Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
The Role of Environmentally Conscious Architecture and Planning As Components of Future National Development Plans in Egypt
Previous Article in Journal
Performance Evaluation of Modern Building Thermal Envelope Designs in the Semi-Arid Continental Climate of Tehran
Previous Article in Special Issue
Framing the Sun and Buildings as Commons
Buildings 2013, 3(4), 689-712; doi:10.3390/buildings3040689

Performance Based Envelopes: A Theory of Spatialized Skins and the Emergence of the Integrated Design Professional

Architecture Program, PennDesign, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Received: 30 August 2013 / Revised: 26 September 2013 / Accepted: 30 September 2013 / Published: 11 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Conscious Architecture)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7477 KB, 18 October 2013; original version 11 October 2013]   |   Browse Figures


Realigning the design of building envelopes within the measures of air, light and heat has rendered possible an inventive form of practice whose benefits are far in excess of the metrics of data and analysis. For many of its most advanced practitioners, the contemporary design of facades engages the true potential of “performance” when it deepens, broadens and complicates the theoretical dimension of this most liminal of surfaces. Of particular interest to this paper is a discussion of new theoretical paradigms associated with the design and operation of high performance envelopes of which four characteristics of this emergent sub-discipline are herein examined. To begin with, the way in which building envelopes are no longer separators, dividers and barriers between a building’s interior and exterior conditions, but rather, “spatially” defined environments that fully engage the totality of a building’s engineering systems, is discussed. Cantilevered Louvers, Double Skin Facades and Hybrid Conditioned Atria are representative of this new paradigm as is the use of Responsive Technologies to optimize their behaviors. Lastly, the paper examines the rise of the new integrated design building envelope professional called upon to deliver ever-better performing skins, whether in the guise of energy modeler, climate engineer or façade construction specialist. Hence, this paper develops a theoretical structure within which to describe, analyze and interpret the values made possible by this new and expanding field of performance based envelopes.
Keywords: building envelopes; energy; design theory; high performance; double skin building envelopes; energy; design theory; high performance; double skin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
EndNote |
MDPI and ACS Style

Trubiano, F. Performance Based Envelopes: A Theory of Spatialized Skins and the Emergence of the Integrated Design Professional. Buildings 2013, 3, 689-712.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here


[Return to top]
Buildings EISSN 2075-5309 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert