The word ‘Facade’ literally means Face in French, and a building’s facade is actually the front of a building and its face. While structural stability, space utilisation, energy consumption etc are some facets that go into designing a good building, facade design patterns are the face and give personality to the building.
An improper facade can also mean the whole building might not display the purpose for which it was built. In this article we will explore some key aspects to be considered for designing facades.
This very important aspect has to be considered before we start making schematics of our facade. From a warm and welcoming house facade adorned with green climbers, to a bamboo and wood construction of a jungle resort or a mirrored glass front of a corporation’s head office, the choice of material depends on the end usage and purpose that the building is meant to serve. For example the transparent glass facades of most restaurants give a glimpse of nice and elegant interiors and happy customers, thereby enticing more people to enter the restaurant.
Imagine standing in the middle of a road with many hotels. If you know nothing about any of them, which one are you most likely to enter? Good facades thus, can even contribute towards making a business profitable. And poor facades can of course take business away from you faster than you can say – competition.
The importance of a well designed facade is no less than that of good clothes for a king. Be it a house facade or facade design of a building, first impressions are the last impressions. Facade designing and execution is an important aspect of building design and construction, and has a few complexities associated with it.
In recent times, use of facade has gone way beyond the conventional ones, and people have started using facade area to generate electricity using solar panels.
Schematic Diagram in Facade Designs
The basic schematics and engineering that goes in the preliminary facade design is meant to take an all round view of the requirements. The schematics will consider budget allocated, the main intent behind the design, and various legal and practical constraints related to constructing a building. The first thing here is to clearly define the purpose that the facade would serve. Once that is in place, objective performance criteria with respect to the facades are set. These criteria will take into consideration the intent, allocated budgets, timelines, amount of labour required, regulatory considerations and more. The main purpose of these performance criteria is to create a roadmap which is agreed upon and signed off by both clients and architects. These can always be revisited whenever there is a question or doubt on the way forward. After this the facade scheme with drawings will be made along with basic cost, labour, material, timeline calculations.
Detailed Designing of Facades
While a schematic will give us a barebone structure of how the facade should be, detailed designing will include collaborating with all the agencies like material suppliers, real estate developers, manufacturers of various specialised parts, architects, designers and more. Other than proper detailed drawings, the detailed design will also include all the information, costs, material, labour, etc. . Floating such detailed bid documents ensure that the vendors submit bids which are complete in all aspect, thus saving a lot of time which otherwise would get invested in scrutinising incomplete bids. It is for this very reason that detailed designing assumes a lot of significance.
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Facade Designing for Better Functionality
The practical usages of facades can be further subdivided on their functionality:
1. Increasing customer inflow
As highlighted for the restaurant business above, even for malls and shopping complexes, glass or transparent fibre glass facades help an outsider to see happy and satisfied customers, and gives them a glimpse of a mall’s insides.
While these are some practical ways, facades of places like Disneyland or the huge ornate gates of ancient forts are examples of how attractive facades get more people to enter the building.
2. Increasing privacy
The often used mirrored glass facades of many modern buildings, also serve a very practical purpose. One would not want outsiders to generally peep into a bank and see all its operations. Not just banks, there are many other organisations where maintaining privacy of operations is of extreme importance. Stained glass, solid marble, mirrored glass, steel, carved cement are some examples of how various types of facades can provide adequate privacy.
3. Product showcase
In the trend of window shopping, facades can also serve to showcase the latest fashion and trends. So many times customers tend to just browse through a store from the outside. An attractive showcase in the facade, can lure more customers to the store, and hence help generate more sales.
4. Differentiating oneself from competitors
When everyone is offering the same services and similar products, how does one stand out and ensure that people remember and get excited to try them out? On a street having 100 hotels, why will a customer choose you? For many businesses, building facade is the first point of interaction with the customer. An interesting and different looking facade is one sure way to differentiate yourself from customers.
5. Environmental consciousness and building facades
Rooftops and building facades are 2 areas in the building envelope, that can be used to generate electricity by use of solar panels. This clean electricity will not just reduce an organisation’s expenditure on electricity bills, it will also help reduce the carbon footprint of an organisation. In cooler climates, many buildings are made in a way that maximum sunlight can come through the front.Provision of enough natural light not only decreases expenditure on heating and lighting, but also provides health benefits to people by way of exposure to sunlight in the right amounts. It is for this very reason that facade design is an important criterion which is judged while conducting audits for environmental certifications like LEED.
It is not by coincidence that Facade means face. Facade design patterns have a lot of significance, from saving costs, to increasing revenues. Sometimes a very good facade can hide flaws of an otherwise shoddily built building, but a good building will definitely be brought down by poorly executed facade. From the basic intent to fundamental planning and designing, and eventual execution, a building’s facade is an important function which needs to be done with utmost care and considerations. With a wide range of products, and a wider range of suppliers providing complete range of services and products, there is a lot to choose from for everyone. It is for this very reason that firms providing single stop solutions have come up. These save the clients a lot in terms of time and effort and are also very cost effective.
Project Link has one of the largest assortment of products and services related to building facades, in Australia.