Success Stories

USDOT Façade analysis

SOM Analyses Façade Detailed to USDOT Building

Figure 1: Nested family custom panels 

“FenestraPro enabled us to dynamically alter, check and validate our performances and geometries to achieve a very specific design proposal.

While our façade consultants stopped at broad overall u-values, using FenestraPro in coordination with our BIM model allowed us to refine and tighten up our thermal performances.”

Richard Aeck

Enclosures Group, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, New York

STAGE: Construction Documentation

Key FenestraPro Features

Real-time understanding of effects of geometry on thermal performances;

Detailed thermal analysis of complex custom panels;

Export of data and comparative analysis.

Skidmore Owings and Merrill is one of the largest architectural firms in the world, with significant expertise in is high-end commercial buildings and innovative workflows and techniques.


Volpe Exchange is a USDOT/Massachusetts Institute of Technology project with a panelized façade of panels of varying typologies predominately consisting of four materials – glazed panel, solid span-drel, frame and a masonry fin.

No façade consultant was engaged on the project, which was designed and documented within Revit from the outset. SOM engaged FenestraPro on the project at the outset of CD Stage (Construction Documentation).

The team at SOM NY had a variety of is-sues to resolve around the façade, particularly given the advanced stage they were at in the design process.

“Our goal was to use different custom energy standards (baseline and exemplary performance created by the designers in FenestraPro) to compare the different building performance ratios based on the approved design,” says Ruben Cabanillas, the technical designer on the team. “This in turn could drive the performance requirements, and in particular the thermal performance, from the different components.”

One of the main problems that arose was that the custom panels created by SOM in Design Development and Construction Documentation had nested families (as per the typical workflow used by the firm) which Revit does not read effectively.

Therefore, dynamic performance results could not be ascertained within the Revit workflow.

Using FenestraPro Premium allowed designers to extract the quantified areas of each material and nested component within the panels to give a weighted thermal performance both to each panel, and the entire assembly.

Figure 2

Figure 3


SOM used a variety of façade types and families on the Volpe Exchange project, including storefronts, curtain walls, and custom panels (Fig. 1, above).

The custom panels, which included several nested families, varied depending on orientation. Therefore shading, area of glazing would differ accordingly.

The challenge was to quickly access each nested family and assign and control separate properties to each, which would affect the performance.


Figure 4

As part of the overall workflow, it was important to document each custom panel type and assembly, and give the designers quantities and performance data on each assembly, including the nested curtain wall element, the thermal properties, areas, and in the case of the glazed element the solar heat gain coefficient and visible light transmittance. FenestraPro Premium allowed designers to extract this information quickly and easily.


Alongside the benefits it offers for early stage conceptual design, FenestraPro Premium for Revit also has a variety of features for more advanced technical design of the façade.

Code compliance validation, the thermal analysis of components and panels allowed SOM to make decisions around the specification of components efficiently and with confidence within the Revit environment.

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