The building facade is one of the most important external features for building functionality. While the facade is a discerning component that exhibits the unique architectural aesthetics of the building, it also has a crucial role related to the energy performance and interior function of a building. Designing a building facade is crucial to not only the inhabitants but also to the surroundings. 

How to make facades useful in design - Sheet1
facades design ©

In the past few years moreover, globalization has led to a rise in glazed facades, with cloned buildings standing at every nook and corner in cities. However, despite the design restraints, thinking out of the box can lead to innovative solutions for facade designs.

Solar panels | Facades design

In the generation of glass facades, using solar panels for the building facade may seem like an obvious feature but not many have thought of it; and very few have been able to pull-it-off efficiently.

A solar facade system uses sun rays and converts it into energy and most facades can be used for solar cladding. Ventilated solar facade technology offers many advantages such as electricity production, facade insulation, extra thermal properties, noise reduction, modernization of old facades.

How to make facades useful in design - Sheet2
facades design©

New Bauhaus, Germany is designed to present innovative developments in the energy sector. The facade is built up of oppositely inclined, blue-tinged glass and photovoltaic elements. It is built around the orientation and incidence of solar radiation.

The project, which is a cooperation between the energy and water utility company NEW and Hochschule Niederrhein, is designed to present innovative developments in the energy sector.


Graffiti has been used as a medium for voices of social change, protest, or expressions of community demands. Street-painters or graffiti artists seem to want to eradicate the idea of property (symbolized by buildings) by using buildings as tools of expression. The struggle against the principle of property is directly related to the expression of freedom, especially for those graffiti works or phrases that denounce abuses of power and discrimination.

How to make facades useful in design - Sheet3
facades design©

The mysterious artist is in news for hiding a shredder in the frame for his 2007 painting ‘Girl with Red Balloon’. After being sold for a whopping $1.4 million, the painting largely destroyed itself.

In general, Banksy’s satirical street art combines dark humor with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique. Situated in a car park on Broadway, Downtown LA, Swing Girl is another example of Banksy making use of what was already there. The ‘ing’ portion of the parking sign has been whitewashed out to form the park and a girl on a swing added to the letter A. It seems clear that there is a lack of places for kids to play safely in what is a fairly rough area of Los Angeles

Facade Lighting

The facade lighting does not only help to localize buildings and provide the security it also plays a crucial role in the architectural expression. The GreenPix media wall is an innovative concept, incorporating sustainable and digital technologies within the curtain wall of Xicui Entertainment Centre in west Beijing.

How to make facades useful in design - Sheet4
facades design©

Featuring the world’s largest color light-emitting diode (LED), it becomes a major new focus for the digital artist community.

The unique glass curtain wall consists of approximately3000m² ‘interactive skin’ and integrates a photovoltaic system for the first time in China. It performs as a self-sufficient organic system, saving solar energy by day and using it to illuminate the screen after dark.

Biomimicry | Facades design

Nature has created systems that can be mimicked to solve design problems and create a more sustainable future. Humans could also address environmental issues by using biomimicry — examining nature’s solutions and incorporating them into human designs.

How to make facades useful in design - Sheet5
Facades ©

This Seoul Commune 2026, Seoul is inspired by the beehive. It doesn’t just mimic the shape but also takes into account the self-cleaning and self-sufficient nature of the beehive. 

The private spaces in all towers are composed of individually unique beehive-like cells. The external skin of the towers comprises hexagonal lattice patterns that are derived from the unique spatial structure and create the unique appearance of the towers. The hexagonal openings are covered with various types of glass. The water distribution system also carries up to 30% of the cooling load during the summer and cleans the glass windows of the building in the heavily polluted city of Seoul.

Atop the glass is a geotextile that allows for the growth of vines and other flora that provide additional cooling and environmental advantages to the building and surrounding site.

Green Façade

A green facade is formed by growing climbing plants, up and across the facade of a building, either from plants grown in garden beds at its base or by container planting positioned at different levels across the building.

Green facades can produce a cooler microclimate immediately adjacent to a building, primarily through direct shading of the building facade, but also from cooling from plant foliage (transpiration of water through the leaves), and evaporative loss of water from the growing medium.

How to make facades useful in design - Sheet6
facades design ©

The Babylon Hotel is situated at the coastal Naman Retreat Resort among villas. Designed for relaxation of the body and mind, the hotel accommodates guests within a natural, lush environment. It is encapsulated in greenery that hangs and creeps up through a system of precast concrete louvers with a wooden texture.

Its luscious skin not only adds aesthetics but reduces direct sunlight, creates oxygen, allows the air to flow and keeps the interiors private. 

Dynamic Façade

Dynamic Façades are also known as responsive façades. They display an ability to comprehend and learn from their surroundings, adjusting their behavior accordingly. The building’s skin is not inert but modifies dynamically to regulate the internal environment, decreasing its power demands. Ideally, they include methods for generating energy. 


The installation on the facade of Eskenazi Hospital, Indianapolis is made of a total of 8,000 angled metal panels with colors that change depending on the orientation. As one walks or drives along with the hospital, the colors change and the facade shifts in color. The panels change color from chrome to charcoal or vice versa, modifying the design of the facade simultaneously.

Daylight control | Facades design

Daylight can be used to countervail the use of electrical lighting and ensure a positive effect on not only the productivity of the occupants but also their mood. Research says, in the absence of proper solar control, occupants tend to draw blinds when visual or thermal comfort thresholds are exceeded. These blinds are likely to remain closed for some time, negating the potential benefits of having the window in the first place.

How to make facades useful in design - Sheet8

At the Arab World Institute (AWI), Paris, French architect, Jean Nouvel has realized a dynamic redesign of the vernacular Arabic screen. The amount of daylight entering the building is controlled by 30,000 light-sensitive diaphragms. The metallic brise-soleil (brise-soleil is an architectural feature of a building that reduces heat gain within that building by deflecting sunlight)on the south facade, with intricate and precise details, quite similar to those of the traditional mashrabiya, is visible from a distance.

A thoughtfully designed facade can make a building work more efficiently for the owners, occupants, and environment. In addition to that, it has the power to transform the performance of an existing building. Façade combines the interior space and exterior environment, as a building skin, it plays a crucial role in heat, light, and air exchange. However, its performance depends on choosing the right material and getting it correctly installed.


Prachi Surana is a budding Architect, studying in the Final Year B. Arch at BNCA, Pune. She is a dreamer, believer, hard worker and believes in the power of the Good. Prachi spends her time reading, painting, travelling, writing and working on the Design Team for NASA, India.