Paris City Guide: 23 Places Every Architect Must Visit


Paris City Guide: 23 Places Every Architect Must Visit, Licensed under (CC BY 4.0).
Licensed under (CC BY 4.0).
  • Paris, the city that was born on the banks of the Seine, grew from a small island – Île de la Cité – to the vast metropolis that nowadays extends beyond Ménilmontant, the vingtième arrondissement.

The French capital has so much to offer. Centuries of history have left behind meaningful structures which also have been the background of love stories, wars and revolutions. Whether you are seeking to admire hidden spots, the well-known landmarks and jewels soon to be opened, or filling your personal story with them, you’ll find everything you want in this city.

This list, in no particular order, aims to provide some guidance and inspiration for your next trip to Paris. If you love architecture, dear friend, look no further.

Want to discover Paris’ architecture? Continue reading!

1. Centre Georges Pompidou

© GraphyArchy via Wikimedia Commons
© GraphyArchy via Wikimedia Commons

Architect: Renzo Piano

Location:19 Rue Beaubourg (Google)

Year: 1977

Description: This is one of the most iconic buildings in Paris and houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe. Its exposed skeleton of brightly coloured tubes for mechanical systems was the beginning of a new era of architecture and it’s a must visit. Oh and don’t miss the views from the top floor, which has free admission the first Sunday of each month. Read more here.

2. Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

By Iwan_Baan © Fondation Louis Vuitton
By Iwan_Baan © Fondation Louis Vuitton

Architect: Frank Gehry

Location:8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi (Google)

Year: 2014

Description: Louis Vuitton, the luxury French fashion house founded in 1854, has recently been opening stunning stores around the world: Louis Vuitton Matsuya Ginza (Jun Aoki, 2013), Louis Vuitton in Singapore(FTL Design Engineering Studio, 2012) and The Shops at Crystals (Daniel Libeskind, 2009) are some of the most stunning. This art museum is even more exciting as there is a cultural aspect to it in the design – not just a formal approach. Built on the edge of a water garden created especially for the project, it comprises an assemblage of white blocks (known as “the icebergs”) clad in panels of fiber-reinforced concrete, surrounded by twelve immense glass “sails” supported by wooden beams. Read more here.

3. Palais de Tokyo Expansion

© 11h45
© 11h45

Architect: Lacaton & Vassal

Location:13 Avenue du Président Wilson (Google)

Year: 2002

Description: The original Palais de Tokyo – built in 1937 for the International Exhibition of Arts and Technology of 1937 – attracted over 30 million people. It was known as Palais des Musées d’art moderne. However, after the event was over, the structure became neglected and eventually deteriorated. In 2001, Lacaton & Vassal breathed new life into it, the new expansion injected extra space and it went from 7000 to 22,000 square meters. Palais de Tokyo is now a brand new building dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The new Café, located on top of the Palais, has one of the best skyline views of Paris. Read more here.

4. Palais-Royal

© Magdalena Martin
© Magdalena Martin

Architect: Jules Hardouin-Mansart

Location:8 Rue de Montpensier (Google)

Year: 1639

Description: The Palais-Royal, originally the fancy home of Cardinal Richelieu, ended up in the King’s hands after his death in 1642 – Henry VIII had a similar episode with York Place and Cardinal Wolseley in 1530. Since then, this palace became the home of kings and queens to follow until the late 18th century. Today, the Palais-Royal serves as the seat of the Ministry of Culture (closed to the public) but it’s the southern end of the complex, polka-dotted with sculptor Daniel Buren’s 260 black-and-white striped columns, that has become the garden’s signature feature since 1986. Read more here.

5. Bibliothèque Nationale de France

© Davide Galli Atelier
© Davide Galli Atelier

Architect: Dominique Perrault

Location: Quai François Mauria (Google)

Year: 1995

Description: Designed as four open books, all facing one another, this public library is part of an ambitious long-term project: The Grands Projets. President François Mitterand aimed to create a new set of modern monuments for a city long defined by its architecture. Some of the constructions in this plan include the Arab World Institute, the Parc de la Villette and Pyramide at the Louvre. The library buildings define a symbolic and mythical place that reinforce the cultural importance in the urban fabric. Don’t miss the other Bibliothèque Nationale by Henri Labrouste(1875). Read more here.

6. Notre Dame Cathedral 

© Flickr user kosalabandara licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Flickr user kosalabandara licensed under CC BY 2.0

Architect: Manuelle Gautrand

Location: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II (Google)

Year: 1345

Description: While its interior is closed off to visitors following the devastating fire of April 2019, this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture remains a must visit place in Paris. Over its long construction period numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation is just behind it, don’t miss it either. Read more here.

7. Eiffel Tower 

© Wikimedia user Jebulon (Public Domain)
© Wikimedia user Jebulon (Public Domain)

Architect: Gustave Eiffel

Location: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France (Google)

Year: 1889

Description: Time for a big classic. Despite being such a cliché, this spot is one of my favourites of the list as an architect. It was built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, which was located in the nearby Trocadéro area. It is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall and, at the time of its completion, the tallest man-made structure in the world – a title it held for 41 years. This monument represents the aspirations of a country and the technical skills of its creators, which I find inspiring. In addition, the atmosphere around the Eiffel Tower is magical. Read more here.

8. Sacré-Cœur Basilica

© Flickr User Pedro Szekely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© Flickr User Pedro Szekely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Architect: Paul Abadie

Location: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre (Google)

Year: 1914

Description: You may think this Romano-Byzantine church is older than it looks, but it was actually built after the Eiffel Tower (1889). The appearance of Sacré Cœur’s design is a result of the conservative Catholic old guard and the secular, republican radicals. The apse mosaic Christ in Majesty, created by Luc-Olivier Merson, is among the largest in the world. Don’t miss the amazing skyline views from the dome (accessible through the exterior left side of the basilica). Read more here.

9. Le Grand Louvre

© Benh LIEU SONG via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
© Benh LIEU SONG via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Architect: I.M. Pei

Location: Place du Carrousel (Google)

Year: 1989

Description: As mentioned in #5, in 1981, the newly elected French president, Francois Mitterrand, launched a campaign to renovate cultural institutions throughout France and one of the most advantageous of those projects was the renovation and reorganization of the Louvre. President Mitterrand commissioned the Chinese American architect I.M. Pei the task being the first time that a foreign architect was enlisted to work on the Louvre museum. The new structure – built in the same proportions of the famous Pyramid of Giza – alleviated the congestion from the thousands of daily visitors. Sunset is the best time to visit. Read more here.

