Modern Building Façades & cladding
May 03, 2017
The exterior of a structure is the first indication that a building has something exciting to offer on the inside. The outward facade is the buildings face to the world, and the architects desire to express what the interior workings of the building has to offer – both its business and layout. Just as we dress to impress for a meeting or even a date, a building is the same – the face of the building is the face of a company, and therefore has to offer the client something special. It is the first point of contact for workers, occupants, visitors and passerbys. In an ever more competitive society, and social media dominating people’s lives… would you want someone bad mouthing your building? In todays society, reviews are king. Would you want someone put off your practice, business, investment, before they had even got to the door?
Modern facades are often made of polycarbonate sheets or panels, as a more cost effective alternative to glass. They also more malleable, so designs are able to be pushed further and allows the architect more scope. Polycarbonate sheeting also allows sun to enter the building, there by heating it – and sustainability is always key in a design these days.
The use of Solid surface facades
Solid surface facades can be used to quite incredible effect in the cladding of buildings. Because the of flexibilty of the materials, the design possibilites are myriad. The designer and architect have access to limitless colours and form. Features like translucent colours and backlit panels can now, for the first time all be used in cost effective exterior cladding. And with the strength of the material used in these facades, the buildings are able to be kept looking their very best, as scuffs and smears are easilt removed, which in turn reduces maintainence costs.
When updating using a facade to update a tired old building, the cladding acts two fold: not only as a cost effective means to bring a structure up to date, but also to act as a protective layer for the building inside, protecting the previous materials used from the elements. Grafiti ridden buildings no longer need to be a eye-sore, now that the new cladding has been added to a building – the grafiti can be easily removed with a pressure washer. And since the new colour stability of new brands that are available on the market is so good, the facade won’t fade either.
Expanded Metal Mesh
Previous architectural styles, such as the brutalist movement, gave the urban landscape raw and rough contrete shells, in an effect to express the functionality and strength of the building and its work force inside. They reflected the stoic reliabilty that was needed at the time. Now, in the current area, the nature of the buildings are reflected in the ‘smart’ movement. In an fast moving world, with our IOS systems being constantly updated, and the brand new thing fast becoming yesterdays news, metal mesh facades are architectures answer to this.
Easily installed and with unlimited design possibilties, metal mesh facades are the future. Metal mesh facades are woven, or welded wire mesh made of steel or other tensile materials. With the holes either punched in, or part of the welding, they work to create a stunning visual structure, whilst maintaining airflow. The benefits to using the type of shell are numerous – the flexibility in apperance, the heat and solar protective nature of the steel – the mesh can even negate the need for air conditioning to be installed into a building – making it a considerably cost effective option!
Metal mesh facades offer the possibility of using ‘bi-directional’ screening – which means the facade allows air and light to flow in, creating a ‘play of light and shadow’, which means the building is offered a different character at night and during the day. And because of the colourways offered, these facades are able to either blend into their surroundings, or stand out. Often used in rural areas, the facades can match the trees, or a rusted effect will ensure the structure looks like it is part of the landscape. Equally vibrant colourways can be used to stunning effects in cityscapes. For instance, the Yanget House Hostel by Gresley Abas, a four-storey mixed use building in, uses a perforated aluminium screen designed by artist Rick Vermey to provide sunshading for its east-facing commercial tenancies, whilst creating a textured façade. According to the architects, the idea of the folded aluminium panel is carried through to the design of the street canopy, creating cohesion with the Victoria Street façade.