What is meant by the term “facade”?

The word “façade,” which is derived from the Italian word “facciata,” refers to the outside or all of a building’s external faces. Typically, the front or main face of a house is the only one to be described in this way. Along with the roof, it is one of the most important parts of a building since it provides the first line of defense against environmental factors, including rain, snow, wind, frost, sun, and other things that could affect the structure. It is crucial to pick a facade system that will offer protection from these threats and help lower energy usage, maintenance expenses, and resident discomfort.

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3XN completes Copenhagen hospital building featuring slanted stone walls_©Alyn Griffiths(https://www.dezeen.com/2015/11/14/3xn-rigshospitalet-hospital-accommodation-building-copenhagen-stone-walls-balconies/amp/)

The Evolution of Facade Designs

A façade has changed over time. Humans could apply and use technology and engineering in more inventive ways thanks to rising technology. Japan has been building with wooden logs since 807 BC. Local materials like straw and mud, clay, lime, wood, etc., were used as façades due to their simple construction; experiments were not commonly carried out. Over time, the arches’ construction sites got more complex, enabling the structures to support two weights. This resulted in the discovery of certain Renaissance-era artifacts and vaulted ceilings. Glass began to be used in buildings in Europe later in the 1800s, and as a result, it is still well-known today. Natural stone, glass, and ACP (aluminum composite panels) were the materials of choice for construction by the 1900s. The majority of engineers and architects were still searching for alternatives due to ACP’s limited lifespan. They were able to create ceramic slabs that are waterproof, flexible, and come in a variety of colors.

Facades and structures were utilized to denote status, money, and power. The size of the building was significant during the modern era. Later in the 20th century, when computers were developed, designers like Frank Gehry pushed the boundaries of their two-dimensional creations and designs.

The current state of technology allows architects to improve the possibilities of materials and fabrication. Technology has also made it easier for designers to research and use materials in similar ways. Construction management and BIM have both advanced significantly in recent years. Fabricators concentrate more on the design of the structural support system and how to produce the necessary surface geometry as surface geometry becomes more complex.

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Street view of the beautiful old buildings with Portuguese tiles on the facades in Porto city, portugal_©https://www.123rf.com/photo_91414011_street-view-on-the-beautiful-old-buildings-with-portuguese-tiles-on-the-facades-in-porto-city-portug.html

What makes facade designs essential now?

Facades are taken into account from a design perspective in architecture. How accurately do they describe a building’s function? Does it accurately reflect a building’s features, such as whether it is a private or public area, etc.? From an engineering standpoint, elements such as protecting the structure from inclement weather, pollution, acid rain, and energy-saving heat/cold and rain. Today’s designs require more than ever that distinctive facades be incorporated.

Significant considerations include building upkeep; wind loads in tall buildings, preventing water intrusion, seismic resilience, roofing systems, cooling and heating of internal temperatures, air permeability, solar and acoustic insulation, and inside sight. Due to their different geographic locations and climate conditions, different places around the globe experience huge variations in the design of their façades. It is essential to consider all these factors when designing.

 A Facade gives a building the form needed to create an iconic figure specific to that location.

First of all, it gives the architect a chance to present a unique and tasteful design. The secret is to design something unique that draws everyone’s admiration if you don’t want your building to look too ordinary or usual. A building’s facade is only its front, but it also expresses the users’ and the design’s personalities. An appealing and smart building exterior might make it stand out from unfavorable neighboring structures.

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Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects_©Iwan Baan


It Serves as a barrier

A building’s façade influences how much fresh air and light enter the structure. The building must be adaptable to the appropriate environmental factors if it is being constructed in a location where severe weather and storms are frequent. The structure will remain intact and unaltered if a sophisticated and durable exterior façade is built for it. It is comparable to how a human body is clothed; we dress for the occasion. The front facade design must use suitable materials, methods, and procedures, among other things, to adapt to the harsh climate.

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New headquarters SBB_©Courtesy of Lussi+Halter Architekten

Significant Contribution to Energy Efficiency

We must conserve energy and use it more intelligently because man’s resources are being depleted at a faster rate than ever before in the twenty-first century. The exterior of a structure plays a crucial role in energy efficiency in addition to being visually appealing. Facades can significantly lower energy expenditures by minimizing solar exposure and lowering the building’s cooling needs. In addition to comfort and beauty, any façade design should take the surroundings as a whole into account. One can consider how the exterior of the building combats solar gain, the entry of wind, etc. to have an energy-efficient façade.

