How to use texture in architectural design
Texture in architecture is aimed to enhance both optical and tactile elements to buildings and surroundings. The optical texture of a building refers to its visual characteristics from afar, such as windows, sweeping curves, corners and voids. The tactile texture refers to the closer materials that can be physically touched, such as stone or glass building materials, metal façades and timber handrails.
The different varieties of modern materials and processes allows for an almost endless catalogue of pattern and shape, giving architects a much more free conceptual approach to texture. From bespoke laser-cut and water-jet patterns to pre-formed perforated sheets, it’s not only the choice of material that is now at the foreground of design.
Despite the modern approach of architecture having pre-conceived visions of how a building should look and feel, the use of ancient materials such as stone and timber has meant that both optical and tactile textures have always existed within architecture, whether it be subconscious or not. The lost civilisation of Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia give a fine example of how the use of natural materials were applied from around the beginning of the 12th century.
Throughout the ages, new methods and pioneering visions have been instrumental in expanding the way we think about how a building should look and feel. The ability to push boundaries has never been easier for daring architects, allowing for some fantastic new concepts being brought to reality, such as the ICMC at Brandenburg Technical University in Germany.
The use of expanded metals has been increasingly popular in recent times, with its modernistic appeal and extensive material and colouring options, it has somewhat lost the mark of an industrial feel and can be used to bring exciting detail and texture to any application.
The development of technology and machinery has been instrumental in providing architects with new and inventive inspiration in an ever developing world. This has been echoed throughout external and internal applications, seeing the use of patterns, materials and objects within laminated glass, giving even the coldest-smoothest materials a new form of life.