Choosing material for my academic research


I am having trouble choosing the right material for my facade. It consists of multiple elements in dimensions: 10cm x 200cm x 1000cm that is cut straight on upper, bottom and elevation facing sides and cut to resemble a wave on the front of the building. It has to be light, it should if possible be made of one piece but could also be put together from few sheets. I tried googling for some specific polimers but there are too many of them to actually read all the technical specifications for them. I also wondered about some specific metal plates but those could also be too heavy for this purpose. Another issue is that I've been told that such thing would be hard to cut such shape here in Poland since there are few that advanced companies with approperiate materials for this purpose.

If anyone knows some materials that would fit I would be very grateful.

I am asking for advice from more experienced professionals since I am only a student that is still learning. Any idea will be appreciated.

Jan 20, 20 1:33 pm

Aluminum panel with a 1" honeycomb backing.

Jan 20, 20 2:09 pm
Chad Miller

How is that going to be bent without creasing?


I could be mis-reading but the slats in the image don't appear bent.

Chad Miller

Ah! I apologize! At a quick glance I thought it was a curve with faceted faces.


That'd be cooler, but no.


Jan 20, 20 2:25 pm

Velour is more weather resistant


Are these solid panels? Are they attached to a water tight facade or is this the facade? If you run into trouble with weight and feasibility, perhaps transitioning to outriggers of various lengths which you could wrap with a semi-opaque material (punched metal/wood, fabric, plastics).

Jan 20, 20 2:30 pm
Non Sequitur

Another dumb box with a 3D extrusion as decoration.... boooooring.

Looks like aluminum extrusions would do he trick if the goal is to have fins.  If you want this to read as a contiguous skin tho... that one will need to be custom.  Probably best to simply the shape into the smallest amount of forms and build back up the complexities from there.

Jan 20, 20 2:34 pm

Bespoke Acrylic Glass (PMMA) panels like the facade at Vitra Campus by SANAA.

Jan 20, 20 4:11 pm

Look up the BMW GINA concept.  Flexible skin over a moving substructure to change the appearance/aerodynamics.  I've wondered if the concept could be applied to buildings to control sun, vision angles, etc.  as well as the ability to change the colors and materials as 'maintenance'.  Just sort of looks like you could stretch a skin to weave your ribs.  

Other than that... I sort of like the aluminum (ACM's).  Since the skin is foil, you could theoretically produce it in any shape you can form the backer.  Given 3D printing, I'd think it could happen.

Not light, but there's also old school terracotta and fired clays/ceramics or various concretes; anything that starts off as a fluid.  

Fiberglass? Carbon Fiber?  like a built-up composite might also work. Again, maybe look to automotive body techniques/materials for ideas. 

Jan 20, 20 4:52 pm

Everybody missed the point of chiffon. If you want to make it look like a drapery, make it out of fabric. But best to avoid making buildings look like draperies.

Maybe for academic research the OP could study how buildings are actually built. I know that's an outlier for architectural school but at least it would stand out.

Jan 20, 20 7:07 pm
Non Sequitur

Miles, I think we all assumed fins, not a solid undulating surface. Can you imaging the ironing required to keep those pleats in a fabric facade tho? I am imagining a window cleaning swing stage with a few dudes holding large boards and common residential ironing tools. Not the worst thesis project idea.

Chad Miller

So basically a Frank Gehry building but better?


Does this building have any windows or doors?

Jan 21, 20 6:11 pm

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