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Double Skin Façade Case Study

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Architecture
Wordcount: 1604 words Published: 2nd May 2018

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Double skin façade refers to a building façade covering one or several stories with multiple glazed skins (Chan, Chow, Fong and Lin, 2009). The aim of this essay is trying to explore the definition, advantages and disadvantages of double skin façade which was used in high rise building. Case study is the main method in this essay. The researcher has chosen three tall building cases which are Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, ARAG 2000 tower in Dusseldorf and Capital Gate Skyscraper in Abu Dhabi to explain the working principle of double skin façade. Finally, it can be understand that double skin façade is a kind of sustainable façade strategy and It allows to lower energy consumption while making the interior spaces comfortable. It is cost effective in long term running but it will cost more to construct.


Multi layer principle is applied on double skin façade technology. They consist of an external façade, an intermediate space and an inner façade. The outer façade layer is to provide protection against the weather and improve the acoustic insulation against external noise. It also allows ventilation through its openings between internal rooms of double skin façade (S. Ahmed, Ali K. Abel, Rahman, Ahmed Hamza H. Ali and Suzuki, 2016). Gadgets and frameworks are for the most part incorporated keeping in mind the end goal to enhance the indoor atmosphere with dynamic or latent methods. (Poirazis, 2006).

The historical backdrop of Double Skin Facades is depicted in a few books, reports and articles. Saelens, (2002) notices that “in 1849, Jean-Baptiste Jobard,  an early form of a mechanically ventilated skin façade mentioned at a museum in Brussels.

Double Skin Facades are contracted by 3 primary components which are cantilever section structure, suspended structure and edge structure. Materials can vary as indicated by the outline yet metal, glass and timber are most uncommon ones.

Considering the sort (geometry) of the hole they are divided into 4; Box window, Shaft box, Corridor façade and Multi story double skin façade.

A comparable review by Heusler and Compagno categorise into three sorts of window, story and various stories.


The Shanghai Tower is designed by Gensler Architects, a 127 story, 632 meter high, mixed use tall building located in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai, China. As of 2016, It is the highest building in the world by its highest usable floor level (Level 127, 587.4m). The new tower takes motivation from Shanghai’s convention of parks and neighbourhoods. Its bended façade and spiralling structure symbolize the dynamic rise of present day China (GenslerDesignUpdate, 2010).

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The innovative design incorporates two free curtain walls; first is the external skin cam-molded in plan and the second is the inward one is circular. In-between the two curtain walls form atriums which house landscaped public areas at regular intervals throughout the building (GenslerDesignUpdate, 2010). Series of wind tunnel tests used by the architects to simulate the biggest problem of the site context; the typhoon, which also refined the shape of the building (Zeljic, 2010).

These sky patio nurseries will enhance air quality, make visual connections between the city and the tower’s insides, and give a place where building clients can communicate and blend (GenslerDesignUpdate, 2010).

Double Skin Façade

“The primary element considered for the double skin façade performance depends on a bio-climatic idea of a passive atrium system, where two skins are situated so as to make an expansive, full-high atrium space profiting by every one of the advantages that caught air-and the regular convection of air-can give” (Zelji, 2010). As an author view, I think this greenhouse effect could not be achieved with the help of additional  cooling and heating systems when I consider its location and the amount of air pollution the location has.

There are two types of curtain wall systems, curtain wall A and curtain wall B, are designed for the  Shanghai Tower. In Curtain Wall A, Vertical mullion emphasised “V” strike to house and bolster a thick LED lighting apparatus design. The difference between A and B is that B need to stay one-hour fire-rating (Zelji, 2010).


The ARAG 2000 Tower is designed by RKW in Dusseldorf, in collaboration with Norman Foster in London. It is located in northern district of Norsenbroich, Dusseldorf, Germany. It is a 124 meters of high and 31 storey office skyscraper and divided into four eight story tiers by service floors. It is headquarter building of European Insurance company (Wikipediaorg, 2017).

Office floors are basic and open in feel. Cellular workplaces and meeting rooms ring the edge while assembled meeting spaces involved in the focal point of the central formed arrangement over the city (Fosterandpartnerscom, 2017). This tower is unique by its environmental design, it has a high performance, double skin glazed façade and as well as interior organisation. Double height ‘sky gardens’ intersperse the working spaces at every eighth floor. Open access between office floors and the patio nurseries supports a friendly environment and in addition enhancing communication between the staff (Fosterandpartnerscom, 2017).

Double Skin Façade

As a result of the to a great degree high road noise levels, brought on by being near an inward city traffic intersection, the double skin facade designed as a shaft box cassettes. Those corridors in between two facades; the interior and the exterior is closed in each floor level. They can be open only in extra ordinary situations such as fire and high pressure difference between each cassettes of the façade (Boake, 2013).

Shaft box type double skin façade used. And those defensive external layer frames a climate shield and sun channel; an internal layer, with windows which are allowed to be opened, permits the working spaces to breathe (Boake, 2013).


Capital Gate is a iconic skyscraper in Abu Dhabi located next to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre designed by RMJM Architects. It is a 160 meters of high and  35 stories mixed use skyscraper, it is one of the tallest buildings in the Abu Dhabi and it inclines eighteen degrees to the west. It house offices from the second level up to the sixteenth level, and a five star hotel from the eighteenth level right up to the top (Wikipediaorg, 2017). The shape of the building comes from the two elements; sand and water. The form meant to represent swirling spiral of sand and while the curved canopy known as the splash runs over the ground stand and rises on the building façade, creates a wave effect which reflects the water (Schofield, 2012).

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The designers of Capital Gate, the 18 degrees in reverse inclining tower situated in Abu Dhabi, had a noteworthy sustainable plan for the project. The offset of the floors to accomplish the retrogressive incline makes two particular sorts of spaces and exposures which have brought about the utilisation of two sorts of double skin façade frameworks (Boake, 2013). Capital Gate Skyscraper`s base structure is a vertical concrete center encompassed by a steel diagrid portraying the outer shape of the tower. Steel shafts traverse between the two supporting metal deck and solid composite floor sections. Steel supports span between the outside and inward diagrids, making column free floor spaces within a normal ranges of twelve meters (Schofield, 2012).

Double Skin façade

The hotel rooms located at the after 19th floor has a jewel shaped pre-assembled shade divider framework is connected to the basic steel diagrid of the skyscraper and forms the outside layer which reuses inside air from the visitor rooms into the façade pit while makes a protecting support between the cool inside and the to a great degree hot outside (Boake, 2013). Office Floors have unique skin called the sprinkle shelter. It begins at the ground level, ending at the projecting pool level located at the nineteenth floor which allows air circulation while blocking the solar radiation (Boake, 2013).


According to those three double skin facades case studies, it can be concluded by the advantages and disadvantages of using double skin façade in tall building.

  • Huge amount of Energy can be saved by using double skin facades.
  • Double skin façade can maintain the internal spaces comfortable with the help of natural ventilation when cooperated with building management system.
  • It is helpful to heat and cool the interior spaces.
  • Maintenance costs much higher when compared with single façade maintenance.
  • Its construction is expensive compared by the single façade construction.


  • All features of the double skin façade usage in the tall buildings illustrated by analysing three tall building cases. As it is mentioned above, the advantages and disadvantages, it can be concluded by being agree on, although double skin façade is much more expensive to construct compared to single façade it is a sustainable design strategy which is helpful to cool and heat the interior spaces at the same time being great sound isolation to the building.


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