In the last 250 years, the world has faced three periods of industrialization. Each of these bought with it several innovations, especially new technologies and new architectural design that seemed to be unpredictable.
The first industrial revolution transformed the way we live by changing the way people made a living, methods of manufacturing, and the products available to them. This change in societal structure led to new types of buildings being created. These buildings would have been unimaginable in a previous age.
During the 20th century, with globalisation advancing quickly, local traditions gradually took a back seat. By the late 1980s, it became clear that facades no longer simply had to look good, they were also the key to low operational expenditure and indoor comfort.
In the new millennium, living arrangements, social systems, and working patterns have changed more rapidly than ever before. However, the unstoppable desire of people to live more comfortably has taken a heavy toll on the environment. The well-documented climate-change has led to us facing a global challenge.
Thanks to this, there is a growing interest in sustainable building and in adaptive façade technologies that counter wellbeing concerns and overheating problems in smart and high-performance buildings such as retail premises.
Keep reading below to find out more:
The Challenge of Building Sustainable Retail Premises
The future is influenced by two main factors:
- Social perspective – there is a need to achieve a better level of indoor environmental quality and user well-being.
- Environmental perspective – there is a need to neutralise the environmental impacts of buildings and reduce building energy consumption.
Over the last few years, we have seen several innovative buildings being built that envelop concepts and technologies offering solutions to these issues. For example, the introduction of active and passive design technologies in the building envelope.
The Importance of Facades
Buildings make up over 40% of global final energy use. This figure indicates the need to adopt effective techniques for improving building performance regarding energy issues.
One of the most important parts of designing energy-efficient systems for integration in buildings is to pay attention to the type of façade being used. The type of building façade a business chooses can have an impact on the overall energy usage and user comfort. It can also have an impact on the environment.
In most cases, facades created using advanced methodology such as this retail space design by MJMDA, are the solution to this huge issue. These facades can be adapted to respond to variations of the indoor and outdoor environment and maintain conditions with the lowest energy demand.
The Trends in Retail Façade Design
Over the last few years, we have seen a few trends in retail façade design. These include:
- Kinetic facades – these facades are not static; instead, they change to suit the conditions. Elements in kinetic facades are programmed to respond to climate factors, to reduce solar heat, to improve energy efficiency or for aesthetic reasons such as an art installation.
- Curved glass – another one of the popular trends in retail façade design is curved glass. New CAD technology and advanced manufacturing techniques have reduced costs, meaning it is now affordable.
- Fibre-reinforced materials – glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) and glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP) are now being used in several forms that have been made possible by new technologies. The amount of energy used in manufacturing these materials is much lower than in glass or aluminium production.
- Weathered steel facades – Weathered steel (otherwise known as COR-TEN) is a group of steel alloys that were created to eliminate the need for painting. Research has shown that this material has exceptionally low maintenance costs and no requirements for a protective paint system.
Promising Façade Technologies of the Future
Over the next few years, we expect to see several retail façade technologies penetrating the market. These include:
- Dynamic shadings – these technologies obstruct sunlight. They aim to control daylight, participating in summer comfort, thermal insulation, or cooling savings.
- Chromogenic facades – this technology is not external or internal to the building. Instead, it is integrated directly into the glazing systems. The physical properties of chromogenic facades can change according to the level of power and voltage changing the appearance of the glazing itself. It can make it more or less transparent.
- Solar active facades – this includes building-integrated PC, Green facades and roofs, double skin facades and phase change materials. Green facades and roofs and double skin facades obstruct sunlight, the others are directly in contact with sunlight.
- AFVs – this technology is based on ventilation. It can be used to control the airflow within a cavity, or it can be used to control the air entering the building.
Advances in technology are enabling an array of approaches to façade design and construction. From tiles that move in the wind to timber, complex composites, and glass, modern facade technology means that architects who want to use statement designs that are also good for the environment are spoilt for choice.
The shift away from aluminium and glass has been motivated by three new developments: stricter energy regulations have provoked a shift from standard glass, new technology has bought alternative products to the market, and a desire to stand out from the crowd or blend in with the surroundings has sparked demand.
The adoption of new facades is happening in retail buildings all around the world, paving the way for the exchange of new ideas.