Glass

As rapidly as it has spread may disappear this resource to the double skin facade where the outer glass is patterned with a white serigraphy that gradually dilutes as it gets closer to the vision areas. It is an easy resource to blur the openings limits. An opening that, in the case of this hotel in London, is perfectly well defined over the wall in the interior skin.

The unfinished Plaza Europa project rises from a contradiction. The objective was to provide the city of Barcelona with a more representative entrance from the airport, with towers looking like being of tertiary use. And we say “looking like” as the program of many of those towers was in fact residential. This contradiction justifies the façade solution adopted in these towers.

The façade of the Renaissance hotel in l’Hospitalet has a peculiar thermal behaviour. It is based on retarding thermal loses with the concrete wall –thermal inertia- while minimizing the thermal leap between the two sides of this wall with a closed air cavity at its outer side. This closed air cavity has its thermal insulation improved by a reflective membrane coating one of its sides. Thermal gains in summer are controlled by the reflective capacity of the white serigraphy in the glass and, again, the reflective membrane.

Glass: lightness, transparency; that is the message the façade of this police headquarters building wants to give. And it achieves to do it even though the façade is nor light, neither transparent. Resorting to the horizontal serigraphy combined with the thin eaves projecting shadow over the façade contributes an image of dynamism typical of an inhabited interior. If we take a deeper look we will see the glass is quite reflective and the eaves are randomly distributed even in the opaque area of the façade. 

In IEP, the courtyard and the interior office space are perceived as a continuum. This close relationship between inner and outer spaces is one of the most interesting aspect of the building. The facade solution is the necessary resource to achieve it. This glass enclosure is freed from any structure just by making the glass work like plates resting on two supports instead of four.

The facade that closes the south face of the tower seems from the outside as a simple stick curtain wall of little interest, if it was not for the fact of being photovoltaic. However, we have dedicated it a section here given the uniqueness of the space it contains and the abstraction in its design that this allows. This curtain wall is the enclosure of the elevator core and, therefore, is devoid of many of the requirements of a facade.

This emblematic building at the London financial district is characterized by keeping its formal unity beyond the differences existing in the design of the facades depending on their orientation. Case "Devoid from human scale (034)" talks about the southwest façade of this same building.Southeast and Norwest facades call our attention due to the sobriety that confers them the enormous glazed surface, only interrupted every three floors by horizontal bands of stainless steel.

Batlle and Roig resort in this occasion to a stick curtain wall where partial structures are assembled at each slab front without physical continuity between them. Glass panes are then supported over those partial structures so as to close the façade (have a look to "Cadireta" curtain wall structure). This structure system does not need that mullions keep verticality along the whole façade, and so they do; besides, Batlle and Roig show only one mullion every two glass panes.

Beyond the geometric complexity of Libeskind´s architecture, we want to draw our attention to this curtain wall without transoms that closes the double height entrance hall of the Grand Canal Theatre. The objective is to enhance the verticality of the plane by means of relatively close mullions and the absence of transoms. Unfortunately the black sealing cord takes on an unexpected protagonism among a tangle of white profiles, clear glass and most of the finishes in the hall also white.

The curtain wall that closes the large openings of this public library is solved by looking for the neutrality of which we spoke in "Steel mesh reinforced ETICS (019)" referring to the ETICS solution.The slenderness of the mullions, steel platens instead of tubular profiles, the absence of mullions in the corners; and the negation of the interruption that might have been the intermediate slab; are resources aimed at dematerializing the skin establishing a very intense visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces.