Cladding systems have important functions in buildings. They can confer thermal insulation, protect internal spaces from the weather and–just as important–give the building a "face", improving its appearance and clearly identifying the element of design. "Cladding" refers to the components that are linked to the structure of a building to form non-structural external surfaces. While in the past wooden cladding was the only option, there are currently multiple possibilities of materials, colors, weights, textures, anchoring systems, and many other variables available. Below, we outline some of the main materials used for façade cladding, and the projects that use them in a remarkable way:
Facades: The Latest Architecture and News
PVC, as the synthetic material Polyvinyl Chloride is called, or Polyvinyl Chloride, is one of the most produced plastics in the world, reaching 40 million tons per year. Its application is quite varied and in construction it has found different branches, serving both as an input for infrastructure and for finishing.
When talking about energy efficiency in buildings, it is inevitable to mention thermal insulation. We rarely see it in a finished building and, even in the technical drawings, the insulating layer appears as a thin hatch. But this is an element that is of vital importance, as it acts as a barrier to the flow of heat, hindering the exchange of energy between the interior and the exterior, reducing the amount of heat that escapes in winter and the thermal energy that enters in the summer. In a building with good thermal insulation, there is less need for heating to keep the house at a pleasant temperature, also reducing its carbon footprint. Currently, there are many countries that require a minimum level of thermal insulation for buildings, with increasingly strict parameters. But how should this issue be dealt with in the near future, with the worrying climate crisis forecast?
Translucent polycarbonate panels boast unique and striking aesthetics while simultaneously maintaining efficient functionality. They can add depth and color to a façade and may adapt to meet a wide range of performance requirements, from temperature resistance to impact resistance to UV protection and more. Rodeca, a leading company in the polycarbonate panel industry, offers high-quality products with high customizability vis-à-vis colors, transparency levels, treatments, profiles, sizes, joint systems, and more. Below is a detailed list of these many options, accompanied by diagrams and installation steps. We also discuss several case studies where polycarbonate facades have been used to great success, taking full advantage of the options available alongside the intrinsic aesthetic qualities of the translucent panels to complement and elevate their designs.
Curtains can provide a freer and more dynamic flow in architecture. These elements are usually intended to protect the interior from sunlight or create visual privacy, but they are also used as decoration or as room dividers. Since they are very movable and flexible, curtains are becoming a popular choice for architects and interior designers, creating layers between interior and exterior spaces that transform the environment through light and shade. Here, we have gathered some examples of projects that use curtains, particularly in the facades, showing how this solution can affect the overall impression of the design.
Perforated wall panels offer a variety of benefits: they can provide passive ventilation, shade, and unique aesthetics to any façade. In the case of companies like Dri-Design, which specializes in customizable and sustainable metal wall panels, perforated panels can be produced according to a wide variety of specifications, including different colors, materials, sizes, textures, shapes, and styles of perforation. Dri-Design’s perforated imaging series even allows architects to apply images onto their facades by varying the size, location, and density of the perforations.
Below, we examine three case studies of buildings using different perforated panels, considering each of their panel specifications and overall aesthetic effect on the buildings.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
Stefan Fuchs & Raphael Dillhof interview Adam Nathaniel Furman and discuss the role and importance of facades in today's urban fabric, "in the context of a broader range of social, economic, and political issues". Part of a more in-depth study examining the role of facades in the 21st century, this discussion also raises the question of why buildings always embody the values of their creators.
Designed by the Danish architecture office BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, The Smile made of black blasted stainless steel extends along 126th Street in East Harlem, Manhattan. Inspired by the surface of the moon and the cultural influences of the city district, the T-shaped building fits seamlessly into the surrounding red and brown brick buildings. The interlocking chessboard-like facade panels were manufactured in Cologne, Germany by POHL Facade Division. Flanked by room-high windows, The Smile aims to reflect sunlight and amplitude into the daily lives of its residents.
In today's climate, energy and how we use it is a primary concern in the design of built spaces. Buildings currently contribute nearly 40% to global carbon emissions and with a projected growth of 230 billion square meters in construction before the end of 2060, the focus on construction decarbonization efforts should be paramount.
The façade is one of the most important elements in an architectural project. In addition to being the building's first barrier against heat, rain, snow, or wind, it also largely determines the appearance of a building. It can make the project stand out, blend into urban context, or even manifest, at first glance, values of transparency, lightness, or simplicity that the architect seeks to convey. Accordingly, the façade also constitutes a significant portion of the total cost of the work and, therefore, must be specified very carefully, taking into account aesthetics, functionality, maintenance, and long-term behavior.
Polycarbonate has become an alluring alternative to glass in facades, as it has different levels of translucency and can provide optimal transmission and diffusion of light. Moreover, it is light, flexible, recyclable, durable, resistant to impact, and includes UV protection, in addition to resisting temperatures between -40°C and 115°C. But beyond its functional properties, this thermoplastic also provides wide-ranging aesthetic opportunities, allowing architects to create unusually dynamic and expressive facades.
Shortly before the First World War, Harry Brearley (1871-1948), who had been working as a metalworker since he was 12 years old, developed the first stainless steel. Seeking to solve the problem of wear on the inner walls of British army weapons, he ended up obtaining a corrosion resistant metal alloy, and added chrome to the cast iron. The invention found applications in almost all industrial sectors including for the production of cutlery, health equipment, kitchens, automotive parts, and more, replacing traditional materials such as carbon steel, copper, and even aluminum. In civil construction, this was no different, and stainless steel was soon incorporated into buildings.
In countries where architecture adapts to the seasons, projects must respond so that they are comfortable for the users, both in the hot summer temperatures and in the cold winter. Tropical countries, such as Colombia, are a bit luckier. The temperature of construction sites depends less on the seasons and more on where they are located geographically according to the altitude above sea level; the closer they are to the sea, the warmer it is. For this reason, it is not essential to seal or insulate the interior spaces. On the contrary, the good management of constant ventilation creates a more permeable and contextual architecture.
We have put together a series of projects with different architectural programs: local markets, health facilities, cultural, education and housing projects. They show that with different construction techniques, you can begin to control the permeability, air flow, privacy or solar heat gain. Explore each of these projects below.
A lightweight material par excellence, zinc is a non-ferrous metal that provides an effective solution for coating buildings exposed to adverse weather conditions, while simultaneously delivering a creative response to the requirements of a project.
When in contact with humidity during the summer, zinc panels generate a self-protecting layer that isolates heat from indoor spaces. Rain and snow slide easily over its surfaces, and its modular panels can wrap curved shapes or be perforated according to the architectural design, and combined in facades and/or ceilings through different shades, brightness, and colors.