GRC supporting panel for a ceramic façade (009)
Renzo Piano provides several examples of interesting ceramic façades, despite the problems that some of them may have suffered over time.
Throughout Piano’s career, he has used dry ceramics as façade cladding and resorted to prefabrication, with different strategies in each project (have a look to St Giles, Ircam, C.Botin). In the Rue Meaux houses, he opts for hanging ceramic from GRC support panels that enclose the building. Unfortunately, the cladding could not be hung on the panels before they were taken to the site, even though this was probably the architect's preference as he used this solution in other projects.
In the design of this support panel, the grid of ribs is made versatile just by dividing it into various quadrants. The quadrants are emptied to accommodate windows and reach a total void in the balcony and lattice panels. However, a constant pattern is maintained throughout that gives uniformity to the whole.