Whether integrated into new construction or added to an existing structure, wooden slat facades can totally transform the appearance of a building and have practical benefits, too. Typically attached to furring strips to elevate them off the exterior walls and installed with some space between them, the slats can help keep buildings cooler, shade windows and provide privacy. They’re becoming more popular as a modern and environmentally friendly exterior treatment.
ArchDaily recently extolled the benefits of wooden slat facades and rounded up some great examples. The type of wood used, the finish, the spacing and the pattern of the installation can produce all sorts of interesting results, and some architects choose to extend the facades over the roof as well. The results feel warm, fresh and organic, especially when irregular natural logs and branches are used instead of lumber.
“Usually, these slats are quite simple to install. On a masonry structure or some other type of wall, the wooden pieces are screwed on over the skeleton in regular intervals, with square or rectangular cross sections. The spacing and direction of the slats can be adjusted according to the drawing. For example, in the project Sparkasse Bank by Dietger Wissounig Architekten, the institution’s objective was to create a relaxed and friendly environment for customers and employees. The wooden veneer facade surrounds the entire building, variously punctuated by windows and other framed openings, providing privacy, lightness, and transparency.”
It’s a cool way to introduce wood to a building that might feel a little cold and unwelcoming, like the many Brutalism-inspired concrete structures left over from the ’70s and ‘80s. One example, “Puinhuis” by architecture firm FELTO, wraps a home in a new envelope. The old shape is still apparent, but the vertical wooden slats and an asymmetrical installation of square windows give it a whole new life.
If you don’t want to commit to a permanent change to your home’s exterior, there’s another way to use wood to get similar benefits. ArchDaily also rounded up a bunch of projects that make use of an incredibly simple, low cost solution: wooden blinds. Some are applied creatively to new or existing railings, introducing modern geometric shapes to traditional buildings.
Others simply add them to the balconies of apartment buildings, as in the El Cabanyal Residential Renovation by David Estal and Arturo Sanz. As you can see, this one little change makes a big difference in the appearance of the building. It’s a great way to add some warmth while also controlling light and heat.