10. Musée d’Orsay

© Emmaphoto via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
© Emmaphoto via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Architect: Victor Laloux, Lucien Magne and Émile Bénard

Location:1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur (Google)

Year: 1900

Description: This imposing museum was originally built in 1900 as the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station. And although its function was transformed, it does look like a railway station. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. This and Marmottan Monet Museum are my favorites in Paris. Don’t miss the amazing skyline views from the clock tower. Read more here.

11. Fondation Le Corbusier

By Cemal Emden © FLC_ADAGP
By Cemal Emden © FLC_ADAGP

+Maison-Atelier Ozenfant, Immeuble Porte Molitor and Villa Stein-de-Monzie

Architect: Le Corbusier

Location: (Fondation Le Corbusier) 8-10 Square du Docteur Blanche (Google)

Year: 1923

Description: Of the countless buildings Le Corbusier designed in France, most of his housing examples are located in Paris. It would be unfair to just list one of them and that’s why I included some of his most representative works. Where to start? Definitely at Maison La Roche and Maison Jeanneret (1923–24), a pair of semi-detached houses that were Le Corbusier’s third commission in Paris. Fondation Le Corbusier is now used as a museum containing about 8,000 original drawings, studies and plans by Le Corbusier. His Paris home, where he lived until 1965, is located at Immeuble Porte Molitor (Public tours only by appointment). Read more here.

12. Pigalle Basketball

© Sebastien Michelini
© Sebastien Michelini

Architect: Ill-Studio

Location:17 Rue Duperré (Google)

Year: 2017

Description: This exciting urban intervention explores the relationship between sport, art and culture by changing the original primary colours with gradients of blue, pink, purple and orange. Blocks of red, yellow, blue and white from the last iteration have been painted over with brighter hues. The rubber court surface blends from blue at the ends to pink in the centre, while gradients have also been applied to the surrounding walls. The result? A fun place to play, watch and socialise. Read more here.

13. Musée du Quai Branly

© Virginia Duran
© Virginia Duran

Architect: Jean Nouvel

Location: (Google)

Year: 2006

Description: Many people (tourists) reach this spot by accident when trying to find the Eiffel Tower. However, this museum is quite important itself. Hybrid, composite, coloured, mysterious and joyous, Jean Nouvel’s building has in effect repeated the success from his victorious Institut du Monde Arabe(1988). The “green wall” on the exterior was designed and planted by Gilles Clément and Patrick Blanc and it’s worth a visit too. Read more here.

14. Docks de Paris

© Fred Romero licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Fred Romero licensed under CC BY 2.0

Architect: Jakob + MacFarlane

Location: 34 Quai d’Austerlitz (Google)

Year: 2010

Description: The wonderful job of Jakob + MacFarlane transformed a concrete shipping depot originally built in 1907 into a shinny museum of fashion and design. The architects are calling their design a “plug-over” as the new structure is a new external skin that enveloped the existing site on the sides and on top. The roof has also been developed using wooden decks and grassed areas. Read more here.

15. Philharmonie de Paris

© Guilhem Vellut licensed under cc-by-2.0
© Guilhem Vellut licensed under cc-by-2.0

Architect: Jean Nouvel

Location: 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès (Google)

Year: 2015

Description: This highly controversial project, Paris’ newest symphonic concert hall, is the home of Orchestre de Paris. It took a lot longer to build, at almost three times its original budget and, worst of all, on the day of the opening Jean Nouvel wasn’t present as he angrily claimed it was “not finished”. Though the exterior has received much criticism – aluminium panels in a basketweave design swirl tightly around the structure – the interior has been highly praised. Judge for yourself. Read more here.

16. La Seine Musical

© slam.photo licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© slam.photo licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Architect: Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines

Location: Île Seguin, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt (Google)

Year: 2017

Description: Another structure dedicated to musical affairs – La Seine Musicale – which has received a wildly positive welcome by the general public. The facilities include an elevated egg-shaped auditorium for classical music, a larger modular concert hall, rehearsal rooms and an extensive roof garden. Much of the site’s daytime energy needs are supplied by a large mobile curved solar panel array that covers the smaller auditorium. Read more here.

17. Bourse de Commerce / Collection Pinault

© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra licensed under CC BY 2.0

Architect: Tadao Ando

Location:2 Rue de Viarmes (Google)

Year: Opening predicted for spring 2020

Description: François Pinault, who previously teamed up with Tadao Ando to open Venice’s Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, commissioned this exciting project which will soon open. Located at the Bourse de Commerce, an 18th-century rotunda that once held the city’s grain market and stock exchange, Collection Pinault Paris will host exhibitions from painting, sculpture, photography and video to installations. Ando designed the ambitious interior, where a cylindrical gallery will form the main exhibition space which will be set into the centre of the plan below the building’s domed ceiling. Read more here.

18. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

Via Gallerie Lafayette Group
Via Gallerie Lafayette Group

Architect: Georges Chedanne and Ferdinand Chanut

Location:40 Boulevard Haussmann (Google)

Year: 1912

Description: The first Galeries Lafayette (the Harrods of France), opened here in 1912. Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn commissioned the architect Georges Chedanne and his pupil Ferdinand Chanut a lavish fashion store with a glass and steel dome and stunning Art Nouveau staircases. More than a century later, the building is still used for the same purpose and its oozing with greatness. Don’t miss the amazing views from its rooftop. If you liked this one, you might also want to visit the recently refurbished Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élyséesby BIG (2019). Read more here.

19. Hôtel Guimard

© Steve Cadman licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© Steve Cadman licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Architect: Hector Guimard

Location: 122 Avenue Mozart (Google)

Year: 1912

Description: This little building is a hidden jewel of the city. It was built as an Art Nouveau house Hector Guimard designed for himself and his wife after visiting the Hôtel Tassel in Brussels, designed by the über famous Victor Horta. Guimard later became known for designing the famous subway entrances (Pasteur, Porte Dauphine…) and also the Castel Béranger door at Rue Jean de la Fontaine which is worth a visit too. Unfortunately, the interiors can’t be visited but the original dining room suite can today be seen at the Petit Palais; the bedroom at the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon; and the study at the Musée de l’École de Nancy. Read more here.

