Andrew Watts – Newtecnic // Façade System Design

Andrew Watts, along with Iker Flores, from Newtecnic were our guest speakers tonight as part of the IAAC Winter Lecture Series, taking us through their professional experiences of facade system design.

Newtecnic is an office specialised in the design of facade systems for high profile projects around the world. The office is involved at different design stages; from concept to tender, to construction documentation such as fabrication drawings, installation drawings and logistics.

With the recent increase in popularity of new digital tools, architectural practises are starting to propose more and more highly geometrically complex or fully free form projects that cannot be achieved by the current generation of mass produced facade systems.

The Newtecnic approach steps away from traditional mass production and embraces the principles of mass customisation. This approach allows us to explore ‘systems’ that are designed from first principles and are constantly informing the overall design of the facade.

In comparison to current mass produced systems that have very little design flexibility, our mass customisation approach allow us to tailor a unique set of adaptable systems. Through first principles we develop a design approach based on associative relations between all the elements that composes the facade. This holistic design approach allows to create an emergent, adaptable and flexible system that considers geometry, environment, material systems, structure, and assemblies which are constantly assessed by a multi-optimisation criteria that informs the design process and the budget.

This design approach allows to manage and control of higher levels of complexities within the design processes. The negotiation of multiple criteria within the design process brings to the surface emergent qualities that otherwise they would have not be possible by means of preconception. This technical exploitation of emergent effects allows the architect to realise much bolder architectural visions than can be achieved with current technologies.

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