A facade is the front or ‘face’ of a building. From the French word of a similar spelling, it is the primary side of a building or house that generally fronts the street on which it’s built, or the side one sees first upon coming near.
From a design perspective, the facade is often the side of a building that gets the most attention since it is likely the most visible side. In urban settings where buildings along a street touch, oftentimes, this is the only visible wall.
For buildings that have enough space, one can frequently find embellishments or attachments such as porches and canopies that add depth and complexity to what can otherwise be perceived as flat.
Beyond its frequent conclusion as the most important side, it can often reveal a building’s purpose, function, or use depending on the amount of openings, detail, or materials. Small openings suggest private spaces; large openings suggest public uses.
Over the years, many architects and designers have discovered many ways to express artistic compositions or rich ornament to convey a building’s narrative. Although it should be the most important side, many buildings having multiple sides exposed, should have as much consideration given thus having multiple ‘facades.’