Just as you’ll find most industries out there today churning out “smart” versions of their products, architecture has a number of “smart” ideas of its own; one of them is the smart or environmentally-friendly facade. Some refer to them as building envelops, while some call them smart or sustainable claddings. The idea is relatively new and came into being as a result of advances in material sciences, but it is quickly gaining traction.Let’s go over some of the most fascinating and impressive facades out there that you probably didn’t know existed.
1. A Light-Responsive Facade That “Breathes”
These sustainable facades are currently covering the exterior of a pair of towers in Abu Dhabi. What looks like a fashionable skin of thin glass doubles down as a secondary sunscreen to deflect some of the glare off of the building’s exterior. However, this is not all it does. The traditional mashrabiya style fiberglass rosettes are responsive to the façade’s temperature and open and close accordingly. This amalgamation of modern and classic themes to provide a sustainable façade is quite a unique one.
2. An Energy-Producing Algae façade
Figure 1 building cloaked in an algae façade
This is a façade that covers the surface area of a 2,150-square-foot wall and an entire building in Germany in a veil of algae plants. It took the designers almost three years to prepare this unique cladding material. The millions of algae plants not only cover the building up in an aesthetic green hue but also constantly generate bio-mass energy fed by direct sunlight and nutrients in the environment. The energy this façade produces is stored and used throughout the building.
3. A Low-Tech, Operable Skin
Here’s another clever solution that is quite simple, too. Melbourne based designers came up with their version of a unique and sustainable façade as they cloaked a building in Melbourne in thousands of tiny sandblasted glass discs that are each fastened to a rod. The rods pivot, responding to the temperature and humidity levels inside the structure to block or facilitate airflow through it.
4. A Facade That Eats Smog
pollution is an issue that the entire world is facing today. Keeping
this in mind, a chemical company came up with its version of a
sustainable façade a few years ago. The material used in the façade uses
titanium dioxide, which successfully cleanses the surrounding air of
toxins. It does so by discharging spongy free radicals to suck the
pollutants out of the surrounding environment. The
façade has since become quite popular and has been used on a number of
construction projects. Most recently, it made an appearance on the
300-foot-long sunscreen on the exterior of a hospital in New Mexico.
This unique, sustainable façade helps to provide a better quality of air
to all the patients in this hospital.
Gone are the days when the façade of a building had to be only architecturally functional or aesthetically appealing. The trend of coming up with building facades that are not only all that but also sustainable is fast catching up. The above present just a few of the unique examples of these sustainable facades.