Precast concrete or GRC

I must confess I was really impressed when I saw those tile-cladded huge one-piece-high concrete panels. My doubt was: did they really solve the panels that included windows that same way? The joints among them expressed that.

They maintain the same façade structure while its performance is improved by using in the renovation contemporary techniques and systems.

Prefabricated concrete panels that incorporate stone cladding are not something new. One example is the Hotel in Plaza España, designed by the architect Enric Garces, and built in 1990. However, we want to draw attention to the appropriateness of the solution today.

As we mentioned in the wake of the SBG Schönburg building in Bern, open-joint cladding is in crisis, not because of its performance, which nobody questions, but merely for formal reasons.

In this evolution of the rain screen façade towards prefabrication, seeking to build both, the interior and the exterior layers, with dry systems highly prefabricated, it is not that usual to find massive solutions. Those solutions would permit, not to lose thermal inertia, or decrease the acoustic barrier.

The inner sheet based on heavy concrete panels is a very good option.

This residential building in Barcelona highlights because of the global strategy that leads to solve the structural system, and facilities in a specific way. It is one of the first examples in the work of this team of architects that show a way of doing based in the optimisation of prefabricated elements according a well organised floor plan arrangement.

Here we are going to focus on the facade, our subject. The facade follows the constructive logic of the whole and, therefore, seeks the rationality of precast systems.

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.

Renzo Piano provides several examples of interesting ceramic façades, despite the problems that some of them may have suffered over time.

The façade of Broadwalk House stands out for having exploited the potential of prefabricated concrete panels to the maximum.