Cladding By Culture

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Mothers, teachers, and interior designers love to believe that it's what's inside that counts. While they are all probably right, it is the outside of a person or a place that is first seen. And we all know how long first impressions can last, which is why many architects like to create exterior cladding that is either avant-garde or culturally fit.

In many urban settings, the more unique a building looks, the more attractive it is considered. Architects who aren't afraid to colour outside of the lines are often praised and in many cases, they can become a big part of the city's cultural appeal.

Antoni Gaudi's architectural contributions to Barcelona for instance, have changed the city forever. Gaudi worked during the Modernisme period but became famous for his unique designs that were regarded as going beyond the scope of Modernisme. Amongst his most famous works are the Casa Mila, Park Guell, and Sagrada Familia (which he worked on until his death in 1926). His style was thought of as gothic, and La Sagrada Familia to have a power that was almost hallucinogenic.

While Gaudi's works stand out, other cities like their architecture to blend in. When visiting the Greek Islands for instance, one would notice that many of the homes and commercial buildings are painted white with blue shutters. Although this might sound monotonous, it is actually very attractive and a signature to the look of the country.

In Miami, between 1923 and 1943 hundreds of hotels, apartments and other architectural structures were erected in art deco style. The art deco movement was in full swing at the time when Miami was being converted to a popular tourist destination. People around the world wanted to vacation amongst the rich and famous, surrounded by art deco and so they went to Miami. Now, close to seventy years later, the city has not lost its authentic look or feel.

Examples of innovative architectural cladding nowadays include, The Sugar Cube Car Park in Sheffield. The car park was completed in 2008 and is considered a striking piece of architecture. More than its ability to please aesthetically, its design capitalises on space, making it very functional.

Exterior cladding on family homes tends to be a bit more subtle. Some might go for multicoloured bricks or a wooden exterior. Stone walls on the outside of homes are also a popular choice. Again depending on where you live and whether or not you want to fit in or reinvent the wheel, your exterior will differ.


Fabric Architecture Ltd has been specialising in the design, engineering, manufacture and installation of tensile fabric structures since 1984. Learn more about Fabric Cladding at

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