The facade of the Wanda Reign Hotel by Make Architects 

It's all a facade

Hot enough for you? The rising temperatures of the last week or so (in Europe, at least) throw a spotlight on a perennial architectural problem – how to square our love of glazed facades in high-rise architecture with the huge amount of energy required to keep interiors cool and bearable.

We've taken this opportunity to examine some alternative and smart solutions for facade design. A selection of international projects show how the deployment of passive ventilation and shade systems can decrease our dependence on traditional air-conditioning.

This newsletter's contents in brief:

  • Agenda July–August 2014
  • Naturally cool: why passive shading and ventilation will change the future of facades
More articles from Architonic's 'News & Trends'
  • Inspiring Search Results N° 29: Outdoor showers
  • Inspiring Spaces N° 21: Museums
  • Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

Stay cool!

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Agenda July–August 2014

Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice IT
7 June - 23 November 2014

Masterpiece 2014, Lodon GB
26 June - 2 July 2014

Las Vegas Market 2014, US
27 - 31 July 2014

Formex 2014, Stockholm SE
13 - 16 August 2014

Tendence 2014, Frankfurt DE
30 August - 2 September 2014

Garden Unique 2014, Cologne DE
31 August - 2 September 2014

Spoga+Gafa 2014, Cologne DE
31 August - 2 September 2014


Naturally cool: why passive shading and ventilation will change the future of facades

The need to minimise energy consumption affects many aspects of architecture, and designs that employ traditional or cutting-edge shading devices and ventilation methods are at the forefront of reducing our reliance on air conditioning. Architonic examines some ecologically innovative projects.

55 per cent of the facade is solid, with the aluminium lenses surrounding windows with 46 per cent visual light transmission

Windows perform many important roles in a building’s design; allowing light to enter while keeping bad weather out, insulating the interior while allowing views of the surroundings. However, the trend of the past two decades for covering entire buildings in glazing has negative environmental implications that have provoked a reaction from the architectural community. Rather than crystal towers that trap heat and rely on mechanical cooling, architects are designing structures that employ passive methods of shading and ventilation to control a building’s interior environment.

During 30 years at London studio Foster + Partners, British architect Ken Shuttleworth worked on many all-glass buildings, including London’s City Hall and 30 St Mary Axe. In a recent interview on BBC Radio 4 he said that this approach has lost its relevance and called for more responsible alternatives. “To meet the new building regulations, to meet zero carbon by 2019, we have to reduce the amount of windows in buildings, or the glass industry has to come up with new products,” Shuttleworth suggested.

A slatted wooden surface enveloping the library at the Guyanese University Campus by rh+ architecture protects the building from the sun’s harshest rays

The space between the library’s facade and the screen is used as a shaded walkway

One of the projects that Make, the studio that Shuttleworth founded in 2004, recently completed demonstrates a more environmentally aware approach to facade design. The surface of the Wanda Reign Hotel in Wuhan, China, comprises 902 hexagonal aluminium modules that lean forward and are angled in section to protect the rooms from solar gain. Approximately 55 per cent of the facade is solid, while the reflective aluminium panels surround glazing with low visual-light transmission and panes that can open to provide natural ventilation. The innovative arrangement of surfaces results in a textured pattern that changes when viewed from different angles and is emphasised by integrated LED lighting.


Further articles from Architonic's 'News & Trends'

Maintenant – Bernard Tschumi at the Pompidou Centre

Among the numerous signs that one's status as a grandee of architecture has been secured is having a big survey exhibition at Paris's Pompidou Centre. Architonic uses the current Bernard Tschumi retrospective as an opportunity to reflect on the Swiss architect's innovative and diverse projects...

Through Deidi's Eyes – Simon Vélez, the Bamboo Architect

In this first installment of our new series featuring the work of renowned architectural photographer DEIDI VON SCHAEWEN, we take a look at a unique exhibition of Colombian architect and bamboo-master Simon Vélez's work, currently installed in the grounds of La Bambouseraie in the South of France...

Furnishing – designing for a wider context

An architecturally oriented flexibility and modularity in furnishing is responding to the increasing need for spaces that cover a diversity of user needs. Orgatec investigates.


Inspiring Search Results N° 30

Outdoor showers

Inspiring Spaces N° 22


Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic


Berlin | Germany | Completed 2013


In Szene - Temporary Scenography
Zurich | Switzerland | Completed 2013
Photographer: René Dürr Architekturfotografie

Studio O+A projects

San Francisco, CA | United States | Completed July 2013
Photographer: Jasper Sanidad

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