Modern buildings may not be your favourite type of architecture, but they are a necessity to cope with the demands of ever expanding cities and urban spaces. As cities get more and more cluttered with people and businesses jostling for space, architects are responding with smart, innovative design solutions for commercial and residential spaces. With the restrictions of expanding sideways, they’re looking upwards instead.
All hail the skyscraper
These giant constructions are the epitome of upward thinking. They take up less ground space and can house accommodation, commercial entities and entertainment facilities all-in-one. But these huge constructions are even more vulnerable to the elements than their ground-hugging counterparts. This is where exterior cladding or curtain walling really comes into its own.
The benefits of curtain walling
This outer layer can not only transform the exterior of a building to make it visually more appealing and less of a 21st Century eyesore, but it can also help the building to run more efficiently. Curtain walls provide insulation and protection from external forces such as heat, wind and rain. But also provide light which is paramount to its inhabitants’ wellbeing and ventilation to the building’s structure.
The benefits of green walls
This innovative idea is widely used in the interiors and on the exteriors of commercial buildings. Qantas First Lounge at both Sydney and Melbourne Airport have long extolled the virtues of a green wall consisting of living plants to make their VIP customers’ short stays more comfortable. Used internally they offer more than just a unique wall covering. They also aid the wellbeing of workforces and customers as living plants clean the air, keep occupants calm, generally improve wellbeing and in workspaces, increase productivity.
Used externally they soften the harsh exteriors of buildings and help them to blend in with the natural environment, often reintroducing nature to built-up areas bereft of green spaces. Additionally they insulate the walls and reduce the use of energy to heat or cool the internal spaces, as well as relieving outside noise. They also absorb particle matter (dusts) in the street air.
The benefits of green roofs
With green spaces sadly lacking in much of our urban landscape, big cities are getting wise to the benefits of green roofs.
Green roof research from the space agency NASA tells us that not only do they insulate buildings, just like green walls, but they also help to reduce ‘urban heat islands’ which essentially means they can cool cities down. This is great for the rising temperatures linked to climate change. For instance if 30-50% of the buildings in New York had green roofs, the surface temperatures would be reduced by as much as 16°C.
A green roof also serves to reduce rain-water run off and offers sound insulation.
Whether you’re a developer or commercial property owner, Curtain Walling, Green Walls and Green Roofs offer practical, as well as aesthetic solutions, to commercial and residential properties thus improving modern living and working environments.
Rob Rudd started writing professionally as a way to carry on working whilst dealing with the demands of family life. He has always had a particular interest in architecture and studied it at university.