Glass

It is not easy to classify such a singular façade. It is also difficult to analyse it with the pragmatic parameters we normally use on this platform. The façade is that of a Concert Hall, a piece of ice on the Reykjavik coastline that needs to be understood in its singular context and for its specific use.

Batlle and Roig designed a double skin façade for this office building in 22@. The inner layer meets the thermal requirements and those of air and water tightness, while the outer layer delimits the building volumetrically and seeks to improve its thermal behaviour.

This is an excellent proposal for solving façade composition with a rectangular format checkerboard pattern (the blind and hollowed areas only touch at the apex), avoiding the presence of the slab.

Those who have faced this situation will know how difficult it is to unite at a vertex two openings on different floors, separated by a slab, without showing the thickness of this structural element.

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.

Glass façades have always been supported by an industry that can ensure their continuous development and evolution to adapt to new functional and formal requirements. This is unquestionably positive, but also means that the relatively fast obsolescence of façades results in the need to replace them quite frequently.

In the Beethoven Building in Barcelona, the replacement of the façade clearly renews the image of the building while maintaining the idea of a continuous glass enclosure and the original cutting. The renewed image is created by the materials, the characteristics of both glass and profiles and, above all, the strong rhythm conferred by the mullion covers and the couples of exempt profiles projecting outwards.

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.

The extension of the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Law was a risky intervention: the erection of 16,000 m2 next to a jewel of rationalist architecture of a smaller size, at about 12,000 m2, being the plot of the new construction considerably smaller than that of the historic building. 

The Inbisa Tower case study enables us to highlight the subtle design strategies that make a building with four apparently identical façades so suggestive.

The façade is organized from several overlapping grids. Pillars and slabs cladded in aluminium create the main order: a grid on the scale of the structural system. Over this grid, some mullions define a second order on the scale of the windows. This second order runs literally over the first grid, regardless of whether what is behind is blind or transparent, breaking the rigidity and scale of the main order.

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 the towers.