January 14, 2010

  • Buildings or structures constructed of large prefabricated concrete panels in both the horizontal and vertical axes
  • Although Plattenbauten are often considered to be typical of East German, the prefabricated construction method was used extensively in West Germany and elsewhere, particularly in public housing.
  • In East German, virtually all new residential buildings since the 1960s were built in this style, as it was a quick and relatively cheap way to solve the country’s severe housing shortage
  • In English it is called Large Panel System building or LPS
  • Precast reinforced concrete walls and floors stitched together with in-situ concrete joints
  • All large panel systems rely on their own dead weight and the friction this produced to hold everything together “house of cards fashion”
  • Assembly: cranes lifted panels into place where they were located onto bolts.
  • Collapse: In May 1968 disaster struck when a tenant on the 18th floor of a 22-storey TWA block at Ronan Point lit her stove, igniting a gas leak. The resulting explosion of 3-12psi (per square inch) pressure in her flat was not large, but it removed load-bearing wall panels and the south-east corner of the building slid to the ground. Pictured below is the Ronan Point Estate after the explosion in the tower on the left.


Water Block House Fragments

January 14, 2010

Architects: Kengo Kuma and Associates

  • Taking inspiration from LEGO, the water blocks are rectangular units with grooves on their tops and niches on their undersides
  • The blocks only take on their full form when they are filled with water on the site of their installation
  • Left unfilled, the blocks are hollow plastic shells that can be vacuum packed flat for economic shipping
  • The water provides natural insulation to the interior
  • The system has the potential to be outfitted with an impregnated electrical system that remains protected from the water, allowing the blocks to be illuminated
  • Because of their modularity, the blocks have the potential to compose dwellings of infinite configurations

Housing at Diagonal Mar

January 13, 2010

Illa Fleming

January 13, 2010

Architects: Jaume Back & Gabriel Mora

  • East, South and West facades have a double skin consisting of red stucco divided by vertical openings from floor to ceiling in the interior, and an outer skin separated by 60 cm from the inner one, consisting of panels of wooden slats that can be moved freely according to the needs of the occupants
  • These mobile panels provide an exterior space around all the dwellings that extends the interior space visually
  • The terrace of the living room can be understood as an interior or an exterior according to the position of the panels

Maison Hermes

January 13, 2010

Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Tokyo

  • Renzo Piano erects a monumental tower of light with severe, static forms covered by a shell of glass, transformed by the light filtering through its narrow chequerboard of translucent plates
  • Blocks are mounted in a steel grid that allows them to move up to 4 mm during earthquaks
  • 13,000 custom glass blocks, measuring 42.8 x 42.8 cm (supposedly based on a sub-multiple of a Hermes scarf), are smooth on one side and undulated on the outer side
  • Exterior surfaces were mirror-varnished by hand; the interior surfaces are textured
  • Meets Japan’s stringent seismic codes: The structure of the building consists of a flexible steel structure, strategically articulated with visco-elastic dampers, from which cantilevered floors span to support the suspended glass facade

Galleria Hall West

January 13, 2010

Architects: UN Studio / Van Berkel + Bos, South Korea

  • Facade causes a continually shifting, shimmering, alluring perception
  • Total of 4330 glass discs hung from a metal substructure that is directly mounted on the existing concrete cladding of the department store
  • The glass discs are made of sandblasted laminated glass, including a special dicroic foil
  • These discs are treated with a special iridescent foil, so during the day the atmospheric and weather changes influence the degree of reflection and absorption of light and color on the glass circles, so that from different viewing points the appearance of each disc and the total surface changes constantly according to those external conditions that are beyond human control.
  • At night, a special lighting scheme illuminates the discs by reflecting the dynamics of the weather conditions hat happened during the day
  • At night, the lighting design developed for the façade additionally starts to interact with the material condition of the glass discs.
  • By placing behind each of the glass discs an LED-light source and by controlling the lights digitally one by one, the possibilities to manipulate color and light emission become endless
  • Recording day-to-day weather conditions and processing the data with the computer before projecting them in transformed version onto the glass skin is just one out of many possibilities of the technology used
  • The façade solution also has the potential to be adapted for special occasions and can be changed over time according to seasons, fashion events and artistic inspirations
  • Whatever visual information is projected onto the discs, it will be transformed due to the material conditions of the glass disc and foils

Typical glass disc facade section:

  • 1. Cladding with coloured folded aluminum plate
  • 2. Covering due to odd gutter
  • 3. Cantilevering toughened and doubled layered glass
  • 4. Clamp onto galvanized steel tubes. Clad with coloured folded aluminum plate
  • 5. Existing prefab facade elements

Detail glass disc:

  • 1. Triangle shaped steel profile
  • 2. Glass disc (830) 2x5mm toughened with 2x foils
  • 3. Clamp steel

Cell Brick House

January 13, 2010

Architects: Atelier Tekuto / Yasuhiro Yamashita, Bunkyo-ku

  • At first glance, the Cell Brick House seems to be a structure of piled-up concrete blocks, but on closer inspection one sees that these blocks are in fact steel boxes
  • Three-storey home featuring a unique facade of alternating steel blocks and glass
  • On the inside, these steel boxes become built-in storage shelves