Facade Engineering as a New Discipline
Facade engineering is a relatively new and growing specialty arising from the increasingly complex interface of structural engineering, architecture and construction services. The facade not only presents the aesthetic face of a building, but contributes enormously to building performance and has significant interplay with the structural design, calling for a special skill set to navigate the complex issues in design and remediation work. Facade engineering demands knowledge of an array of building physics issues, including thermal insulation, moisture infiltration, ventilation, solar control and acoustics, as well as wind loading and structural interface dynamics.
Facade Engineering for Historic Structures
Existing building facades encompass a full spectrum of designs and materials, from structurally integral, load-bearing, historic terra cotta, brick and stone structures to ethereal, light-weight aluminum and glass envelopes with intricate curves and geometric shapes fully integrated with mechanical and environmental systems in the “whole-building” concept.
Facade Engineering Experience
Fundamentally, the real challenge for the Facade Engineer, especially as regards maintenance and restoration, is the same, whether it is load-bearing or curtain-wall, modern or historic. A thorough understanding of the forces that cause decay and failure, intimate knowledge of the building material, and a solid command of renovation and repair techniques. But, there is a vast body of information behind that simple statement. Especially when you consider that so much of the inventory of buildings in the northeast was built with materials and techniques no longer taught in engineering schools. That is where our 3 decades of experience represents an incredible, almost unmatched, resource.
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