Moving facades are spectacular, bringing buildings to life and allowing them to transform according to specific circumstances and desires. Not all dynamic facades stand out in the same way. Some designs limit themselves to elements which are purely decorative and aesthetic while others also interact with the actual structure or layout of the building.
University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in Kolding is designed by Henning Larsen Architects.
One of the buildings which feature a dynamic facade is the Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. It was designed by Urbana Architecture and the new facade defines its new and improved new. The installation on the facade of the hospital is made of a total of 7,000 angled metal panels with colors that change depending on the orientation. As one walks or drives along the hospital, the colors change and the facade shifts in color. The panels change color from yellow to charcoal or vice versa, modifying the design of the facade at the same time.
Although the facade of this flagship store designed for Ports 1961 in Shanghai doesn’t have any moving parts, this doesn’t stop it from having a dynamic and eye-catching look. This was a project done by Canadian studio Uufie. They managed to create this look by using two types of glass blocks and the result is a three dimensional effect. During the day, the facade reflects the sunlight while at night the embedded LED lights are turned on, illuminating the street and giving the store a vibrant look.
The Arc en Ciel building designed by Barnard Buhler Architects is unique in more than one way. First of all, it stands out because of its curved shape. It sits on a lot at the intersection of two streets so its design has to respond to the location. But the most impressive detail about the design is the way in which the facades were built. The building resembled from a distance a giant bookcase with colorful books wrapping all around it. These are actually colored panels which swivel and create a colorful and playful visual effect. There’s also a series of cantilevered boxes which also feature colored fronts. These are balconies.
The facade of the Kiefer Technic Showroom can adapt to the climatic conditions, becoming open and closed and being able to optimize the building as a whole or the units as independent structure according to the desired conditions inside and out. The shell of the building features solid brick walls covered with aluminum posts and transoms that form bridges. The exterior is covered with sun screens made of white plaster which have electronically-operated shutters which open and close, changing the appearance of the entire structure. This was a project completed by Ernst Giselbrecht + Partner.
The main idea behind the design of this speculative office in Leawood, Kansas, was to create a building that would attract high-tech companies and for that the structure had to stand out from others with the same function. The architects at El Dorado came up with a design that’s quite different from the usual office buildings, giving this one large windows and a very clean and eye-catching look. The building is wrapped in glass and has facades that let the surroundings become a part of the interior décor, featuring perforated panels placed at an angle and which can easily change orientation, giving the facades a dynamic feel.
Some private residences are also designed with moving facades. For example, the house located in Miramar and designed by e|348 arquitectura features operable louver structures which allow the inhabitants to control the ambiance and openness of the interior spaces, thus also controlling the relationship of these spaces with the outdoors, the temperature, level of privacy and even the connection between two or more internal rooms. The ground floor spaces are linked to the outdoors through sliding glass doors while the upper volumes use a louver system.
The Torquay House is located in Victoria, Australia and was completed in 2012 by Wolveridge Architects. It’s a beautiful house with a coastal design and a toned-down look. On one side, solid concrete volumes give the building a geometric and somewhat industrial appearance. The opposite end, however, is quite different. The facade is covered with a screen of thin wooden panels that offer privacy for the interior spaces without obstructing the views when admired from inside the rooms.
One of the most interesting residences when it comes to dynamic facade designs is the Sharifi-ha House designed by Nextoffice in Tehran, Iran. The residence features a system of turning boxes that make up its facade. This means that each individual box can be rotated to either become open to the views and the exterior or to be completely enclosed. This type of flexibility is useful as the house can adapt to the changes that comes with the seasons. Also, it’s easy to protect and enclose the house when leaving for prolonged periods of time and to minimize maintenance-related issues.
When designing the SDU Campus Kolding for the University of Southern Denmark, the team at Henning Larsen Architects wanted the building to reflect the educational system and the philosophy of the university. That’s why they made the building look eye-catching and gave it this interesting geometric facade. The facade is covered with triangle-shaped perforated panels which are actually window shutters and can be opened at different angles, transforming the look of the facade depending on the configuration.
Even though the facade of the Rainbow Chapel is not dynamic in the traditional sense of the term, it does stand out in a similarly impressive way. This is a wedding chapel located in Shanghai, China. It was designed in 2015 by Coordination Asia and has the form of a square box with open sides that reveal a circular volume wrapped in a mosaic of stained glass. The full potential of the design can be admire from inside where a beautiful rainbow is revealed. The stained glass facade filters the light and creates amazing visual effects.
