*Agenda subject to change


Great facades: balancing safety & energy performance with aesthetics

The façade is central to how well a building performs. It needs to insulate the building against heat loss during the winter months and solar gain during the summer. A balance must be struck between admitting as much light as possible whilst shading the building from direct sunlight. For many buildings the façade is the primary means of ventilation from simple opening windows on homes to sophisticated double skinned facades on office buildings. The façade is the primary visual expression of the building and needs to look good, be contextually sensitive and contribute to a dynamic streetscape. It also must be durable and conform with demanding planning and regulatory rules. Recently introduced regulations ban the use of combustible materials on residential buildings over 18m high and there are growing concerns about the fire performance of lower rise buildings. This conference will explore how architects can produce exciting and innovative facades whilst conforming with planning, energy performance and fire safety legislation.

15.00 – 15.30: Registration and networking

15.30 – 15.45: Keynote speech – Eric Parry, founder Eric Parry Architects

15.45 – 16.45: Panel debate – Radical facades
Despite a challenging economic climate, many designers are creating bold new facades that inspire and delight. A great facade can overcome complex planning requirements, provide innovative technical solutions, attract valuable tenants and create a recognisable landmark on a street or square, while also helping the building to perform better. Facades are the main point of interface between and building and the general public, with innovative uses of materials provoking a range of positive and negative responses.

  • Chair: Ike Ijeh, Architectural Correspondent, Building and Building Design
  • Dominic Kacinskas, Project Architect, Groupwork
  • Steve Webb, director Webb Yates Engineers
  • Katerina Dionysopoulou, Director, Bureau de Change Architect
  • Damian Rogan, Director, Façade Engineering, Eckersley O’Callaghan

16.45 – 17.00: Tea break

17.00 – 17.15: Keynote speech: The Facades that make Goldsmith Street – David Mikhail, Mikhail Riches

17.15 – 18.15: Panel debate: Facades under pressure
The government ban on combustible cladding has restricted material choices for new builds and made lenders and insurers very cautious when lending and insuring on existing buildings. This has reduced the values of some existing schemes to zero. Is this a positive contribution to building safety or is there a risk aesthetics and performance will be relegated to the bottom of the pile, driving a new homogenised built landscape of ’safe’ facades?

  • Chair: Thomas Lane, Group Technical Editor, Building and Building Design
  • Rob Buck, Associate, Façade Design, Arup
  • Deirdra Armsby, Director of Place Shaping and Town Planning, City of Westminster
  • Tom Westwood, Senior Associate, Waugh Thistleton
  • Russell Curtis, Founding Director, RCKa

18.15 – 20.00: Drinks to celebrate the launch of next year’s Architect of the Year Awards as we open entries for 2020.


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Bloomsbury Hotel
16-22 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3NN

The Bloomsbury hotel is just a stone’s throw from Theatreland, Soho and Covent Garden and 5 minutes’ walk from Tottenham Court Road Tube Station.