Solid wood, which has been used since prehistoric times and is still highly valued today, is extracted directly from trees without undergoing any lamination, pressing, or gluing processes. While it remains a universally used material in architecture, its widespread use has led to an increased demand and less efficient resource management. Therefore, solutions are being sought to optimize its use in production processes and reduce its consumption without losing its capabilities and characteristic beauty. To address issues such as warping, aging, and high environmental costs associated with solid wood, materials like Technowood have been developed. Combining technology and super-strength composites with natural wood veneers, Technowood maintains the beauty and characteristics of solid wood, but with greater durability and a sustainable approach, making it a suitable alternative.
Facade: The Latest Architecture and News
Creating Decorative, Long-Lasting Facades with Natural Wood and Technology
How MVRDV Used Ceramics to Clad a Mixed-Use Project in France
Ascension Paysagère, designed by Dutch office MVRDV, is a mixed-use development that combines residential, commercial, and community spaces in the French city of Rennes. It stands out from its surroundings through a series of stepped terraces inspired by geological formations such as gorges and mountain ranges, with terraces designed to provide a variety of living and communal spaces, as well as tree-lined gardens and public squares. To amplify the effects desired by the designers, the chosen ceramic tile resembles the rock colors of the region, and changes its appearance with every change in climate, reflecting the environment and the light.
Exploring Façade Cladding Systems in Modern Architecture
Besides providing external protection, natural ventilation, insulation and energy efficiency, the presence of façades enhances the building’s personality and character. Among the different types of façade systems, cladding strategies stand out for their variety of materials and textures –such as metal, glass, stone, wood and composite– all of which build durable, low-maintenance and visually appealing structures. Innovating with textures, forms and technologies, BŌK Modern has developed different metal panels for creating functional and aesthetic façade cladding systems. Showcasing six architectural projects, we delve into the practical and visual attributes of rainscreens and wallscreens.
Sunlight Shadows for Slow but Colorful Façade Movements with Pierre Brault
When transparent facade elements deliberately evolve from the course of the sun, we can explore a fascinating slow movement in stark contrast to the hectic urban street life on the ground. Especially the French designer Pierre Brault has responded to the accelerated rhythm of our society with facade installations that combine the principle of the sundial with colorful pop design. His three-dimensional works made of recycled colored plexiglass mesmerize through simple but dramatic movements of colored shadows. In the interview, Brault explains his inspiration, the experimental approach and his interest in working responsibly with material.
Tube Houses: 15 Projects Reinterpreting the Narrow Vietnamese Residences
Walking down the streets of cities like Hanoi and Saigon in Vietnam, you might encounter houses with surprisingly narrow facades in contrast to the stacking of three to five floors, with windows for ventilation and natural light only on the front facade. These are the famous traditional Tube Houses. According to ancient popular culture, this type of housing emerged due to property taxes being based on the width of the facade, but the true reason is to optimize land use, allowing a larger number of plots in the same square.
However, this legacy is now being recreated in contemporary designs by Vietnamese architects. Old facades give way to innovative solutions featuring atriums for natural lighting and ventilation, courtyards and interior gardens, greenery incorporated into different environments, split-levels, etc., allowing for high-quality spaces. With that in mind, we have put together a selection of Tube Houses, together with their respective section drawings. Check out below:
Sound Absorption and Aesthetics: What is Stabilized Aluminum Foam?
Stabilized Aluminum Foam is a unique looking material that combines the aesthetics of aluminum (its texture, shades and brightness) with a spongy, porous appearance. It is produced by injecting air into a cast aluminum alloy with stabilizing agents, which after curing, creates a porous and lightweight, yet highly resistant and rigid cellular structure. Because of its mechanical and thermal properties, it is particularly useful in applications in various industries, such as automotive, aerospace and marine, especially for energy absorption, thermal insulation, and sound dampening.
From Frameless to Pivot: 20 Types of Windows for Architectural Design
When children first learn to draw a house, there are four basic components they illustrate: a wall, a pitched roof, a door and one or more windows. Along with the common structural elements, windows have always been considered to be indispensable architectural features for their multiple functions. While providing views, daylight and natural ventilation, these insulate from cold and heat, protect from external threats and enhance a facade’s appearance. They are also associated with a strong poetic or symbolic value; it is through them that we are able to connect with and enjoy our surroundings, be it a beautiful natural landscape or a dense urban environment. An expressive part of any building, windows serve as a visual bridge between the inside and outside, acting somewhat as a refreshing escape from our everyday routine.
Playing with Hues and Shades: The Power of Color in Building Facades
“Color is life; for a world without color appears to us dead.” Distinguished painter Johannes Itten described with these words the exceptional power of color in our perception of the world. As a sensory event, color not only defines what we see, but also how we feel and think; it has been shown to alter productivity, inspire decision-making, shape our perspective, and influence our well-being. Especially in architecture, these effects materialize and reach their maximum splendor. Design is, after all, a visual form of communication, and color palettes –coupled with light, shadow, texture and sheen– play a critical role in conveying a building’s message. They create the ambiance that supports the function of a space, completely transforming user experience. Even the greats have recognized this power: “Polychromy is as powerful an architectural tool as the plan and section,” Le Corbusier once said.
Clean Angles: Designing Façades with Miter Seam Corners
A metal façade introduces a visually appealing architectural element on top of a built insulation system, such as a vapor barrier, insulation board, and structural supports. Known for their versatility, durability and elegant, clean finishes, metal claddings can be used for both roofing and walls to deliver a long-lasting and eye-catching finished product made from natural materials such as aluminum, copper, zinc and steel. Regardless of which system is used to fix the panels (concealed clip system or exposed fastener system), a façade can be made from a variety of profiles and colors for unlimited design options.
