Minimalistic details in face of thermal protection requirements with lightweight concrete

Tim Lueking


In the 1970s governments in Central and Northern Europe established thermal protection requirements, leading to the reduction of heat transfer through the building envelope. Subsequently, two different strategies were employed to decline the heat loss of exterior walls: the first relied on new or modified building materials that possessed decreased thermal conductivity than previously used materials; the second provided a special insulating layer. Concerning detail design, constructions with specialized layers still might appear to be simple but they are complex and fragile on construction level. This leads to the question: Is it possible to design details, which are simple concerning both appearance and construction? In this article I begin with the advantages and constraints of different exterior wall typologies within today’s legal restrictions in Central Europe. After that I focus on to the material lightweight concrete. As a key issue the analysis of different window positions within the wall (flush to the inside/outside wall or in the middle) is presented. Since the source of the investigation has architectural roots, constructive capabilities and design constraints are regarded, too. In the conclusion, future prospects of material development and the consequences for the detail design is given.


Single layer building envelope; building construction; lightweight concrete; window detail; thermal bridge

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