Curiosities

11 Buildings with Unusual Facades

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?

Click on images to make them larger.

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Endesa Pavillion Barcelona IaaC

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Endesa Pavillion Barcelona- Detail- Detalle constructivo -Seccion

1.
Endesa Pavilion
Location: Barcelona (Spain)
Architect: IaaC
Year: 2011
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Mc Donalds by Giorgi Khmaladze

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Mc Donalds by Giorgi Khmaladze Inside Detail

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Mc Donalds by Giorgi Khmaladze Section Detail
2. Fuel Station + McDonalds

Location:
Batumi (Georgia)
Architect:
Giorgi Khmaladze
Year:
2013
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Al Bahar Towers Origami Architecture

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Al Bahar Towers Origami Architecture Detail Render

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Al Bahar Towers Origami Architecture Detail

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Al Bahar Towers Origami Architecture Section
3. Al Bahar Towers
Location:
Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
Architect:
Aedas Architects
Year:
2012
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Pixel Building-Melbourne

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Pixel Building-Melbourne Detail

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Pixel Building-Melbourne Section Water
4. Pixel
Location:
Melbourne (Australia)
Architect:
studio505
Year:
2010
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Hesiodo hierve Diseñeria

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Hesiodo hierve Diseñeria Detail 2

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Hesiodo hierve Diseñeria Section

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Hesiodo hierve Diseñeria Detail
5. Hesiodo
Location:
Mexico City (Mexico)
Architect:
Hierve-Diseñeria
Year:
2005
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Tinished House- Australia

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Tinished House- Australia Façade

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Tinished House- Australia
6.Tinshed House
Location: Sydney (Australia)
Architect:
Raffaello Rosselli
Year:
2011
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.


Glazen Boerderij

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- MVRDV- Glass farm

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- MVRDV- Glass farm Interior

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- MVRDV- Glass farm
7. Glass Farm
Location:
Schijndel(The Netherlands)
Architect:
MVRDV
Year: 2013
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- House In Travessa Do Patrocínio

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- House In Travessa Do Patrocínio Side

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- House In Travessa Do Patrocínio
8. House in Travessa de Patrocinio
Location:
Lisbon (Portugal)
Architect:
Luís Rebelo de Andrade + Tiago Rebelo de Andrade + Manuel Cachão Tojal
Year: 2012
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Aqua Tower Exterior

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Aqua Tower

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Aqua Tower Plan
9. Aqua Tower
Location:
Chicago (U.S)
Architect:
Studio Gang Architects
Year: 2009
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Can Cube Building

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Can Cube Detail

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Can Cube
10. Can Cube
Location:
Shangai (China)
Architect:
Archi Union Architects Inc
Year: 2010
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.


Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Kolumba Museum

Virginia Duran Blog- Unusual Facades- Kolumba Museum Plan Section
11. Kolumba Museum
Location:
Cologne (Germany)
Architect:
Peter Zumthor
Year: 2007
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.


 

43 thoughts on “11 Buildings with Unusual Facades

  1. Another fascinating collection. I do like the Aqua Tower. I wonder if you would be interested in trying to put some of your work to our local newspaper The Press? These examples of different facades and your post on modern places of worship are so relevant to the changes needed in our city after the earthquake.

    Like

    • Thanks for stopping by! I didn’t know this project either but it is indeed interesting. They did an “all you can drink” day on site for collecting the cans! It looks like a fun construction.

      Like

  2. How weird and wonderful. I would love to live in a city surrounded by such varied, unconventional designs. Today’s structures are so casual and often only considered remarkable for suggesting a former time or a different place. Only the daring claim originality, it seems. A great post. Thanks.

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  3. Brilliant Designs .Architect at its best.Remarkable pictures. Thank you for liking my post ( Our Anniversary Wishing you the best.jalal

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  4. Hi Virginia, this is a fabulous post! I can’t believe I was recently in Melbourne and missed Pixel – how fascinating. I guess I’ll just have to go back. All the best, Terri

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  5. Love this post. I’ve seen some of these designs and/or concepts before, and others are completely new to me. Some, like the glass farmhouse-echo in the Netherlands, are quite simply revelatory. Together they’re a wonderfully thought-provoking group and give me hope that architecture continues to evolve in interesting, useful and often beautiful ways whether it embraces the past or leaps away from it in bounds (or finds a happy medium somewhere). Thanks for sharing!
    Kathryn

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    • Kathryn, thanks for your kind words and your insight. I agree with you that with new technologies, architecture is evolving in very interesting ways. This group of building is especially interesting to me for this reason.
      Thanks for stopping by🙂
      Virginia

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  6. Virginia, another creative topic; unusual, beautiful & innovative facades as well as their in-depth descriptions, thank you. What was my favorite? Well actually I have 3 favorites:
    1) Agua Tower (Chicago): amazing, incredibly moving & the location between 2 other fabulous buildings is superb; 2) Endesa Pavilion (Barcelona): love the idea of not perfectly square or round; and 3) Tinshed (Australia): totally original, raw & honest as described.

    Like

    • Bonnie, so glad to see you around here. Thanks for your kind words. Those three are among my favourites too although if I had to choose one, the Aqua Tower would win. It is so magnificent and the balconies are all different so you get the feeling that “your space” is actually yours. Maybe I get this feeling because I was able to visit it. What about you? Have you been in any of these?

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