Brick wall

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.

The refurbishment of a group of residential buildings in Torrelago district, Laguna de Duero (Valladolid), has been developed in the context of the European Program CITyFIED: Replicable and Innvoative Future Efficient Districts and Cities. It supposes a renovation, not only regarding the image of the buildings, but from the energetic point of view. 

ETICS solutions, so presents nowadays due to the thermal insulation continuity they permit, were already used twenty-five years ago, among others in MACBA building. At that time, achieving to have a continuous rendering, without joints, was not that simple, as rendering materials were not the ones we use today.

Regarding the cladding, light weight solutions for the rain screen exterior layer were barely known. Probably because they did not trust this solution they completely covered the inner wall with a water tight membrane.

It cannot be more adeqate.
Wise in the decision of being discreet, and acute in the selection of all systems and materials. The expertise of the architects as constructors is shown in the acurate design of all those points of relation between the different systems and elements.

In the case of this building, and attending only to the facade solution, we want to draw attention to two things:

The building for the student’s residence at Campus Diagonal uses two different façade systems: the first, ETICS, solves water tightness thanks to the impermeability of the rendering; the second, rain screen, uses an open-joint outer sheet and the drainage of the cavity.

This building, and its facade, could easily go unnoticed. It is correct, without bragging.
However, we wanted to draw attention to a very specific and pedagogical aspect. Even though the two façade systems being used are both formed by two sheets and a cavity in the middle, their behavior is very different. 
The outer layer made of flat plates with open vertical joints allows the entry and exit of air and water to and from the cavity through the joints. It is a ventilated and drained facade. 

An excellent proposal for solving a façade composition with a rectangular format checkerboard pattern (the different areas, blind and hollowed, are only touched at the apex) avoiding the presence of the slab.

Whoever has faced this situation will know how difficult it is to unite at a vertex two openings placed in different floors, and therefore separated by a slab, without showing the thickness of this structural element.

Plaza de la Garduña, inserted in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona, is characterized by the uniqueness of the buildings that surround it and that give it life: the new Massana School, the Boquería market, the old hospital. Among them, the residential building at the north side of the square, responds to this uniqueness with a sober neutrality. The building builds the corner that connects the square with Dr. Fleming’s gardens. Of its two main facades, the southeast one faces Plaza de la Garduña while the southwest faces the gardens.

There is no easy project, but refurbishing a residential building of the size that we are dealing with and where, over the years, each occupant has modified the terrace at his wish, it is a challenge. Here the architects solve it with few interventions, but very well posed.