and construction, the term façade refers to
one exterior side of a building. Typically the façade
refers to the front of the building, but this is not
always the case. The façade is typically very
design-heavy side to a building. It generally features
visual elements that in a sense express the character
of the building or space. As such, vast ranges exist
in the styling of facades, from classical to ultra
The term façade, which means “face”
or “frontage” in French, first appeared
in the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid seventeenth
century. It is no surprise then that facades are featured
regularly in historic construction. Facades were of
particular popularity during the Georgian period of
England between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Because many facades are therefore historic, many
towns and cities have regulations about who can alter
a façade, how, and why.
In today’s construction, facades continue to
be of great importance in setting the tone of a building.
To achieve an artful façade on a high-rise
buildings, modern techniques such as suspension of
the exterior walls from concrete floor slaps are often
employed. Curtain walls are often used in such pursuits,
as are precast concrete walls.
Precast concrete slabs often provide the structure
of a façade, over which either stainless steel
or aluminum is applied for appearance.
Some modern construction has also utilized titanium,
however this has not been a popular development. Titanium
is particularly susceptible to panel edge staining
and is also very costly. For these reasons, aluminum
and steel are preferred.
As with any modern construction, safety is of concern
with facades. Of particular concern is fire safety,
namely preventing fire from moving from one building
to the next in a major urban center should a fire
occur. In such instances, facades are required to
comply with a fire-resistance rating.
Sprinkler systems, fire stops, and building joints
are also often used in conjunction with facades. The
melting point for aluminum, which is 660 degrees Celsius,
is typically reached within the first few minutes
of a fire, making fire reaching a façade a
major safety concern.
The term façade is colloquially common due
to the use of the fronts of buildings on film sets
and in theme parks. Such pieces are built to five
the appearance of buildings where thee are none. In
most instances, facades on sets or in parks are simply
supported by beams in the back. They are a flat piece,
however when viewed from the front, the illusion of
the depth of a building is created.
The term façade is also used colloquially to
describe a person who is being disingenuous or is
putting on a “face”. This is largely influenced
by the use of facades to give the appearance of a
building on a set or in a theme park where in reality
there is nothing to back it up.