Architecture & Digitalization: Interactive Facades

‘Digitalization is the future’ – off lately we have heard a lot of this. Artificial Intelligence, Digital Media and Machine Learning have been revolutionizing various genres today. The field of Architecture is also no different from this pattern. Digitalization has taken up significant space in the architecture industry as well. The aesthetics in architecture is gradually going through a paradigm shift and has attained new heights. The ‘idea’ of a building facade has grown to be more interactive. Technology has evolved to make the facades more ‘Visual’ and digitally interactive.

2014 shanghai kerry centre facade 01 w 760
Digital Facades – Burberry, Shanghai

Evolution of the facade

The facade of buildings has gone through a long process of evolution. The skin of the facade has evolved from being a heavy ornamented, pilastered facade to a more minimalistic and transparent glass facade. Now, this process of evolution has attained new heights where the basic unit of the facade has reduced down to a digital pixel. Digitalization of architectural facades has also given the liberty to switch the facades as and when needed visually. Thus we can say that digitalization has majorly helped to break the monotony of the facades.

photo 1583779325527 b28be47b4fae e1594356690598
Ornamented Facade – Gothic age

Digital Facades – The futuristic present








Digital technology has empowered architecture to venture into seamless and modern age facades. The new-age digital facades have led to set visually and emotionally engaging narratives. As a result of this, architecture has become more depictive with the help of digital intervention. This technology has led to the trend wherein the buildings communicate with the city dwellers in a very unique and engaging pattern. Digital Facades enables us to depict various thought processes like social messages, branding, General affairs etc. through buildings. It has also helped to put up the vibe of the city/space on to the building facade. Individual buildings show on public squares, and other congregation spaces are adorned with digital lighting and visual effects. Hence, this adds a playful and fun vibe to the cityscape.

Types of Digital Facades

Digital Facades today are developed with the motive to achieve the power of narration through built forms. The style of the Digital Facades depends on a varied range of purpose. Let us explore such types of Digital Facades:

Visual Identity

Most of the Digital Facades today are curated for this purpose. This kind of facades is used to establish a visual identity in the cityscape. Such facades help in setting up an iconic reference in the skyline or the urban space and are especially attributed to a particular brand. The office headquarters of a certain brand or structures trying to attain iconic recognition usually indulge in this kind of design.

Digital Facade with Visual Appeal – National Museum, Norway

Media & Advertising

Facades of big brands and establishments usually use the opportunity to turn their built forms into a live and interactive platform for branding and advertisement of their brand. Such facades are usually seen at public squares and congregation spaces where the facades advertise to the masses in a visually interactive manner. The Times Square at New York is one such example of a media infused Facade.

full MediaMesh1

Architectural Response

Unlike the standard media infused digital facades, certain facades are designed with architectural aesthetics in consideration. These facades have digital illustrations that go in line with the architectural fabric of the urban space. These facades are seen to either add to or enhance the architectural language of the built form.

Digital Facade – Hotel YAS Island, Abu Dhabi

Social Awakening

Digital Facades have now grown to become platforms for the spread of the social message. This has helped to bridge the gap between emotional awakening and architecture. Initially graffiti, posters and handbills on the walls of the buildings aided in the same purpose. But now this social awakening has achieved new heights using the digitally articulated facades. It is thus helping the spread of the social messages in a more widespread way.

a01bd485680ce2f729fadc096d3a1057 e1594356808946
Digital Facade – Social Awareness

The current state of Digital Facades in Architectural Industry

Though digital facades have become the new face of the architectural industry, it is also stripping away the sense of architectural beauty to some extent. Digitalization is a great move, no doubt; but equal attention needs to be paid to the architectural sense and composition. Barring a few meticulously designed media facades, most of them are just digital pixels being superimposed on the dead exterior facade of a structure. Digitalization in Architecture must grow out of this constraint and explore must more in hand with the architectural realm. Therefore, we must consider the architectural importance and place-ness of the built form. Equal importance must be paid to the structural as well as the social significance of the architecture around, and thus, digital facades must be planned accordingly.

- Advertisement -

Sudarshan Uppunda
Sudarshan Uppunda
Born & brought up in Bombay, based in Bengaluru, Sudarshan is an ambivert who can be outgoing-open and reserved at the same time. It all depends on the vibes! He deeply believes in vibes and personal energies. As an Architectural Journalist and Architect, he aims to write in a way that his content is relatable for all. Design is what interests him the most and he keeps trying his hand at different design verticals such as graphic, UI & UX design at times. He likes to write and explore varied topics on Workplace environments, Architecture, and Culture. He is quite active in architectural content writing and has written for various platforms like RTF, The Arch Insider, Gharpedia, etc. He strongly believes that whatever one does in life, one must do it with passion & be happy with it.

- Advertisement -

Latest articles

Related articles