Precast concrete or GRC

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. Thermal gain in summer is controlled by the reflective capacity of the white serigraphy in the glass and, again, the reflective membrane.

Renzo Piano gives us several examples of interesting ceramic façades, despite the problems that some of them may have suffered over time.The use of dry ceramics as a facade cladding, and the resort to prefabrication, are aspects that are repeated throughout the career of Piano experiencing different strategies in each project. In the case of the houses of the Rue Meaux, he bets for hang the ceramic from GRC support panels that close the building.

The facade of the Broadwalk House building stands out for having exploited to the maximum the potential of prefabricated concrete panels.The speed on the execution of the building was decisive in the decision making. This requirement led to resort to prefabrication of both the structure and the enclosure.Being a façade where the hollow dominates, the panels were designed as concrete frames that surround large windows. About two-thirds of the surface of the panel is glass.