Facade engineering

The building envelope is a critical area of a building’s design, with the facade engineer playing a vital role in bringing the architect’s vision to life. New cladding materials and processing techniques are continually being developed in the search for better facade performance, making the design and procurement of the building envelope a highly technical and complex process – yet one that is still immensely creative.

BuroHappold advises clients on the best way to develop, design and procure the building envelope, using our knowledge of the full supply chain to provide high level technical advice across the whole design process, including the choice of materials and systems. Our aim is to achieve a cost-effective, viable design solution that provides top performance at the lowest possible risk.

The facade makes a major contribution to the sustainability of a building, influencing both energy efficiency and the quality of the internal climate. It is also an integral part of the building’s aesthetic, complementing the structural form and defining its visual impact on the urban environment. BuroHappold uses a rigorous methodology to resolve the inter-connected issues involved in efficient facade design and detailing.

Our facade engineers work closely with other members of the project team to bring the benefits of high-level technical knowledge to the design of the envelope. With sustainability now a key regulatory requirement, we carefully analyse the environmental ‘behaviour’ of different facade designs using advanced techniques such as thermal modelling, wind analysis, acoustic design, solar and glare studies.

This rigorous assessment enables us to design a facade that is appropriate for both the building and the locale. Combining our practical knowledge of natural ventilation, shading and daylighting systems with environmental factors such as solar gain, wind flow and weather proofing we are able to deliver well built, high performance facades that provide superb occupant comfort with much reduced energy and running costs.

Discipline Director

Ian Maddocks


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