Substance Source Highlights: Facades

Come explore how to dress up a building facade with the Substance Source materials for architecture.

A building’s materiality has as much importance as its form, function and place. This is what our bodies make direct contact with; a cold metal shell, a strong glass surface, or a warm concrete wall all create an entirely different atmosphere.

What if you wanted to quickly erect an entire metropolis where nothing stands? In the world of Substance, it’s possible — and even better, painless.

Using the selection of specially designed curtain wall panel systems materials, Ronan and Anais (our team from the Calm Escape video) partnered again on the creation of procedural facades.

Making the Video

We reproduced the conditions of a design project, where artists need to create visuals quickly but with a sufficient level of quality and detail. Our timing: 2 weeks end to end!

Geometric Shapes

Anaïs set to work on a first palette. In order to create an eye-catching architectural display, we choose to work with a combination of crafted glass and an anodized aluminium mesh to make the building shimmer in a semi-transparent way.

Unknown / RATP Bus Center in Thiais – ECDM / The Gerkin – Foster+Partners / Unknown

The colors of the sky are mirrored against the glossy steel surfaces and multiple reflecting windows, from the greying blues of dusk through the clear blues of the daylight. To enhance the main palette, orange rust brings warmth and accentuates the shiny surfaces from the building’s topology.

Organic Shapes

It was a different set of materials which would best match the curvier shapes of the stadium and museum-type buildings.

Architect practices are at the forefront of using new and innovative materials to express the contours of complex structure they create through parametric design. Many building’s shells are clad in different types of metal plates and composite fibers. Those materials are wrapped around distorted forms to create an almost seamless flowing exterior.

Heydar Aliyev Center – Zaha Hadid / Philharmonie de Paris – Jean Nouvel / Walt Disney Concert Hall – Frank Gehry / Al Janoub Stadium – Zaha Hadid

Shades of grey become the focal point in this understated and upscale color group. A touch of gold adds a pleasurable warmth to the volumes, enhanced by a decorative lighting system.

Trial by Fire

Then, we made a selection of wall panelling systems from the latest collection of materials for architecture on Substance Source. Ronan modelled a selection of simple 3D shapes for 5 different types of building: retail building, skyscraper, museum, stadium, theater.

In architecture as in any design project, design teams need to visualise concepts with various levels of refinements in order to make critical decisions with clients — or simply to test the qualities of the design propositions.

This exercise, at the scale of a building, is highly demanding in terms of ressources. And we wanted to understand where exactly were the friction points.

For Ronan, the experience was successful:

I kept hand modelling to a minimum – I just made big gestural simple forms and then let the material data do the rest. Surface form/displacement and masked see-through surfaces were all provided by the Substance Source materials. It was quite fun to cycle through the materials and see how quickly the personality of the buildings changed!

Anais, Ronan, and other experts who loaned their skills to the Substance Source architecture materials release will chat and answer your questions live on a stream in November. Stay tuned for the date and time!

In the meantime, the architecture materials are available on Substance Source.