4 Types of Facade Systems for Your Building Design

Facades are an essential component of any building’s exterior, providing both an aesthetic and practical purpose. They are the first feature that people notice as they get closer to a building and have a big impact on how that structure is perceived.

Facade design and building have changed significantly over time as a result of technological developments and practices oriented towards sustainable design. A building’s exterior design can also significantly affect how much energy it uses, with well-designed facades assisting to lower heating and cooling expenses.

Studying the different types of facade systems is essential for architects and designers to understand the best solutions for their projects. Each facade system has its unique advantages and disadvantages:

Curtain Wall System

Curtain walls are non-structural cladding systems made up of aluminum frameworks, glass panels, and spandrel panels. The system is usually hung from the framework of the building, resulting in a consistent and seamless façade. A curtain wall system’s primary purpose is to shield a building’s interior from harmful climatic factors like wind, rain, and sunlight. Additionally, they can be altered to fit particular design specifications like color, texture, and even complex geometries.


  • Curtain wall systems give structures a contemporary and distinctive appearance, giving architects more design flexibility.
  • Curtain walls increase solar heat intake and let in natural light, both of which lower energy usage.
  • Curtain walls are perfect for high-rise structures because they are incredibly strong and can endure strong winds.
  • Curtain wall systems are an affordable option for building exteriors because they require little maintenance.
  • Compared to conventional techniques, curtain wall systems have a quick installation period.


  • The installation of curtain wall systems can be expensive, making them inappropriate for some projects with limited funds.
  • While curtain walls can shield a building’s interior from the elements, if they are not properly installed and planned, they may also be susceptible to leaks and water infiltration.
  • Building insulation can be a problem for curtain walls, which could affect the building’s energy effectiveness.


  • Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design
  • Vol Walker Hall and the Steven L. Anderson Design Center
  • Davis-Harrington Welcome Center
  • JTI Headquarters
  • Pierres Vives

Ventilated Facade systems

A ventilated facade system is a type of external cladding that includes a façade panel, insulation layer, air cavity, and supporting framework. The air cavity that exists between the insulation layer and the facade panel, which enables natural air movement and airflow, is the system’s key component.

Reduced heat absorption or loss due to the ventilation cavity serves to control the building’s temperature. Because they are reliable, low-maintenance, and have excellent moisture management capabilities, ventilated façade systems are frequently used in commercial, residential, and institutional structures.


  • By minimizing heat gain and loss and lowering both cooling and heating costs, ventilated façade systems can improve a building’s energy efficiency.
  • The risk of water infiltration and condensation is reduced by the ventilation cavity, which helps with moisture management.
  • Ventilated facade systems are durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance.
  • The system gives architects a variety of design choices, enabling them to produce distinctive and contemporary building facades.
  • The system can improve sound insulation, reducing noise pollution.


  • Since ventilated façade systems can be costly, they may not be appropriate for all projects with budget constraints.
  • Additional fire safety precautions are necessary because the ventilation cavity could serve as a route for a fire to spread.
  • Installing ventilated façade systems requires more specialized knowledge and skill than installing conventional cladding systems.


  • Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
  • Torre Agbar, Barcelona, Spain
  • The Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, UK

Kinetic facade

A kinetic facade is a type of facade system that uses moving parts to create dynamic and interactive building exteriors. These moving parts can include shutters, panels, or screens that can be adjusted according to weather conditions, time of day, or user preferences.

The system can enhance a building’s aesthetic appeal and provide occupant comfort by controlling natural light and ventilation. Kinetic facades are commonly used in commercial and institutional buildings, public spaces, and cultural institutions.


  • Kinetic facades can draw attention and give a building its own personality by enhancing the exterior’s aesthetic appeal and providing a dynamic character.
  • By limiting solar heat absorption, lowering cooling expenses, and optimizing natural light and air, the system can increase energy efficiency.
  • The system’s management of natural light and air can give users more thermal and visual comfort.
  • The system can create a building’s exterior that is intriguing and engaging and adapts to the weather, the time of day, or user tastes.
  • The system can be employed to develop distinctive branding possibilities for institutional and commercial structures.


  • Kinetic facades can be costly, making them inappropriate for some projects with limited finances.
  • For the system to operate at its best, routine maintenance may be necessary, and moving components may eventually become worn out.
  • Kinetic facades require specialist knowledge and skill because they are more difficult to design and install than conventional facades.
  • The system’s moving components could produce noise pollution, which would be disruptive to surrounding residents’ quality of life.


  • Al Bahar Towers, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • One Ocean, Thematic Pavilion EXPO 2012 of Yeosu
  • Facade Kiefer Technic Showroom Graz
  • The Museum of the Moving Image, New York, USA
  • Shanghai Bund Financial Center, Huangpu, China

Double-skin facade

A double-skin façade is a specialised type exterior system that has an air gap between two layers of glass or other construction materials. The system offers thermal insulation and can decrease energy usage by controlling solar heat absorption and optimising natural ventilation.

The area between the two pieces of glass can also be used for interior places or as a buffer zone that offers noise and temperature insulation. High-rise structures, industrial and institutional structures, as well as locations with severe weather, frequently use double-skin facades.


  • By limiting solar heat absorption and enhancing natural airflow, the air gap between the two levels of glass serves as insulation and lowers energy usage.
  • The method can increase thermal comfort indoors by minimising heat gain or loss and preserving a more constant interior temperature.
  • Acoustic insulation can be provided by the area between the two pieces of glass, lowering noise pollution and enhancing user comfort.
  • By enabling natural ventilation, the device can enhance interior air quality and lessen the need for artificial ventilation.
  • The method can give a structure a more distinctive and eye-catching exterior, which can improve its aesthetic appeal.


  • Due to their high cost, double-skin walls may not be appropriate for all projects with limited funding.
  • To guarantee optimum performance, the system might need routine maintenance, and the air gap between the two layers of glass may collect dirt and grit, which will decrease transparency.
  • Double-skin facades require specialist skills and expertise to design and execute because they are more complicated than traditional facades.
  • The air space between the two glass panels may increase atmospheric pressure on the structure and demand more structural support.


  • Eurotheum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • The Crystal, London, UK
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt
  • Swiss Re Tower (gherkin), London, UK.

The variety of facade systems available today provides architects with numerous choices for achieving a building’s intended aesthetics, performance, and sustainability objectives. Each system has pros and cons, and the choice of facade system will rely on a variety of factors, including the style of structure, location, and budget.

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