two is better than one

9:26 AM

Nothing sounds less minimal than a building with two facades but we’ll blame it on the fall – we are loving buildings with an extra layer. No siding material is without its drawbacks – glass lets in light and views but also the heat, steel offers strength but terrible insulation, masonry is labor intensive and requires careful waterproofing – but combining them in unexpected ways balances their drawbacks while letting them flaunt their strengths. Whether its glass peeking through a masonry façade, sun screens to keep out the heat, or a perforated corten steel shell to filter sunlight, we think sometimes two is better than one. Here are a few of our favorites:

Shanghai design firm Neri & Hu’s façade for The Commune Social – a neighborhood tapas, dessert, and cocktail bar- uses raw steel and glass to create a modern frame for the masonry beyond. We like the extra insulating potential of the air space in between too!

A cool application of kinetic architecture, the motorized façade panels cladding Bushwick Brooklyn’s Wycoff Exchange by Andre Kikoski create inviting awnings during the day, while providing an extra layer of security for the building at night. We love how this project maximizes on a façade’s ability to direct a building's relationship with its surroundings.

The new wing of the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastian, Spain by Nieto Sobejano reminds us of the surrounding cliff sides and was designed with a perforated steel sheet outer layer meant to encourage an eventual plant covering. Sunlight filters through to the museum interior during the day and at night, the starry effect is spectacular!

OKE, the new cultural house in Ortuella, also in Basque country uses a perforated corten skin to unify the banded windows and concrete structure within, creating a single visual mass. We love the glowing effect at night.
Herzog and de Meuron’s Dominus winery answers extreme temperature swings with gabions, or wire containers filled with stones with natural insulating properties. The gabions are filled “more or less densely as needed so that parts of the walls are very impenetrable while others allow the passage of light.”

Dominique Perrault’s Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris uses a second skin of wood called, “sun fliters” to diffuse the lights and bustle of the city outside and create a peaceful interior for study and retreat. 

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