Structures are defined by their façades, which have always been much more than mere building envelopes. The façade as part of the building envelope is an important part of architectural discourse. Their perceived effect may have separating or connecting character, be backgrounded or emblematically foregrounded. A façade not only affords protection from the elements, but reflects the spirit of the time. It is the crucial interface between the existing external conditions of place and space, and the required conditions inside a building.
The structural and technical form of façades is crucial for the energy balance of a building. Against the backdrop of the ongoing environmental destruction, building envelopes will become increasingly important in the future. As the demands on façades increase, so do those on planners, engineers and designers. Architects will play a key role in the transition to a post-fossil fuels or post-nuclear age. Planners with interdisciplinary training will be in high demand.
Thanks to new technology, the importance of the building envelope has undergone a quantum leap in recent years. Besides the traditional functions of façades, the demands in terms of energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental performance of buildings and building envelopes have been radically redefined. This has increased the need for close collaboration with building physics, building climatology, structural engineering, material science, and industry.
Work on the polyvalent implications of building envelopes has been gradually developed and expanded at the Faculty of Architecture over the last decade. Through the establishment of the Chair of Technology and Design of Building Envelopes, a comprehensive and holistic view of building envelopes is anchored in the curriculum of the TU Muenchen.