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Traditional Stucco Meets High Performance Building Enclosures

As continuous exterior insulation systems move toward the norm in residential construction, the adoption of one traditional building covering remained blemished by the past failures of its distant cousin.

Follow along as a team of local designers and building craftsmen put three coat cementitious stucco over continuous exterior insulation through a gauntlet of acceptance criteria. Learn what it takes to first detail then assemble and finally prove IBC conformance of a unique assembly’s structural and drainage capacities. It is a story of perseverance to be sure, but also one that may open the way for similar heavy coating systems in the era of ultra-low energy consumption.

Presented by: Richard Williams, FAIA; Christopher Cobb, PE; George Fritz

Presenter Bio:

Richard Williams, FAIA is the founding principal and design practice leader of Richard Williams Architects. His clients have included Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and Dumbarton Oaks, the Hillwood Museum, St. Albans School, the Washington National Cathedral, and numerous custom residential projects in the region as well as more remote locales. His work has received numerous national and local awards; he was elevated to Fellow by the AIA in 2010, and currently is serving his second term on the US Commission of Fine Arts’ Old Georgetown Board.

Christopher Cobb is Principal and founder of 1200 Architectural Engineers PLLC. During his career of over 25 years, Chris has contributed significantly on numerous award-winning residential, retail, museum, performing arts, and historic landmark projects. As a skilled structural engineer fueled by a passion for high-performance building enclosures, he has served as a professional mentor to two University of Maryland Solar Decathlon entries, including the 2011 World Champion, Watershed. Mr. Cobb embraces his generation’s greatest challenge: to create a built environment that endures while using less energy and fewer resources.

As President of Horizon Builders, George Fritz is regarded as one of the top building minds in North America. Under his leadership, the Horizon team has constructed hundreds of single-family homes up and down the East Coast, creating its own standard of building. Over his 36-year career, a dedication to building science and expertise in critical topics like moisture dynamics, enclosure detailing, and geothermal system design and installation have become second nature. George’s highly regarded knowledge ensures each Horizon home is built with discipline, craftsmanship and comfort in mind.

Organized by: Capital Area Custom Residential Architects Network

Co-Sponsored by: Horizon Builders


After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the steps to be taken when the desired exterior wall assembly is not recognized by the governing IBC or local building department;
  • Explain critical details of structural attachment when traditional stucco is placed over thick (3”) exterior insulation;
  • Explain critical details of two-plane drainage when traditional stucco is placed over thick (3”) exterior insulation; and
  • Describe and discuss testing apparatus and conformance criteria for acceptance when traditional stucco is placed over thick (3”) exterior insulation.