Open-joint cladding systems have been getting a lot of attention from architects, in part because they allow the addition of texture and depth to walls. On a recent project, I had a lot of fun designing the exterior façades; no longer limited to the repetitive pedestrian vernacular of typical cladding materials. Mixing the open-joint system with a panel system, I could play with an almost-Mondrian aesthetic; and the open-joint areas offered a distinct warm and patterned texture. While this may be liberating for designers, it can be intimidating for builders unfamiliar with the system, who often express concern with the performance of open-joint claddings, which stems from a widespread misunderstanding of what claddings are.

To better understand the issues, the author explains a system that he believes mitigates all concerns and creates a resilient system he expects will last 100+ years.

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