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I N S I G H T : W a l l s a n d c e i l ings New Trends in Walls and Ceilings Advanced technologies continue to broaden design solutions for architects and allied professionals Courtesy Page Southerland Page Compiled by the staff of Texas Architect NEW technologies are offering architects and designers further innovative solutions to increase their projects’ overall value through operational efficiency and long-term maintenance. These range from improved materials to enhanced techniques for their application. High-Performance Building Facades Facilities managers and other experts no longer view exterior facades historically viewed as an autonomous building component. Instead, they have learned to see exerior facades, as well as all the other components that comprise a building, as integrated systems that will help achieve and maintain efficient operations. According to a recent study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Building Technologies Program in Berkeley, Calif., a facade system delivers the greatest performance when it becomes an essential part of a fully integrated building design. The LBNL study, 7 / 8 2 0 0 6 as reported in the April 2006 edition of Building magazine, focused on facades that utilize daylighting, solar control, ventilation systems, and dynamic systems. While the study’s primary objective was to explore and define facade performance for California building owners so they could make informed decisions about potential energy efficiency, ventilation, productivity, and sustainability. As defined by LBNL, high-performance commercial building facades are comprehensive systems that incorporate daylighting, solar heat-gain control, ventilation, and space conditioning. They also are typically respectful of the limits of latitude, location, solar orientation, acoustics, etc. Among these high-performance, integraged systems is the double-skin facade, which consists of a single exterior layer of heat-strengthened or laminated safety glass, with exterior air inlet and outlet openings controlled with A model for the FBI Field Office in Houston shows the innovative design for its double skin. Heavily fritted laminated glass, attached to a lightweight metal frame, shades the reinforced concrete structure. The project, a joint venture by Page Southerland Page and Leo A. Daly/LAN, is now under construction and is scheduled for a September 2007 completion. adjustable flaps. A second layer is the interior facade, which consists of fixed or operable windows. Set between these two facades are manual or automated blinds or shades. Typically, the blinds/shades cover the full height of the facade during cooling conditions, and are tilted to block direct sun. To access the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s High-Performance Commercial Building Facades study, go to The referenced article from Buildings magazine is available online at t e x a s a r c h i t e c t 49

Texas Architect July/Aug 2006: Color

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