These could be as basic as brick, as traditional as concrete, it could be an alternative in terms of using materials like Ferro Concrete, Metal and Corten Steel says Smaran Mallesh, Co–founder and Principal Architect at Cadence Architects
How does a façade add value to the overall aesthetics of a building?
The façade establishes the identity of the building as far as the city is concerned and I think it’s also a pertinent device to weave into the urban fabric. Facades could be transparent in terms of trying to be indicators of what the inside is, or could be designed as masks that conceal what the insides are. So, the aesthetic value of these facades really depends on how you interpret what they need to do as far as the building is concerned.
Apart from glass, what are some of the other key materials which can be used to design beautiful facades?
Depending on the kind of effect one would want to achieve through a façade, there are multiple materials other than glass. These could be as basic as brick, as traditional as concrete, it could also be an alternative in terms of using materials like Ferro Concrete, Metal and Corten Steel. Wood is also being immensely used in facades now, depending on the effect and feel one desires from the façade. I think it is imperative for a building to have a façade, whether we like it or not, buildings make statements, but the idea of articulating a façade is to make a statement that you believe in, something that you want to communicate through the building.
When it comes to utilizing the façade as an energy efficient entity in a building what are some of the points to be kept in mind? What material will such facades be made of?
It is the need of the hour, and the skin of a building is in need of design development that ensures that it acts as a high-performance façade, while balancing the aesthetic, in terms of the environmental factors and energy efficiency strategies. Moreover, it makes it more challenging and interesting in terms of the material, the orientation, fenestrations and thermal comfort. While keeping in mind external factors, it is imperative to also look at the internal comfort conditions of the occupant. One must also keep in mind the durability of said material and its behavior with respect to environmental conditions.
What are some of the key buildings you are aware of whose façade looks striking and also plays an important role in achieving energy efficiency?
On a larger scale, buildings with high performance facades like The Shed, Pirelli 39 by Diller Scoffidio (DS+R) are quite striking, as well as the UK Pavilion in Shanghai by Heatherwick Studio. The material utilized, a careful design consideration which includes the maintenance in the long term, measures taken to incorporate sustainability is seen in these designs. The important thing to observe in all these buildings is the link between innovation and sustainability, and how the structure is engrained into the fabric to maximize efficiency, which is what makes a building efficient.