Benjamin Beer

The Head of Façades at Ramboll, Benjamin Beer, is one of the much-anticipated speakers at the Future of Facades Summit presented by the Windows, Doors & Facades Event 2019

The Windows, Doors & Facades Event (WDF), the largest event dedicated to the windows, doors and facades industry in the Middle East,  will host Benjamin Beer as a key speaker this year. Ramboll's Head of Facades will be delivering a presentation about "Facade Design for Extreme Climates - From Desert Resorts to Antarctic Stations" at WDF's Future of Facades Summit, on September 24.

Here's what he told us ahead of the event:

What makes Dubai and the broader GCC region different in terms of facades design & engineering?

Dubai and the broader GCC region are unique in terms of climate, which is pretty harsh and hot for most of the year.
Another characteristic of the region in terms of facades design is that most of the projects, especially in Dubai, are fast-tracked. This means that we have a very short design period. On the one hand, this is positive because as professionals, we see our designs getting built and realised quite quickly, giving us a lot of satisfaction. On the other hand, the fast speed of design and construction brings some challenges: the design team has to work closely to get the design done, coordinate and solve all the issues promptly.

What are the major trends in the facades sector?

Today there's a strong push to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, fostering a more sustainable society. Facades are key to reducing the energy consumption of the buildings. However, green building design shouldn’t be seen as a revolution, but more as an evolution, going forward step by step. 
It is crucial to educate industry stakeholders about how these small steps can actually make our buildings more energy efficient and sustainable.
This can be quite challenging in the Middle East because of the region’s harsh climate and competitiveness in the construction market. If on the one hand, we aim to design and create more energy-efficient buildings with very low cooling load demands, on the other hand, we must ensure that the clients meet their budget targets.  
Currently, we see quite a lot of new technologies emerging in the market to make building facades more sustainable. Active facade components, like active shading and glazing, are some of the most promising innovations. Going forward, we will also have smarter facades reacting to the external environment, featuring switch rubber glazing and double skinned facade systems with active shading.

How do you expect the industry to evolve in the future? How will the future facades look like?

Our facades are becoming more complex in terms of architectural design. Architects want to build landmark buildings that have a “wow effect”, and this means that buildings are more complicated in terms of geometry and materials.
These curved, twisted, double curved, free form shapes, or blob shape complex facades are amazing and challenging at the same time. They require a lot of research and development to be realised cost-effectively.
At Ramboll, we are also in close contact with energy suppliers and glass suppliers to develop solar control coatings. It is crucial to push the industry to develop and create better quality glazing and design for human beings. We always bear in mind that we spend most of our time indoors, and it’s therefore very important to understand how the glass selection affects the quality of the light filtering through the facade, and what impact it finally has on the building’s occupants.

What can industry professionals expect to learn at your presentation?

Ramboll is one of the world's leading consultancies in designing Antarctic stations, and I am going to present two different extreme climate design projects, from the extreme cold to the extreme heat.
From a facade design perspective, it is very interesting because we face new challenges and find different solutions to the challenges posed by extreme environments.   

Why do you think it’s important for industry professionals to attend WDF?

The facade industry is pushing many new products on the market, and the whole sector evolves quickly in response to client demands. It is therefore very important to attend the event and discover these new products.
WDF is also an excellent opportunity to meet people and network. Most of the facade professionals are at the event. For me, WDF is a sort of family gathering, where all the glass suppliers, facade system suppliers, architects, and consultants come together.
Register and attend for free Benjamin Beer's presentation by clicking HERE.