Facade 2022: a look at the facade of the future

On the first day of Facade 2022, UNStudio organized a high-quality international lecture program that provided a glimpse of the facade of the future. How that facade will look like, how it will be made and what requirements it will meet, it quickly becomes clear. This can also be clearly seen in the many stands and exhibitions at Gevel 2022. An impression based on four concepts and a synthesis.

Four concepts
A 3D-printed interior can be found in California, of which the material used has already been used in a 3D-print three times before, including the temporary pavilion around the Dutch Presidency of the EU in Amsterdam. When a pavilion is no longer needed, the material is shredded and a new print can be made with it, explained architect Hedwig Heinsman from Aectual. This makes such a material ideal for temporary pavilions, but also for interiors, which we know are sometimes renovated quite quickly. In her presentation, she also showed a new, strongly wavy acoustic panel that is now also widely used in the interior. That’s still the benefit of 3D printing, Heinsman stressed: freedom of form. A digital workflow makes it very easy to create unique items. Something that was also reflected in the presentation of Studio RAP, which uses their digital workflow on constantly new materials: aluminum, ceramics, CLT, cork …

Bacteria can already now take over the role of cement as a connecting element in tiles. Crushed, recycled granite can under special conditions be bound by bacteria in 72 hours to a strong paving tile. This process was developed by the British Biomason and is now marketed in the Netherlands by StoneCycling, which already supplies bricks consisting of up to 40% old bricks.

Bio-based solar panels, which already exist, are now being used, among other things, in the new reception pavilion for Novartis in Basel. The pavilion is designed by the Italian architect Michele de Lucchi, the active facade is designed by Swiss iArt. And the latter agency told Gevel 2022 about the project. The diamond-shaped glass facade panels are fitted with PV panels of biopolymers, but are also fitted with LED lighting inside and out. Ultimately, it is about illuminating the pavilion: the pavilion must form a distinctive and dynamic lighthouse in the city. But what could be better if the electricity that this costs is also generated by the building itself, said Valentin Spiess from iArt. The bio-based PV panels also capture ultraviolet light and therefore have the property that they perform better earlier and later in the day and have a lower peak in yield in the middle of the day. It worked well for this application. This does not mean that the media facade can be continuously lit; it lights up every half hour as long as the electricity produced allows it.

The reception pavilion for Novartis also shows that designs with energy-producing facades can create its own architecture. In recent decades, we have mainly been busy trying to integrate not-so-attractive PV panels on and on our buildings, said Wouter van Strien of Solar Visuals. The current movement is to integrate them invisibly. But what if we had to design completely different facades, which you can not necessarily see that they generate electricity from, but which it is clear that it is something completely different, Van Strien gave the audience. Designer Marjan van Aubel’s design already points in that direction. Her design Sunne is a particularly beautiful lamp that collects electricity during the day and which can shine again in the evening like a kind of setting sun.

Where does all the development ultimately lead? The facade of the future is designed in a digital workflow, where parametric design tools ensure far-reaching optimization. The facade is usually computer-controlled, perhaps even 3D-printed, which allows customization. The materials used are applied as thinly as possible, are at least circular, but a large number of the materials used also have a biological origin. Each part of the facade can be replaced and disassembled so that the facade can be upgraded and all materials in it can be upcycled indefinitely. More and more buildings are also generating electricity via the façade, resulting in a new architecture, and where relevant, the façade also occasionally provides light.

Facade 2022
The Gevel 2022 trade fair will take place until Thursday 2 June 2022 in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. Toko Fuze is arranging a lecture program on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, and Vakwerk Architecten is arranging it on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

Architectenweb is a media partner in Facade 2022

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