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What Exactly is a Polycarbonate Translucent Facade?

What Exactly is a Polycarbonate Translucent Facade?

Translucent facades are light glazing panels used on the exterior of buildings, protecting the structure from weather damage, dampness, and erosion. Its composition of polycarbonate microcells creates a soft, naturally diffused light with a wide range of possible colors, brightnesses, and opacities.

By fixing these panels in place with concealed joints, it’s possible to hide unsightly building elements and assist in protecting users from harmful UV rays, while also ensuring maximum thermal conduction. Individuals who use them will notice a reduction in energy bills because they use the sun’s natural light to heat and illuminate buildings, creating very attractive indoor environmental conditions for different uses. 

MZ Kitchen / QdL Arquitectos. Image © María González Nathalie Mauclair Gymnasium / Schemaa. Image © David Foessel Nathalie Mauclair Gymnasium / Schemaa. Image © David Foessel Option Coffee Bar / TOUCH Architect. Image © Metipat Prommomate + 25

What are some of the other benefits?

Air and water tightness

Translucent facades offer an optimal balance of solar and thermal dynamics, helping to protect buildings from leaks, dampness, and weather damage. This characteristic is attributable to the panels' the snap-lock connection systems, which ensure that air and water cannot penetrate into the building. They are also durable, allowing them to withstand impact from hail and other unwanted elements. Having been designed to expand and contract as temperatures rise and fall, the panels are unlikely to crack or break, offering great flexibility.

Some specific translucent facade systems include an air gap that provides natural ventilation. With this inclusion, the insulation stays dry, the building stays moisture-free, and polycarbonate sheets defend the structure against weather.

Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects. Image © Annabel Elston
Acne Studios Store / Sophie Hicks Architects. Image © Annabel Elston
Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall / D·Lim Architects. Image © Youngchae Park
Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall / D·Lim Architects. Image © Youngchae Park
Flagship Building / Geodesic Design. Image © Beersingnoi
Flagship Building / Geodesic Design. Image © Beersingnoi

Maximum transparency

To allow the highest possible amount of light to enter, there can be no secondary supporting frames whatsoever, which also generates clean and continuous facades. However, successfully eliminating secondary supporting frames requires complex calculations to ensure that the integrity of the building is not compromised simply for aesthetic reasons.

MZ Kitchen / QdL Arquitectos. Image © María González
MZ Kitchen / QdL Arquitectos. Image © María González
L’Alqueria del Basket / ERRE arquitectura. Image © Daniel Rueda
L’Alqueria del Basket / ERRE arquitectura. Image © Daniel Rueda
Little Shelter Hotel / Department of Architecture. Image © W Workspace Company Limited
Little Shelter Hotel / Department of Architecture. Image © W Workspace Company Limited

Dynamic facades

With interiors illuminated softly and evenly during the day, and the creation of a 'lantern building' effect at night, these surfaces lend to being programmed and transformed with advertisements and imagery projected externally by the owner of the structure. 

Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall / D·Lim Architects. Image © Youngchae Park
Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall / D·Lim Architects. Image © Youngchae Park
Nathalie Mauclair Gymnasium / Schemaa. Image © David Foessel
Nathalie Mauclair Gymnasium / Schemaa. Image © David Foessel
Stardom Entertainment Office / D·Lim Architects. Image © Youngchae Park
Stardom Entertainment Office / D·Lim Architects. Image © Youngchae Park

How do polycarbonate standing seam panels work?

The polycarbonate standing seam panel system, created by Danpal, consists of extruded translucent panels and a vertical standing seam at each end of the panel. The panels are interlocked with a snap-on connector, and the stainless steel retention clips are concealed. Fully assembled, the system is free-floating, with each component able to expand or contract at its own rate. 

Courtesy of Danpal
Courtesy of Danpal
Courtesy of Danpal
Courtesy of Danpal

Because each component of the system is capable of expanding and contracting at its own rate, waves and deflections are eliminated but the structural properties of the material are maintained. Being three times lighter than the weight of traditional rain-screen cladding, polycarbonate panels are easy and quick to install. 

Courtesy of Danpal
Courtesy of Danpal
Standar Sectional Drawing / Airpt System by Danpal. Image Courtesy of Danpal
Standar Sectional Drawing / Airpt System by Danpal. Image Courtesy of Danpal
Polycarbonate Standing Seam Panel. Image Courtesy of Danpal
Polycarbonate Standing Seam Panel. Image Courtesy of Danpal

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Cite: Materials. "What Exactly is a Polycarbonate Translucent Facade?" 10 Oct 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/922735/what-is-exactly-a-polycarbonate-translucent-facade/> ISSN 0719-8884
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