- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 29 Mar 2018
In its broadest sense, the term ‘façade’ can refer to any predominantly vertical face of a building envelope, such as an external wall. Consequently, a building may have more than one façade, such as the north façade, south façade and so on. Terraced buildings may only have two façades, a front façade and a rear façade.
Sometimes the term ‘façade’ is used to refer more specifically to external faces of buildings that have particular architectural emphasis, such as an imposing design, decoration, the main entrance to the building and so on. This will typically be the front of the building, facing onto a street or other public open space, but it may also be other faces depending on their architectural treatment and importance.
The word ‘façade’ is thought to be derived from the Latin 'facia', via the French ‘façade’ meaning ‘face’ or ‘frontage’. It was first used in English to refer to the front, or face of a building, but it has subsequently taken on an additional meaning in relation to concealing something behind a deceptive appearance, such as a person hiding their true feelings.
Considerations that might influence the design of a façade include:
- Site, topography and climate.
- The relationship to the street and access routes.
- The requirement for entrances, windows and other openings.
- Stylistic preferences.
- Requirements for climatic modification.
- The need for security and privacy.
- Available skills and materials.
- Context and planning restrictions.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Barrier wall system.
- BCIS elements.
- BRE Building Elements series (AP 243).
- Building fabric.
- Dynamic façade.
- Elements of buildings.
- Elements of structure in buildings.
- Façade Retention.
- Living façade.
- The building as climate modifier.
- Types of wall.
- What are walls made of?
Featured articles and news
There are many ways of classifying types of building. Have a look at our range of building articles.
BSRIA have launched the 'major update' of the go-to design framework guide for building services.
How to get results with building life cycle assessment.
Government publishes a prospectus inviting proposals for new 'garden communities'.
The Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa collapses during rainstorm while undergoing maintenance works.
'Developed design' is a phrase coined by the RIBA for their 2013 Plan of Work. But what does it actually mean?
New green paper published aiming to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents and tackle stigma.
RIBA calls for a comprehensive ban on combustible materials.
Lump sum contracts can be referred to as ‘fixed price’ contracts, although strictly this is not correct. Find out more here.
Ramboll offer guidance to civil engineers on how to make projects 'off-site ready'.
Government announces its Rough Sleeping Strategy, with further funding for social housing.