Historical Façades: Preserving our Architectural Heritage

Historical Façades: Preserving our Architectural Heritage

Historical Façades: Preserving our Architectural Heritage

Jul 07, 2023

Facade architecture is one of the oldest aspects of construction and has existed for centuries. Historically, materials such as wood, stone, and even mud have been used for providing construction with external protection. In addition, materials such as glass, steel, and concrete are  found in several heritage buildings giving us a deeper understanding of the design sensibilities of olden times. Several of these monuments have stood strong over time and still attract a great deal of attention.

Architectural Facadism

With the introduction of latest construction technologies, older methods are losing their prominence. The need for preserving our historic building facades has led to the concept of Architectural Façadism, also known as  façadomy. Architectural façadism is the technique of maintaining a building’s façade, while erecting a new structure behind it. It is a technique that strikes a balance between restoration and total building renovation.

Architectural Façadism has several applications in adaptive reuse architecture, which aims to limit urban expansion and preserve land on which an old structure or site was constructed upon. This idea is related to architectural façadism because both of them entail repurposing existing materials to create something new. The process involves restoring, and using the building’s original façade while creating a brand-new interior to provide its exterior with greater strength.

​​Façadism is most common in cities that are rapidly growing since there is a greater need for new structures there than the cities where structures need tobe preserved. Façadism is widely practised in Toronto, Sydney, and Brisbane, while it is actively discouraged in other places, such as Melbourne and Paris. This method enables façade conservation of old structures when space is an extremely valuable commodity and renovation and reconstruction of a building in its entirety is not a possibility.

The Need for Architectural Façadism

Heritage buildings often face neglect and are maintained poorly due to the owners’ and the management’s inability to undertake costly renovations. Older buildings can be structurally risky the due to the use of construction materials like lead,  asbestos, decaying wood, and other environmental problems that necessitate extensive repairs.

Due to the age of the buildings, these upgrades can pose significant structural difficulties. Modern construction practices are based on building codes. Due to their vastly different construction methods, older buildings can be challenging to maintain while also complying with modern regulations. These ancient structures need to be extensively renovated to comply with contemporary construction safety regulations.
A combination of renovation, architectural façadism, and adaptive reuse architecture gives building owners a chance to adopt modern security measures for their properties. Pedestrians and property can be safer while maintaining aesthetics with the use of creative alternatives.

Stepping Into The Future

Adaptive reuse not only saves money but also decreases  wasteful demolition and construction processes. Building waste is at an all-time high, making up more than 30% of the waste in landfills. The amount of material waste produced by demolishing a complete building is decreased by utilising some of its existing components.

In addition, the energy needed to build the space, move the garbage, and bring in fresh materials can be reduced through adaptive reuse and architectural façadism. An existing structure symbolises energy that has already been expended; tearing it down and starting over wastes that energy.

Additionally, there are more emissions from new buildings due to the extensive usage of fossil fuels, steel, glass, and concrete. They require heat to be   manufactured. Moving materials to and from the construction site generates additional emissions. Architectural Façadism eliminates the need for fresh construction while simultaneously making a building future ready.


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