International Masonry Institute News

Masonry Building Envelope: Challenge in Balance

The International Masonry Institute (IMI) provided the latest information on maximizing building performance at a recent seminar for architects, engineers, contractors and owners at its International Training Center in Bowie, MD. The seminar featured Maria Spinu, Building Sciences Integration Manager for Dupont Building Innovations who focused on Sustainable Building Envelope: Moisture and Energy Management in Buildings stressing the importance of how the various cavity wall components need to work together to reduce energy costs and improve durability for sustainable building design. She discussed strategies to control air and moisture, including proper choice of barriers, design criteria and applicable building codes. “You need to integrate the components,” said Spinu, “an air barrier will not work, for example, if not coordinated correctly with the flashing system.”

David Sovinski, IMI’s National Director of Industry Development, and Maria Viteri, IMI’s Director of Sustainability discussed High Performing Masonry Wall Systems showing how masonry satisfies the functions of the building envelope/enclosure – controlling air moisture and vapor transmission, as a system rather than a collection of individual components. Performance is tied to how well all of these components are integrated.

The IMI training center provided the perfect venue for the exploration of the building envelope by allowing designers to witness apprentices in training and to observe rain screen mock-ups of different masonry applications from terra cotta to cast and panelized stone systems.

"This seminar is a must for all owners, designers, engineers, and trades people who play a role in developing or maintaining the exterior wall of a building."

Mark Swanson
Purple Cherry Architects