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What is a Facade?

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A facade is an exterior wall of a building that primarily serves a decorative purpose. Facades do not typically bear any load beyond their own. In other words, they don't help to hold up the building and may depend on the building for support. Facades are valued for their visual appeal and also tend to make buildings more energy efficient.
Facades allow an architect to be creative with ornamentation or to focus on visual effects such as night architecture. Facades may also have a purpose such as passive heating. Facades that don't bear much load can be mostly glass or smart glass.
The term facade is occasionally viewed negatively with connotations of being fake or disingenuous. This is undeserved as facades are both common and respected as an architectural technique.
Facades are often protected under architectural and historic preservation policies. In some cases, a building is replaced with a modern structure but its facade is preserved. In other cases, a valuable old building is made into a facade of a larger new structure.

Definition (1)

An exterior wall that primarily serves a decorative purpose.

Definition (2)

An exterior wall that receives special architectural treatment.

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