Blending aesthetic and sustainable design through facades
Text: Ar. Amit Gulati, Co-founder and Partner, Design 21, Gurugram
Facades exhibit a built structure’s identity, and its contribution to functionality has evolved over time. While facades were earlier simply a design distraction to provide shade to the building envelope, they now have a significant role in energy efficiency and sustainability. An ideal façade balances beauty and sustainability, which is why the choice of materials to change often over time.
- Wooden cladding
Naturally exposed wood cladding on the exterior enhances the structure’s aesthetic appeal, adding an earthy feel to the building. Architects and designers make use of wooden beams that act as structural elements as well as create beautiful facades. Wooden facades are highly sustainable due to the renewable properties of wood and its availability in different forms and textures. It promotes low energy consumption and natural thermal insulation. Much less energy is invested in wood production, which contributes to carbon footprint reduction. Wood also reflects warmth, elegance, and nature.
Full-glazed façades became popular because of their aesthetic appeal and efficiency, such as bringing in natural daylight, and outdoor views and visual appeal. Glass facades prevent UV rays, heat absorption, and glare, thus making the building more sustainable and energy-efficient. Glazing provides a modern look and enhances the image and identity of the building. Parametric designs in trend enhance building performance through geometry optimisation and simulation and compel architects to create innovative designs which are no longer composed of a plain sheet of glass.
Metal facades add sophistication and modernity to buildings, as they bring a clean look with their precise fabrication and connections between other building elements. Modern homes predominantly feature perforated metal screens because of their aesthetics and efficiency. These screens allow adequate natural light to the interiors, restrict thermal heat and provide aesthetics to the building.
Galvanised steel sheets guarantee robust durability, thermal insulation and fire protection. Mineral rock wool used as insulating material in these sheets makes them suitable for “green buildings”. Facades made of steel, aluminium or any other metal allow for different shapes, patterns and visual effects for dramatic and creative results.
- Green facades
Green facades are created by growing climbing plants in the soil, which are then spread across the building’s facade. They cover all the aspects of sustainability such as providing thermal insulation and minimising energy to reduce heat transfer, besides aesthetic enhancement. They promote cleaner air, cooler temperatures, insulation from harmful ultraviolet rays and sound reduction inside the building.g.