Designing Building Envelopes: Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned

March 30, 2009
Publication: Proceedings from the 24th RCI International Convention and Trade Show, Dallas, TX p 3-14
Author(s): Peter Babaian Emily Hopps Brent Gabby

The combination of ever-increasing owner program requirements, focus on energy-efficient buildings, and expanded architectural design options makes building construction more complicated every day. Architectural features, use of multiple wall systems, and integration of new technologies, as well as complex geometries, constantly challenge the designer to produce a functional and aesthetically pleasing|building that will provide long-term reliable service. The importance of the building envelope design is often underestimated in the process. This presentation will delve into key lessons learned from several reviews of recent building designs, including:

  • Selecting appropriate wall systems for specific exterior and interior conditions.
  • Maintaining continuity of barriers (water, air, thermal, and vapor).
  • Integration of multiple systems.
  • Assessing new and energy-efficient technology.
  • General design considerations for the exterior envelope.