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Facades: The Latest Architecture and News

How Do Double-Skin Façades Work?

07:00 - 20 August, 2019
How Do Double-Skin Façades Work? , © ArchDaily
© ArchDaily

Double skin façades. Almost a self-explanatory name for façade systems consisting of two layers, usually glass, wherein air flows through the intermediate cavity. This space (which can vary from 20 cm to a few meters) acts as insulation against extreme temperatures, winds, and sound, improving the building's thermal efficiency for both high and low temperatures. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of double-skin facades is Foster+Partners' 30 St Mary Ax Building, "The Gherkin."

The airflow through the intermediate cavity can occur naturally or be mechanically driven, and the two glass layers may include sun protection devices.

© Cemal Emden © Martin Van der Wal © Sergio Grazia © Cemal Emden + 11

What are Kinetic Facades in Architecture?

07:00 - 14 August, 2019
What are Kinetic Facades in Architecture?, Illuminated facade of Galleria Centercity. Image © UNStudio. Photographed by Kim Jong-Kwan
Illuminated facade of Galleria Centercity. Image © UNStudio. Photographed by Kim Jong-Kwan

For most of the history of architecture, interesting facades were achieved through materiality or ornamentation. From the elaborately painted friezes of the Parthenon to the glass exteriors of modern skyscrapers, architecture was primarily static, only ‘changing’ as the environment would change and affect the material of the façade in differing ways, be it rain, light, rust, etc.

Al Bahar Towers facade panels. Image © Aedas Galleria Centercity facade. Image © UNStudio. Photographed by Christian Richters Shading panels of the Kiefer Technic Showroom. Image Courtesy of Ernst Giselbrecht + Partner Kinetic facade of Brisbane Domestic Terminal Carpark . Image Courtesy of Urban Art Projects + 18

What are your EXPERIENCES with your FACADE?

02:30 - 30 May, 2019
What are your EXPERIENCES with your FACADE?

Many of us spend most of our days sitting behind a computer and working. In our working environments, not only indoor conditions, but also the daily interactions with building’s façade (i.e. opening a window, closing a window blind or simply looking out from a window) have a major impact on our experiences. In that respect, as a part of an ongoing Ph.D. research, this survey investigates users' experiences in their working environments, related to the building's façade.

Designing Ventilated Façades Using 3.5 mm Porcelain Tiles

08:00 - 12 May, 2019
Designing Ventilated Façades Using 3.5 mm Porcelain Tiles, Cortesía de Grespania
Cortesía de Grespania

The ventilated façade is a construction solution that uses a double enclosure distanced from each other by a support structure to generate an air chamber for ventilation. This operation creates a chimney effect that activates air currents by convection, improving the acoustic and thermal insulation of the building, and increasing its energy efficiency.

Due to its nature and manufacturing, the 3.5 mm porcelain tile is a great choice for ventilated façade cladding. Its high resistance to weathering, dimensional stability, and lightness reduce the support structure requirements. It weighs 3 times less than a traditional porcelain tile and allows large formats, up to 3.6 meters, reducing the number of joints. It also delivers high color stability, impact resistance, and low maintenance over time.

Cortesía de CHC Cortesía de Grespania Cortesía de Grespania Cortesía de CHC + 29

Aluminum Foam Facades: Architecture Rich in Texture, Porosity and Brightness

06:00 - 6 May, 2019
CaixaForum Sevilla / Vázquez Consuegra. Image © Jesús Granada
CaixaForum Sevilla / Vázquez Consuegra. Image © Jesús Granada

Modular coatings for facades and enclosures typically deliver fast and efficient solutions. However, many times they lack richness and character since they are repeated infinitely, without relating to the architectural design and its different functions and requirements.

These aluminum foam panels are manufactured through an air injection process in molten aluminum, which contains a fine dispersion of ceramic particulate. These ceramic particles stabilize the air bubbles, and create aluminum foam panels which provide an interesting level of detail and variability, generating unique facades with different levels of texture, transparency, brightness, and opacity. These ultralight panels can be used as flat architectural sheets, are 100% recyclable and available in standard sized formats up to 3.66 meters long (custom longer panels also available). 

Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. Alusion™. Image Cortesía de Cymat Technologies Ltd. + 20

How Are Fiber Cement Panels Created?

07:00 - 19 April, 2019
How Are Fiber Cement Panels Created?, Denver Botanic Gardens / Burkettdesign. Image Courtesy of Swisspearl
Denver Botanic Gardens / Burkettdesign. Image Courtesy of Swisspearl

At the start, train cars stand ready with cement and bales of fibers. A machine processes the mixture layer by layer into panels of the desired size and thickness. However, some specific production knowledge must be considered in the manufacture of the building material. Marco Ziethen, Swisspearl’s head of production technology, explains us the fabrication process of fiber cement.