20. Les Orgues de Flandre

© Laurent Kronental
© Laurent Kronental

Architect: Martin van Trek

Location:24 Rue Archereau (Google)

Year: 1980

Description: Paris is full of Brutalist masterpieces but this is, in my opinion, one of the best. The Orgues de Flandre, which can be translated as the “Organs of Flanders”, are a group of residential buildings built from 1974 to 1980. What is really outstanding about this complex – and different to other residential houses of this kind around the world – is that Martin van Trek granted the private spaces (the apartments) a monumental status whilst leaving the public spaces in a secondary and more ordinary level. Controversial. Read more here.

21. Les Choux de Créteil

By Paul Fleury via Wikimedia Commons licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
By Paul Fleury via Wikimedia Commons licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Architect: Gérard Grandval

Location:2 Boulevard Pablo Picasso (Google)

Year: 1974

Description: Another housing project in the suburbs of Paris that is worth a visit: Les Choux de Créteil. This group of ten cylindrical buildings each 15 stories in height is called Les Choux (the cabbages). The project was initiated in 1966, in an area which had been used for a century to produce much of the vegetables for Parisian tables although the name makes reference to the unusual shape of their balconies. The buildings’ unique shape is intended to be functional: the apartments’ living spaces are closer to the windows and the 2-meter-tall balconies provide outdoor access and privacy at the same time. Read more here.

22. Palace of Versailles

© Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
© Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Architect: Louis Le Vau, Andre Le Notre and Charles Lebrun

Location:Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles (Google)

Year: 1682

Description: The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful. Indeed it’s one of the most stunning European palaces. This is a classic that everyone should visit once in a lifetime. Read more here.

23. Villa Savoye

© Flickr User End User
© Flickr User End User

Architect: Le Corbusier

Location: 82 Rue de Villiers (Poissy) (Google)

Year: 1931

Description: This may be the one house that every architect knows in the world and with no doubt it is one of the most significant contributions to modern architecture in the 20th century. The house single handedly transformed Le Corbusier’s career as well as the principles of the International Style, becoming one of the most important architectural precedents in history. Originally built as a country retreat on behest of the Savoye family but it now belongs to the French state and therefore it can be visited. In fact, it’s free to visit on the 1st Sunday of every month. Read more here.

[BONUS]- Villa Dall’Ava

© Peter Aaron/OTTO
© Peter Aaron/OTTO

Architect: Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)

Location:Avenue Clodoald, 92210 Saint-Cloud (Google)

Year: 1991

Description: Although it can’t be visited by any means, I felt this house had to be on the list. It was built in 1991 as a modern-expressionist house with two distinct apartments: One for the house owners and another for their daughter. There was an extra request: a swimming pool on the roof with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The strip windows and thin, repeated columns recall Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye. Read more here.

Check these and other amazing buildings of Paris on the map below or download The Free Architecture Guide of Paris.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1bfsCVXvWJjsQFsAVmnnw2iplprM

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 14, 2019.

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Paris, the city that was born on the banks of the Seine, grew from a small island – Île de la Cité – to the vast metropolis that nowadays extends beyond Ménilmontant, the vingtième arrondissement.

The French capital has so much to offer. Centuries of history have left behind meaningful structures which also have been the background of love stories, wars and revolutions. Whether you are seeking to admire hidden spots, the well-known landmarks and jewels soon to be opened, or filling your personal story with them, you’ll find everything you want in this city.

This list, in no particular order, aims to provide some guidance and inspiration for your next trip to Paris. If you love architecture, dear friend, look no further.

Want to discover Paris’ architecture? Continue reading!

1. Centre Georges Pompidou

© GraphyArchy via Wikimedia Commons
© GraphyArchy via Wikimedia Commons

Architect: Renzo Piano

Location:19 Rue Beaubourg (Google)

Year: 1977

Description: This is one of the most iconic buildings in Paris and houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe. Its exposed skeleton of brightly coloured tubes for mechanical systems was the beginning of a new era of architecture and it’s a must visit. Oh and don’t miss the views from the top floor, which has free admission the first Sunday of each month. Read more here.

2. Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

By Iwan_Baan © Fondation Louis Vuitton
By Iwan_Baan © Fondation Louis Vuitton

Architect: Frank Gehry

Location:8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi (Google)

Year: 2014

Description: Louis Vuitton, the luxury French fashion house founded in 1854, has recently been opening stunning stores around the world: Louis Vuitton Matsuya Ginza (Jun Aoki, 2013), Louis Vuitton in Singapore(FTL Design Engineering Studio, 2012) and The Shops at Crystals (Daniel Libeskind, 2009) are some of the most stunning. This art museum is even more exciting as there is a cultural aspect to it in the design – not just a formal approach. Built on the edge of a water garden created especially for the project, it comprises an assemblage of white blocks (known as “the icebergs”) clad in panels of fiber-reinforced concrete, surrounded by twelve immense glass “sails” supported by wooden beams. Read more here.

3. Palais de Tokyo Expansion

© 11h45
© 11h45

Architect: Lacaton & Vassal

Location:13 Avenue du Président Wilson (Google)

Year: 2002

Description: The original Palais de Tokyo – built in 1937 for the International Exhibition of Arts and Technology of 1937 – attracted over 30 million people. It was known as Palais des Musées d’art moderne. However, after the event was over, the structure became neglected and eventually deteriorated. In 2001, Lacaton & Vassal breathed new life into it, the new expansion injected extra space and it went from 7000 to 22,000 square meters. Palais de Tokyo is now a brand new building dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The new Café, located on top of the Palais, has one of the best skyline views of Paris. Read more here.

4. Palais-Royal

© Magdalena Martin
© Magdalena Martin

Architect: Jules Hardouin-Mansart

Location:8 Rue de Montpensier (Google)

Year: 1639

Description: The Palais-Royal, originally the fancy home of Cardinal Richelieu, ended up in the King’s hands after his death in 1642 – Henry VIII had a similar episode with York Place and Cardinal Wolseley in 1530. Since then, this palace became the home of kings and queens to follow until the late 18th century. Today, the Palais-Royal serves as the seat of the Ministry of Culture (closed to the public) but it’s the southern end of the complex, polka-dotted with sculptor Daniel Buren’s 260 black-and-white striped columns, that has become the garden’s signature feature since 1986. Read more here.

