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Technology alleviates new intelligent facades

Ar. Reza Kabul, Principal Architect, ARK

Architect Reza Kabul founded his firm Architect Reza Kabul (ARK) in 1988 and ever since then, he has been offering services in multidisciplinary solutions in the interiors, urban design, planning and landscape projects. He was honored with Gun Gaurav Puraskar by The Practicing Engineers Architects And Town Planners Association (India), for outstanding contribution and research in Architecture in 2006. In an exclusive interaction with Built Expressions, he opines that using technology sun path analysis is done to ensure selection of the right type of glazing.

What are the different types of Cladding and Façade systems that are popularly adopted in India? And Why?

Cladding can be defined as an exterior finishing system whose purpose is to protect the underlying structure with a decorative finish. Considering Indian climate, water being the greatest enemy of plaster and structure, Stone cladding has been popularly adapted, not only being great insulator it also brings a feel of natural style and elegance to the structure. Different types of Granite, Fiber cement cladding have also been used widely due to easier installation and easy maintenance.

India has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world which has led to an immense growth in infrastructure development, increasing emphasis on delivering world class architecture has resulted in the development of new innovative façade designs. Since India is currently growing Vertical to a great extent, the demand for not only curtain wall but also special energy efficient envelopes with combination of special glass and double skin is on rise in various cities.

What are the different performance parameters to be considered while designing a cladding or any other Facade system?

The major concern is the maintenance and weather they are suitable for Indian climate. There is no point in using a cladding system which is not suitable for our environment and needs to be changed on regular basis. But rather we should use one that can be taken to the next level and design while keeping in consideration our environment.

What do we understand by the term –“intelligent building façade”?

“Intelligent building façade” is the keyword for 21st century. Technologies become more and more advanced, glass being one of the main materials used in the façade. It not only looks beautiful but improves the overall building performance. How do we that? The facades are designed with lot of care and study today to ensure good building design for the people and the environment. Today sun path analysis is done to ensure selection of the right type of glazing. Spandrel panels are designed in such a way to avoid glare. Sun breakers are integrated in the façade to cut out the heat and allow diffused light to pass through the glass. All of the above are considered in making not just for the look but for better, healthy living and safe environment. 

What are the latest trends in the facades and cladding industry? What are the technologies utilized in India for the same?

Concrete cladding is definitely the newest type of cladding which comes in panel or tile ready form. Concrete cladding can create sleek modern looks. One can also cast pattern into concrete cladding which gives more flexibility for design. Concrete cladding is incredibly strong and durable and requires little in way for maintenance. It is also a great insulator resulting in saving building energy. Brick cladding is also great as one can create different patterns with different colored bricks. Bricks are lightweight, easy to work with, a good insulator, and don’t need much maintenance. Wood cladding is extremely popular as nothing beats the look of real wood. It is a surprisingly environmentally friendly cladding choice as sustainable wood is used and it is also a good natural insulator.

What are your major projects under the facades and cladding segments?

Complex glazing system has been used for Dheeraj Corporate Park. The façade used optimization techniques to arrive at an optimal arrangement of glazing to maximize its thermal comfort performance while minimizing construction and operating costs.

In our mixed used development project Shreepati Garden, early studies have been done along with climate analysis, wind studies to improve the proficiency of the building life.

Of late, façade design is looking at various aspects like energy conservation, efficiency, strength, resistance to high speed winds and vibrations. Has the industry equipped itself to cater to such consumer demands?

As more and more people become aware of the situation of our future India, efforts have been made by various organizations to popularize 'green construction practices.  Owners are showing strong commitment to deliver advance design with increased budgets. BIM (Building Information Modeling) and its application on projects from the start to ensure quality design. Increased day lighting with innovative facades, structural glass to gain increased transparency, reuse/recycle materials for minimum wastage are considered at the initial phases of design. These are just basic steps towards better living for our future; there is no need to cater such demands. You cannot wait till the end when everything is over, but save, reuse, recycle are the key terms for healthy and better living.

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