Façade is the outward aspect of a building and many a times, it has been judged superficially as creators have exploited it for self-expression quite radically, where the “form” becomes synonymous with the façade hinting at the ignorance and neglect of the function altogether.
Fundamentally, a building needs protection from weather conditions, it can choose to fit or stand out in its context. Facades are the first attribute that a person takes note of. It is the surface that normally distinguishes one entity from another – from the inside to the outside. This makes facades an important part of architecture and even more, of its expression – communication to the world at large.
Yielding to their imperatives mentioned above, here are a few examples of works, where the facades strive to go beyond the prerequisites. These facades of buildings designed by Archohm, housing various functions, coupled with simple, yet effective technologies in singular materials, are narratives in themselves.
Bambrance –The Bamboo Skin of a Garment Factory, Noida
The out of scale, exaggerated fabric weave depicts the nature of the garment export house it contains. Supplying ethnic Indian fabrics and techniques to the global market, bamboo was chosen, as it is an inherent Indian material that has been interlaced like the textile structure to form the external skin of this factory facility. Designed to conceal the dull and uneven building below, indigenous bamboo sticks have been intertwined to create a modular system, which can be attached to any façade. This eco-friendly and dynamic surface has been naturally treated for weather protection.
The living façade: Archohm Design Studio, Noida
The north façade of the design Studio is double-layered glass, which is transparent. Its orientation enables its to bring in indirect diffused sunlight, perfect for working conditions for designers inside. Interestingly, the glass façade on the inside double up as a storage system, where each department’s color-coded stationary is stacked. For example, architecture is brown, Interiors is orange, Electrical is yellow and Finance is red. Being transparent, the department’s files, models and samples, creates a visual collage of colors and textures that represents life at the studio inside out! The folders sift in daylight and additionally provide a barrier that helps in insulation as well.
The blank façade of Villa Agra
A tight site in an eminent neighborhood of private residences resulted in a distinct skyline and vocabulary. The house was designed to stand out in simply and cleanly amongst the ornate façades of the locality. The wooden façade of this villa helps to a blank and bold statement; using it as a tool to express style, while respecting the privacy of the owners and confronting the design typology of front gardens and glass.
Concrete Fenestrations at the Zolijns Store, New Delhi
The Zolijns Lifestyle Design store is planned as an upside-down residence that exhibits furniture and furnishing in the apt context.
Each aspect of design has derived from a play of volumes, materials and natural light and the façade plays a critical role in determining the aesthetic of the showroom inside. The Indirect diffused natural light is brought in, without the congested views of infringing neighboring houses, through concrete fins spanning forty feet. These fenestrations form the side façade of the house and create an interesting architectural language that is imposing externally and warmly welcoming on the inside.
As one ascends the ongoing flight of steps that connect the lower ground with the double volume living floor and the glazed top; three levels get linked spatially via this concrete face. It adds to the ‘art and design’ philosophy of the store.
The non-façade farm house, Ludhiana
This house addresses the client’s expectation of non-heavy house structure to minimize loss of green at their farmhouse, eliminating the façade altogether.
The façade is merged and submerged within the landscape, giving this non-façade house a fifth elevation, the green roof playing as waves. This was then taken to the extreme by reducing it to zero as the top view shows a clean green patch while the house below cools and shades itself carving courtyards and skylights.
The farmhouse is an interesting comment and confrontation of the relevance of facades in this context.
It is aptly said that a book should not be judged by its cover, however, more often than not, it is so. The cover is an excellent playground to provoke, evoke and inspire the outsider to understand, deceive or enchant. Much in the same manner, façades are powerful mediums of the built expression.
Mr. Sourabh gupta, principal architect, Archohm
Ms. Mridu Sahai, creative consultant, Archohm