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  • Anika Mittal Dhawan

'Facade' n 'Fenestrations'

The façade design is an integral part of building design as it’s the first impression and helps set the design vocabulary for the project. With the advancement of technology, the new trend has moved towards a more dynamic, intelligent, interactive & responsive façade design. Earlier the local climate was the key governing factor for building form and façade design. Technology has changed that, now building facades design is not restricted by local climate as facades can adapt to different climatic conditions during a different time of the year. The new facades are working towards addressing the issue of sustainability through materials and technology to create responsive, intelligent facades that adjust according to the temperature, light, and humidity, thereby reducing energy consumption and increasing efficiency.

As the relevance of sustainability and energy consumption growing globally; a lot of clients, architects, companies are moving towards creating a green building. Automated and adaptable façade systems such as intelligent glazing systems, fritted glass, photovoltaic integrated glazing, climate-responsive shading devices, green walls, etc are more commonly available. The façade trend today allows us to create innovative design with new materials that rely on information and technology to create a more interactive user based energy-efficient system.

Various design patterns are being used to add an interface to an existing system.

  • A double-skin facade is an effective way to deal with high environmental conditions.

  • Curved/Angular facade patterns on the facade are visually attractive and an intelligent design approach towards it will respond to inner climate and building sustainability.

  • Kinetic/ fluid facades help in creating interactive facades that are not static in nature. They could respond to climate or aesthetics as the approach might be.

  • Translucent frame facades are being lit in different ways, forming an innovative facade outline.

The façade design has grown in the direction of automated responsive façade materials and systems. These are reliant on educating the background, maintenance, and ongoing reassessment of the framework for a building’s better life. The use of technology for façade systems is significant for the building's visual image and performance but it is equally relevant to use technology to create materials that need low energy for assemblies and manufacturing.

The material of the facade speaks about the building’s individuality. The style of the structure is augmented by the materialistic screenplay. A wide range of materials is available from traditional to contemporary to extremely technological for façade treatment. The use of these is determined by the architectural style of the building.

Green architecture bringing in vertical gardening, solar paneling which helps reduce the overall energy consumption. Interpreting eco-friendly materials is expanding today's design approach. Fiber-reinforced materials have made various off the wall forms with the help of new technologies. Weathered steel has been extensively used for a low maintenance cost and keeps the style unscathed. Revolutionizing the building outer profile through the composition of elements, changing colors, and strategizing the surrounding context helps create a facade style.

Hugely impacted by both appearance and performance, the façade is the key element that stands between the exterior and the interiors with a direct influence on the energy efficiency of a building and the indoor conditions. Respecting local climate & conditions, facades are driven by two factors primarily, the space available inside and the immediate external environment.

While designing a façade, it is important to consider the environment and therefore the design should evaluate the environmental impact and help reduce energy consumption. High-performance building facades can improve the thermal conditions and therefore reduce heating/cooling loads, reduce artificial lighting, enhance air-quality thereby reducing energy load.

The new solutions are constantly working towards addressing the issue of sustainability through innovation in material and technology.

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