Facades- The gateway to the soul of a structure!

Facades- The gateway to the soul of a structure!

30.07.2022 | Palesa Mguli

Ones first encounter with a building is its exterior which tells a story of the journey that lies inside the  four walls. Architecture is the artistic expression, creativity and vision with practical necessities and when deciding on a façade of a building, one needs to consider the buildings locality, energy efficiency, ventilation, security, innovation and off course creativity and personality!


We will look at some of our building designs containing the mentioned aspects that make a façade an attraction to our projects.

Le Meridien Hotel and Conference Centre, which is under construction proudly boasts its Ghanaian culture. The façade of the building takes its cues from the lively and colourful fashion of the local people, by the introduction of a screen wall of colour patterns to the solid end walls. The layering of a folding composite timber louver screen to the lower level podium façade takes its influences from the local vernacular architecture, which uses vertical screen elements in openings as a way to allow for natural ventilation within the structure. These screens on the building are a visual filter which allows the creative traveller to discover the building when viewed from different angles – we have simply taken these various local vernacular design attributes and embellished them as architectural elements to the external façade.

We must say,  the Le Meridien has achieved getting the unique identity, personality and creativity for its façade.


Le Meridien Hotel and Conference Centre


Johannesburg Marriott Hotel & Marriott Executive Apartments comes with an innovative façade.

The innovations include an outwardly inclined 7-storey double glazed curtain wall with internally illuminated spandrel panels which had to meet stringent National Building Regulations as well as Marriott International compliance. The spandrel boxes were therefore custom designed to meet the structural and fire life safety requirements, as well as provide external façade lighting concealed internally but still with access for maintenance purposes.

Double glazing has been provided for 90% of the façade curtain walls, with specific performance glass used on the N & NE facades which are likely to experience the highest levels of insolation. In keeping with acoustic and thermal requirements from Marriott International, double glazing has also been utilized on all bedroom windows.

Large cantilevered concrete overhangs on the Ground Floor shade the 4.5m folding stacking façade beneath, while simultaneously allowing sunlight to reflect off this concrete shelf deep into the Hotel Bar and public lobby. This has the effect of providing diffuse indirect light but not heat to these public spaces.



Johannesburg Marriott Hotel & Marriott Executive Apartments


With our commercial building, Illovo Edge Office Park, we will focus on its energy efficiency benefits that the glazed curtain wall system façade has on the building.

The energy considerations concerning the façade are as follows:

o Ample access to day light for all occupied areas.

o More than 80% of the usable areas have a direct line of sight to the outdoor environment, i.e. the building provides extensive external views outwards and into the courtyard.

o Daylight glare control – fixed external shading is incorporated in the building where necessary.

In addition to the building being aesthetically pleasing, its façade plays a pivotal role in energy efficiency and linking the exterior to the interiors of the building.


Bentel & Associates International

Bentel & Associates International – Illovo Edge Phase 3


A well-designed façade external skin provides a high degree of acoustical comfort to its occupants as compared to a conventional building façade. With this said, Harbour Arch mixed-use in Cape Town will comprise of a composite aluminium walling system which combines modular aluminium panels externally and drywall internally. Integrated acoustic and thermal insulation within these sandwich walls together with double glazed windows will provide a ‘tighter’ building envelope, which is less prone to heat loss or gain. The aluminium panels are manufactured to be weather resistant and therefore long-term maintenance on this high-rise building can be substantially minimised.


Harbour Arch_Rev-Aerial View

Harbour Arch, Cape Town

To conclude, the façade of a structure or building plays a significant role in the interior space and the exterior environment as it plays a critical role in the practicality and function of a building for the benefit of its occupants and the environment. Not forgetting that choosing the correct material also affects the buildings performance.


About Bentel Associates International:

Bentel is a leading African and Indian-based design firm established in 1960 which has a dedicated and focused service offering across multiple sectors, comprising retail, office, residential and hospitality projects. Today BAI is an award-winning architectural firm known for having designed many unique and landmark developments throughout the African continent and the Middle-East.

For any media enquiries please contact:

Palesa Mguli


010 590 7900

082 841 4111


Recommended Posts

December 5, 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *