The Aichinger House by Hertl Architects
Kurt Hoerbst The Aichinger House by Hertl Architects

Exterior shading devices are used increasingly to mitigate solar radiation—but how about exterior curtains? Shigeru Ban wrapped his famous Tokyo "Curtain House" in a textile that separated interior and exterior spaces. As Hertl.Architekten demonstrates, exterior curtains may also be used as a second-skin cladding strategy for existing buildings.

For the Aichinger House project, the designers were hired to take an existing structure housing two bars and convert it into two residences. In addition to interior reorganization, the architects also wrapped the building in translucent gray curtains. The vertically oriented textiles may be freely opened and secured to exterior l-brackets from the inside, creating an adaptable light-management solution that also unifies the building's exterior envelope.

The ingenious design won a 2012 International Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum.