PowerSKIN Conference 2021
Simplicity vs. Performance?

In 2017, Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Auer (TUM), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens Schneider (TU Darmstadt) and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Knaack (TU Delft) launched the PowerSkin Conference at the trade fair BAU in Munich.

Integrated into the biennial trade fair BAU, the PowerSKIN conference bridges the gap between science and practice, as well as between the various specialist disciplines of architects, engineers and scientists.

The PowerSkin Conference aims to address the role of building skins to accomplish a carbon neutral building stock. Presented papers showcase recent scientific research and developments as well as projects related to building skins from the perspectives of material, technological and design.
Topics such as building operation, embodied energy, energy generation and storage in context of evelope, energy and environment are considered.

As a biennial series, PowerSKIN Conferences were successfully held in the past, focussing on different topics:

  • PowerSKIN 2017: What ist the Future Role of Building Skin in Carbon Neutral Building Stock?
  • PowerSKIN 2019: Digital Processes in Facade Design and Construction

Building Skin

The third skin of human beings – the building envelope – had a very long process of development within architecture. The advancement of curtain walls produced a structural independency, but it remained an important yet passive element. Energy performance and environmental quality of buildings are significantly determined by the building envelope.

In the meantime, the façade has experienced a change in its role as an adaptive climate control system that leverages the synergies between form, material, mechanical and energy systems in an integrated design.

Contemporary façade design aims for an optimized environmental quality while minimizing the use of resources. Further progress requires the development of sustainable, smart materials as well as active and passive systems, which can easily be integrated and maintained. Over the past decades, glass became the dominating building skin due to its improved thermal performance and adaptability with regard to transparency, solar and daylight control. This leads to a flexible interaction between indoor and outdoor environment and provides a dynamic control scheme. Recent developments provide an integration of mechanical systems as well as components for energy generation and storage.

On the one hand, this leads to architectural designs that are fully independent of local climate conditions, building culture, and other constraints, while still providing an optimized environmental quality. On the other hand, it also enables architects and engineers to design buildings that interact with and adapt to climate, user demands and respect local conditions.

Simplicity vs. Performance?

The conference aims to discuss the future role of building skin to achieve carbon neutral building stocks. The focus of the PowerSKIN Conference 2021 deals with the question whether simplicity and robustness are in contradiction to good performance or whether they even complement each other. Simplicity vs. Performance?
The conference showcases presentations about recent scientific research developments regarding the guiding theme. Three sub topics are provided for authors to choose their field of expertise:

Envelope: The building envelope as an interface for the interaction between indoor and outdoor environment. This topic is focused on functionality, technical development and material properties.

Energy: New concepts, accomplished projects, and visions for the interaction between building structure, envelope and energy technologies.

Environment: Façades or elements of façades which aim for the provision of highly comfortable surroundings where environmental control strategies as well as energy generation and/or storage are an integrated part of an active skin.