Double Skin Façade

Milstein Heart Hospital
Milstein Heart Hospital

Double skin façades, both internally and externally ventilated varieties, can provide unique design solutions. Generally, they convert a static fixed façade into a dynamic climate responsive element. It should be understood that in most applications, a double skin façade will not save energy when compared against a typical, well insulated wall with 30% of the area as windows. However, if the program and/or architecture desires a high percentage of glass, then double skin façades can provide the desired effect and minimize the energetic penalties.

The Milstein Heart Hospital utilizes an externally ventilated façade in the new infill expansion. This face of the project opens onto the Hudson River and provides a strong connection to the environment for the occupants. The design uses low iron glass for both internal and external skins with extensive shading elements within the cavity. The HVAC system captures the exhaust air during the winter to utilized the "preheated" air. The design for 1 Park Avenue in Dubai was unique; it was an internally ventilated façade in a hot climate. Room air would enter the cavity at the floor, was drawn up through the cavity containing shading elements, and then routed directly to the exhaust system at the mechanical floors. In this way, the solar heat load was essentially removed before it became a load in the space.