EXCITING COVER: Exterior finishes on the wall can be highlighted with the right choice of materials and contrast usages.
On the exterior of a modern home, corrugated metal can be integrated into the design. Plastered walls and paving celebrate the use of raw material and create an impressive façade. Seems like a modern art form with a collage of different materials. Many a times, this newness springs a fresh life and these modern materials have a longer life with a lasting finish.
Brick, though relatively new when compared to stone and mud as a building material can be used in many different ways. Normal brick walls with plastered finish is the more usual option costing Rs. 58.00 / cft.
But since the plastering is done manually, the surface does have some undulations and this can be corrected by putty finish, which is a layer of calcium over the plastered finish. Care has to be taken that the wall putty work is done only after the plastering has been completely cured and there is no dampness in the wall.
Bricks also come in wire-cut blocks that have a better surface finish. Wire-cut bricks are ideally used for exposed brickwork but only a skilled labour can do the masonry work for these exposed walls.
The other alternative to bricks is hollow concrete blocks. These blocks can be left exposed, but do not have an aesthetic appeal if left bare. There is also a problem when it comes to wiring and plumbing work on these walls. But they are still preferred by flat promoters as they ease and speed up construction and they also have a clean finish.
Putty work has to be done over these blocks as well but the surface undulations would be minimal as the blocks have a clean surface.
Only when there is a blend between the materials on the outside would there be harmony in the building. We have seen the usage of bricks, stone, exposed bricks, concrete blocks and aerocon blocks in our past articles, but only with the right choice of materials and contrasting openings would a contemporary statement be produced.
Conventional window proportions are easy to read. But in recent years, aluminium has been used to shape decorative windows and the colour options are many. Aluminium can be painted, powder coated and also anodised.
The anodising gives a long-lasting finish to the aluminium sections. For seaside areas, the anodising specifications are different, (usually measured in mirrors).
For proper life of aluminium, the anodisation has to adhere to some minimum standards. Anodised aluminium comes in many colours and can be used in windows, handrails, wall facing and column cladding. Aluminium windows are available in sliding, hinged and top hung type.
Steel beams and exposed steel columns with good finishes and protective systems are also being considered, as they are being made available locally.
The steel used in the beams and lintels are themselves very interesting contrasting elements to the wooden windows.
Also steel `I' suctions have the peculiar line characteristics, which gives any building a modern touch
For those who have a penchant for freshness in life, the use of composite materials and contrasting blend of materials gives the desired result.
The author is the Chief Architect of Murali Architects, Chennai