Complex profiles

The facade of GAES headquarters in Barcelona is a risky proposal. In filt3rs.net we addressed the behavior of the green filtering elements; here is the time to comment the facade solution as a whole.

The glass facade has always been characterized, among other things, for being supported by an industry capable of ensuring its continuous development and evolution to be adapted to new functional and formal requirements. A fact that is unquestionably a value, has the counterpart of a relatively fast obsolescence of the facades that results in the need to replace them quite frequently.

In the Beethoven Building in Barcelona, the replacement of the facade clearly renews the image of the building while maintaining the idea of continuous glass enclosure and the original cutting. Different materials and characteristics of both the glass and the profiles, but above all, it is the strong rhythm conferred by the mullions covers and the couples of exempt profiles when projecting outwards that permit this renewed image.

The extension of the Faculty of Law of the University of Barcelona is one of these risky interventions: erecting 16,000 m2 next to a jewel of rationalist architecture of smaller size, about 12,000 m2; being the plot of the new construction of a dimension considerably smaller than that of the historic building. We do not aim here to value the architectural intervention, simply mentioning that the recourse to neutrality is perfectly understandable.

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.

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.

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.

Mecanotubo is one of the façade industries that most invested the latest 90s’ in Catalonia to give a unitary response to the rain screen façade.They wagered to adapt the stick curtain wall technology to this two layers facade. As it happens in Carburos Metalicos façade, the resulting inner sheet provides water tightness enough to consider the drainage cavity, and consequently the outer layer, unnecessary.