Daniels continues: “Some of the conditions that a façade needs to accommodate include wind speeds that can go above 100km per hour; temperature differences, and associated thermal expansion of up to 80°C; plus rain, humidity, mold, and even seismic activity and lightning.
“Besides being designed for all of these external conditions, a façade on a tall building also needs to [...] look good. In short, it is a complex machine and should not be trusted to inexperience,” he says.
Speaking from a design perspective, architect Salim Hussein of Atkins says: “Cladding is a critical part of the building and plays a functional role as well as an aesthetic one.
“Cladding is arguably the key component in conveying the identity of a building – not only the identity of the designer, but also that of the client. As such, it is a critical design decision that every architect faces.”
Hussein adds: “As buildings become more adventurous in their designs, as sustainability becomes an accepted standard in all buildings, and as manufacturing processes such as 3D printing become more commonplace, the opportunities to excite and delight viewers are becoming ever-more expansive for architects.”
Daniels concludes that a balance needs to be reached between aesthetics and efficiency. The age-old issue of form versus function still applies, he says. “There is no point in designing something beautiful if it does not meet its intended purpose. In the case of a façade, this is to maintain a desired internal environment.
“The façade provides part of a buildings unique identity or personality; it must allow a building to blend in with, or in some cases stand out from, its surroundings. But it must also work,” he explains. “There is no reason why, with carefully integrated and well thought-out design, manufacture, and installation, a façade cannot look incredible and also perform well.”