5. Bibliothèque Nationale de France

© Davide Galli Atelier
© Davide Galli Atelier

Architect: Dominique Perrault

Location: Quai François Mauria (Google)

Year: 1995

Description: Designed as four open books, all facing one another, this public library is part of an ambitious long-term project: The Grands Projets. President François Mitterand aimed to create a new set of modern monuments for a city long defined by its architecture. Some of the constructions in this plan include the Arab World Institute, the Parc de la Villette and Pyramide at the Louvre. The library buildings define a symbolic and mythical place that reinforce the cultural importance in the urban fabric. Don’t miss the other Bibliothèque Nationale by Henri Labrouste(1875). Read more here.

6. Notre Dame Cathedral 

© Flickr user kosalabandara licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Flickr user kosalabandara licensed under CC BY 2.0

Architect: Manuelle Gautrand

Location: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II (Google)

Year: 1345

Description: While its interior is closed off to visitors following the devastating fire of April 2019, this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture remains a must visit place in Paris. Over its long construction period numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. The Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation is just behind it, don’t miss it either. Read more here.

7. Eiffel Tower 

© Wikimedia user Jebulon (Public Domain)
© Wikimedia user Jebulon (Public Domain)

Architect: Gustave Eiffel

Location: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France (Google)

Year: 1889

Description: Time for a big classic. Despite being such a cliché, this spot is one of my favourites of the list as an architect. It was built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, which was located in the nearby Trocadéro area. It is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall and, at the time of its completion, the tallest man-made structure in the world – a title it held for 41 years. This monument represents the aspirations of a country and the technical skills of its creators, which I find inspiring. In addition, the atmosphere around the Eiffel Tower is magical. Read more here.

8. Sacré-Cœur Basilica

© Flickr User Pedro Szekely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© Flickr User Pedro Szekely licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Architect: Paul Abadie

Location: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre (Google)

Year: 1914

Description: You may think this Romano-Byzantine church is older than it looks, but it was actually built after the Eiffel Tower (1889). The appearance of Sacré Cœur’s design is a result of the conservative Catholic old guard and the secular, republican radicals. The apse mosaic Christ in Majesty, created by Luc-Olivier Merson, is among the largest in the world. Don’t miss the amazing skyline views from the dome (accessible through the exterior left side of the basilica). Read more here.

9. Le Grand Louvre

© Benh LIEU SONG via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
© Benh LIEU SONG via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Architect: I.M. Pei

Location: Place du Carrousel (Google)

Year: 1989

Description: As mentioned in #5, in 1981, the newly elected French president, Francois Mitterrand, launched a campaign to renovate cultural institutions throughout France and one of the most advantageous of those projects was the renovation and reorganization of the Louvre. President Mitterrand commissioned the Chinese American architect I.M. Pei the task being the first time that a foreign architect was enlisted to work on the Louvre museum. The new structure – built in the same proportions of the famous Pyramid of Giza – alleviated the congestion from the thousands of daily visitors. Sunset is the best time to visit. Read more here.

10. Musée d’Orsay

© Emmaphoto via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
© Emmaphoto via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Architect: Victor Laloux, Lucien Magne and Émile Bénard

Location:1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur (Google)

Year: 1900

Description: This imposing museum was originally built in 1900 as the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station. And although its function was transformed, it does look like a railway station. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. This and Marmottan Monet Museum are my favorites in Paris. Don’t miss the amazing skyline views from the clock tower. Read more here.

11. Fondation Le Corbusier

By Cemal Emden © FLC_ADAGP
By Cemal Emden © FLC_ADAGP

+Maison-Atelier Ozenfant, Immeuble Porte Molitor and Villa Stein-de-Monzie

Architect: Le Corbusier

Location: (Fondation Le Corbusier) 8-10 Square du Docteur Blanche (Google)

Year: 1923

Description: Of the countless buildings Le Corbusier designed in France, most of his housing examples are located in Paris. It would be unfair to just list one of them and that’s why I included some of his most representative works. Where to start? Definitely at Maison La Roche and Maison Jeanneret (1923–24), a pair of semi-detached houses that were Le Corbusier’s third commission in Paris. Fondation Le Corbusier is now used as a museum containing about 8,000 original drawings, studies and plans by Le Corbusier. His Paris home, where he lived until 1965, is located at Immeuble Porte Molitor (Public tours only by appointment). Read more here.

12. Pigalle Basketball

© Sebastien Michelini
© Sebastien Michelini

Architect: Ill-Studio

Location:17 Rue Duperré (Google)

Year: 2017

Description: This exciting urban intervention explores the relationship between sport, art and culture by changing the original primary colours with gradients of blue, pink, purple and orange. Blocks of red, yellow, blue and white from the last iteration have been painted over with brighter hues. The rubber court surface blends from blue at the ends to pink in the centre, while gradients have also been applied to the surrounding walls. The result? A fun place to play, watch and socialise. Read more here.

13. Musée du Quai Branly

© Virginia Duran
© Virginia Duran

Architect: Jean Nouvel

Location: (Google)

Year: 2006

Description: Many people (tourists) reach this spot by accident when trying to find the Eiffel Tower. However, this museum is quite important itself. Hybrid, composite, coloured, mysterious and joyous, Jean Nouvel’s building has in effect repeated the success from his victorious Institut du Monde Arabe(1988). The “green wall” on the exterior was designed and planted by Gilles Clément and Patrick Blanc and it’s worth a visit too. Read more here.

14. Docks de Paris

© Fred Romero licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Fred Romero licensed under CC BY 2.0

Architect: Jakob + MacFarlane

Location: 34 Quai d’Austerlitz (Google)

Year: 2010

Description: The wonderful job of Jakob + MacFarlane transformed a concrete shipping depot originally built in 1907 into a shinny museum of fashion and design. The architects are calling their design a “plug-over” as the new structure is a new external skin that enveloped the existing site on the sides and on top. The roof has also been developed using wooden decks and grassed areas. Read more here.

15. Philharmonie de Paris

© Guilhem Vellut licensed under cc-by-2.0
© Guilhem Vellut licensed under cc-by-2.0

Architect: Jean Nouvel

Location: 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès (Google)

Year: 2015

Description: This highly controversial project, Paris’ newest symphonic concert hall, is the home of Orchestre de Paris. It took a lot longer to build, at almost three times its original budget and, worst of all, on the day of the opening Jean Nouvel wasn’t present as he angrily claimed it was “not finished”. Though the exterior has received much criticism – aluminium panels in a basketweave design swirl tightly around the structure – the interior has been highly praised. Judge for yourself. Read more here.

