Complex profiles

An exciting challenge by Mecanotubo.

Building construction in the second half of the twentieth century, up to the start of the twenty-first century in Spain due to restrictions on inventiveness imposed by regulations, is characterized by a proliferation of systems for the blind area of façade. All of them are supported as systems by the industry and tend to be prefabricated, dry assembled and fixed.

This is another classic that should not be missed. It is unquestionably impeccable. Let us simply highlight the potential of resorting to a simple curtain wall with a few crucial variations: the exceptional glass with its curvature, texture and roughness; its format and size; and the lack of collinearity between mullions and transoms, enhancing horizontality. All of these factors contribute to accompanying the gesture of both volumes towards the sea. The position of the two blocks, the volumetry and the façade definition all talk the same language.

It is surprising how this facade makes a virtue of the sometimes uncomfortable transparency of the glass.
The succession of staggered and slightly overlapped planes that, either reflect the neighboring facades, or exhibit the daily life of the interior space, combined with opaque surfaces placed in different planes and rolling interior sunscreens, manages to create an abstract order that gives coherence to the whole.

Awarded the Pritzker in architecture, the value of this work is undeniable from a formal perspective. However, doubts arise when we consider the functional aspects of thermal and lighting comfort in a Mediterranean climate at 41 degrees latitude.

Here we see a very interesting process of replacing a stick curtain wall with another, whilst keeping the building in use and without a provisional enclosure a few metres from the façade.

In filt3rs we talk about “A unique wrapping”; P. Garrido and J. Prous in “Deep Skin” refer to “Burqas and veilings”. This project by IDOM also adopts the tendency to cover the building with a continuous skin that is more or less abstract and placed over a more functional enclosure.

On this occasion, the interior is glass and the outer skin a perforated metal sheet that reproduces the image of a green landscape.

This is a very stimulating sun protection mechanism.

From the front view, the design seems to be a simple formalism. However, its interest lies in the fact that it grows inwards, like vertical slats. Including these slats in a partially perforated plane with an abstract composition allows the architects to escape from a conventional image.

In this northwest orientation, the system perfectly obstructs solar radiation during the last hours of summer days, without limiting the street view or the entry of light.

A double skin glass façade has indisputable formal possibilities, such as blurring the structural and/or functional order, providing uniformity and vanishing the volume limits so they merge with the sky. However, it contributes little to improving thermal aspects in our climate. 

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.