COURSE 1.6: The building envelope: characterization, decay, solutions and colour analysis (6 ECTS) 


Until the last century, the concern for the intervention in the envelopes of heritage buildings, when it existed, was referred to mainly stylistic aspects and in a few cases affected technical issues or the use of materials.

In the XX century, the criteria for intervention in heritage and especially in its surroundings, as well as its justification, have been diverse and have given rise to discussions that can be described in many cases as "Byzantine".

In the 21st century, a new type of criteria and justifications that can be included under the umbrella of sustainability are added to the discussion with more force, which do not seem to constitute a passing fad; but neither do they impose solutions that are completely incompatible with the preceding ones.

However, the techniques and materials used in the buildings prior to the 20th century were limited and so was the consequent discussion; while in the s. XX and in the present the technological evolution has been enormous and also the techniques and materials; but the constructive behavior of envelopes with more components differs from the precedents and must globally respond to a set of requirements that its components do not satisfy individually.

In addition, from the 20th century we are extending the patrimonial concern to almost all of our urban fabric and we are witnessing new types of discussions in which the main criteria are not be only technical.

This is the scenario in which we intend to train AURCOHE students (see the "Dossiers and academic news" page).

Course objectives:

To acquire students collaborative learnings skills that allow them the participation in strong design teams with different roles and leadership capacities.

To qualify the students in the organization and programmation of design, management and supervision of heritages projects and plannings

To acquire students the technical capacity to analyze, monitoring, to evaluate, and retrofitting the effects of different options associated to the heritage process of decision.

To qualify the students for taking the decision about the suitability of different solutions to response the challenges of the building and urban envelope actions.

Course structure:

The course is based on collaborative active learning, so the personal attitude of each student in common tasks will be especially and particularly valued. The tasks will propose partial and micro challenges aimed at achieving the challenge posed for the practical work of the course.

At the beginning of each task, the specific objectives, the requirements to be met and the challenges to achieve in the planned task will be jointly defined, through the intelligent and sustainable use of construction techniques and materials, considering the location of the building or the environment of action and its current realization.

The teachers will propose in this moment the objectives and activities provided, as well as the corresponding challenges and they will discuss with the students the procedures for action and assessment criteria for individual, group, and collective work.

During the development of the tasks, the teachers will discuss solutions given in assimilable cases and will propose assessable activities related to them in specific sessions.

During the course, site visits will be made to improve the training of students in the field of the course.


19/2/2024 - 8/3/2024 (teaching weeks)

11/3/2024 - 15/3/2024 (week to complete exercises)


Coordinator: Rufino Hernández Minguillón, 1 ECTS. Ugaitz Gaztelu Onaindía, 1 ECTS. Enkarni Gómez, 1 ECTS. Lorenzo Savio, 2 ECTS. Gintaras Prikockis, 1 ECTS


The course is structured in 5 modules, with the following lectures:

1.- Application of new construction technologies: object, requirements, challenges, evolution. Action methodology

1: Methodology of a heritage intervention process.

2: Metodología de un proceso de intervención en el patrimonio.

2.- Characterization of systems and types of pathologies

3: Opaque systems: compressed and pulled. Diaphanous systems.

4: Pathologies of the envelopes.

3.- Intervention actions

5: From data collection to the consolidation of building envelopes.

6: From repair to recreation.

4.- Climate and digital transitions in heritage

7: From the reduction of energy consumption to the global energy evaluation.

8: The facades are not drawings or photos.

5.- Evolution of the facades of buildings and cities in the s. XXI

9: Looking below the epidermis.


Bunshaft, G. (2000). Les Tours de verre. Édition du Linteau.

Button, D. & Pye, B. (Eds.) (1993). Glass in Building. Pilkington.

Compagno, A. (1999). Intelligent Glass Façades. Material, Practice, Design, Berlin: Burkhäuser.

Donaldson, B. (Ed.) (1991). Exterior Wall Systems: Glass and Concrete Technology, Design and Construction. ASTM.

Wurm, J. (2007). Glass structures. Design and construction of self-supporting skins. Birkhäuser.

Course assessment:

In order to successfully complete the course, students will be required to pass all two sections: course exercise and the average of the class exercises. The value of each section is as follows:

- %70 course exercise

- %15 personal performance in the group work

- %15 collective collaboration

Evaluation and Resit rules:

All the courses/subjects and Master Dissertation have jointly evaluation rules based in the quality of the practical works proposed by the teachers. The student and teachers presence is mandatory. Related with the courses/subjects all the teachers involved in them have to send to the coordinator teacher the individual evaluation of the students

The evaluation level (excellent, good and deficient) will be taken by the coordinator following the opinions of the teachers involved and in agreement with them. The evaluation level will be discussed with the student. If a student fail a course (deficient level), at least one resit per course/subject within the period Block will be allowed. This resit will take into account the new data and solutions reported by the student. The resit evaluation process will be similar to the initial one.

Students with a deficient level after resitting a course/subject will be remain bound to the EMJMD until ends of the respective Block where the course is allocated. In these cases, the Academic Committee will review the study performance status of the student and advises on continuation of the programme in accordance with their regulations. Students with very weak study performance (decided by the Academic Committee) may lose their scholarship or may be advised to end their study. Students who quite ARURCOHE early, but have successfully completed several courses/subjects, will get a certificate stating the courses for which they have earned credits (in ECTS). This decision will be communicated to the Erasmus+ Program office.