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Vibrant Technik

“Intelligent Building Façade Systems Strike a Balance Between Daylight Ingress and Reduction of Heat Gain”

By: Ar. Nilesh Dongre,

Tell us about four major trends in exterior wall cladding?

Structural Glazing – Glass envelopes for the built blocks allow for a sleek modern façade, add to the aesthetics of the building, let the light in and also protect the interior of the place from weather conditions.

Victor MTB3- Bangalore; Fritted orange glass panels
Victor MTB3- Bangalore; Fritted orange glass panels

Natural cladding for aesthetic – Stone cladding, ceramic cladding, tile cladding, and terracotta cladding. Natural stone cladding was one of the traditional choices and has started to gain popularity once again. This material has an earthy look and unrivalled beauty. Its extreme durability and long lifespan and fire resistance.

Metal sheet cladding – The Aluminium, Copper and Zinc cladding sheets do more than just provide the skin of the building with a smooth and durable finish. It is corrosion resistant and is available in a wide variety of choices.

Wood and marble textures – Wood and Marble claddings are Taj Resort & Spa, Rishikesh – Local stone and timber cladding virtually maintenance-free and give a different feel to a building – slightly more formal yet delicate depending on the design.

Monte Carlo Ahmedabad. Electrochromic glass was used on façades
Monte Carlo Ahmedabad. Electrochromic glass was used on façades

Which one is your most preferred cladding material and why?

Based on the typology, structural glazing is the most preferred material for commercial buildings. Over the last fifty years’ glass technologies for buildings have undergone radical changes and extended the functions and applications of glazing in modern architecture. The continuous improvement in thermal insulation performance, combined with new methods of modulating solar heat and light transmission, glazing has strengthened its position as an essential construction material for low energy buildings.

What is the role of cladding in constructing sustainable buildings?

The world is currently witnessing interest in environmental issues and awareness of the environment, sustainable development systems, and green buildings, with the aim of making the most of the environmental resources, rationalising energy consumption, and obtaining a clean environment and the materials of cladding play a role in achieving this. The modern materials of the cladding require minimal maintenance, should provide comfort to the residents, and protect the building in addition to enhancing aesthetic value.

How can we use cladding technologies & materials to regulate daylight & ventilation?

The use of electrochromic and the tinted performance glass can control and protect the interiors by adjusting the quantum of heat and light ingress into the building. The glass assists in reducing the internal glare as well. Introduction of light shelves, intelligent building façade systems strike a balance between daylight ingress and reduction of heat gain.

What do you mean by intelligent & responsive cladding?

Intelligent and responsive buildings are the ones which serve the need of the function it envelopes. A workspace would need light for it to function and at the same time based on the geographical location may require absorbing or rejecting heat from the sun. Responsive buildings should allow for User comfort. This can be done in various ways – it can be a static façade designed for a particular site or an operable façade that may be dynamic and can change the façade modulation for various climatic conditions.

 JSW, Vasind - Local stone cladding
JSW, Vasind – Local stone cladding

Please tell us about smart cladding materials technologies.

The materials that provide cost savings to the client and help reduce the carbon footprint of a building are one of the primary considerations for designers. Perforated screens, WPC panels and timber panels are being used in low rise built forms. Also, the use of mineral fibre panels has increased. Fritted glass double glazing is also seeing a resurgence thanks to its versatility and the fact that not only does it provide transparency to the building, but it also helps reduce the solar gain of the built form thus reducing operational costs.

Monte Carlo, Ahmedabad Electrochromic Glass
Monte Carlo, Ahmedabad Electrochromic Glass

Please brief on the need for choosing fire-safe cladding materials. How can we ensure that the cladding material is fire resistant?

Many supplies offer a three-hour rated non-flammable core for widely used materials such as aluminium composite panels as these have all the required authority approvals making it a viable safe option. Also, fibre cement panels or precast concrete panels which are non-flammable in nature. Other material options include plain metal sheets which are not composite in nature and hence safer to use as façade materials.

The selection of materials can contribute hugely to the overall insulation of the built form to reduce infiltration which is one of the main causes of increases in HVAC loads and any measures taken to reduce the infiltration would reduce the HVAC loads which in turn reduce the overall electricity usage.

What are your visions for cladding materials for future façades?

With the steep rise in commodity prices, there is going to be increasing pressure on the choice of cladding materials. Emphasis will be on value-based choice of systems. This in my opinion will lead to innovations in façade and cladding systems. Integral façade finishes rather than an added cladding surface are one such direction currently being explored.

Ar. Nilesh Dongre

Vertical Head: Developer Spaces

An architect with over 18 years of experience, Ar. Nilesh Dongre has been leading the Developer Spaces Vertical at Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (ECPL) for the better part of the decade. Handson and detail oriented, Nilesh Dongre specialises in the design and execution of large-scale corporate buildings and complexes. With his architectural expertise and a keen understanding of commercial viability of built environments, Nilesh’s projects consistently exceed performance and sustainability benchmarks and actualising their commercial potential. A part of Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd. for over a decade,Nilesh  Dongre has been instrumental to the growth of the organization, especially with his work on award-winning projects such as Tata Tritvam at Kochi, the Ascendas-V Park redevelopment at Hyderabad, Incor One City at Hyderabad, the Samsara Residential Township at Vijaywada, and the World Trade Centre Development at Abuja, Nigeria. His projects, such as the Ascendas Campus at IT Park, Bengaluru, have further received widespread coverage in national media for their ‘green’ features. WFM had a long and candid conversation with Ar. Nilesh Dongre about his projects, vision, inspirations and more. Here are excerpts of the interview.

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