In Beijing, China, there’s this old printing factory that was recently refurbished and transformed. It was a project by Origin Architect completed in 2014. The Beijing Offset Printing Factory is a building full of history which suffered some big changes during the last renovation. Some of the spaces were demolished, others were created and the front yard can now be transformed into an outdoor theater by eliminating the facade and the boundaries between the two zones. The entire wall folds up and opens in a way similar to a garage door, revealing the colorful and fun environment behind it.
In an effort to make this building stand out from its neighbors and to contrast with the adjacent structures, the architects envisioned its facade as an animated surface. we’re talking about the Checker Box Office Complex located in Tehran, Iran. It’s a project that was developed by Arsh Design Group and completed back in 2009. Unlike traditional office buildings, it has full-height windows and privacy is gained through a series of sliding wooden panels which animate the facade and allow it to become dynamic.
The main challenge when designing the M9-C Building in Paris, France, was mixing four different functions. The building had to be a school, a cultural destination, a residence and to also include a parking zone. Managing to find the balance between all these functions and everything related was not easy and meant giving the building a rather unusual look and design. This was done by BP Architectures. The geometry of the facade plays an important role, allowing a smooth and seamless blend and transition from one function to another. The facade that accommodates the apartments features folding shutters which offer insulation as well as a uniform appearance.
A lot of buildings are suffering from a lack of shade but this a problem that was dealt with in style by architecture student Tyler Short at University of Oregon. He designed a kinetic shading system called Penumbra which is made up of static elements resembling louvers. However, unlike the traditional type, these louvers swing out and can rotate in three directions according to the position of the sun in order to offer shade. The idea is ingenious and inspiring, This unique system of louvers can be operated manually or automatically. Although conceived as a concept, the system is definitely a revolutionary one which could quickly be adapted to a lot of building facades.
A different shading system was also designed for the Xinjin Zhi Museum in China. This time, the strategy is rather different. This was a project by Kengo Kuma and Associates. The museum’s facade appears to be wrapped in floating tiles held around the building by an invisible force. At a closer look, however, it become apparent that the tiles are actually stretched and held in place by wire strings. Their role is to shade the glazed facade from direct sunlight and they do that while also making the museum look cool and interesting.
The double skin facade of the campus designed by Noiz Architects in Taiwan is the result of an original and ingenious design approach. The outer shell of the building is covered in 4000 fins which make the structure look similar to a fish. This layer is offset from the walls, enveloping the facades and providing flexibility for future pipes and conducts which can be added and modified without affecting the exterior of the building. These fins also give the facades a three dimensional look. They are positioned at different angles to create a fluid and cohesive look throughout.
Using vases and planters as ornaments to give the house a fresh and green look is one thing but completely covering the exterior of the building with these thing is a whole different story. It may sound fantastic but there really is such a house. Its facade is covered by a green wall made of 3,500 vases. It pretty much hides the exterior of the building, concealing its simple architecture and industrial features. This was a project developed by SuperLimao Studio and the team wanted it to be flexible and adaptable to various situations and settings.
The Optical Glass House is not the first nor the last structure to be designed with a glazed exterior. It is, however, special in a different sense. When designing this modern residence, NAP Architects used glass bricks on the facade. This allowed them to protect and obscure the inner courtyard and to give the house a unique and eye-catching look. The glass brick facade reflects the view in a unique way, similar to a painting or tapestry, embracing small perfections and creating interesting visual effects and light patterns.
When asked to transform the new Domestic Terminal of the Brisbane Airport into a kinetic sculpture, design studio Urban Art Projects came up with a very interesting idea. One side of the car park which was subject to this change is covered with 250,000 aluminum panels. As the wind passes behind them, the entire facade ripples and moves. At the same time, all sorts of patterns of light and shadow are created. The design uses wind and light to come to life.
This is what the architects at Jackson Clemens Burrows called the May Grove residence. It’s located in South Yarra, Victoria and it was built using a very simple array of materials consisting of recycled red brick, raw cement and timber. The goal was to create a low-maintenance home that looks simple but is also full of surprises. The facade is playful, featuring a series of perforated panels that serve as shutters. They can open the facade to the views and let more light in or they can create interesting patterns while filtering the light.