Low-Carbon Strategies: Insulated Panels for Energy-Efficient Envelopes
A 2022 United Nations report claims that the negative impacts of the climate crisis are mounting much faster than scientists predicted less than a decade ago. Rising greenhouse-gas emissions could soon outstrip the ability of many communities to adapt, and the consequences will continue to hit the world’s most vulnerable populations. As climate scientist Maarten van Aalst suggests, “Any further delay in global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” The data is clear: to protect our planet, we need to prevent a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures this century. To do so, the world must achieve a 45% reduction in global carbon emissions from 2010 levels to 2030, to then reach a net-zero state by 2050. It is evident, however, that we are on track to miss this goal by a substantial amount. The clock is ticking, and every industry should act fast (and drastically) to even dream of greener cities.
Angled Metal Panels for Modular, Creative and Sustainable Façades
Blending in with its urban context or standing out to draw attention, a façade tells a building’s story. It is an expressive medium through which we engage with architecture, defining first impressions and setting the tone for the interior by experimenting with transparency, movement, texture and color, among other aesthetic possibilities. Of course, the envelope also plays a crucial functional role, acting as a protective barrier against extreme weather conditions and directly impacting light transmittance, energy efficiency and acoustic comfort. Architects therefore face an important challenge: to achieve a balance between an attractive look and performance. To do so, it is pivotal to specify the right materials during the design stage.
CO₂-Reduced Concrete Façade Panels for Greener Buildings
Although we usually think of climate change as something that should be addressed by research institutes, governments or official reports, private companies also play a key role in affecting change, as they are on the front lines of production and innovation. This is especially true in the field of construction, as it is an industry that moves a significant amount of resources and people, but also exerts a huge impact on the environment. Unfortunately, not all companies take on this challenge, although this is slowly changing and can be seen in a number of successful examples. One of these is the case of Rieder, which embarked on a journey to become “Climate Positive” by 2030 and, more notably, set the example when building its new headquarters.
Webinar: Corian® Design Talks Future of Façades With Zaha Hadid Architects, M3 Architectes & STARH
From undulating forms to breathable qualities and sustainable fabrication, the future of façade design is an ever-evolving topic in architecture. designboom and ArchDaily team up with Corian® Design for a webinar to discuss new possibilities of exterior cladding. Experts at leading architecture practices, including Zaha Hadid Architects, M3 Architectes and STARH, join this call on an exclusive yet free webinar - register here.
Architectural Polycarbonate Systems: Transforming Daylight into a Powerful Tool
In architecture, the concept of daylighting refers to when buildings allow natural light inside to provide a number of benefits, from enhanced visual comfort and productivity, to improved health and higher energy savings. However, to reach optimum levels of sunlight, reaching a balance is key; while too much can produce an uncomfortable glare and tremendous amounts of heat, too little can lead to health deficiencies and a greater dependency on artificial lighting. In that sense, the qualities of polycarbonate panels are unmatched, becoming an attractive choice for facades and roofs by achieving a soft, diffused light with varying levels of transparency, brightness and opacity.
Balancing Energy-Efficiency and Aesthetics: Large-Scale Thermal Fenestration Systems
The total energy demand from buildings has risen dramatically in recent years. Driven by improved access in developing countries, greater ownership of energy-consuming devices and increasing urban densities, today it accounts for over one-third of global energy consumption and nearly 15% of direct CO2 emissions. As the climate crisis aggravates and its consequences are more visible than ever, the architecture and construction industry must respond accordingly. It must take responsibility for its environmental impact and give priority to reducing energy consumption, whether through design decisions, construction techniques or innovative products. The key lies, however, in not sacrificing aesthetics and comfort in the process.
Aluminum Chains for Façade Cladding: Protection and Lightness
Façades don't always have to be opaque. Whereas in the past the only options were heavy and raw–such as stone and brick–in recent years façades have adopted an increasingly lighter appearance, with innovative materials becoming the protagonists. These give the building a different look, delicate and transparent, while still maintaining privacy and thermal comfort. Examples of these include polycarbonate, translucent sheets, perforated tiles, glass and even metal chain links, which was the chosen material for a building in Montpellier, France.
Minimalist Windows: Erasing the Boundary Between Indoors and Outdoors
Like a beautiful painting, windows showcase interiors and frame landscapes that connect users to the outside world, directing our eyes to what really matters. But besides framing views and facilitating visual communication, windows serve multiple essential functions that make them vital components in any project. They illuminate homes with sunrays, provide natural ventilation, filter light, insulate from cold and heat, block water and ensure protection. As most design professionals would agree, glazing also plays a crucial aesthetic role; its materials, style and dimensions certainly make a significant difference in the appearance of facades and spaces.
Metal Façades: How to Unite Aesthetics, Performance and Safety?
Metal façades give buildings an air of sophistication and modernity. They also bring a cleanness to the façade, due to their precise fabrication and well-resolved connections between other materials and building elements. There are currently multiple product options available for coatings, offering extensive colour options, including metallics, with different levels of durability (natural aging and corrosion). One of the main issues when approaching metal façades is the risk of corrosion, which can create points of weakness in the material and interfere with the aesthetics of the building. So, with this in mind, what do architects need to focus on to ensure that building envelopes age gracefully, while maintaining aesthetics and performance over time?