Stone

Interesting sub-frame solving the window opening in all the façade depth. It includes the banister and a gap specially designed to hide the sun protection ¡inside the cavity of the rain screen façade!

Most of the façade solutions on this website are non-loadbearing. As they are independent systems, how to fix or support them on the main structure of the building must be defined.

However, the need to fix the façades is not a result of the emergence of these non-loadbearing enclosures. Whenever a façade has been identified as something singular, and so distinguished from the rest of the building, we can find attachment mechanisms.

Very narrow, large cladding pieces are attached longitudinally. The high number of horizontal profiles that are needed is increased by the fact that two adjacent plates do not always share fixing profiles, as in the lattice area. Therefore, the need for profiles is practically doubled in these parts of the façade.

A very suitable but expensive solution.
 

It is always a pleasure, in a world that tends to the hypertechnological, to get back to historical constructive solutions, very well thought out, that coherently combine different local resources: natural and processed.

The solution is a cavity wall. A double wall where the interior, made with concrete blocks, is part of the main structure of the building; while the exterior, built with Marés stone, needs only to be self-supporting and is stabilized on the inner one.

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.

Rain screen façades solved with thin claddings are a good solution in terms of watertightness and sun radiation protection. In addition, they permit a wide range of image variations and so are supposed to be a gift for most architects. However, for some, all those open joint claddings somehow give a sense of insufficient robustness; the wall is just a veneer, a veil. 

Composite façade panels are nothing new. They are there, waiting for the moment when the market will be ready to welcome them since the last decades of XX century.

The technology is already developed and essayed as those materials are perfectly used in many other applications. Maybe the cost, maybe the origin of the material (glass-fiber reinforced polyester), maybe we have not found yet its advantatges in building construction.

The Hotel Constanza is part of the Illa Diagonal complex. Like the main building, the facade is solved with a travertine rain screen. It is striking the narrowness of the draining cavity, interrupted by the lack of cleanliness in the insulation solution surrounding the fixings.

But, beyond this execution problem, we want to highlight, especially thinking on the architecture students that follow this website, the importance of defining the cutting of the stone cladding and its relation to the position of the windows.

It is not easy to solve the entire envelope of a building, both façade and roof, with a continuous mantle of slopes varying from 0% to 100%. Tightness in the façade plane, where gravity acts in our favour, has been entrusted to geometry and drainage. However, this solution is not possible on the roof. The changes of slope in a topography of rounded ridges generates practically zero slope planes, which can only be resolved with absolutely waterproof materials.