Heavy: > 125 kg/m2

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 energy-efficient architecture is not conditioned to a certain image. This is clear in the work of Sauerbruch & Hutton, with a sober but colorful image.

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.

What is hidden behind this ceramic tile cladding in the form of bricks? A thermal insulation material fixed over a real brick wall. The cladding, far from trying to cheat us, exhibits the fact that it is not even self-bearing thanks to a peculiar “rigging”. The ETICS façade systems allow many other finishing materials in addition to renderings. It is only a matter of weight, flexibility and adherence.

The new building for the Dexeus Institute in Barcelona is one of the cases in which the openings completely divide the façade into horizontal strips. The façade is thus not mechanically interrupted by the main structure but by the openings. On each floor, the parapet made of reinforced brickwork is supported on the slab and stabilized against horizontal loads fixed to the pillars, while the wall above the window hangs inserted in a steel structure from its upper slab. The horizontal strip of openings needs to allow for differential movements of each part of the façade.

The Inbisa Tower case study permits us highlighting those subtle design strategies that make a building with four apparently identical facades be so suggestive.

The unfinished Plaça d’Europa project arises from a contradiction. The objective was to provide the city of Barcelona with a more representative entrance from the airport, with towers that appear to be of tertiary use. And we say “appear to be” because many of these towers were in fact designed for residential use. This contradiction justifies the façade solution adopted in these towers.

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.

The Hotel Omm facade seems to us an interesting case study in many regards. It was a wise strategy to orient the openings towards the main avenue, Passeig de Gràcia, thus avoiding prying eyes from the building on the opposite side of the street as well as direct solar gain. Also, the bold materialization of this strategy involved transforming the outer layer of a rain screen façade into a series of lightweight walls that emerge from the façade as fish scales.