16. La Seine Musical

© slam.photo licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© slam.photo licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Architect: Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines

Location: Île Seguin, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt (Google)

Year: 2017

Description: Another structure dedicated to musical affairs – La Seine Musicale – which has received a wildly positive welcome by the general public. The facilities include an elevated egg-shaped auditorium for classical music, a larger modular concert hall, rehearsal rooms and an extensive roof garden. Much of the site’s daytime energy needs are supplied by a large mobile curved solar panel array that covers the smaller auditorium. Read more here.

17. Bourse de Commerce / Collection Pinault

© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra licensed under CC BY 2.0

Architect: Tadao Ando

Location:2 Rue de Viarmes (Google)

Year: Opening predicted for spring 2020

Description: François Pinault, who previously teamed up with Tadao Ando to open Venice’s Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, commissioned this exciting project which will soon open. Located at the Bourse de Commerce, an 18th-century rotunda that once held the city’s grain market and stock exchange, Collection Pinault Paris will host exhibitions from painting, sculpture, photography and video to installations. Ando designed the ambitious interior, where a cylindrical gallery will form the main exhibition space which will be set into the centre of the plan below the building’s domed ceiling. Read more here.

18. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

Via Gallerie Lafayette Group
Via Gallerie Lafayette Group

Architect: Georges Chedanne and Ferdinand Chanut

Location:40 Boulevard Haussmann (Google)

Year: 1912

Description: The first Galeries Lafayette (the Harrods of France), opened here in 1912. Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn commissioned the architect Georges Chedanne and his pupil Ferdinand Chanut a lavish fashion store with a glass and steel dome and stunning Art Nouveau staircases. More than a century later, the building is still used for the same purpose and its oozing with greatness. Don’t miss the amazing views from its rooftop. If you liked this one, you might also want to visit the recently refurbished Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élyséesby BIG (2019). Read more here.

19. Hôtel Guimard

© Steve Cadman licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© Steve Cadman licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Architect: Hector Guimard

Location: 122 Avenue Mozart (Google)

Year: 1912

Description: This little building is a hidden jewel of the city. It was built as an Art Nouveau house Hector Guimard designed for himself and his wife after visiting the Hôtel Tassel in Brussels, designed by the über famous Victor Horta. Guimard later became known for designing the famous subway entrances (Pasteur, Porte Dauphine…) and also the Castel Béranger door at Rue Jean de la Fontaine which is worth a visit too. Unfortunately, the interiors can’t be visited but the original dining room suite can today be seen at the Petit Palais; the bedroom at the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon; and the study at the Musée de l’École de Nancy. Read more here.

20. Les Orgues de Flandre

© Laurent Kronental
© Laurent Kronental

Architect: Martin van Trek

Location:24 Rue Archereau (Google)

Year: 1980

Description: Paris is full of Brutalist masterpieces but this is, in my opinion, one of the best. The Orgues de Flandre, which can be translated as the “Organs of Flanders”, are a group of residential buildings built from 1974 to 1980. What is really outstanding about this complex – and different to other residential houses of this kind around the world – is that Martin van Trek granted the private spaces (the apartments) a monumental status whilst leaving the public spaces in a secondary and more ordinary level. Controversial. Read more here.

21. Les Choux de Créteil

By Paul Fleury via Wikimedia Commons licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
By Paul Fleury via Wikimedia Commons licenced under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Architect: Gérard Grandval

Location:2 Boulevard Pablo Picasso (Google)

Year: 1974

Description: Another housing project in the suburbs of Paris that is worth a visit: Les Choux de Créteil. This group of ten cylindrical buildings each 15 stories in height is called Les Choux (the cabbages). The project was initiated in 1966, in an area which had been used for a century to produce much of the vegetables for Parisian tables although the name makes reference to the unusual shape of their balconies. The buildings’ unique shape is intended to be functional: the apartments’ living spaces are closer to the windows and the 2-meter-tall balconies provide outdoor access and privacy at the same time. Read more here.

22. Palace of Versailles

© Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
© Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Architect: Louis Le Vau, Andre Le Notre and Charles Lebrun

Location:Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles (Google)

Year: 1682

Description: The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful. Indeed it’s one of the most stunning European palaces. This is a classic that everyone should visit once in a lifetime. Read more here.

23. Villa Savoye

© Flickr User End User
© Flickr User End User

Architect: Le Corbusier

Location: 82 Rue de Villiers (Poissy) (Google)

Year: 1931

Description: This may be the one house that every architect knows in the world and with no doubt it is one of the most significant contributions to modern architecture in the 20th century. The house single handedly transformed Le Corbusier’s career as well as the principles of the International Style, becoming one of the most important architectural precedents in history. Originally built as a country retreat on behest of the Savoye family but it now belongs to the French state and therefore it can be visited. In fact, it’s free to visit on the 1st Sunday of every month. Read more here.

[BONUS]- Villa Dall’Ava

© Peter Aaron/OTTO
© Peter Aaron/OTTO

Architect: Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)

Location:Avenue Clodoald, 92210 Saint-Cloud (Google)

Year: 1991

Description: Although it can’t be visited by any means, I felt this house had to be on the list. It was built in 1991 as a modern-expressionist house with two distinct apartments: One for the house owners and another for their daughter. There was an extra request: a swimming pool on the roof with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The strip windows and thin, repeated columns recall Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye. Read more here.

Check these and other amazing buildings of Paris on the map below or download The Free Architecture Guide of Paris.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1bfsCVXvWJjsQFsAVmnnw2iplprM

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 14, 2019.

