Contemporary

The building that MAP Architects designed in Borneo dock, Amsterdam, resolves the envelopes in a very appropriate way at all scales.

It is a great pleasure sharing this amazing example of good architecture with all Facad3s followers. No formal boast, no last generation materials, no added gadgets for energy production, no raw land or straw; it manages to be attractive by being clever and sustainable by being reasonable. Uses local materials in an efficient way and, among other design aspects, articulates an ingenious façade, thick enough to host big openings that are resolved in different planes and with various materials according user’s needs.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to speak about a façade capable of expressing so much sensitivity regarding the context and its functionality, while manifesting itself as an impeccable jewel in the chromatic composition at short and medium distances.

Again, this Catalan studio proposes a clear and simple façade. The dry constructed façade is based on three layers: the main one resolving air and water tightness, an inner cladding and an outer one. It might be thought that the façade works properly just with the main sandwich layer (like the Courts extension in Zaragoza). However, both claddings are needed for improved behaviour.

This hotel in Barcelona illustrates the typological confusion of contemporary façade systems and justifies the need for a taxonomic tool such as the one organised by this platform.

This use of the double skin facade where the outer glass is patterned with a white serigraphy that gradually dilutes as one gets closer to the areas of vision may disappear as rapidly as it has spread. It is an easy way to blur the openings limits. In the case of this hotel in London, the opening is perfectly well defined on the wall in the interior skin. This technique harks back to the effect of traditional interior thin white curtains, except for the important difference that the curtain can be used to cover the openings with a very efficient light diffuser.

What is hidden behind this ceramic tile cladding in the form of bricks? A thermal insulation material fixed over a real brick wall. The cladding, far from trying to cheat us, exhibits the fact that it is not even self-bearing thanks to a peculiar “rigging”. The ETICS façade systems allow many other finishing materials in addition to renderings. It is only a matter of weight, flexibility and adherence.

The new building for the Dexeus Institute in Barcelona is one of the cases in which the openings completely divide the façade into horizontal strips. The façade is thus not mechanically interrupted by the main structure but by the openings. On each floor, the parapet made of reinforced brickwork is supported on the slab and stabilized against horizontal loads fixed to the pillars, while the wall above the window hangs inserted in a steel structure from its upper slab. The horizontal strip of openings needs to allow for differential movements of each part of the façade.

The unfinished Plaça d’Europa project arises from a contradiction. The objective was to provide the city of Barcelona with a more representative entrance from the airport, with towers that appear to be of tertiary use. And we say “appear to be” because many of these towers were in fact designed for residential use. 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 loss with the concrete wall (thermal inertia), while minimizing the thermal difference between the two sides of this wall with a closed air cavity on its outer side. This closed air cavity has its thermal insulation improved by a reflective membrane coating one of its sides. Thermal gain in summer is controlled by the reflective capacity of the white serigraphy in the glass and, again, the reflective membrane.