15. Oktober 2013
With its Parametric Concept, Schüco bridges the gap to free-form system façades that can be planned parametrically
Architectural freedom is almost limitless; its expressive designs and façades are global — from The Shard in London, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to the World Financial Center in Shanghai. In times of record chasing, the sky is the limit when it comes to the height of these skyscrapers. Their façades — the real point of interest for architects and visitors — are bold, unmistakable and far from routine. With the Parametric Concept, Schüco will redefine the previously exclusive — due to the high complexity of implementation — approach to free-form façade design. The possibility of individual free-form façades in day-to-day business is the result of the consistent development of Schüco system façades that can be planned parametrically with corresponding software and accompanying machines with control systems.
Free-form façades have become style-defining elements because they are fundamentally opposed to what we have become used to seeing. For decades the economic and technical processability of “stiff” materials such as steel and glass defined the straightness of façades. This restriction to a flat plane has now been lifted using parametric design models. The Schüco Parametric Concept gives specifiers whole new freedoms in designing building envelopes, allowing them to realise these creative possibilities reliably and efficiently in closely fitting façade units.
Freely designing complex, three-dimensional façade elements is comparably simple in the conceptualisation phase. The challenge arises when the designs then have to be implemented — from the initial idea of the architect and the implementation plan of the developer to the detailed drawing of the metal fabricator. On the one hand this is because the work has to be carried out entirely in the 3D model for technical and economic reasons — if possible without interface problems when transferring the data to the individual implementation levels. On the other hand, with each of these steps such a process reaches a level of detail that can only be recorded with corresponding software. The Schüco Parametric Concept meets these requirements — and is therefore “the solution to a process chain rather than just a façade system,” says Thomas Haltenhof, one of the people at Schüco responsible for driving forward the development of the Parametric Concept.
“Intelligent” unit library
The beginning of the process chain is a library with “intelligent” façade units. Using a CAD add-on, these units can be combined and altered by the specifier almost at will. Alterations to individual units or parameters thus have a direct effect on the overall form of the façade — and therefore on its production too.
This openness in the planning production phase not only has design but also functional reasons: units can also be loaded with context-sensitive functions via the stored database. These include individual surfaces optimised in terms of daylight or thermal insulation, opaque or translucent glazing, additional functions such as decentralised energy generation using PV technologies and the alignment of certain units for energy optimisation of the entire façade.
Façade design and fundamental requirements arising from the use of the building are brought together so early with the Schüco Parametric Concept that fundamental factors influencing, for example, the variability of use, overall primary energy balance or lifecycle costs can be targeted and improved through detailed optimisation as early as the planning stage. The original focus on design is thus given both an economic and functional dimension.
However, structural and production engineering performance thresholds — in particular for the subsequent processing of the glass — are not exceeded despite all this design freedom. A secure plausibility check is always running behind the variables in the Schüco Parametric Concept. The specifications of relevant standards and regulations are incorporated in this as well as structural and production engineering requirements. The general feasibility of the construction is also taken into account.
The transparency and consistency of the project data realised in the planning part of the Parametric Concept continues up to actual implementation — i.e. cutting the façade units on site. Whilst templates currently have to be used sometimes by metal fabricators to create building units for three-dimensional façades, the new system ensures that the exchange of data is optimised to the interfaces for the computer controlled cutting of the individual units. In principle data transfer will be possible with all five-axis processing machines — as a manufacturer-tested complete system in which the Schüco brand attests to the innovative metal fabricator the consistency of the entire process as well as the quality of the subsequent façade and the required weathertightness.
In future the Schüco Parametric Concept will not just create greater architectural freedom for the design of façades; a much more integrated process that incorporates all levels of performance will be developed, with central parameters as the starting point. The system is thus the answer to the call from specifiers and clients for an individually designed three-dimensional façade system that not only can be implemented technically, but which is also economical, can be reliably planned and has a definite cost. Schüco plans to be able to offer the unitised façade solution as a system by 2015.
Schüco – System solutions for windows, doors, façades and solar products.
Together with its worldwide network of partners, architects, specifiers and investors, Schüco creates sustainable building envelopes which focus on people and their needs in harmony with nature and technology. The highest demands for design, comfort and security can be met, whilst simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions through energy efficiency, thereby conserving natural resources. The company and its Metal, PVC-U and New Energies divisions deliver tailored products for newbuilds and renovations, designed to meet individual user needs in all climate zones. With 5000 employees and 12,000 partner companies, Schüco is active in 78 countries and achieved a turnover of 1.8 billion euros in 2012. For more information, visit www.schueco.com
Further information about publication:
Schüco International KG
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Picture credits: Schüco International KG
Building envelopes which can be designed with geometric freedom are the future of construction. Redefining design freedom and planning reliability with the Schüco Parametric Concept.
The Schüco Parametric Concept offers specifiers new freedoms for designing building envelopes.
The Schüco Parametric Concept is based on three-dimensional designs and plans.