Ethai Cafe / Quarta & Armando

Ethai Cafe / Quarta & Armando, © Dirk Weiblen
  • Curated by 韩双羽 – HAN Shuangyu

RESTAURANT & BAR INTERIORS

SHANGHAI, CHINA

  • Design Team:Gianmaria Quarta, Michele Armando, Shiyuan Tang, Carlin Sun
  • The Client:Shanghai Ethai Restaurant Ltd
  • City:Shanghai
  • Country:China

LESS SPECS

© Dirk Weiblen

Recommended Products

Text description provided by the architects. Tucked away in the busy commercial basement of Shanghai’s Kerry Center, Ethai Café offers a fresh take on traditional Thai cuisine, focusing on simple light dishes created from healthy ingredients. The earthy color and material palette is based on gradients reminiscent of central Thailand’s archaeological sites and lands, and its nooks and sitting areas appear to have been carved out of the rammed earth that envelops the façade.

watercolor. Image Courtesy of Quarta & Armando

Given the secluded and constrained nature of the site, we imagined a space that could provide a peaceful and transient retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. In order to achieve this, the project follows the directional concept of an enveloping geometry. Consequently, the facade is willingly designed give a slight cut to the space from the public area, through a lowered ceiling and a low wall, unfolding like a ribbon from within the restaurant and draping the exterior. An opening of the low wall, which reveals a banquette on the inside, creates an inviting entrance, naturally guiding customers into the space. These volumes are slightly offset from the site boundaries, enforcing this feeling of “space within space”.

layout. Image Courtesy of Quarta & Armando
© Dirk Weiblen

The layout gives customers a certain level of privacy, while still feeling somewhat connected to the rest of the public space. Overlooking the customers stands a dome-shaped ceiling, formed by a grid of wooden beams, in which conceals the space’s lighting. This structure defines a vaulted space that feels private yet convivial, like a contemporary interpretation of the primordial hut.

© Dirk Weiblen

The material selection further enhances this idea of quiet sobriety by deploying a palette rich in earthy tones and alternating rough and smooth textures. Welcomed by the rammed earth gradient at the entrance, the customer then notes with interest the coarse terrazzo flooring that guides them into the space. Lifting further their eye-level, they will discover a rich texture on the vertical surfaces, covered by white arched tiles. Simultaneously, the environment feels natural from the wooden surfaces on the furniture and the grid ceiling, as well as the vegetation. Finally, pieces of artwork constitute different focal points of the restaurant, bringing a traditional Thai touch and finalizing the integrality of Ethai Café.Bookmark

The Continuous Wood Ceilings Trend: Warmth and Texture Indoors and Outdoors

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The Continuous Wood Ceilings Trend: Warmth and Texture Indoors and Outdoors, Single Family Home / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema

Many practitioners and theorists of modern architecture favored large open plans, looming glass windows, and through both of these means, an unencumbered connection to nature. To do so, many iconic modernist buildings would use cantilevered roofs extending over glass curtainwalls, including Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22. In the years since this trend was popularized, however, a seemingly niche yet cumbersome problem would present itself: the problem of continuous wood ceilings.

Wooden ceilings are an obvious choice for aesthetic reasons: they provide warmth and texture to most environments, nurturing a rustic, homely atmosphere that can bring comfort to any space. Especially in designs that aim to reconnect with nature, a wooden ceiling combined with glass windows can feel incredibly natural, extending the beauty of the outdoors into an interior, protected space. Yet in designs with cantilevered roofs, the wooden roofing for the interior needs to be suitable for the exterior as well if it extends past the building’s walls and into the underside of the hanging canopies.

Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema

As a solution to this issue, the wood covering company Prodema has designed a new range of wood panels called Soffit Panels. Manufactured to be installed on exterior surfaces, particularly on balconies, soffits, or lower canopies, they can also be applied without problems indoors. Facilitating a new trend of continuous wood ceilings, these simultaneously durable and aesthetic panels allow architects to design for greater continuity in indoor and outdoor spaces, blurring the boundary between nature and shelter even further.

The benefits of the Soffit range are many, including easy installation, no maintenance, and, of course, heightened visual appeal. Made from real wood, the Prodema Soffit is not only naturally textured and toned, but it is more durable than traditional soffits, which typically soften and peel if not maintained properly.

Below, we consider three case studies that use the Prodema Soffit panel in beautiful and unique ways.

Single Family Home / Indievisual AG

This single-family residential design could be taken out of a modernist design handbook, with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, cantilevered flat roof, open-plan interior, and remote location; in fact, it was directly inspired by Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House. The house uses Prodema’s Grey Eucalyptus Soffit panels on the underside of its roof, which cantilevers past the glass windows and hangs over the sides of the walls. The wood extends uninterrupted throughout both interior ceiling and exterior canopy, reaching into the surrounding forest and connecting the home to its immediate natural environment.

Single Family Home / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema
Single Family Home / Indievisual AG
Single Family Home / Indievisual AG

Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG

This multi-family housing structure continues the typology of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and cantilevered roofs, yet it does so across multiple floors accommodating multiple groups of residents. Again, the Soffit panels—this time in the White American Oak finish—continue across both interior and exterior, on the underside of the above balconies. The highly textured finish of the panels complements the building’s overall simplicity in design.

Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema
Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG
Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG

Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG

This cultural building draws design inspiration from the Bauhaus Collection in Alvaro Siza’s Chinese Museum of Design. Creating an immense, geometric stone mass in light, warm colors, the center uses Prodema’s Grey Ayous wood soffit to clad the ceiling of an outdoor covered public square.

Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema
Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG
Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG

Read more on Prodema’s Soffit panel series here.

Cooling Interiors Will be the Architectural Challenge of the Future

Cooling Interiors Will be the Architectural Challenge of the Future, GB House / Renato D’Ettorre Architects. Image © Justin Alexander

According to the UN, more than 7000 extreme weather events have been recorded since 2000. Just this year, wildfires raged across Australia and the west coast of the U.S.; Siberia charted 

record high temperatures, reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit before Dallas or Houston; and globally, this September was the world’s hottest September on record. As the effects of the climate crisis manifest in these increasingly dire ways, it is the prerogative of the building industry – currently responsible for 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions – to do its part by committing to genuine and sweeping change in its approach to sustainability.

One of the most challenging aspects of this change will be to meet mounting cooling demands in an eco-friendly way. Cooling is innately more difficult than heating: any form of energy can become heat, and our bodies and machines naturally generate heat even in the absence of active heating systems. Cooling does not benefit equally from spontaneous generation, making it often more difficult, more costly, or less efficient to implement. Global warming and its very tangible heating effects only exacerbate this reality, intensifying an already accelerating demand for artificial cooling systems. As it stands, many of these systems require large amounts of electricity and rely heavily on fossil fuels to function. The buildings sector must find ways to meet mounting demand for cooling that simultaneously elides these unsustainable effects.

