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Design Cover Concept

Analyses show that the proportion of the building envelope that is opaque is growing. Architects are increasingly designing punched openings and ribbon windows, which means that fully transparent façade solutions are less common. As a result, Schüco presented at BAU a prototype with a closed workflow, which allows architects’ concepts of façade cladding to be realised with opaque areas that can be freely parameterised.

Manuel Almeida - Construções L Almeida O Buildeng

The future is now

PROFILE: What do you value in façade design?
Manuel Almeida: For me, it's important that the system is simple and yet also achieves very good acoustic and thermal results.
PROFILE: Do you think fully transparent façade solutions are becoming less´ common over time?
Manuel Almeida: Yes, I do think that the opaque proportion of the building envelope is increasing.´ That’s also what the Design Cover Concept proposes.
PROFILE: Do you like the options that the concept offers as a standardised system?
Manuel Almeida: Definitely. But, of course, it's important to have a partner that is well-versed in technology and has many different possible solutions in stock.
PROFILE: Are you interested in fully digitally planned systems?
Manuel Almeida: Of course! Digital planning is very important. Not only for the future; it's already here now!

Javier García Ferrés - Arquitectos y consultores Barcelona /E

A new, sustainable face

PROFILE: Fully glazed buildings are becoming less common over time – do you agree?
Javier García: Yes, I do. Just for energy-efficiency reasons alone, that will be the case. A zero energy house made of glass: it's inconceivable at present. Take a project on which I was involved: it had to achieve passive house standard and the proportion of windows could not exceed 40%. The remaining façade surface had to consist of panels for insulation. Glass and panels, otherwise nothing. My colleagues and I racked our brains over an alternative façade solution; a purely glass façade in this instance would have been completely counterproductive.
PROFILE: How did you overcome this challenge?
Javier García: We looked at the façade asa face, rather than just a shell. When requirements make it impossible for you to only use one material, then you have to look for another material. Otherwise the building – and you yourself – are faced with an irreconcilable conflict. In this regard, I see the Design Cover Concept as a truly futuristic way of thinking.

Tijana Radovanovic - Landscape architect Belvit /SRB

Monolithic structures

PROFILE: In your view, which aspects are decisive when designing a façade?
Tijana Radovanovic: At the moment, we are particularly interested in façade systems that can also be used on the roof. Specifically, for one of our current projects, we are looking for a system that allows the façade and the roof to become one in order to produce a monolithic structure.
PROFILE: So you would ask Schüco to devote more attention toroofs?
Tijana Radovanovic: Yes, I could easily imagine glass gardens on the roof or something similar.
PROFILE: In that respect, the Design Cover Concept could be of interest to you.
Tijana Radovanovic: Yes, even though I think that glass façades will retain their importance. Rear-ventilated façades are simply becoming increasingly important, along with the demand for the right material.

Bert Tilicke - Tr.Architekten Rössing-Tilicke Cologne /GER

An approach with a future

PROFILE: Mr Tilicke what's your view on the´ Design Cover Concept?
Bert Tilicke: I believe that it represents an approach for designing a building right now. The spectrum is already really wide: metal, perforations etc. And further progress will doubtless be made. I think that the proportion of glass will still be very important, but perhaps in the form of semi-transparent areas... It's an exciting topic!
PROFILE: Which aspects of façade design are important to you?
Bert Tilicke: It's important to have good support – that's why we like working with Schüco. So much is now possible, from the fittings to the opening options: it's quite easy to lose the overview. You really need a good partner with whom to work and also to develop alongside.
PROFILE: What would you like to see from Schüco in the near future?
Bert Tilicke: Schüco is on the right track.

Dr. Alexander Rieck - LAVA Stuttgart/GER

Processes, production and performance

With the parametric development of façades and a continuous process chain, Schüco has taken an important step. Now all of those concerned – architects, engineers, software developers, mechanical engineers and the construction industry – must work together to further advance this process.


PROFILE: Which advantages do you see in the development of ventilated façades?
Dr. Alexander Rieck: We are currently working with greater intensity on high performance façade systems. This is where functional aspects, such as energy, solar shading, pollution, views, etc. converge in a façade with a very dynamic design. Planning, production and assembly are the really interesting aspects where economical development is concerned. I see the advantages in the state of production engineering and in the organisation of construction – the consistency of the data is the key to these. For the ventilated façade, we are able to control all of the aspects more easily; for nonventilated façades this is far more complex. Ultimately, a uniform system from a single source is beneficial because the interfaces are defined.
PROFILE: The Schüco Design Cover concept is based on digital planning tools and a seamless workflow. Will the closed data chain change construction?
Dr. Alexander Rieck: For one thing, there is the great advantage of efficiency – from planning reliability to quality assurance. All interfaces are covered by new software solutions, even the production chain is integrated. This also happens in other sectors under the concept »Industry 4.0«. This development is now being applied to construction. Schüco is at the forefront, this process is the right way. The frame construction represented a start, now it is a question of thinking about the wider possibilities.

Mark Coles - Associate WilkinsonEyre. Architects London /GB

So much more than a flat surface

PROFILE: Why do you find the prototype for the Design Cover Concept relevant?
Mark Coles: The demand for energy-efficient buildings means that there is already a discernible trend – the building envelope is again closed and solid instead of highly transparent. That's why modular systems that can do both – be opaque and also be transparent – are extremely interesting. The prototype of the 3D curtain wall still allows for different shapes and surface structures. Completely new design possibilities are available compared to the previous surfaces. The Design Cover Concept enables new textures and greater design freedom in modelling the units, raising the curtain wall to a completely new level.

Roy Veldman - IBP Interieurbouw Terwolde/NL
Gerhard Kippers - Kippers Interieurarchitectuur Drogteropslagen/NL

Organic overall concept

PROFILE: What applications could you imagine for the 3-dimensional Design Cover Concept?
Gerhard Kippers: It's a great system for turning a building with a simple basic structure into something special. I see great potential in terms of corporate architecture. Companies can show themselves to be modern and innovative. I would also like to see the system used inside the building, for example, as an atrium.
Roy Veldman: What's exciting is the combination of the organic form with the possibilities of a curtain wall, which one can simply set in front of existing structures – both inside and outside, for newbuilds and renovation projects. With this system, it's no longer about the individual sections of a façade, but an overall design concept. Schüco is now an architect!

Markus Weinig- spatialsense, Munich/GER

Simple and easy to understand

PROFILE: In your view, do technical innovations and simplicity belong together?
Markus Weinig: Definitely. Indeed, many technically sophisticated products are so successful precisely because they are easy to operate and have a simple appearance. That is just as applicable to architecture: the “simpler” the technical equipment is, the more accessible it is for various different users.
PROFILE: Combining opposites does not sound quite so easy.
Markus Weinig: That’s true. Developing something technically innovative and giving it a simple appearance at the same time is a challenge. Not everybody succeeds in doing that.
PROFILE: The Design Cover Concept is the latest development from Schüco in the area of façades, do you see benefits in that?
Markus Weinig: If it is a good system, it may also be attractive to the market. In this respect, a mass-produced façade surely offers many additional qualities compared to an individual fabrication.