Romancing the Facade!


Have you ever reminisced those sights when you’d just stop by and observe birds hovering over that beautiful old rustic window? Or seeing a granny across the street sitting in front of a colourful door enjoying the sun?
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These frames get registered into our memory, sometimes because of our interaction with them, or for the remembrance of time, place or simply for their candid beauty! You may be thinking, what’s the point here?
As the journey of our breed progressed, the world around us evolved miraculously and within that world, lie the enclosures we designed and built to protect our very existence. Enclosures turned into dwellings, dwellings into villages, villages into towns and towns into cities with impressive architectural imagery. However, in this imagery, it is the ‘rustic windows’, ‘colourful doors’ & many such elements which separate our manmade world from outside. With time it doesn’t go unnoticed that the architectural essence of any place showcases this in the first glance, “FAC”ADE; the face of our world.

So, what is façade and why it is so important?

The word “façade” is a French foreign loanword, has it’s origin from Italian word “facciata” where faccia means face. It is the outer layer, the principle front or any face of the building given special architectural treatment. Façade is a fascinating aspect of design which in today’s world not only serves as beautification but also a canvas expressing new perspectives and concepts of architecture.
Leaving the experts who understand architecture, for a layman it’s the façade which impresses and sells the idea. With the advancement of technology, the industry is on a turning point with its professionals striving hard to push the constraints as they propose and execute facades that are not only aesthetically appealing but also functionally efficient and serving a bigger purpose.
India, as an emerging country is balancing both sides, one rooted into vernacular tones of heritage and the other evolving on an international level. Similar to our diversity in cultural & social beliefs and freedom of choices, we witness an array of languages in our façade design. They portray patterns, colours and materials, some influenced by history, some by regional and geographical aspects and some are the outcomes of designers outthinking the rest.
There are these few key factors that play as catalyst to draw paths for façade in India

1. Like everyone, we have a past to unfold:

Ruled by others, Indian architecture has a rich history of Mughal and British expressions like the colonial elements and mashrabias. These magnificent structures with grand proportion and intricate detailing seed inspirations for improvisation in our present concepts.
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82. Roots of our culture:

The outlook of our structures is also driven by some stringent perspectives like cultural significance of a particular color, motif, texture or form. These may look as fascinating as an abstract painting to others but they have their deeper roots which are almost forbidden to be altered.
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11 12 13 143. Climate has an important role to play:

Driven by geographical constraints, the journey of façade is rendered by ideas that are best suited for its surroundings. This needs contextual sensitivity, understanding of locally available materials and technological advancements to create something that will not only sustain the test of time but will also age gracefully to complement the mother nature. Rural mud architecture with smaller openings regulating the thermal comfort and modern green facades are few examples of this process.

15 174. Functional and pleasing! What else do you have to offer?

As people kind, we always strive to achieve better. The Façade sector is rising as a totem of very strong technological advancement. The world is stepping towards sustainability in every field and façade industry is also not left untouched. We rose a little above these ideas where facades, now as “Smart Facades” acting as a layer to generate energy like photovoltaic façade systems, “interactive facades” mimicking the moods of its users imparting psychological effect and flowing fluidically till the boundaries between inside and outside are no longer perceived.
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With all these possibilities to captivate…to amalgamate….to transform….to inspire and to stand for the future, Façades are certainly a perpetual promise to fuel our creativity and growth.

“For an observer, nothing is trivial!”

AUTHOR : Ar. Bhavana Chaudhary, (Project Architect & Facade Designer at Dar Al Handasah), is a wanderer insearch of creative chaos. She deeply romances the art of creating something meaningful and with a strong purpose. She loves to get engrossed in fashion, craft, cooking and for all this, travel is her fuel!


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