Facades of the Future

Facades of the Future

As cityscapes all over the world continue to expand, aided by an increase in high and medium density housing, architects seek new inspiration in designing their first impressions. Innovations in materials and construction are leading to facades that are functional, sustainable and unique. We understand that the projects we pursue are lasting contributions to our own Melbourne streetscape and believe they should be built to have a long lasting positive impact . These are the international developments that are not only setting the standard for what is to come, but showing how established surroundings can inform exterior design rather than deny them.


Copenhagen’s Nordhavn has commenced a 40-50 year planned redevelopment to transform into a sustainable, urban community. Developments like this COBE-designed apartment building are not shying away from its industrial past – rather celebrating it. Galvanised steel cladding will be sculpted into faceted protrusions, casting shadows and adding depth to the exterior. The coastal environment will play an important role in evolving the structure, with the expectation the steel will take on a patina over time, while perforations protect balconies and interiors from direct sunlight without obscuring natural light. This faceted facade is an exciting post-industrial bridge to an urbanised future.


In a city of towers, how do you stand out? The Sax, to be built on Rotterdam’s Wilhelmina Pier, employs a contemporary twist on traditional bay windows to do just that. Residents of the 450 apartments will enjoy 270-degree views of the city thanks to floor to ceiling square window with forward projections. Glass will cover the exterior, capturing and reflecting the city lights creating the pixelated facade. Construction is tipped to begin in 2018, but the design is already inspiring developments in Vienna and Jakarta.


Plant-covered design is a trend gaining traction all over the world thanks to its sustainable credentials and practical approach to city greenery. It’s one we have been following closely, recently exploring the vertical forest planned for Nanjing, China – a tower of over 1,000 trees and 2,500 plants in the centre of the city. In the Netherlands, one Eindhoven development will take the trend to new planes. Jagged, 45-degree roofs will house over 270 square metres of urban farming, including community gardens, grass and greenhouses. Natural light, and the desire to create intimacy and connectedness were pivotal to the conception of the exterior design. Sustainability and function are cleverly accounted for in solar panels and rainwater collection, while unique texture is created through the mix of shiny and rough materials (glazed ceramics, stone, wood and concrete).


This Stockholm apartment block uses unusual methods to achieve a sophisticated exterior in tune with its industrial surroundings. Offsite prefabrication and standardised materials are used in alternating opaque and transparent sections. The result is a chequerboard facade, enclosing the corridors wrapping the outer edged of the structure. The alternating translucent polycarbonate panels and vertical aluminium louvers provide glimpses of the raw and painted concrete to the outside.

Credit: Dezeen