Double Skin Façade Revolution: Exploring Its Unique Benefits and Mechanisms

Double Skin Façade Revolution: Exploring Its Unique Benefits and Mechanisms

Sep 27, 2023

Double skin façades, as the name suggests, are façade systems composed of two ‘skins’ or layers. Such a façade serves as a medium that interacts with the outside environment, regulates internal building conditions, and enhances the building’s overall aesthetic appeal. Its core function lies in its ability to manage the internal temperature and improve indoor air quality, thus contributing to the building’s overall eco-friendly performance.

The use of double skin façades is an innovative concept that is fast becoming increasingly popular in the field of architecture. Its unique features and the benefits it brings to the table make it an appealing choice for architects and builders worldwide. However, to understand the full potential of the double skin façade, it is crucial to explore its mechanisms, types, and the unique benefits it offers.

The Mechanism behind Double Skin Façade

The double skin façade system is a marvel of engineering, demonstrating how a blend of aesthetics and functionality can yield spectacular results. The mechanism behind this system is relatively simple, yet incredibly effective. It is composed of two layers of glazing installed at a certain fixed distance from each other. The space between these layers acts as an insulating buffer zone, reducing the heat gain or loss from the building.

The outer layer of the double skin façade serves as a shield, protecting the building from direct sunlight, rain, wind, and noise. This layer can either be transparent or semi-transparent, allowing for a certain degree of natural light to penetrate. The inner layer, on the other hand, is usually fully glazed and thermally insulated to enhance the building’s energy efficiency.

The buffer zone between the two skins can either be naturally or mechanically ventilated. In natural ventilation, the air movement is facilitated by vents or openings at the top and bottom of the cavity, allowing for the natural flow of air. In mechanical ventilation, fans or other mechanical devices are used to control the air movement.

Types of Double Skin Façade Designs

Double skin façade systems can be categorised into four primary types based on their design and functioning. These are the box window type, shaft box type, corridor type, and multi-storey type.

  • The box window type is a compact system where each window has insulated double glazing on the room side and a single glass layer on the outside. 
  • The shaft box type involves a central ventilation shaft that serves multiple storeys, ensuring a uniform distribution of air.
  • In the corridor type, there’s a shared, continuous air space between the two skins that runs along the façade. This type of  façade is especially effective for larger buildings, as it provides a more extensive buffer zone. 
  • The multi-storey type, on the other hand, features a large, multi-storey air cavity, making it ideal for high-rise buildings.

Each of these types of double skin façade designs offers unique advantages and can be chosen based on the specific needs of the building and the climate conditions of the location.

Unique Benefits of Double Skin Façade

The double skin façade system provides a host of unique benefits that make it an appealing choice in modern architecture. Its primary benefit is its contribution to energy efficiency. By regulating the internal temperature of a building and reducing its heat gain or loss, the façade significantly reduces the energy consumption of the building.

Apart from offering energy efficiency, they also enhances the quality of indoor air. The ventilated cavity helps in removing pollutants and providing fresh, clean air to the occupants. It also aids in noise reduction, making it an ideal choice for buildings in busy, noisy urban areas.

Another unique benefit of this system is its aesthetic appeal. They can be designed in various ways to enhance the visual appeal of the building. It can be incorporated into both new constructions and renovations, adding a touch of modernity and sophistication.

How to Design an Effective Double Skin Façade System

Designing an effective double skin façade system involves careful planning and consideration of various factors. The first step is to analyse the building’s orientation and the local climate to determine the most suitable type of double skin façade design.

The choice of materials is another crucial aspect. The materials should be durable and capable of withstanding the local weather conditions. The size and location of the openings in the outer skin should also be carefully planned to ensure optimal ventilation.

The design of the buffer zone is another critical element. It should be designed to facilitate effective ventilation, either natural or mechanical, based on the building’s needs. The ventilation system should also be easy to control and maintain.

Conclusion

The double skin façade revolution is a testament to the boundless potential of architectural innovation. This system offers a unique blend of aesthetics and functionality, contributing to energy efficiency, enhanced indoor air quality, noise reduction, and visual appeal.

Embracing the double skin façade system is a step towards sustainable living. It’s a move that aligns with the global efforts to curb climate change and promote a healthier, greener future. As we continue to explore and innovate, the role of them in modern architecture will only keep growing, paving the way for more sustainable, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing buildings.

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