Parametric architecture is a new and evolved style of architecture. Its computer and technology-aided design is used as a tool for various design projects. It is defined by parameters that are set by the designer to be it in form of a small-scale project or a major urban scale design. Following are some of the many creative parametric facade designs:

1. Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall was designed by Frank Gehry. The first view of Walt Disney Concert Hall most people see is the curving stainless steel skin of the building’s exterior. Resembling silver sails, the curves echo the billows in the auditorium and play off the bowed cornice of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, forging a link between new and old.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope2. BMW Welt

The BMW Welt is designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au. The entrance of the building is defined by a spectacular double cone on the south side, which is the visual icon of the BMW Welt. The transparent glass facades permit views of the landscape of the Olympiapark from inside the building.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope3. Beijing National Stadium

The innovative structure was designed by Herzog & De Meuron Architekten, Arup Sport, and the China Architecture Design and Research Group. The steel structure is painted light grey, contrasting with the red-painted external concrete wall of the bowl, which is clearly visible through the façade. This creates a variety of impressive visual effects, particularly when lit at night. Symbolically, the curved steel structures and inflated elliptical shape and asymmetrical proportion give one a hyper-realistic and passionate sensation, as if the ‘silver threads’ are trying very hard to control and subdue the force from within which is trying to extend outwards in all directions.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope4. Burnham Pavilion by Unstudio

Based on the specificity of the site, the design of the pavilion elaborates on the relationship to the existing rigid geometry, but it also introduces a floating and multi-directional space. The pavilion is open at its sides, between the two horizontal planes of the podium and roof.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope5. Son-O-House

Designed by NOX, the structure is both an architectural and a sound installation that allows people to not just hear sound in a musical structure, but also to participate in the composition of the sound. The structure is derived from typical action-landscapes that develop in a house: a fabric of larger-scale bodily movements in a corridor or room, together with smaller-scale movements around a sink or a drawer.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope6. Guangzhou Opera

The 70,000m² Guangzhou Opera House has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The larger building is clad in charcoal-colored granite with a rough texture, while the smaller structure used lighter white color. The total granite façade cladding area is 24,700m² with 75,422 pieces used to give a pebble appearance. The tessellated, triangular glass sections provide internal lighting and open up to the public areas. It also emphasizes the crystalline nature of the Opera House. Three-direction skew folded steel plates were used to create 64 faces and 47 corners to the structural façade.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope7. Yas Hotel

Designed by Asymptote architects, the main feature of the hotel’s design is a 217-meter expanse of sweeping, curvilinear glass and steel facade known as the Grid Shell. The skin of the grid-shell comprises approximately 5,000 diamond-shaped glass panels, varying in size. These panels enable the complex geometry of the façade to be a medium for sequenced lighting or moving imagery. In this way, the building adds both to the racetrack atmosphere and the hotel’s brand image.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope8. Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Service Center

New York practice Reiser + Umemoto have won the first prize in a competition to design a new port terminal for the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The Kaohsiung Port Terminal will feature a series of undulating horizontal structures, each with glazed facades at the ends, merging together towards the center and shooting up to form a tower at the opposite end. The building’s facade will feature an array of slim glazed slits, following the curves of the structure.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope9. Water Cube

National Aquatics Centre in Beijing – better known as Watercube designed and built by a consortium made up of PTW Architects, Arup international engineering group, CSCEC (China State Construction Engineering Corporation), and CCDI (China Construction Design International) of Shanghai. The Water Cube acts as a greenhouse thanks to the blue bubble ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) material façade. Its translucent quality allows natural daylight to penetrate the building interior and acts as an insulator to passively heat the building and pool water. Unlike traditional stadium structures with gigantic columns & beams, cables & spans, to which a facade system is applied, the architectural space, structure, and facade of the Watercube are one and the same element.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope10. Al Bahar Towers

The Aedas studio was chosen to design the new headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Investment Council after an international competition for the commission. The façade system defies the typical typology of the area’s skyscrapers, providing a more agile and dynamic solution to the climatic conditions. The Al Bahar Towers seek to provide a contextual and culturally sensitive design that also utilizes modern technology to achieve the highest possible standards of efficiency.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope11. Museo Soumaya

The new Museo Soumaya in Mexico City has been described as “dazzling,” “a trapezoid in motion,” “a shiny silver cloud-like structure reminiscent of a Rodin sculpture,” and “the world’s flashiest museum.” Designed by maverick young architect Fernando Romero, it also was called “impossible to build.” The façade, in particular, presented huge challenges. its windowless façade covered with 16,000 hexagonal aluminum modules gives the whole area a unique mystical air. The base and its inner heart are made of concrete, supporting a second structure made of steel and bearing up the entire façade, which consists of a primary grid of bent tubes and a secondary grid supporting the tarred outer wall, on which four-armed supports are positioned to support 16,000 aluminum hexagons juxtaposed to form a continuous open mesh.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope12. The Hangzhou Tennis Center

