The facade is one of the most important elements in an architectural project. In addition to being the building's first barrier against heat, rain, snow, or wind, it also largely determines the appearance of a building. It can make the project stand out, blend into urban context, or even manifest, at first glance, values of transparency, lightness, or simplicity that the architect seeks to convey. Accordingly, the facade also constitutes a significant portion of the total cost of the work and, therefore, must be specified very carefully, taking into account aesthetics, functionality, maintenance, and long-term behavior.
Facades and building envelopes – which form the outer skins of buildings – project image and creative intent. How these look is no accident. Someone designed them with a lot of attention and precision.

When a facade is designed, many elements require consideration. What will the entrance look like? What style will they go for? Fenestration must be consideration, as does the placement and proportions of windows. And finally, what type of building materials will be used. 

Of late, two building materials have been talked about in increasing volume when it comes to facades and building envelopes glass and aluminium. Both can create stunning finishes and visionary forms, but does one outperform the other as stuff that architectural dreams are made of? In this blog we’ll try and find out.

Probably the most important factor that architects and specifiers will look at when designing a facade is cost. Aluminium, as a building material, is one of the cheapest metals and most cost-effective structural solutions to use in construction. However, manufacturing of glass is high energy consuming process due to the high temperature required for processing the raw materials. Glass is also an expensive material and ultimately can increase the cost of a building. So designers looking to save their pennies should probably look towards aluminium when deciding what material to use for their building’s facade.

Money aside, another significant consideration for a facade is its weight. Certain buildings can only hold so much weight upon them and choosing the right one should be high on the list of importance to architects and specifiers. Glass is a very light weight building material, and one reason that developers and architects relish glass is because it reduces the weight on the foundation and hence makes the building lighter. Similarly, aluminium is also a very light material with a specific weight of 27 g/cm3. In this area, both materials perform equally well.


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