10 design tips to beautify elevations of apartment building.


When you are designing an apartment / condominium, is there a time when you find out that your layouts are okay but not for the elevations? Yes, efficient and convenient spatial planning is essential, but let us not forget that the buyers / clients will see how it looks like from the outside first before getting inside. Hence, elevation (facade) treatment is very important from the very early stage of designing itself to avoid ended up in a boring-looking apartment. Nobody will likes it.

My office do frequently experienced this kind of issue too, but we had the following ten ways to enhance the aesthetics of the apartment’s facades to make it more interesting and appealing.

1 – Coping / hood.

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Now, reinforced concrete (RC) coping isn’t only constructed to shed water away from windows, as architects usually tackles it for something different too. Coping can be:

(a) extended or protruded out further to form overhang.

(b) go all around like a wrap around windows.

(c) different on its thickness.

(d) go along to join with other nearby elements like columns, etc so that it looks harmonious and integrating in bigger picture rather than just being a coping alone.

2 – Cladding.

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If the clients aren’t putting much restriction on the budget, then go for beautiful or artistic cladding which would be a perfect addition to your boring wall. Cladding can be in aluminium, wood, glass, stone, tiles, concrete, or even bricks (exposed) to show off the beauty of materials. What’s good about cladding is that it isn’t permanent (just like an extra) and can be replaced or changed if needed to.

3 – Groove lines.

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Usually, budget is limited. No allocation for cladding. Hence, we have to go for cheap yet effective option; groove lines. Easy to make and doesn’t cost much, groove lines prove to be a very popular choice to make a plain wall interesting. Also called shadow lines, it helps to minimize the ‘heaviness’ of a particular wall by appearing to divide it.

4 – Paint (colour).

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Put some nice colours to your building and it would be nice. That’s it. Simple. Let paint does the job. However, be careful when selecting which colours to apply to your facade. For current modern choice, we usually go for grey and white. But if you want it to be a bit more playful, just put in some other colours for some ‘fun’ to your building. It makes your facade looks ‘energetic’ and overwhelming.

5 – Louvers.

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Whether adjustable or just fixed, louvers is also another great architectural element to beautify building. Not only it helps to shelter your building from excessive light, the shadow of louvers cast over to your building creates a very lively effect. Black aluminium louvers are now more popular choice especially over a huge staircase, or even effective to cover up the air-conditioner (AC) ledge.

6 – Windows.

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Bored of having casement windows all over the place again and again. Don’t forget there is a variety of window designs available nowadays;

(a) Full height glass window.

(b) Different configuration of openings.

(c) Corner glass window.

(d) Interesting framing to the windows.

7 – Balcony + Railing.

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An apartment building designed with no balconies is a big no. It is way too boring and makes everything dull. Balcony is also a nice outdoor place within home to enjoy being outside for views or some fresh air. The protruding balconies (can be configured differently on different levels for playful effect) prevents building’s facade from being flat.

8 – Lighting.

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No matter how a good a building looks like in the day, it stands at no place if it is not beautifully lit at night. White-coloured fluorescent lighting is outdated now, as we switched for LED (long-life, cost-saving, many more benefits) and usually go for warm colours. Lighting proves to sets the mood for a building.

9 – Landscaping.

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Here we talk about green wall. Although people should consider for its maintenance, but it is to no doubt that landscaping helps to soften the ‘hardness’ from those solid walls or elements. With the risk of lessening forest in cities nowadays, home occupants would see this as at least a perfect opportunity to get close to nature for a bit.

10 – Rainwater downpipes.

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Would you just expose the awful-looking rainwater downpipes running down from the roof to the ground for your building? Definitely not. However, we can’t get rid of it as it is an essential element for your rainwater drainage. So, let’s box it up with a wall so that it will be left unseen. If the box-up looks odd to you, then give some treatment to it to make it looks compatible to your building’s overall look.

Before I’m ending this, here’s a last advice before you are finally satisfied with your building’s elevations. Try to look again to the top of your building to see whether it looks really good or not. The top part of an apartment building is important too as people will see it first from far. Push or maximise architectural elements up there further and don’t limit yourself. Make sure it has a nice roof or an appealing pinnacle at the top. Same goes to the base portion to impress people on street level. Treat things from bottom to top nicely. Don’t leave out any angles.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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