Courtesy of Swisspearl Courtesy of Swisspearl Slurry. Image Courtesy of Swisspearl Cutting and palletizing. Image Courtesy of Swisspearl + 17

Why It’s Convenient To Wrap Architecture In Zinc

05:30 - 15 April, 2019
Why It’s Convenient To Wrap Architecture In Zinc, The Alchemist / Reid Architects. Manufactured by elZinc. Image Cortesía de elZinc
The Alchemist / Reid Architects. Manufactured by elZinc. Image Cortesía de elZinc

A lightweight material par excellence, Zinc is a non-ferrous metal that provides an effective solution for coating buildings exposed to adverse weather condition while simultaneously delivering a creative response to the requirements of the program and the users of the project.

When in contact with humidity, Zinc panels generate a self-protecting layer that isolates heat from indoor spaces during the summer. 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.

Legacy ER Allen / 5G Studio Collaborative. Manufactured by MetalTech-USA. Image © Michael Moran/OTTO The House on the Cliff / GilBartolome Architects. Manufactured by elZinc. Image © Jesús Granada The Alchemist / Reid Architects. Manufactured by elZinc. Image Cortesía de elZinc Stade De Soccer de Montréal / Saucier + Perrotte architectes + Hughes Condon Marler Architects. Manufactured by elZinc. Image © Olivier Blouin + 19

Zinc-Coated Buildings: 20 Recyclable and Durable Facades

04:00 - 23 January, 2019
Zinc-Coated Buildings: 20 Recyclable and Durable Facades, Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University / Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Iwan Baan
Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University / Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image © Iwan Baan

Zinc is a natural element extracted from ores. Its symbol, which appears in the dreaded Periodic Table, is Zn. Through a metallurgical process of burning its impurities (reducing zinc oxide and refining), it assumes a much more friendly appearance, and later becomes the sheets, coils, and rollers used in construction. The main characteristic of this material is its malleability, which allows it to be worked easily, allowing to cover complex forms in facades and roofs of buildings.

Polycarbonate in Architecture: 10 Translucent Solutions

04:00 - 7 November, 2018
Polycarbonate in Architecture: 10 Translucent Solutions, © Brett Boardman
© Brett Boardman

Composed of microcell panels, polycarbonate offers various solutions for the use of natural lighting in architectural enclosures. Whether applied to facades, interior spaces or roofs, the benefits of polycarbonate, such as lightness, clean lines, colored panels, and light effects, offer a wide range of design freedom. Microcell panel technology reduces the need for artificial light and favors uniformity in the diffusion of natural light, achieving energy efficient facades and the illusion of spaciousness in interior spaces. Below, we've selected 10 projects that have used polycarbonate as a wrapping material.

© Ben Hosking © Imagen Subliminal Cortesía de Danpal Cortesía de Danpal + 33

Fiber Cement Facades in Architecture: 9 Notable Examples

05:00 - 29 October, 2018
Fiber Cement Facades in Architecture: 9 Notable Examples, Lighthouse / Room11 Architects. Image © Benjamin Hosking
Lighthouse / Room11 Architects. Image © Benjamin Hosking

Interested in building light and modular facades with a rustic and monolithic appearance?

Composed of cement, cellulose, and mineral materials, fiber cement allows us to clad walls in a light, non-combustible, and rain-resistant way, generating facades with different textures, colors, and tones. Its panels are easily manageable, perforable, and can configure ventilated facades when installed with a certain separation between the rear wall. Check after the break for 9 projects that have cleverly used fiber cement as the primary material in facades.

24 Housing Units / Zanon + Bourbon Architects. Image © Olivier Dancy Casa Hoffstad / Knut Hjeltnes. Image © Inger Marie Grini Villa GK / CORE Architects. Image © Alexander Bogorodskiy Casa GZ / Studio Cáceres Lazo. Image © Pablo Casals Aguirre + 25

13 Instagram Accounts That Showcase the Diversity of Facades Around the World

09:30 - 5 September, 2018
Instagram user @serjios (Serge Najjar). ImageZaha Hadid in Beirut
Instagram user @serjios (Serge Najjar). ImageZaha Hadid in Beirut

In recent years, social media (especially Instagram) has become an extremely important tool in the field of architecture. Instagram has become the go-to visual platform for showcasing a wide variety of architectural typologies and styles, city views, and stunning edifices that often go unnoticed. While these buildings may seem ordinary to the everyday passerby, they become objects of art for not only architects but those who stop to take notice of their design.