Haus Flora / Alexis Dornier. Image © KIE

Thankfully, many solutions already exist. Architects and engineers must contribute to the effort by using and adapting them to new and existing builds. Below, we enumerate several of these strategies, solutions, and products that help cool architectural interiors in eco-friendly ways.

Roughly, cooling solutions can be divided into two categories: passive and active. Passive cooling refers to strategies that regulate heat gain and dissipation with little or no energy consumption. These strategies are typically facilitated through natural environmental effects and passive architectural designs rather than active mechanical systems. Within passive cooling, architects can use preventive techniques or heat dissipation techniques: the former prevents heat gain through site and building design or insulation; the latter dissipates heat once it has already accumulated, whether through ventilation, evaporative cooling, or other similar options. ArchDaily has covered some of these strategies in the past, focusing specifically on materials conducive to passive cooling and natural ventilation techniques such as cross ventilation.

Ternion Villas / Studio Toggle. Image © Gijo Paul George
Cantilevered House / eneseis Arquitectura. Image © David Frutos

To effectively design a passive house, designers must consider a complex matrix of interrelated conditions, ranging from orientation to window placement to external shading. The Darmstadt Kranichstein Passive House is both a useful example and case study for passive cooling systems at work. In an analysis by Passipedia, “The Passive House Resource,” each of the aforementioned passive cooling conditions and their effects on average room temperature are investigated in meticulous detail. Simply by tilting windows, and thereby facilitating air flow, an “excellent indoor climate prevails,” and may even be more successful at regulating temperatures than mechanical ventilation systems – depending on the context. Likewise, balconies or roof overhangs can decrease the frequency of overheating events significantly. As Passipedia itself acknowledges, each of these valuations depends heavily on climate, time of year, and the details of each architectural system or element: for example, overhangs that are too large can increase annual heating demand significantly, even as they decrease the likelihood of overheating in summer. Orientation epitomizes this issue of context: in the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, a northern orientation decreases overheating frequencies; at other times of the year, however, it increases heating demand; the opposite is roughly true in the Southern Hemisphere. North of the equator, a southern orientation is generally considered ideal, but specific climates and locations might affect this axiom drastically. The case study recognizes some of these limitations, and remains a generally useful manual for passive cooling strategies in northern regions.

Nature & Environment Learning Centre / Bureau SLA . Image © Filip Dujardin
Transformation The Hinge / Niels Olivier Architect. Image © Arne Olivier Fotografie

To help synthesize these disparate considerations, the Isover Multi-Comfort House delineates a series of useful design principles. For cooling specifically, its brochure on hot climates enumerates five main passive strategies: 1) compact building design and favorable orientation; 2) thermal insulation and an airtight envelope; 3) energy efficient windows combining Solar control Glass and/or outside shading; 4) ventilation systems with heat recovery, and 5) natural night ventilation. It also mentions that internal heat loads like domestic appliances, heating systems, domestic water systems, air-handling units, and more all need proper thermal insulation to keep cool as well. The brochure offers specific guidelines addressing these requirements that provide precise tools of measurement: exterior insulation should achieve an average U-value of 0.15-0.45 W/(m^2K); windows should have a solar heat-gain coefficient below 40%; etcetera. The suggested strategies are also often highly specific, including a meticulous explication of how to avoid thermal bridges through drawings and structural interventions. To access the rest of these guidelines, and to read the referenced guidelines in more detail, designers should consult the manual itself.

Fitted House / Bahtera Associates. Image © Pandji Adidjojo
Casa Hilo / Zeller & Moye. Image © Jaime Navarro

Several products on the market fulfill these criteria. One example is Saint-Gobain’s COOL-LITE SKN, a type of solar control glass that simultaneously provides high daylight transmission and good energy performance while maintaining a ‘neutral’ aesthetic. COOL-LITE SKN 183 (II) in particular provides the highest daylight income without compromising energy performance, offering 75% light transmission with thermal insulation as well as high transparency and low reflection.

La Leroteca / Lacaja Arquitectos. Image © Rodrigo Davila

Notably, architects can also combine passive cooling solutions with active mechanical systems, using the latter as a supplement to the former as needed and thereby still reducing energy use and emissions. When these mechanical systems are themselves environmentally conscious, the benefits increase further. Recently, this past April, the thermoelectric company Phononic released its new cooling platform Oacis, a semiconductor technology that transfers thermal energy without the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants (the current standard in HVAC systems). Though the product is still new, it has the potential to transform active cooling and displace the norm of unsustainable air conditioning.

Suhrkamp Ensemble Offices / Bundschuh Architekten. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Another notable product is Climaver, an insulated air-conditioning duct that provides fresh air without sacrificing thermal protection or noise control. Using glasswool to reduce thermal losses along the ducts, and designed to minimize air leakage, this product is advocated for in the Isover Multi-Comfort House manual as optimizing ventilation and air-conditioning as sustainably as possible.

House Dezoito / Casa100 Arquitetura. Image © Maira Acayaba

As global temperatures continue to rise and extreme weather events highlight the escalating problem of overheating, passive and environmentally-conscious active cooling have the potential to both accommodate for these negative effects and reduce the conditions that gave rise to them. This dual necessity renders the reformation of industry cooling standards one of the most daunting challenges for architects today. With these strategies, solutions, and products, designers might begin to tackle these issues, paving the way for widespread industry reform in how we approach architectural cooling of the future.

Translucent Sandwich Panels: Producing Healthy Buildings with an Abundance of Natural Light

Translucent Sandwich Panels: Producing Healthy Buildings with an Abundance of Natural Light , Elgin Artspace Lofts / BKV Group. Image © Kate Joyce

People have fundamental needs that must be met in order to survive, which include: oxygen, water, food, sleep, and shelter. They also have secondary requirements, one of which is daylight. When thinking about how buildings can keep people healthy, it is important to remember that daylighting is essential to wellness, in fact, human circadian rhythms are dependent on it.

Daylight Harvesting 

What is Daylighting? Daylighting is the art of placing apertures into buildings to control either direct or indirect sunlight that penetrates the space to provide interior lighting. People have been harvesting daylight for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians were using windows covered by reed mats in 1500BC. While the principle remains, the technology has developed: first by using shutters, then glass, and now, translucent panels, sun pipes, and smart glass.

