A stunning facade is to a building, what icing is to a cake. The outer appearance of a building is what invites people to have a taste of the building and experience the marvelous architecture that it encloses.
For years, the facade and its treatment have played a significant role in defining the various architectural styles. The use of Carrara white marble in Roman architecture, or the use of red sandstone in Mughal architecture, the facade is crucial to denote the society, and culture of that time.
In today’s world, facade treatment is impacted by modernization and the evolution of mankind to take on a futuristic and industrial approach. Materials used in facades are mass-produced and highlight the culture of the world we live in today.
Popular Materials for Facades
- Brick is a versatile facade material.
- It can be used to give a planar and non-planar facade.
- The brick units can be interleaved, rotated, extruded, recessed, and used to create patterns.
- The various colored bricks are also implemented to create interest.
- The texture and color of brick are used to design interesting facades.
- Glass facades make the building seem light.
- It brings more light into the interior.
- The glass facade has geometric designs to create a contemporary look.
- It is thermally insulative and also provides sound insulation.
- The glass facade adds a sense of luxury.
- It is long-lasting and sustainable.
- Timber can be used as panels, or as fibers.
- The panels of timber can be arranged in various patterns, to create facades.
- Fibers are woven, and these woven units are used to create a composition for the facade.
- The different types of timber add their unique attributes such as color, texture, and smell.
- Timber has an earthly, natural feel which brings warmth to a building.
- Concrete facades are versatile in shape, texture, and finish.
- Concrete can be used to create various shapes with the help of molds.
- The surface treatment of the exposed concrete can be done to get a smoother or rougher feel.
- Concrete can maintain the internal temperature and protect against external weather changes.
- The joinery of concrete facades can be hidden to give a more seamless facade.
- Metal facades can be made into any shape and size, depending on the design.
- They add lightness to the building form.
- Metal is used as cladding in facade treatment.
- The different metals used such as aluminium, steel, iron, and copper adds interest through colour, and the effect created by the lighting.
- Metal facades add drama and a sense of luxury.
- Stone facades can be treated or left in their natural state.
- The facade can be smooth or have undulations and rough edges.
- The different types of stone are applied based on the local availability and desired effect.
- Stone adds colour, texture, visual interest, and thermal comfort.
- Stone is available as pre-cut units of a specific, uniform dimension, or as irregular pieces.
- The units can be arranged to create geometric patterns, while the irregular pieces are used to get a more rustic look.
With the advancement of technology, it has become easier to innovate and implement sustainable materials in architecture. These materials are derived from nature and used in the rawest and most natural state possible, limiting the manufacturing cost and energy required.
Sustainable Materials for Facades
- Cork is sustainably harvested from the cork oak tree. It grows back quickly once a layer of bark is removed.
- It can also be procured from the waste generated by cork bottle cap factories.
- Cork can withstand high pressure and is hydrophobic in nature. Thus it can withstand water damage.
- When processed, it can be made more durable.
- Cork possesses sound insulation properties.
- The drawback of cork is the specific availability in Europe and Africa, which requires shipping.
- Bamboo facades give an organic look and tie the house to nature.
- Bamboo grows quickly after harvesting and is thus sustainable.
- It needs to be treated to ensure that it withstands rain and other weather conditions, as bamboo is susceptible to rot.
- It can be used to create dynamic and kinetic facades and is useful for providing ventilation while ensuring privacy.
- Mycelium is the strong, fibrous base that grows in the substrate, in mushroom cultivation.
- The fibers bind together and form thick strands that can create a strong base for other construction purposes.
- The advantage is that mushrooms can grow on any substrate, even waste material.
- It also takes the air impurities for growth.
- Mycelium as a material has not been explored to a large extent but has been applied to facades.
Facades and the materials used to create them are revolutionary and are a reflection of society. The advent of technology and the creativity of architects can truly create wonders.