The future of façade has been already started to evolve now and tensile fabric shall play an important role in shaping the evolution of façades in the future. Façades have moved beyond acting as a barrier between the outdoor climate and the interiors of building. It enhances the appearance of the building and the performance of the façade depending on the correct specification, design and implementation of plethora of components and systems. The tensile fabric will act as the catalyst for providing realistic solutions to allow the building to breathe while keeping it safe from adverse outside impact.

In architectural terms, high performance façades should provide immense opportunities for designers to express their design vision and aesthetic intent. As the boundary between inside and outside, the façade has tremendous implications for climate regulation, daylight levels, energy consumption and the building’s overall carbon intensity. High performing façade should balance the aesthetic part with maintaining good daylight levels, minimising glare, and reducing energy use. The high performing tensile fabric facades can be used in offices, mixed-use buildings, shopping malls, residential projects, public buildings, hospitals, schools, car parks, etc. The micro-perforated composite membranes can be used along with other materials.

The tensile fabric as one of the application for façade technology, has seen phenomenal advancement. They can be moulded into any form or shape, can perhaps change the complete building elevation and the skyline of the new developments wherein aesthetics beyond imagination could be visualised and made into reality. This material has tremendous potential in creating additional safety barriers which can be an add on as a structural member and an envelope in high-rise structures to protect the building from unfortunate disasters.

We are using computer aided technologies/ software in the design and simulation of tensile façades which are used worldwide for creating algorithms for finding the shape (form finding) and developing the flat panels to create that shape (panelling). Computer aided technologies allow designers more freedom to try different designs, and helps to have more confidence in the results. Currently these are expensive softwares and are not available to everyone who aspires to use them. In future, Artificial Intelligence based BOT systems will develop more complex calculations which will provide more robust results based on different replication models and will be available to the mass market at an affordable cost.

Automatic window actuators responding to CO2 and temperature sensors can ensure the purging of CO2. Motorised Solar shading louvres linked to sun direction can keep solar gain under control. These ‘intelligent’ façades are now being specified making our public and private building more sustainable. Some of the fabrics have intrinsic solar control properties and when used with these automated systems will contribute additionally to the sustainability of the building.

Modern buildings can not only be functionally illuminated with a custom light solution, but can also be displayed from outside in an attractive way. Light is used to accentuate architectural details and to place the focus on complete buildings and objects. This transforms the façade, particularly at night, to an attractive business card for the company that can be seen from afar. An important branch trend with façade illumination is lighting solutions enabling flexible, individual colour accents according to the occasion or event. Tensile fabric coupled with intelligent lighting will create a visually breathtaking effect during the night. The textile façades can preserve outward visibility and can create a magnificent effect with appropriate lighting apart from providing the advantage of reducing the heat inside the building.

Eva Mall
Eva Mall- Day picture; Bental Associates Architects have chosen serge ferrari ‘s Soltis FT 381 for the creative facade of Eva Mall

The next generation façades shall be intelligent and durable. Intelligent in the context of aiding the sustainability to the environment by its solar control and light transmission properties, there by cutting the carbon footprints. Of course, we have similar products now, but in the future these products will be far more efficient and affordable. Durability is the next biggest factor for next generation façade application. Developing technologies assure great dimensional stability of the fabric in both warp and weft directions and thus maintain the durability of the fabric façade.

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