FRP Sandwich Panels used for Sports Complex in Bussy Saint-Georges. Image © ArchDaily

In architecture, daylighting has always been one of the most important aspects of design, with buildings being planned around movements of the sun to capture the most lighting. This meant that houses in the Northern hemisphere had fewer windows facing North than facing South. The opposite was true in the Southern hemisphere. Then, with the advent of electrical lighting, daylighting became less important and purely aesthetic or utilitarian. But with artificial lighting people miss out on the proper wavelengths of light required to maintain proper circadian rhythms and bodily functions. Concerns about the carbon footprint of buildings have also made it important to reduce electricity used by artificial lighting and minimize HVAC usage related to solar heat gain and thermal performance. Now, architects and designers are placing more and more emphasis back on daylighting and the benefits it provides.

In science, computers can now run daylight modeling exercises as well as generate lux levels, daylight autonomy reports, levels of radiance illuminance, and glare pattern analyses. This technology can find that ‘sweet spot’ between lighting, visual comfort, climate, warmth, and health benefits.

In art, diffuse daylighting is managed to maximize visual comfort and acuity to improve productivity and human performance. It can be used to highlight architectural features and to bring accents to different spaces. By allowing full-spectrum color rendering, daylighting can provide an ideal space for showcasing artwork.

Transparency vs. Translucency

In order for a design to be successful, it is vital to control the amount of light entering a building through windows. Whether it be preventing excessive solar gain or mitigating glare and hotspots, sunlight has always been constrained using sunshades, brise-soleil, curtains, blinds, louvers, or shutters. Transparent mediums have no built-in filter, which is why translucent solutions that diffuse daylighting are popular. Diffused solutions protect against issues such as light pollution, unlike transparent ones, while still allowing for adequate natural lighting. The broad diffusion of light over a large area also means that more usable light penetrates deeper into the interior space, allowing excellent visual clarity. Furthermore, it has been shown that diffused daylight offers other benefits over transparent options. This goes from the calming and attractive ambiance to enhanced concentration and better responsivity compared to traditional glazing.

Translucent Sandwich Panels

There are three traditional methods for allowing daylight into buildings: Glass, Polycarbonate, and Fiber-Reinforced Composite Panels. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. 

Glass is the oldest way of allowing natural light into a building. Since Roman times, it has been used to allow light into spaces while blocking out dust, dirt, and wind. Its transparency offers unparalleled visual freedom with inherent biophilic advantages of linking people to nature. However, glass also has several disadvantages. It is heavy, inflexible, and fragile, which causes installation challenges. It also provides relatively poor thermal properties and needs a secondary solution to control solar gain and glare.

Polycarbonate sheeting offers a stronger, more durable, and lighter alternative to glass and helps block harmful UV rays, but it also has several disadvantages. It can be easily scratched and become discolored and brittle over time. In addition to poor impact resistance and structural load capacity, it has very low levels of thermal efficiency and is sensitive to heat.

FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Composite Panels)panels offer distinct advantages over both glass and polycarbonate in terms of thermal insulation (which can be the same as an insulated cavity wall). In addition, translucent sandwich panels offer the highest protection and resistance to wind-borne debris, impact, fire, abrasion, and point loads. Although these panels may sometimes be more expensive than other options, with FRP’s high-performance benefits including low maintenance, energy savings, and durability, the initial cost is offset by a greater life-cycle value. Lastly, while the translucency will not provide a view to the outside, it is perfect if you want line-of-sight protection.

Sometimes, incorporating more than one product offers the best solution. For example, you can achieve the performance benefits of an FRP panel, while incorporating vision glazing for a connection with nature.

Why Sandwich Panels? 

The unique composition of Kalwall FRP Sandwich Panels offers superior benefits compared to alternative options in every aspect; from safety and security to weatherability and energy efficiency.

  • The aluminum, or thermally-broken grid core with interlocking I-beams, gives sandwich panels incredible strength in a light-weight system, making them substantially lighter when compared to the glass equivalent.
  • Sandwich panels are structurally sound, with an outstanding load capacity that makes them man-safe.
  • The strength of the panels themselves facilitates larger spans with fewer supporting substrates. It is possible to obtain spans up to 80 feet (25 meters) – unheard of with polycarbonate or glazing.
  • An important aspect of using FRP is it’s innate shatter/impact-proof nature, making it suitable for use in areas of high security or those at risk from blasts. It is increasingly used in airport design and in areas deemed as high-risk, high-value, or target-rich. These include man-made risks such as terrorism or explosion venting to extreme weather events such as hurricanes. 
  • When filled with insulation or an aerogel, sandwich panels offer unparalleled thermal performance. The most insulating sandwich panel can achieve a ‘U’ value of .05 (0.28W/m²K), the equivalent of a cavity-filled solid wall.
  • In addition to superior thermal performance, a translucent sandwich panel offers the energy efficiency of optimal daylighting design. Utilizing diffusion, the sandwich panel can transmit up to 20% visible light that is scattered deeper into spaces without glare or hotspots, reducing the need for artificial lighting and controlling solar heat gain.

FRP sandwich panels are increasingly being specified as the material of choice as the demand for sustainable, high-performance products increases. The self-supporting nature of sandwich panels, coupled with their lightweightedness, reduces the need for supporting structures. Not only is this aesthetically more pleasing, but it curtails a project’s carbon footprint (as well as saves time and money). The exterior face of the sandwich panel is color stable and includes a permanent glass erosion barrier with a UV-resistant, self-cleaning surface. This means that normal rainfall helps to keep the surface free of dust and dirt while at the same time retaining its original color during the weathering process. Furthermore, the inclusion of an erosion-prevention barrier protects the interior from weather exposure and the risk of fiber-bloom, cracking, and crazing.

Maximizing daylight is an integral part of sustainable design. Translucent panels have the ability to diffuse large amounts of usable light with a relatively low level of light transmission. Less radiant energy is transmitted and this, coupled with diffusion, mitigates hot spots that are common to other light-transmitting sources. It also throws evenly-distributed light further into an interior space, reducing the need for artificial lighting and the loads on mechanical systems.

Translucent Sandwich Panels: Producing Healthy Buildings with an Abundance of Natural Light , Elgin Artspace Lofts / BKV Group. Image © Kate Joyce

FRP Sandwich Panels used for Sports Complex in Bussy Saint-Georges. Image © ArchDaily


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