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Office Towers Have Undergone Significant Changes in Façade Cladding Materials

By: Ar. Nanda Kumar, Morphogenesis

In façade design, cladding plays a major role in improving aesthetics and providing protection from natural elements.

Aesthetics: Exterior wall cladding is a critical element that significantly enhances the aesthetics of the façade. Carefully chosen materials can be thoughtfully integrated into the façade to conceal service lines and other utilities, creating a pleasing appearance.

Weather Protection: Due to the diverse weather conditions in different regions of our country, selecting the appropriate cladding materials for the façade is crucial. Wise material choices can effectively shield the structure from natural elements such as heat radiation, and rain, and also improve acoustics, etc.

SELECTING CLADDING MATERIALS

Selecting the best building cladding material involves careful consideration of several factors. The overall façade massing and the context of the building’s location play a crucial role in determining the most suitable cladding option. Sustainability is also a significant factor in making environmentally conscious choices. Additionally, the clever combination of natural materials, such as wood, stone, and brick, can greatly enhance the visual appeal of the façade. Ultimately, the goal is to purposefully choose cladding materials that align with the design vision and contribute to the building’s aesthetics, functionality, and eco-friendliness.

Unlike high-rise residential buildings, office towers have undergone significant changes in façade cladding materials over the past decades, thanks to technological advancements. The prominent use of aluminium & glass has been instrumental in transforming building façades. Aluminum’s flexibility has allowed for the creation of intricate patterns in contemporary designs.

Smart Façades: The latest trend includes smart façades, which optimise energy consumption and provide control over interior comfort, utilising features like daylight harvesting and solar heat management.

Biophilia: Another noteworthy addition to the latest trend is biophilia, where nature is integrated into the façade design, fostering a connection with the natural environment.

The choice of cladding material & system is influenced by various factors, including:

  • Scale of the Building
  • Location and Context
  • Local Climate Response
  • Availability of Material and Labor
  • Budget
  • Time
  • Maintenance
  • Sustainability Considerations

In tropical regions, Brick, Stone, and Wood are highly recommended materials, while Laterite suits coastal areas due to its abundant availability. For faster installation in urban contexts, Office buildings extensivelyCover Story use Glass and Metals like Aluminum, Steel, Zinc, and Copper.

Metal & Wood Transformation: Metal and wood materials have undergone significant transformations in recent years.

Façade Choices for High-Rise Towers: It is primarily influenced by budget, maintenance, and marketing strategy. Glass façades with a combination of metal and concrete panels are still favoured to create a perception of western skylines.

Façade Choices for Low-Rise Buildings: They use wood & stone extensively to achieve a tropical ambience and a harmonious blend with the surroundings.

Unique External Massing: To overcome these limitations, current trends emphasise creating distinct external massing through the interplay of shadow and light. This approach adds depth and character to the building’s exterior, enhancing its overall appeal.

SAFETY MATTERS

Increased Fire Safety Awareness: Unlike in the past, people are now more conscious of fire safety in buildings.

Verification of Certifications: Many products in the market claim to have ISO certification, but there is often no verification process in place.

Stringent Rules Needed: To address fire safety concerns, the Fire and Life Safety Authority should establish strict regulations for high-rise cladding materials and installation. These rules should be incorporated into the final approval process.

External Agency Affiliation: I recommend that the Authority collaborates with an external agency to certify fire safety and assume responsibility for ensuring compliance.

Ar. Nanda Kumar, Morphogenesis

Senior Associate

Ar. Nanda Kumar, Senior Associate, Morphogenesis

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