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BSA News

Sep 13, 2021

Presenters for Wagdy Anis Symposium Talk Building Science

WAS2021 Wagdy Wall Feature 800 by 1200

The Wagdy Wall (Image and information courtesy of Carole Wedge, Greta Eckhardt, and Stephen J. Holland)

The time is fast approaching for the BSA's second annual Wagdy Anis Symposium on Building Science. Ahead of the event, the BSA asked speakers to share their thoughts on the future of building science, their memories of Anis, and what they're most anticipating about the two-day symposium.

The symposium will take place following a one-year break prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This year's topic focuses on the risks & rewards of high-performance building enclosures, and multiple industry professionals and experts will feature as speakers. While technical sessions will happen virtually on Zoom, the symposium will conclude with an in-person reception at the BSA Space.

Named for and held in honor of Wagdy Anis FAIA (1941-2018), the symposium seeks to carry on the spirit of his work and the principles of learning, communication, and collaboration that he valued highly. When asked to share their stories about Anis, the presenters fortunate enough to work with him remembered Anis as both a brilliant, innovative thinker and a generous colleague who was always open to collaboration.

"I was lucky enough to travel with Wagdy during the earliest roll-out of the Building Enclosure Councils. We visited many cities across the country, Wagdy representing the Building Enclosure Technology Council (BETEC) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), and me representing the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Wagdy’s passion for applying building science for great buildings was infectious and inspiring," said David Altenhofen.

"I remember calling him for an interpretation of air barriers for a roof around the time the Massachusetts air barrier requirement was evolving--it was likely around 2002 or 2003," recalled David de Sola. "I was not sure he would even take my call, but he did and spent a considerable amount of time with me explaining that although there were risks of a roof leak occurring ... the presence of an air barrier on a roof was still a good idea. That was a novel perspective at the time ... The strength of Wagdy’s conviction on the point as well as clarity of his explanation helped me to bring both to my peers and clients."

As a discipline, building science faces a series of diverse challenges today, making learning from Anis' work and innovating in a way that responds to people's needs more important than ever. Speakers weighed in regarding the future of the field, with some expressing common concerns about climate change and the role of building science in alleviating its effects.

"To me the biggest challenges for building science is getting a much larger percentage of design and construction professionals to understand it," said Altenhofen.

"I envision several areas of development in the future of building science (and building enclosure design) that will each present unique challenges, [including] shifting design focus towards resiliency and future climate," said Sarah Rentfro. "A related challenge will be developing a standard approach for predicting future climate impacts on building enclosures given the unknown and somewhat unpredictable nature of climate change."

"Building science holds keys that will ultimately resolve the world’s climate crisis. As populations increase and people continue to spend a majority of their lives indoors, buildings constructed in accordance with evolving building science will not only be healthy, energy efficient, and durable, they will become a significant source of clean energy." said de Sola.

Ultimately, presenters are eagerly anticipating the chance to share their work at the upcoming symposium, expressing a strong interest in learning from and connecting with one another as well as with attendees.

"Especially after coming off 1 ½ years of COVID isolation I look forward to the opportunity to catch up with existing friends and colleagues and to meet new ones," said Altenhofen.

"I am looking forward to gathering with (virtually) and learning from my industry peers," added Rentfro. "This symposium is an opportunity to share knowledge and to collaborate on the complex challenges of our industry."

Said William Rose, "The heart of building science lies not in academic journals, or patents, or other archival dust collectors. It lies in the act of presenting, with proceedings being like a T-shirt you buy at the concert."

There's still time to register for the Wagdy Anis Symposium on Building Science. Find out how you can attend and view the full schedule of events here.

Interested in building enclosure design? View resources, ways to network and connect, and more on the Building Enclosure Council page.