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The Purity and Architectural Beauty of Marble Façades

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Employing state-of-the-art construction methods and inventive design strategies, these contemporary façades seek to restore marble to its former glory.

Post By: Camila da Paz | Source: Architizer

Driving around South Florida, specifically around Miami, you can see new constructions popping everywhere, and I get this indescribable joy when I see designers or architects using natural stone as interior design finishes, when there are many industrialized materials spreadly available. But if you really want to stand out, nothing beats the good'ol marble. I know architects are trying to re-invent the use of marble in their projects, as I see so many new modern buildings with incredible marble façades. I found this article from Architizer that proofs my statement:

Timeless, enduring, and stately, marble has been used since ancient Greece and Rome for the most important buildings of civilized society, from temples to bath houses to markets. The expense of quarrying and transporting the stone often constituted the bulk of construction costs, along with the workmanship of shaping and securing the heavy blocks. As the cost of labor increased, use of marble came to be reserved for the most socially significant buildings, such as courthouses and city halls.

With technological advances in the last half-century, marble became available not only as traditional dimension stone, but as thin panel cladding. Abundant and flexible, marble is one of the most frequently used types of stone in architecture and sculpture. Despite the material’s malleability and manifold capabilities, marble architecture often resurrects a confined vision of homogeneously grande and triumphant buildings.

The following collection exhibits marble’s elastic qualities, highlighting buildings ranging from an enormous pavilion created from recycled materials, scaled all the way down to a brick information center in the countryside. Such heterogeneity means that within this collection alone, marble may be described as solid, sinuous and translucent all at once. With marble quarries in nearly all of the regions of the world, these buildings are not only locally sourced, but also offer exciting possibilities through the implementation of a singular unifying material.

Material Properties and History

Marble, as you guys know, is a metamorphic rock that derives from the transformation of limestone and other sedimentary carbonate rocks under high heat and pressure. Unlike slate or mica, in which differential stress creates planes of cleavage, marble is non-foliated, which permits its widespread use in sculpture and construction.

Hundreds of different types of marble are found throughout the world, including the United States, Europe, India, and Brazil. Characteristic veins and gradations in color result from impurities in the limestone, which move and re-crystallize as the stone metamorphoses into marble. In commercial applications, the term “marble” may refer to a number of geologic formulations, including true calcite and dolomite, as well as travertine, serpentine, and hard limestone.

Once the premier material in the architect’s palette, the difficulties of building with this luxurious stone and the development of cheaper alternatives have led to a steady decline in its use as a façade treatment. And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Employing state-of-the-art construction methods and inventive design strategies, these contemporary façades seek to restore marble to its former glory.


What makes it a firm candidate with respect to other construction materials? Let’s see ...

  • High strength: because it is a metamorphic rock, mainly formed of limestone rocks, which gives it excellent heat resistance.

  • Singular material: nature was responsible for forming it over time, which means each piece will possess a different particularity to another piece.

  • A wide variety in colors and textures, which assist when creating or designing projects.

  • Timeless: the passage of time does not leave its mark on it, thus it maintains its natural aspect. If we compare it with other materials, we will see that marbles are longer-lasting.

  • Various uses: it offers multiple possibilities in both decoration and construction. Its use extends to both interiors and exteriors.

Available in a wide range of colors as well as polychrome inlaid with other minerals, it is appreciated because of its strength, durability and luxurious aesthetics.

Argul Weave by BINAA | Building INnovation Arts Architecture, Bursa Province, Turkey
School Center Paredes Alenquer by Andre Espinho Arquitectura, Alenquer, Portugal
The Bahá’í Temple of South America by Hariri Pontarini Architects, Santiago, Chile
Paddenstoelenhuis by Mulders vandenBerk Architecten, Berghem, The Netherlands
Marble House by Openbox Architects | Bangkok, Thailand
Marbella House by A-Cero | Marbella, Spain
Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta | Oslo, Norway
Farsons Corporate Office by TBA Perilti | Mriehel, Malta
Wind Tower by AGi Architects | Salmiya, Kuwait
Building Facade by Toshiko Mori Architect | Lower East Side, NY
Center for Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology Survey | Hebei, China

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