The facade is the front-facing outer surface of a building and therefore the first abstract representation of its architecture. It is designed as a creative element that reinforces or disrupts its neighborhood identity. Automatic interpretation of buildings and, particularly, their facades is inevitable and this is why this outer surface is of great importance to an architect.
New technologies, however, have created opportunities and challenges in the facade environment that help increase the energy efficiency of buildings making it much more than an aesthetic element. These are unusual yet outstanding facades that are remarkable either on efficiency or sustainability.
What were your first impressions? Which one did you like most?
1. Endesa Pavilion
Location: Barcelona (Spain)
Facade Description: Facade composed by modular components, like solar brick, that respond to photovoltaic gaining, solar protection, insulation, ventilation, lighting… Self-sufficient solar prototype. Read more here.
2. Fuel Station + McDonalds
Location: Batumi (Georgia)
Architect: Giorgi Khmaladze
Facade Description: The vegetation layer of the facade, which covers the cantilevered giant canopy of the fuel station adds natural environment and acts as a “ecological shield” for the terrace. Read more here.
3. Al Bahar Towers
Location: Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
Architect: Aedas Architects
Facade Description: Facade operates in response to sun exposure and changing incidence angles during the different days of the year. It takes cultural cues from the “mashrabiya”, a traditional Islamic lattice shading device. Read more here.
Location: Melbourne (Australia)
Facade Description: The facade is a system of perimeter planters, fixed shading louvers, double glazed window walls and solar panel shading. is Australia’s first carbon neutral office building, generating all its own power and water on site. Read more here.
Location: Mexico City (Mexico)
Facade Description: The facade is made up of 7,723 blown glass spheres made by craftsmen at a workshop in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Each sphere is supported by a disk of EPDM (a kind of rubber used in the automobile industry, with excellent resistance to weathering). Read more here.
Location: Sydney (Australia)
Architect: Raffaello Rosselli
Facade Description: As the project was to repurpose an existing tin shed at the rear of a residential lot, the facade materials have been left raw and honest, in the spirit of its industrial economy. The layers of corrugated iron accumulated over generations of repair were reassembled on three facades. Read more here.
7. Glass Farm
Location: Schijndel(The Netherlands)
Facade Description: An image of the typical farm was composed and then printed using fritted procedure onto the 1800m2 glass facade, resulting in an effect such as a stained glass window in a cathedral. The print is more or less translucent depending on the need for light and views. Read more here.
8. House in Travessa de Patrocinio
Location: Lisbon (Portugal)
Architect: Luís Rebelo de Andrade + Tiago Rebelo de Andrade + Manuel Cachão Tojal
Facade Description: Its facade walls are completely covered with vegetation creating a vertical garden so, short levels of water consumption are guaranteed as well as little gardening challenges. Mini lung and an example of sustainability for the city of Lisbon. Read more here.
9. Aqua Tower
Location: Chicago (U.S)
Architect: Studio Gang Architects
Facade Description: The facade design was inspired by the striated limestone outcroppings common in the Great Lakes area. But this sinuous shape is not just a mere formal gesture, but it is also a strategy to extend the views and maximize solar shading. Read more here.
10. Can Cube
Location: Shangai (China)
Architect: Archi Union Architects Inc
Facade Description: Its facade system consists of aluminium carbonated drink cans which are enclosed in an aluminium frame. The façade saves the energy wasted during recycling processes by reusing the cans in their current form. Read more here.
11. Kolumba Museum
Location: Cologne (Germany)
Architect: Peter Zumthor
Facade Description: The facade fragments include the remaining pieces of the Gothic church, stone ruins from the Roman and medieval periods, and German architect Gottfried Böhm’s 1950 chapel for the “Madonna of the Ruins.” Read more here.