. The plan suggests these reductions will be achieved through building upgrades including “new windows and insulation.” Upgrading window and wall systems in a pre-war masonry structure with punched windows is one thing; similar interventions on the City’s considerable stock of mid-century tall curtainwall buildings is quite another. This vintage building stock is characterized by a considerable diversity of material and system types in one-off applications; the emerging curtainwall technology of the period was essentially experimental. Never great energy performers, many are in desperate need of facade upgrades but cost and disruption to ongoing building operations continue to act as deterrents to scalable solutions. Experts representing varied stakeholders in the facade renovation process explore with us the opportunities and challenges presented by skin-deep renovations of this building type.

• What are the opportunities and challenges presented by facade upgrades of vintage tall curtainwall buildings?
• What are the predominant motivations behind facade renovation of this building type: performance, aesthetics, modernization and branding, others?
• What are the strategic options in building facade renovations? Is complete facade system replacement a sustainable option? Are partial facade renovations practicable?
• How does the delivery process for facade renovations differ from that of new building construction?
• What other special considerations are relevant to a facade system renovation program for these early tall curtainwall buildings?
Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Networking Reception

Confirmed Speakers

Alberto Franceschet

Sr. Vice President – General Manager East, Permasteelisa North America

Alex Cox, LEED AP

Marketing Communications Manager, Permasteelisa North America

Areta Pawlynsky, AIA

Principal, Heintges

Charles F. Murphy

Senior Vice President, Turner Construction New York

Chris McMartin

Managing Director Design and Construction, Tishman Speyer New York

Dan Shannon

Principal, MdeAS Architects

David W. Bellman

Senior Vice President, Vornado Realty Trust

Gabrielle Brainard, AIA, CHPD

Professor, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, Columbia GSAPP, Pratt Institute

Gregory Chertoff

Co-managing Partner, Peckar & Abramson P.C.

Helen Sanders, PhD

Strategic Business Development, Technoform North America

Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+

Ambassador of Innovation & Collaboration, The Facade Tectonics Institute

Michael Haber

Managing Partner, W&W Glass


Senior Advisor at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Stephen Weinryb, FAIA, LEED AP

Senior Technical Principal, HOK


The Princeton Club

15 W 43rd Street
James Madison Room, 2nd Floor
New York City, NY 10036