One of the most significant parametric buildings in the world is the Hangzhou Tennis Center, designed by NBBJ. The stadium’s exterior shell geometry draws from the serene flora iconography found on the banks of Hangzhou’s West Lake in order to create a powerful and unique image along the fast-growing Qian Tang riverfront. The main design concept of the envelope was based on a double curve surface that was developed from a circular arc. The generated double curve surfaces took the form of a petal.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope13. Beijing Greenland Centre

Designed by SOM, the tower’s striking facade pattern is informed by the bas relief carving technique: Isosceles trapezoidal modules function as prisms, catching daylight and refracting it to create an interplay of light and shadow. Each face is composed of two vertical, low-E insulated vision glass panels. Two trapezoid types alternate in a regular pattern up the tower’s height, tapering toward the sky or the neighborhood below. The trapezoidal skin increases the building’s performance, providing energy-saving self-shading on all faces.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope14. Heydar Aliyev Centre

Zaha Hadid Architects created a building form that appears to emerge from the topography. The skin of the building – a single curving surface – rises, undulates, and wraps inward at its base to completely envelop the building’s various volumes. Glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) and glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels are the predominant materials used in the façade system.

20 Incredible Building Facades that will make you rethink Building envelope15. Broad Museum

The Broad Museum is a new contemporary art museum, designed by diller&Scofidio and constructed in 2015, close to the famous Walt Disney Concert Hall. a facade, constructed of gridded panels, that stretch and deform according to light and position, turn this building into a spectacular sight. The facade design of Broad museum serves like a semi-transparent membrane, bridging the interior and exterior space by matters of light and visual connection. The facade is constructed using a variety of materials: concrete, steel, glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) and glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG). The “veil” is assembled from almost 2,500 GFRC panels, supported by a structural steel network.

16. Brick Facade

With their latest facade construction, Iranian architecture firm Sstudiomm explores the potential that brick can offer by utilizing parametric architecture. Instead of relying on unique construction elements for assembly on-site at a later date, in their new project the firm considers how a simple mass-produced element like the brick can be assembled in unique ways by taking advantage of digital technology. As Sttudiomm’s facade for an apartment block in Damavand exemplifies, stencils allow the assembly of bricks into a geometric pattern.

17. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art facade design designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. For the outer skin of the building, the architect chose titanium after ruling out other materials and seeing the behavior of a titanium sample pinned outside his office. The finish of the approximately 33,000 extremely thin titanium sheets provides a rough and organic effect, adding to the material’s color changes depending on the weather and light conditions. The other two materials used in the building, limestone, and glass, harmonize perfectly, achieving an architectural design with a great visual impact that has now become a real icon of the city throughout the world.

18. Kolon Headquarters at Seoul

Morphosis has designed a folding, high-tech building facade design organized around a grand entry and multi-story atrium. the distinctive brise-soleil system on the western facade utilizes a GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic) formulation containing Kolon’s high-tech Aramid fabric to create a performative and symbolic feature for the building. The system has been parametrically shaped to optimize shading and views.

19. Pushkinsky Cinema

The design of the Pushkinsky Cinema facade design renovation by synthesis design+architecture places the face of the landmark venue behind a sculptural veil which acts as a dramatic backdrop to Pushkin Square and an iconic face to the cinema. Inspired by the screened views, geometric intricacy, and flowing surfaces of a “Russian Veil”, the design contrasts the imposing presence of the Brutalist architectural icon by simultaneously enclosing and revealing its contents behind a delicate yet robust open-air lattice materialized as thermo-formed sheets of DuPont Corian. The solid mass of the building is clad in a series of Corian panels which gently morph the relentless diagrid pattern of the existing facade into a flowing and varied matrix of warped hexagon modules.

20. Korean Presbyterian Church

The ‘KoreanPresbyterian church’ located in queens, New York by Californian-based architect Greg Lynn is a 1500 capacity sanctuary facade design situated on the roof of a renovated laundry factory. the undulating skin is an addition constructed out of wooden planks braced in a steel frame inviting the visitors of the congregation. the layering of the sections allows an openness to the facade creating framed sightlines into the community.

Author

Chitsimran Kaur relates to what Buckminster Fuller once said, that “Whenever I draw a circle, I immediately want to step out of it.” and therefore is on her inceptive period of learning and exploring architecture.

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