Facades have always been more than just a functional membrane providing protection from weather and surroundings. They are a testimony to the ambition and outlook of not only the client, the architect, but also the society as a whole.
Depending on what part of the world, what type of commission and whatever type of budget we are working with, the facade design may vary quite a bit. In the end, it is about the codes and signals the facade sends off. This is no less relevant today than it was in other historic times; it is just different.
phases of design
A thorough design phase is paramount to its success. The theoretical testing of the facade which is what the designer does while designing should encompass all relevant aspects of the facade. Does it fulfill the climatic challenges, how sustainable is it, how does it relate to the surroundings, does it meet the budget? All these and other issues need to be addressed before application.
sustainable facade design
Many factors need consideration when talking sustainability. The inherent qualities of the building material itself that relate to raw materials and production methods are obvious, but also issues such as transport of the material, proximity of production line to building site are of importance.
Lifespan, weathering conditions, sustainability, rational application and the quality of indoor environment that the facade provides.
facade and the materials
Any material that fit the context and the program is an ideal material. We have done technical buildings with a lifespan of less than 50 years, where corrugated aluminum is the right solution, and we have done infill in historic surroundings where brick is the obvious choice for the facade. Office buildings for large organizations may call for a lot of glass, which is what we have done on such occasions. We don’t have any preconsidered notions but try to find the most fitting material for every occasion.
The ones that “fit the occasion” are the best. The recently finished Värtaverket in Stockholm has been very well received by the client, the city and the inhabitants alike. The facade here fulfills a rather comprehensive role in mediating between old and new, recreational and urban, technical and natural all at the same time. But also less comprehensive solutions can be very successful: At the HC Ørsted Plant in Copenhagen, we have created a facade for a very modest substation, which acts as a kind of unobtrusive copy of an existing, 1930s facility at the same spot. Thus, we have created a new “twin” with a slightly updated look, serving the exact same purpose. So spectacular or profane, it is all about arriving at the most becoming answer to the question at hand.