Unlike Le Corbusier, many architectural thinkers have argued that the most important part of a building is not its plan, but rather its facade. This surface is the key to measuring the importance, attitude and performance of a structure —so says the Spanish architect and theorist Alejandro Saera-Polo. According to his count, the theories of the building envelope predate the generations of Le Corbusier and go back as far as the beginning of the 19th century.century. It is a space occupied with ideas that require a certain structural organization, so this is exactly where <url> has settled.
Starting with a series of innovative NYE projects by Foreign Office Architects (FOA), the office he co-founded in 1993 with Farshid Mousavi, and continuing with his central essay “the politics of the envelope”, published in two parts in London between 2008 and 2009, the need for facade design has long been occupied by asp. NYE they are the subject of his new book, ecologies of the building envelope, written with Jeffrey S. Anderson and published by Actar.
The FOA was dissolved in 2011. The following year, he became dean of the Princeton School of Architecture and, shortly after, he realized the facade section of the Rem Koolhaas elements of Architecture exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014.
He previously worked at OMA from 1991 to 1993 before founding FOA.) This exhibition within the exhibition, which included calendars and factoids, as well as a handful of life-size models of selected projects, separated somewhat from the core interests of the ACP; in particular, the models served as sculptural objects of contemplation rather than objects in a technological continuum.
Quotations were especially absent in the Venice installation or its subsequent manifestation in the elements of the architecture catalog. Princeton University took umbrage at the project’s lack of academic rigor, accusing it of lax academic standards and ultimately plagiarism. In response to concerns about the integrity of the research, he and his team promised to produce a more in-depth study that will be published after. But the incident turned out to be a negative catalyst: he was forced to resign as dean, triggering a process of disillusionment with the Academy, widely interpreted, which culminated in his dismissal as a Princeton professor last summer. (After that, he uploaded a multi-part online video series about the mistreatment he had received from the teachers and the school administration previously covered in A.)
The ecologies of the building envelope retain part of the basic structure of the original project, but add indexes, visuals and footnotes. With its 491 pages, the book covers a wider range of matter studies, historical scenarios and performance measures beyond those of the exhibition, including sections on performance, components and assembly logic such as prefabrication and panelization. The arguments of the “NYE policy” appear again in new forms. Crucially, the facades are reproduced here as complex ecological networks rather than as cultural objects invested with a representative or symbolic meaning. Each chapter explores a handful of matter studies and historical moments for different types of envelopes, including multimedia facades, living facades and double-glazed curtain walls. The volume is richly filled with details, illustrations both historical and contemporary, and in-depth reflections on the evolution and ecology of each type of envelope.
Still, I wonder if critics will resist asking the raw question: Who cares? Do we need a complete theory of the facade? Is there really one not found? Both explore the development of a set of aesthetic and material ideas, but are ultimately incomplete, albeit for different reasons. Instead of the coherent display of a totalizing theory, the collection of beautiful fragments of this book serves as a conversation starter.
The theoretical scaffolding assembled here does not bring us closer to a better understanding of the envelope. Can a product catalog (the producer’s goods eat up a significant part of the book’s real estate) be turned into a theory? If the facade is the place where the value-architectural, cultural, political – is transmitted to different audiences, what are the important values offered to buildings today?
At a time of great interest in the study and production of facades. Over the past decade, the construction industry has begun to address issues such as embedded and operational carbon through life cycle analysis (LCA) and other accounting tools aimed at capturing supply chains. Building scientists can now document in detail the real ecological footprint of a building in real time. NYE Energy’s laws and standards require holistic approaches to construction. And academics like Kiel Moe have presented theories to support these dynamic ecological approaches. The building envelope is the site of so many innovations that have serious energy impacts, ranging from materials and maintenance to the evolution of performance standards for new and existing buildings.NYE.
Does the complex assembly of materials for a facade itself contain a policy? Absolutely, because the materials with which we build have real implications for the work, and its expression establishes how architecture responds to its context. After last year’s high-profile antics, this beautiful, maniacally documented book is kind of going in the direction of restoring Aspen’s credibility. His arguments establish an envelope theory; now it’s up to others to respond and expand his performance.