Houses by EMF - landscape architecture

How to choose material for the facade of a house

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
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Although we learn from childhood that what is important is the interior, we have found an exception to this saying: the facades. Conceived as the shell of a building or house, the facade is the letter of presentation and canvas, where different artistic and architectural styles are shaped. The facade also gives us clues about the interior, its style, its architecture and its history. Traditionally, facades constituted the structure of the building (load walls), being the reason why the opening of holes was very limited. Its evolution has always been centered in this fact, in trying to obtain bigger surfaces by which to illuminate the interior. It was with the introduction of steel and reinforced concrete in the construction, when the facades were freed of their supporting function, giving rise to the free facades.

We could make endless classifications of facades, based on its composition, style, decoration, design, time… But today we will address this issue from the point of view of materials . With the advance of technology, the use of unusual and revolutionary materials is becoming more common. Let's check out the materials that make up the facades of today shall we? 

Concrete wall

The concrete wall is conquering the buildings of contemporary architecture. Of different shades, all between gray and white, and textures, this material does not need maintenance, is not coated and is very durable.

Metal coatings I

If the facade of a building is determined in the way in which it communicates with its surroundings, the coatings are therefore the language through which this communication is established. 

Although metal facades were previously associated with industrial buildings or prefabricated buildings, it is increasingly common to see metal cladding in domestic buildings. Its application is easy and fast and, besides, they are efficient and functional.  Smooth, wavy or greased, prelaced or galvanized veneers, these types of coatings can be combined with wood, concrete, plaster or stone. In this image, large holes of glass open in white walls protecting its upper part as an inverted base of corrugated white sheet.

Metal coatings II

Corten steel  is a material used in contemporary architecture. In spite of their characteristic oxidized color, this material offers an enormous resistance to the atmospheric corrosion due to its protective layer of oxide from the alloy of chromium and copper.

Natural stone cladding

Facades with stone cladding have been used throughout history. Stone coatings offer different colors and textures, whose appearance adds elegance and distinction to the walls. In addition to this, stone cladding offers good thermal and noise insulation, and acts against humidity as well, depending on the type chosen. 

In this house, the architect only covers the top floor of the house and isolates it with slate. If there is something that characterizes this natural stone, it's the dark color and its resistance. The possibilities offered by this material makes its applications, both indoors and outdoors, unlimited.

Wooden coatings

We all know the qualities of wood in the aesthetic sense and in a perceptive sense: it is a very warm and welcoming material. However, this type of coating has other characteristics which require that the choice of this material is carefully chosen: its susceptibility to moisture, solar radiation and changes in temperature must be taken note of. 

And although the wood has been used since remote times in the construction of shelters, we have to make sure that it has the correct treatments against fire, humidity and radiation. Once the right wood is chosen, we only have to find the application that suits us the most: vertical, horizontal or larger slats.

Masonry walls

Masonry is a traditional system of wall construction that pieces different natural stones, bricks, or tiles together. Usually, these walls are structural and can be erected with different techniques: using mortar, replacing the clay, as an element of adhesion between the pieces; or building the walls dry. Masonry walls provide a rural and rustic look to the house.

Although it is not very common today, in many occasions we can find houses, whose walls are covered by stones, simulating a traditional wall of masonry.

Mortar plaster

mediterranean Houses by Anna & Eugeni Bach
Anna & Eugeni Bach

Exterior Casa en Gaüses

Anna & Eugeni Bach

Plaster and mortar also pose a decorating front traditionally used in construction. Its low cost and countless colors and finishes make it a perfect solution for homes and buildings built with brick walls. 

In this house, green and white stripes of different widths create a different rhythm and hide the fissures and cracks that usually appear in this type of coatings over time.

Glass enclosures

This material is a favorite when designing facades. Instead of opening gaps, these facades themselves constitute a large gap to the exterior. Only the frames and partitions create a rhythm in these enclosures, where sun protection and maintenance are two very important factors.

We hope you've learned about some useful tips for your home here. For more inspiration, have a look at how to design the ideal facade.

What else would you like to know about designing the facade of a house? Please share with us in the comments section below. 
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