Urban Façades

Urban Facade. Design by Antti Mikola
Façade design by Antti Mikola

High-quality architecture is sustainable by nature. If thoughtfully designed and well maintained, it can last forever. But what defines architectural quality? Besides structural and functional aspects there are aesthetic properties, too. Façades become particularly important here. The outermost layer of buildings - materials, finishes, colours, joints, forms, proportions and depth - strongly define the quality of urban space.

It is at this intersection of urban planning and building design where we positioned ourselves and our students for a semester of inquiry. The task was to design street façades at an urban site in Helsinki. The aim was to establish a language that is formally consistent and sustainable. 

We began by assigning each student one existing building in Helsinki to investigate and develop a general understanding of façades. By producing detailed elevation drawings and by describing the façade objectively in written form the students got to know various tools and strategies for designing façades. 

Working group:  Jenni Reuter, associate professor of architectural principles and theory, Department of Architecture, Satu Mahringer, teacher, Simon Mahringer, teacher (Aalto University). MA students: Aapo AirasZhuo ChenMia GröhnAnna MarkkulaJesper MagerøyAntti MikolaEerik SillanpääSonja WinbergYing Zhang (Aalto University)

Contact: [email protected]

Designs for A Cooler Planet

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