Why so many new buildings are covered in rectangles

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Published on 14 Oct 2021, 12:00
These panels are everywhere — and they’re part of a hidden system.

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If you’ve seen new construction around your city, you’ve probably seen these distinctive rectangular panels. Sometimes plain, sometimes multi-colored, they’re absolutely everywhere. The video above explains how they conceal an entire system that helps protect buildings.

Over the 20th century, building technology has changed to allow the exterior of a building to be separate from the structure holding it up. That’s present in rainscreen cladding — the enclosure system that ends up being used in so many of those distinctive panels. By creating a small air gap between the exterior wall and the structure, it gives water an opportunity to dry — saving our modern buildings from any rot and decay.

Watch the video above to learn more about how architects and building scientists use rainscreen cladding to explore aesthetic possibilities while protecting their buildings.

Further Reading

Building enclosures is an entire field with lots of intense debates, associations, and academic research. But if you want an easy way into the world of rainscreens, check out this podcast with John Straube (greenbuildingadvisor.com/artic... or check out his technical papers, found at RDH. rdh.com/technical-library

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