Snap - November/December 2013 - (Page 20)
A spate of projects create dynamic facades
by exploring the potential of cladding
buildings with screens and louvers.
by michael cockram
beyond form, there are few things that can make a
stronger statement about a building than its skin. From Gehry's
lissome metallic wrappers to Le Corbusier's sunshading brise-soleil,
exterior materials and detailing can ultimately defne a building's
character while profoundly impacting its performance.
Built on a narrow wedge-shaped site, the South Molton Street Building in the Mayfair district of London makes bold and contemporary
references to the area's historic context. The architects of the mixeduse project, London-based DSDHA, worked with fabricators NBK to
develop a series of vertical terracotta panels with undulating profles.
The concept was developed to give the facade a sense of movement
when viewed from the street, according to architect Martin Pearson,
an associate at the frm. The pattern alludes to the waters of the
Tyborn River, which once fowed down Molton Street.
"The material choice refers to the district's predominant palette
of brick and terracotta," relates Pearson. He adds that the frm wanted
to explore a contemporary response to the traditional uses of terracotta. The vertical battens (baguettes) act as louvers and visually modulate large expanses of window glass. The tile panels are mounted using
the rainscreen method, which leaves a gap between the exterior layer
and the weather barrier behind it. The ventilated airspace channels
water away and dries quickly.
beirut's style statement
working with daylight On the South Molton Street Building (left) in
London, DSDHA irregularly spaced vertical terracotta panels with an undulating
profle to create a facade that would change depending on the position of the
occupant or passerby. The University of British Columbia's Earth Sciences
Building (above), designed by Perkins+Will, has diferent shading strategies
according to the facade orientation.
20 | snap | november/december 2013 | sweets.com
photo credit: (from left) courtesy dsdha; martin tessler / courtesy perkins+will
The ABC Department Store in Beirut (see Architectural Record's Web
exclusive on archrecord.com) relates to a very diferent context, and
like the South Molton Street project, it demonstrates the fexibility
allowed by a rainscreen system in which the exterior layer is freed from
its main role as a waterproofng element.
While the detailing of the facades plays on the aesthetic pattern
work of Middle Eastern traditions, the building also refects Beirut's
cosmopolitan, fashion-conscious culture, explains Eric Bunge, principal of the project's designer, nArchitects. His team wrapped the
upper foor in a sleek rectangular box of perforated aluminum panels by
Novelis. Adding another dimension, the panels came pre-painted with
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Snap - November/December 2013
Snap - November/december 2013
Dekton on Deck
Case Study: Hospitality
Daylight & Sun Control
Glass & Glazing
Product Focus: Glass & Glazing
Green Product Roundup
Made in the USA
Making Sense of the New Leed
Live & Learn: Ceu Courses
The Sweets Spot
Dates & Events
Trade Show News
Partners in Design
Snap - November/December 2013