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Prefab Facades – From Prototype to Product?

The Kit-of-Parts approach to a facade design





façade design, design for manufacture & assembly, Engineer-to-Order, Kit-of-Parts, product configuration, customization, circularity, sustainability


Building envelopes are not only the prime element of the exterior aesthetic quality of buildings; they have also become a major driver both for building construction cost and operational performance. The importance of prefabrication is growing in the building industry as it allows faster, high-quality, and cost-effective construction while reducing risks associated with onsite labour. Although prefabrication for structural components is a relatively recent development, it has been widely used in the manufacturing of building envelopes for many years, particularly in the case of unitized curtain wall systems. However, whether using prefabricated components or not, façade design development remains a challenge due to the need for façade engineers to rapidly develop technically viable and financially feasible solutions that achieve the desired architectural design intent. Particularly at the early stages of the design process, the turnaround for multiple iterations is often fast-paced, and abortive work is, therefore, not uncommon.

This paper outlines an approach to addressing this challenge, attempting to bridge the gap between façade design, fabrication, and installation. A new design approach and tools are presented that allow designers to iteratively validate concepts based on a pre-engineered system that is optimized for performance and take fabrication, transport, installation costs, maintenance, and circularity into account. As a result, the tool/design workflow will ensure consistent quality, meeting budgets and timelines while enhancing material efficiency and fostering energy-conscious and circular envelope design approaches.

How to Cite

Rammig, L., Zani, A., Murphy, T., Paparo, I., Hildebrand, L., Abbring, S., Kopreck, D., Wu, C., Lee, J., & Turpin, K. (2023). Prefab Facades – From Prototype to Product? : The Kit-of-Parts approach to a facade design. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 11(1), 61–75.




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