Heavy: > 125 kg/m2

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.

What is hidden behind this ceramic tiles cladding with brick shape? A thermal insulation material fixed over a real brick wall. The cladding, far from trying to cheat us, exhibits its not even self-bearing condition by resorting to a peculiar “rigging”. ETICS façade systems allow many other finishing materials besides renderings, it’s only a matter of weight, flexibility and adherence.

The new building for Dexeus Institute in Barcelona is one of these cases where openings completely divide the façade in horizontal strips. This leads not to have the façade mechanically interrupted by the main structure but by the openings. In each floor, while the parapet – maid of reinforced brickwork- is supported on the slab and stabilized against horizontal loads fixed to the pillars; the wall above the window hangs inserted in a steel structure from its upper slab. The openings horizontal strip need to admit possible differential movements of each part of the façade.

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.

The hotel Omm facade seems to us an interesting study case in many aspects. On the one hand the wise strategy that leads to orientate the openings towards the main avenue –Passeig the Gràcia- avoiding prying eyes from the building in the opposite side of the street, as well as direct sun gains. On the second hand the risky materialization of the above mentioned strategy, transforming the outer layer of a rain screen façade into a series of light weight walls that emerge from the façade as fish scales.

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. 

The architects use an ETICS solution for the facade of this public library in Sant Gervasi. Formally the solution is very appropriate. The continuous coating offered by the mortar rendering allows defining a series of abstract volumes on which extend the garden of the Villa Florida.

It is difficult to understand the need of building this thick, load bearing, cast in-situ concrete wall hidden behind a light cladding made of different layers: mineral wool; coloured ribbed plates; glass slats. In the inside, the concrete wall is again hidden, in this occasion by furniture. The climbing formwork system that made possible this wall had to be successively cut so as to be adapted to the changes on the diameter and curvature of the tower. Not less must have been the difficulty when preparing the reinforcement.

This mixed-use complex apparently resort to the use of ceramics to integrate the building into a historic industrial district that still conserves 19th-century architecture - 22 @, Barcelona. However, using a specific material is not enough to consider the building integrated into a context. The material is not simply matter; it is a format, a constructive technique and a system.