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The University of Arizona’s ENR2 is a LEED Platinum-certified building with a façade specially designed to cope with Arizona’s harsh sun and scorching climate._©Courtesy of Carol Dunn(https://www.asti.com/sustainability-refined-the-importance-of-modern-energy-efficient-facade-design/)

Within an urban setting, facades should be viewed as a living, breathing skin

Creative, innovative, imposing, and controversial. Capturing a moment in time and history and serving as a statement of engineering progress and architectural design – today’s façades push boundaries, communicate the brand image and use exciting, collaborative materials to produce provocative and advanced performance solutions. Day in and day out, across the globe, there seems to be a recurring theme in the care of our façades; a distinct lack of appreciation for our building skins. Whilst much of our work in the UK and Europe is driven by strict budgets and miles of red tape, the emergence of Super Skyscrapers in the Middle- and the Far East means that the need for a façade care plan has never been more imperative.

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Bund Finance Centre / Foster + Partners + Heatherwick Studio._©Laurian Ghinitoiu

Natural Ventilation and Acoustic insulation

A building’s exterior serves as both a barrier to the outside world and a way to interact with it. A good design can be produced as a desired outcome by adhering to proper ventilation and making effective use of materials, which makes the building facade alive in a context. Thus, demonstrating the right number of air changes and acoustic insulation becomes essential to front facade design.

Traditional Procurement vs. Proactive Asset Protection

Why do building managers and owners permit the façade to deteriorate, the stress on to build, and the material to collapse mostly due to traditional procurement? Many buildings just receive frequent window washing as routine maintenance, until one day it becomes hard to overlook the façade anymore since it has degraded to a severely poor state. Business suffers as a result, and the building’s asset value is diminished.

One needs a unique structure for building owners and managers that is created to take preventative care of the skin of the building. One must jointly comprehend the skin of the building, manage it, and take care of it. The foundation of all care plans should be to maintain facilities for the long term by inspecting, cleaning, measuring, and caring for the entire building envelope in a regular and long-term scheduled program. The only solution that will work is brand new, innovative, comprehensive, service-driven, asset-protection-driven, building-specific, and elevation-specific. It is imperative to avoid making assumptions and generalizations to protect and future-proof our built environment.

A layer of protection 

Better security is also ensured by a strong facade system. A double-skin responsive facade on the Al-Bahar Tower in Dubai allows the screen to shift following the position of the sun. People are fortunate to be living in a time of technological advancement where we have access to a wide range of building materials, design concepts, architectural know-how, and more to construct a facade that is effective. Both residential and commercial building facades establish the mood of the structure. Not only is it a great chance to show off the character of the structure, but it also gives you a chance to shield it from bad weather and other elements of nature, like acoustics, energy, and light. It has a distinct personality since it serves as a partition between the building’s interior and exterior.

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Minimum Security Prison of Nanterre / LAN Architecture._©Cyrille Weiner

Lastly, a building’s façade is successful when it makes the occupants feel at ease. This not only enhances daily routines but also raises users’ productivity levels. A front facade design will therefore continue to be relevant in various contexts, something an architect should always be aware of.

Online sources

Types of facades for buildings

Available at:


Importance of Facade Design in Architecture

Available at: https://wfmmedia.com/facade-design-importance-architecture/ 


by Worldofsurfaces

October 7, 2021

Available at: https://www.worldofsurfaces.co.in/blog/what-is-the-importance-of-building-facades-in-architecture/ 

21st Century Façade Skins: Future-proofing Our Assets

Available at: https://wfmmedia.com/21st-century-building-skin-future-proofing-our-assets//

Façade Design: Interesting Effect on the Architectural Nature of the Buildings

By Sayli Mohite 

Available at: https://thedesigngesture.com/facade-design-of-a-building/ 


An Architect/Designer who stands utmost to facilitate success and break the stereotypes that have been followed for a very long time in architecture. He believes every design must be conceived to add charm and enhance the surrounding's innate beauty with energy and resource efficiency as key driving factors.