Below we have selected 13 Instagram accounts dedicated to highlighting facades and walls from around the world, showcasing the diversity of our cities.

Uniqueness Through Hand Embossing: A Vibrant Interplay of Light and Shadow

00:00 - 3 September, 2018
Uniqueness Through Hand Embossing: A Vibrant Interplay of Light and Shadow

Innovative and sustainable products made of natural raw materials, such as the new large size façade panels Texial, are borne of ingenuity and expertise. The fine surface structure gives the appearance of a fabric and is always one-of-a-kind because it is embossed by hand.

15 LEGO Ideas to Build and Inspire

06:00 - 20 December, 2017
15 LEGO Ideas to Build and Inspire, © LEGO
© LEGO

Thinking about resting for a few days during the holidays? We have selected a number of LEGO® sets that are sure to relax you and inspire you so that you too can enjoy these amazing, colorful, minimalist blocks by exploring the wonderful world of architecture, engineering, and construction.

With great inspirations from Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe in the Architecture Series, and some of the world's most iconic works such as the Eiffel Tower, the White House, the Empire State Building, the Big Ben or the Lincoln Memorial in Monumental Series, we invite you to test your skills and be inspired by the following LEGO® Architecture guide.

Check out below!

a+u 2017:08 Feature: Glass Façade

18:00 - 14 August, 2017
a+u 2017:08 Feature: Glass Façade

a+u 2017:08 – Feature: Glass Façade

Facades+AM Philadelphia

12:46 - 25 July, 2017
Facades+AM Philadelphia

The Facades+ conference series sponsored by The Architect's Newspaper is a robust dialogue encompassing all things building skin—bridging the profession, industry, academia, operations, and ownership. We’ve distilled the best of the Facades+ 2-day event into a quick-take morning forum with a strong local flair. Facades+AM is coming to Philadelphia for the first time this September. See the full program below.

Facades+AM Austin Conference

19:14 - 14 June, 2017
Facades+AM Austin Conference

Facades+AM Austin includes three sessions covering issues unique to the region, including innovative collaborations between architects and engineers, high performance envelopes, and the changing face of Austin's skyline. These well-rounded, expert dialogues will inform and inspire.

The Facades+ conference series sponsored by The Architect's Newspaper is a robust dialogue encompassing all things building skin—bridging the profession, industry, academia, operations, and ownership. We’ve distilled the best of the Facades+ 2-day event into a quick-take morning forum with a strong local flair. Facades+AM is coming to Austin for the first time this July.

How Physico-Realistic Rendering Helps Architects Choose the Right Glass for Facades

09:30 - 21 October, 2016

The physical properties of glass are invaluable and unequaled when it comes to the architect’s material palette. From the time of the cathedrals and the the brilliantly colored stained glass that served a functional and didactic purpose, to the modernist liberation of the floor plan and the exquisitely-framed horizontal views provided by ample windows, architects have turned to glass to achieve not only aesthetic but performative conditions in their projects.

Today, Architects face an increasing array of choices in specifying and designing with glass for building facades, as glass manufacturers propose a greater variety of colors, textures and patterns than ever before. A wider range of coatings and treatments has also been developed, allowing for a finer selection of glass panes with a combination of light transmittance, reflectance and absorption to meet the needs of outstanding architectural projects. These options affect the aesthetics and energy performance of the glass, and therefore of the overall building.

Thanks to advanced calculation tools, energy performance can now be anticipated accurately, but the graphic representation of glass is still a challenge, and yet a crucial need for architects.

Veiled in Brilliance: How Reflective Facades Have Changed Modern Architecture

09:30 - 12 October, 2016
Veiled in Brilliance: How Reflective Facades Have Changed Modern Architecture, Reflections on glass façade. Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. Architects: Herzog & de Meuron. Image © Frank Thiel
Reflections on glass façade. Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. Architects: Herzog & de Meuron. Image © Frank Thiel

Even as modernism promoted the transparency of glass architecture, many within the movement were conscious of the monotony of large glass facades, with even Mies van der Rohe using elements such as his trademark mullions to break up his facades. But in the years since, countless uniform structural glazing skyscrapers have emerged and bored urban citizens. In response to this, unconventional reinterpretations of facades have gained interest.

Accompanied by the belief that light and brilliance could help in creating iconic architecture and a better human world, glass and metal have been innovatively transformed to create crystalline images. As a result, the locus of meaning in architecture has shifted from the internal space-form towards the external surface.