The word ‘façade’ originates from the Italian word “facciata” and is defined as the exterior or all the faces of a building. It is the calling card of an architecture project since it is one of the most iconic and recognizable elements that become part of collective memory. The façade sets expectations and tone for the overall structure. It has a crucial functionality role in light transmittance, acoustics performance, and energy efficiency. The façade not only acts as a barrier between the inside and outside but also has a distinct identity of its own and sits perfectly in a given context.

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1. Adds Personality and Character

A building façade offers an opportunity to emphasize design. Many buildings meet the structural regulations but in return settle for standard designs and lack identity, character, and personality. A façade can play a huge role in this as it imparts uniqueness to the structure which lacks that something special. The façade of Krushi Bhawan in Bhubaneswar, designed by Studio Lotus has a distinct visual identity which creates a vibrant and contemporary narrative of traditional Odia craft depicting agricultural folklore and mythological stories.

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2. Shield Barrier against External Factors

The design of a façade is similar to that of clothing where one dresses according to context. A façade protects the occupants from the rain and wind and extremes of humidity and temperature. Facades are very popular for their resistance to temperature, weathering, and corrosion. SBB Railways in Switzerland designed a façade for its new headquarters that consisted of 6,258 individually moveable slats on the 98,318 square-foot-building as a solar shading device to provide a superior working environment to its employees.

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Shield barrier ©advancedtextilessource.com

3. Natural Ventilation and Acoustical Insulation

A façade acts as a connector to the external environment. Proper ventilation and good use of materials can help achieve the desired output making the building façade active in a context. A proper amount of air changes and acoustical comfort to occupants this is pivotal in façade design. It becomes necessary to consider the local climate and weather changes while designing fenestrations. PAM center in Malaysia is designed on the idea of bringing the exterior space inside and the porous aluminum screen allows for natural ventilation within the building.

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4. Plays a crucial role in Energy efficiency

A façade must not only be designed for aesthetics but it should also cater to the environment at large. As architects and designers, it is one’s responsibility to make sure to give back to the environment and minimize the effects of climate change. Facades can provide significant help in reducing energy bills. A façade can minimize solar gain which in turn reduces the cooling loads of the building resulting in minimal bills. One Central Park in Australia, designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, features 250 species of Australian flowers and plants, the buds and blooms of the vegetation form a musical composition on the façade.

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5. Offers Comfort and Adds Productivity

A successfully designed building façade entitles the occupants to control the penetration of light through several methods such as louvers, automated systems, or shading devices. In addition to this, it also allows the regulation of air movement and temperature through operable windows which increases the overall comfort levels of the occupants. When better comfort levels are provided, it automatically results in the rise of productivity levels. Pixel Façade designed by Pixel architects is a biophilic façade system for the next generation offices that acknowledges the desire to be happy in a conducive, natural workspace. Being able to open and close different aspects of the façade helps create more or less intimate open spaces. 

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6. Provides Additional Security

The right planning and treating the building fenestrations accurately proves to be a good façade system with a sense of security. This especially becomes necessary during the post-work hours or the later hours of the day. A double-skin facade is one of the methods that can help achieve this purpose. Al-Bahar Tower in Dubai designed by Aedas Architects features a double-skin responsive façade that takes cultural cues from the “mashrabiya”, a traditional Islamic lattice shading device. The screen operates as a curtain wall responding to the movement of the sun and in the evening all the screens will close.

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7. Adds Life to the Structure

Facades are the outcome of modern technology and advanced manufacturing processes which makes them highly resistant to the exterior environment. The use of innovative materials, shading devices, unique systems, pop of colors is what brings structures to life. The façade is the whole and soul of the structure. International Management Institute (IMI), Kolkata designed by Abin Design Studio has a façade that is inspired by nature. The use of colored laminate with PVB glass on the façade follows no repetition in pattern and is symbolic of the unpredictable nature of the sky. It also represents the vibrancy of the young generation of today.

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Author

Simran Bajaj is a Mumbai – based architect. She graduated recently in 2019, worked for a while and is pursuing an MBA now. She is a vibrant girl who loves narrating through her writing. Architecture is her passion but writing makes her feel stronger.

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