Powerskin Conference Proceedings

April 9th 2021 - Munich


Thomas Auer (ed)
TU Munich
Ulrich Knaack (ed)
Delft University of Technology
Jens Schneider (ed)
TU Darmstadt
cover powerskin 2021 conference proceedings


The building skin has evolved enormously over the past decades. The energy performance and environmental quality of both the interior and exterior of buildings are primarily determined by the building envelope. 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 towards an architectural integration of energy generation. The PowerSKIN Conference aims to address the role of building skins to accomplish a carbonneutral building stock. The focus of the PowerSKIN issue 2021 deals with the question of whether simplicity and robustness stay in contradiction to good performance of buildings skins or whether they even complement each other: simplicity vs performance?

As an international scientific event - usually held at the BAU trade fair in Munich - the PowerSKIN Conference builds a bridge between science and practice, between research and construction, and between the latest developments and innovations for the façade of the future. Topics such as building operation, embodied energy, energy generation and storage in the context of the three conference sessions envelope, energy and environment are considered:

– Envelope: The building envelope as an interface for the interaction between indoor and outdoor environment. This topic is focused on function, 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 to provide highly comfortable surroundings where environmental control strategies as well as energy generation and/or storage are an integrated part of an active skin.

The Technical University of Munich, TU Darmstadt, and TU Delft are signing responsible for the organisation of the conference. It is the third event of a biennial series: April 9th 2021, architects, engineers, and scientists present their latest developments and research projects for public discussion and reflection. For the first time, the conference will be a virtual event. On the one hand, this is a pity, as conferences are also about meeting people and social interaction; on the other hand, it offers the possibility that we can reach more people who connect from all over the world.

Author Biographies

Thomas Auer, TU Munich

Trained as a Process Engineer at the Technical University in Stuttgart, Thomas is a partner and managing director of Transsolar GmbH, a German engineering firm specialized in energy efficient building design and environmental quality with offices in Stuttgart, Munich, Paris and New York. In January of 2014 Thomas became Professor for building technology and climate responsive design at TUM. Thomas collaborated with world known architecture firms on numerous international design projects and competitions. A specialist in the fields of integrated building systems and energy efficiency in buildings as well as sustainable urban design, Thomas has developed concepts for projects around the world noted for their innovative design and energy performance – an integral part of signature architecture. The office tower for Manitoba Hydro in down-town Winnipeg, Canada, is considered one of the most energy efficient high-rise buildings in North America. Lower Don Lands, Toronto, is going to be among the first carbon neutral districts in North America. Outside of Transsolar, Thomas taught at Yale University and was a visiting professor at the ESA in Paris and other Universities. He speaks frequently at conferences and symposia. In 2010 Thomas received the Treehugger “best of green” award as “best engineer”.

Ulrich Knaack, Delft University of Technology

Ulrich was trained as an architect at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany. After earning his degree he worked at the university as a researcher in the field of structural use of glass and completed his studies with a PhD.

In his professional career Ulrich worked as an architect and general planner in Düsseldorf, Germany, succeeding in national and international competitions. His projects include high-rise and office buildings, commercial buildings and stadiums. In his academic career Ulrich was professor for Design and Construction at the Hochschule OWL, Germany. He also was and still is appointed professor for Design of Construction at the Delft University of Technology / Faculty of Architecture, Netherlands, where he developed the Façade Research Group. In parallel Ulrich is professor for Façade Technology at the TU Darmstadt / Faculty of Civil engineering in Germany where he participates in the Institute of Structural Mechanics + Design.

Ulrich organizes interdisciplinary design workshops and symposiums in the field of façades and is author of several well-known reference books, articles and lectures.

Jens Schneider, TU Darmstadt

Jens is a full professor for structural engineering at the Institute of Structural Mechanics and Design, TU Darmstadt, Germany. After his studies in civil engineering in Darmstadt and Coimbra, Portugal, Jens received his PhD from TU Darmstadt in 2001 in a topic about structural glass design and impact loading.

From 2001-2005, Jens worked at the engineering office Schlaich, Bergermann and Partner where he was involved in the structural design of complex steel, glass and concrete structures. In 2006, Jens was appointed as an authorized sworn expert on glass structures, in 2007 to the position of a professor for structural engineering in Frankfurt. and in 2009 to his current position at TU Darmstadt, where Jens is currently Vice President for Transfer and International Affairs. Since 2011, Jens is also partner in his engineering office SGS GmbH in Heusenstamm in Frankfurt, Germany. Since 2015, Jens leads the European project group for the preparation of the new Eurocode 11 „Structural Glass“.

Jens is specialized in structural mechanics of glass & polymers, façade structures, structural design and synergetic, energy-efficient design of façades and buildings.


Powerskin, facades, conference, Munich, BAU


7 April 2021


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Details about the available publication format: PDF


ISBN-13 (15)


Date of first publication (11)


Physical Dimensions

210mm x 279mm