When constructing or designing a commercial complex, there are certain aspects which are different than those of a residential house. Architects and builders need to consider several factors such as energy conservation and production, along with the amount of visual contact. If you are a professional who falls in either of these categories, you might already know that there are several existing facade designs such as horizontal and vertical blinds, egg crate, and honeycomb shading layouts.
A facade for a commercial building must provide lateral and vertical resistance to wind and other weather conditions. It should also possess thermal, acoustic, and fire-resisting properties. Additionally, it takes into account factors such as type and scale of the complex, local planning requirements, ventilation, degree of sunlight entry, wall to window ratio, shape, number of storeys, and visibility. It should give scope for the brand to create an image that resonates with the company’s vision and ideals. Therefore, these requirements have resulted in the development of several products and technologies in order to arrive at high performance structures.
Today, we will try to describe 7 types of facades for your commercial complex that takes into consideration most (if not all) of the above factors. Read on.
In majority of the business complexes today, you will come across light steel infill walls. Builders use them, instead of the conventional blockwork inner leaf structure, in both steel and concrete framed buildings. They come with the facility of being able to incorporate a gamut of facade systems to the infill walls. These structures are pretty easy to install and can deliver cut-to-length C sections according to the dimensions of the project. They can resist wind pressures and are strong enough to support the weight of any cladding system fixed over them.
The industry categorises light steel walls into two types:
- Light steel infill walls, spanning between the floors or between the floor and edge beam
- Panelised systems, placed outside the slab edge and attached at discrete locations
Curtain walling is a type of light metallic or glazed cladding system. Builders place it over a strong structural frame. Additionally, if you want to bring in an appearance of a more monolithic cladding system to your building, you can attach a stone veneer or large tiled fascia. Factories and manufacturing units produce each of the components required to assemble a curtain wall facade. Workers shape them into panels in the factory itself. They then bring the interlocked units to the site for installation. This is called unitized curtain walling. When builders bring the components to the site and assemble there, we call it stick curtain walling.
The dimensions of unitized panels depend upon factors such as — height between floors and ease of transportation and installation. You will typically find panels with width up to 1.5m and height up to 4.2m. Curtain walls can easily resist weather fluctuations, offer abundant natural lighting, shading, and insulation.
Aluminum composite panel (ACP) facade
ACP refers to flat panels that comprise a thermoplastic core fixed between two aluminum sheets. Builders use them for facades, mainly because they are lightweight, but durable and strong. Not only this, you can even design ACP in a variety of metallic and non-metallic shades and imitation patterns. You have the option to make them resemble wood and marble. You can use ACPs for cladding, partitions, and false ceilings as well. They offer excellent finishing options and come in several thickness levels. You can mould them into shapes as desired to give ultra-modern, complex looks.
A double skin facade normally consists of two glass skins bifurcated by an intermediate cavity. These are great to reduce energy consumption in any commercial building. Builders mount shading devices in the cavity. Sometimes, builders insert walkways in the cavity for easy access and cleaning.
The two sheets in a double skin facade serve the purpose of acting as a thermal buffer zone. During winter, passive solar gains in the cavity reduce heat losses. You can also integrate the ventilation of the cavity with the building services. This will introduce air heated by the sun into the building. This step ensures optimal natural ventilation and reduces the heating load. In summer, this cavity ventilates the heated air within it to the external atmosphere. This process transfers heat away from the building and decreases the cooling load.
Brick slip facade
A slight alteration to the conventional brick facade — brick slip facade comprises of brick slips. Builders mount them over steel supports or composite panels. Since you do not require mortar, the entire structure is lightweight and the installation process takes lesser time. You can stack brick slips in various patterns. Some patterns are vertical, ribbon or uniquely shaped windows. Brick slips cannot offer much resistance to weather changes. Therefore, you need to consider the backing material. For example, you can use composite panels — which ensure excellent structural and thermal protection.
Steel and glass facades
Builders use the combination of steel and glass to build facades for multi-storeyed buildings. Generally, vertical steel structures support glass panels. The entire structure sits over the external frame of the building. Usually, builders use stainless steel and hollow steel sections in this kind of facade systems.
Precast concrete facade
Precast concrete panels are really effective when you have tight construction schedules, as their erection time is pretty quick. The manufacturing process is simple. Workers cast concrete in a reusable mold, followed by curing in a controlled environment. Trucks then transport it to the construction site and heavy machinery lifts it into place.
Façades play an important role in beautifying your structure — through creative display, rhythm, and proportion. Architects and builders design façades to ensure optimal performance, apart from ensuring an aesthetic look. With emerging technologies and possibilities, you can constantly explore new façade ideas so as to deliver high-performance levels to your clients.