Only to discuss the undeniable technical and energy performances of ventilated facade is to ignore an important part of the picture.
These construction systems, which have achieved a very satisfactory degree of technical reliability, enable more and more cutting-edge architectural versatility. The following are two case histories that exemplify this.
In Quebec City, a showroom becomes a landmark
Customer / Centura Tile
Intended use / Retail
Floor area / 4.580 m2
Architects / Coarchitecture
Photography by / Stéphane Groleau
Centura Tile is a long-established ceramic tile retailer with many stores right across Canada, and a few yards ago it decided to move to a new branch to provide its customers with a showroom dedicated to its products and the quality of its services supporting architects and general contractors. The transformation of an existing building next to the Félix-Leclerc highway in Quebec City provided the right location, with a high degree of visibility.
With the help of the Centura marketing department, Canadian firm Coarchitecture created a large, well-it space in which the products’ material appeal effectively illustrates all the interior and exterior design potentials available. The Florim technical department provided crucial imports for the design of the facade.
Lit up in the evening, sparkling in the daytime, with its glossy white surface with its unique pentagonal blocks, evoking the structure of ceramic tiles under the microscope, the ceramic ventilated facade shows off all Centura’s craftsmanlike skill to excellent effect. Moving closer to the building, these pentagonal slabs almost 2 square meters in area impress with their size and the precision with which they are mounted.
This geometrical pattern, the core motif of the project, accompanies visitors right through to the showroom, with its light-colored surfaces providing the backdrop to the large vertical display units, in an interior that recalls a modern museum. Exploiting the continuity of themes between indoor and outdoor areas, and the large south-facing window, the space opens onto the landscape and allows natural daylight to flow into the whole interior.
In view of its architectural quality and spatial unity, and the fine design of all its construction features, this work received an honorable mention in the “Grand Prix du Design“, the award which Quebec City confers on the buildings of the best architectural and construction quality within its boundaries.
This meticulous recladding work was executed with a custom size produced from the 120×240 cm slabs of the Florim Magnum Oversize range. Slabs were installed using the Florim patented S1 mounting system, which gives the facade excellent resistance to the static and dynamic loads deriving from external factors without any visible mounting fixtures.
LED lights in the joints in the octagonal-inspired geometrical slab installation pattern illuminate the building at night and transform the ceramic cladding into an exciting architectural logo.
In Rijeka a sports center provides a model for a new approach to urban planning
Costumer / Municipalità di Rijeka
Intended use / Sports
Floor area / 16.823 m2
Architects / 3LHD
In the Zamet district of the city of Rijeka, in Croatia, the new sports center, with a total area of 16,830 m2, houses multiple functions: a sports arena seating 2,380, the local community offices, a library, ten or so retail stores and a large indoor car park.
The rest of the leisure complex includes public spaces, urban squares accessible to residents of the district and the city. The building’s most distinctive architectural feature is the way it appears to be almost planted in the earth, and its facade, with a pattern of ribbon-like vertical strips which at times morph into the building’s roof and at others tilt to the horizontal and are transformed into public spaces.
In fact, these ceramic ribbons are both an architectural element and a spatial zoning feature, creating a public square and the link between the northern (park and school) and southern (street) sides of the complex. The strips are inspired by “gromača”, a type of local rock, the colors and formations of which were meticulously reinterpreted in the building cladding design undertaken by Croatian firm 3LHD and Florim. The public space on the roof is not just a feature of the building that extends the retail section outdoors but also a kind of extension of the park to the north of the gym.
The building’s structure, varying in height to ensure effective lighting of the indoor areas, is in steel, capable of covering the considerable spans required by the intended functions of the internal zones.
Over 51,000 pentagonal porcelain stoneware slabs in a variety of color shades were designed by 3LHD and cut to size by Florim to meet the needs of this totally custom project. In the zones where it is applied – vertical and sloping walls – the ventilated facade was chosen as the best, most versatile solution for soundproofing the public spaces and providing thermal insulation and inertia, essential for energy efficiency. Florim slabs carry the Ecolabel, an important European certification that guarantees a product’s low environmental impact throughout its life cycle.
The in-depth work underlying the material’s design began with observation of the appearance and simplicity of the ground, moving on to colors and surfaces inspired by shades of sand, soil and rock, which integrate into the urban environment very effectively thanks to the perfect balance between industrial and natural overtones.