Structuring Enclosures: Opportunities and Approaches to New Geometries

Date: June 26, 2019 7:30am
Location: SGH Chicago
Speaker(s): Matthew Johnson
sgh chicago seminar

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
135 South LaSalle Street, Suite 3800 
Chicago, IL 60603

7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Registration & Coffee
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. Presentation & Discussion
9:30 - 10:00 a.m. Breakfast Reception 

We will also hold an evening session for this seminar.

aiaParticipants will earn 1.5 AIA/CES Learning Units (LU/HSW) for their attendance. Attendance is free and open to all; please invite colleagues. We will serve refreshments.



Contemporary enclosures take many forms. Facades, historically, were integral with the building structure. With industrialization, they evolved into transitional facades where distinct superstructures existed, but facade and structure were still integral. In time, curtain walls emerged and structure became distinct from facade. Over time, the discretization of facade and structure negatively affected the intelligence of both. Both facade and structure, despite occupying the same volume in building, fought each other for space and cost. Today, however, with improved methods of analysis, fabrication, and material integration, facade and structure are reintegrating to create high-performing building structures and enclosures in increasingly more complex geometries. In the future, transitional facades may, and probably should, be de rigueur. 

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the differences between structured/integral facades and curtain walls or similar distinct-from-structure facade systems.
  • Understand case studies identifying structured facades for both new construction and recladding.
  • Identify computational and parametric design.
  • Understand how to integrate facade and structure in contemporary architecture.


matt johnson sghMatthew H. Johnson, P.E. | Principal 

Matt Johnson brings a multidisciplinary approach to design and construction, combining a passion for innovation with a focus on value and client results. He is the Structural Engineering Division Head for Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s Chicago office, leading a diverse team that designs, investigates, and rehabilitates buildings and infrastructure, structurally complex building enclosures, and non-traditional structures, including complex concrete formwork, structural steel construction, and temporary structures. He specializes in delivering value at all stages of planning, design, procurement, fabrication, and construction. Matt and the Chicago office continually seek opportunities to implement industry-leading computational methods, pushing the traditional boundaries of the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Matt is a leading voice in the field, committed to sharing his expertise through research efforts, publications, and industry presentations. He seeks to advance the profession by playing an active role in several professional organizations, both in the Midwest and throughout the United States.


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