building Healthy building(s):
PhilaU Places 5 in the top 10 Finalists in International Student Competition

Future City Workshop at University Detmold. Photo courtesy of Schüco.

Architecture students from Philadelphia University took five of the top ten spots in the building Healthy building(s) competition. The student competition was conducted as a precursor to an upcoming conference of the same name. Sponsored by Schüco, the conference will be conducted in Bielefeld, Germany, May 23-24, 2017. The program will involve speakers, expert panels, workshops, and student presentations, with the proceedings to be published in book form. The event is a continuation of an educational initiative championed by Prof. Dr.-Ing Winfried Heusler of Schüco. Heusler is also an honorary professor of facade design and technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Detmold, Germany. Prior events include the Future City 2050 symposium in 2015.

The competition brief solicited entries addressing one of three topical areas: 1-healthy building process (along the entire value chain); 2-healthy buildings (that promote health and well-being for occupants and urban habitat); and 3-healthcare buildings (that restore and maintain human health). The strong PhilaU showing in the student competition is the product of an amplified focus on building facade technology brought to the four Architecture Programs by its director, James Doerfler. We are excited to be bringing emphasis to the facade system as an integrative element in sustainable buildings and urban habitat,” commented Doerfler,” and this international recognition is good feedback for us on the value we are building with this educational effort.”

An advanced degree program in facade design and engineering is not yet available from any North American university, but Doerfler and others are working in that direction with the support of Heusler and colleagues at Detmold, as well as other industry and educational groups, like the Facade Tectonics Institute, which counts education as a core component of its mission. Mic Patterson, the Ambassador of Collaboration and Innovation for the Institute, claims grounds for optimism, “There is currently an unprecedented level of discourse and cooperation between industry and academic groups from both Europe and North America in developing appropriate curricula and course content for advanced facade degree programs. It’s an exciting time.” Europe continues to lead the way in advanced facade technology education. Augsburg University, for example, is offering a unique concentrated facade program aimed at practicing professionals. The program is comprised of 2-weeks of onsite lectures and workshops—a week in May and a week in June, separated by a month of self-paced home study. The program boasts an impressive lineup of lecturers, including Dr. Heusler, Andrea Compagno, James O’Callaghan, Werner Sobek, and Aulikki Sonntag. More on the program can be found here.

The Philadelphia University students, along with the other top 10 finalists, will receive a subsidized trip to Germany, where the winners of the competition will be announced and the winning entries presented.