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  /  Expert Opinion   /  Facades: a fusion of materials

Facades: a fusion of materials

Text: Ar. Sumit Dhawan, Founder and Principal Architect, Cityspace’82 Architects, Gurugram

A building’s exterior reveals so much about its interiors, as it highlights the structure’s style, geography, materials, construction method and the period it belongs to. Other than these reasons, architects must design a sustainable and weather-resistant façade with thermal and acoustics. In hot and humid weather, mud and brick are preferred over concrete due to their cooling capacity. Pitched roofs are used in rainy and snowy areas, while double-insulated outside walls are common in colder areas.

Screen facades are extremely prevalent in contemporary buildings, as light and shadow play a fundamental role. They provide shielding and sun protection while adjusting light, along with creating different designs with different materials. Sun breakers deflect strong sunlight to keep indoors cool, where wooden louvres and textile products are paired with steel and concrete.

One can experiment with angular facades, which visually enlarge the interiors and reflect different forms and aesthetics. Weathering steel renders a rustic but aesthetic appearance when exposed to natural elements, and doesn’t have to be painted. They allow the structure to respond to its surroundings, connotation and orientation as they are built out of wood, metal and even fabric.

Green design has become extremely widespread in buildings, which includes using solar panels, rainwater harvesting and vertical gardening for a self-sustaining zero-carbon impact. Greenery integrated into the façade is visually aesthetic and keeps the temperatures cool, along with reducing energy consumption. Though glass facades are conventional, one can experiment with different colours and compositions of glass (transparent or translucent).