Evolution of Façades

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"Appearances make impressions" a part of a famous quote that implies the importance of giving enough attention to appearances as many people can think a lot about something only from its initial appearance.

Architects believe that the front of a building is the most important part of it in the point view of design as it is the exterior part of the building and so it holds the role of semblance of this building and the way people perceive this architectural piece of art affects the way they perceive this building.

Façade is the word used to refer the frontage of a building it is originally a French word that was driven from the Italian word Facciata/Faccia which means Face and ultimately from the Latin word Facia.

Through ages façades have changed and developed in order to keep up with up-to-date designs and meet the needs of every era. Architects through studies and experiments came to a conclusion that façades are more than just artistic fronts but it also plays an important role in decorative insulation and environmental regulation related to the interior and exterior of the building, Façades serve as decorative insulators that insulate temperature, sound, humidity and rain and also regulate the ventilation of the building.

Facades through history

Anciently building were made out of mud mainly and thus nearly none of these building has made it to our recent time, but through ages the construction materials have varied such as stones, marbles, woods and many other materials.

Buildings that persisted from the ancient times have become landmarks and looking to these landmarks we can find out that most of them have exquisite façades that are usually a representation of the civilization that built this façade. Scientists can rate the level of development of each civilization based upon the geometrical sciences and carvings they made on their façades.

Some cities in the recent world have renewed the façades of some old buildings to convoy the modern designs while maintaining the same interior structure and design of these buildings.

In the present time façades have evolved considerably and surpassed the definition of being an architectural design only as it has become a functional pillar as well.


Types of Façades

Façades have many types according to its building materials, functional role, architectural build and layering system.

Light-Weight Façade

This type is usually observed in high and medium rise office buildings where ease of installation and proper natural lighting are of main concern.

Glass and metal are the main materials used in this type as they form a layer adherent to the main building but not a main part of it, two subtypes are present of this which are curtain wall and panel façades, the first subtype is where the whole framework of the building is covered completely with the façade materials, while in the latter subtype the framework and the façade alternate with each other forming an interlacing façade.

Heavy-Weight Façade.

This type is mainly built out of heavy-weight materials thus the name of this type, many subtypes fall under it as the following:

  • The Traditional Façade

In this type the usual building materials are used thus it is considered easy to install and not expensive as the other types. Meanwhile, the usage of mud or concrete bricks, marbles, stones, woods and such materials have its downside as they are considered to be of low efficiency in terms of insulation.

  • Ready-made Façade

In this type premade pieces are assembled like Legos, the premade piles are usually made out of wood and concrete and easy to install as well they are of comprehensible costs.

  • External Insulation finishing systems (EIFS)

In this type the building is surrounded by insulating plates that are either fixed to it or adhered by adhesive material such as mortar. A cladding is put over the insulating plates in order to add an aesthetic touch suitable for the building and its purpose.

The plates used in this type are highly efficient in thermal insulation thus prevents condensation and are of reasonable cost as well, this is due to being made of carbon polymers such as (EPS) Expanded Polystyrene, (EPS-G) Graphite Expanded Polystyrene (XPS) Extruded Polystyrene and (MW) Mineral Wool.

  • Double skin Façade

This type is structurally similar to EIFS as it is made of a cladding layer covering the insulating material that is covering the main bearing wall, but the major difference is the presence of an air cavity responsible for ventilation located between the cladding layer and the bearing wall.

This type is characterized by the chimney effect in which the air cavity plays the role of thermal convection as in hot weather the hot air leaves the cavity from its top surface thus prevents condensation and allows fresh air to enter and thus renew. While, in cold weather the air is left stagnant in the cavity maintaining its temperature thus the warmth. In both cases this reduces the heating and conditioning costs. Furthermore, the cladding plays a role in preventing water infiltration.

Having environmental regulating effect thus it spares the building's texture the effect of cracking thus less maintenance costs are required.

No system is completely perfect and this applies for the double skin façade system as well, which is also known as the ventilated façade system. This system is complex and hard to install as well it is expensive to some extent and proper studies and experience are required for its installation in order to install it correctly.

  • Smart Façades

Recently technology has entered the façade industry and many new façade systems have been introduced as a result. Such as; the heat trapping glass that makes the heat flow to the interior exclusively to keep the place warm as needed in cold areas, the self-cleaning glass that is coated with specific minerals that enables the glass to get rid of the dirt by decomposing it.

Dazzled by the many choices?

Choosing the proper Façade should be based on the main goal for its usage whether it is to show architectural capabilities or to harness other advantages as well. In the latter case we recommend decorative insulation solutions as they are easy to install, practical and of reasonable price.




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