ruminations about architecture and design

Saturday, October 17, 2015

building skins and other stories

Using the term "skin" for a building is one of those signs that architects are tampering with language in a way that does not help with understanding. While descriptively correct in most respects, the term "skin" invests the wall and roof assembly of a building with more philosophical  weight than it deserves. Biological skin is an active organ system. Good walls, according to the science dept. at towers of ilium, function best if they entirely passive. Even operable windows cause problems, and any effort to introduce more complexity or moving parts into a wall or roof can only end in misery.

The romanticism that is associated with masonry walls and roof coverings is still strong, and for good reasons. More modern systems--even very well detailed and constructed rain screens--should be treated with caution.

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