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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A healthy environment that is also visually appealing in our homes has become increasingly sought when it comes to designing houses and residential spaces, especially during the world’s current context. One of the most successful ways of achieving this is through a thoughtful design of the landscape that complements the built project. The art of landscaping is the arrangement of nature’s raw material elements, like vegetation and planting, combined with nonliving elements, such as exterior structures, paving, and decking, in order to create site-specific solutions that enhance the exterior spaces of a project.
The discipline requires knowledge and very specific techniques that many times go beyond the architectural fields per se, and it is why landscape architecture and design has appeared as an expertise branch of design. This has made it very common for architects to resort to collaborative work with landscape offices when working on residential projects.
Particularly in residential landscape architecture, we have found two main ways of resolving gardens, depending on the setting and context on which the project sits. In houses that are already set in natural and green environments, the main objective of landscaping is to tame this exterior greenery as it approaches the house. On the other hand, when the project is located in more dense residential areas, the challenge is to integrate greenery into the house as much as possible through terraces, exterior flooring, and interior courtyards.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Collective Design. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has approved a comprehensive plan to transform Champs-Élysées, the city’s most famous avenue. Though the €250m makeover will not happen before the French capital hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics, the proposal aims to turn a 1.2 mile stretch of central Paris into an expansive garden. The proposal includes reducing space for vehicles, turning roads into pedestrian green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality.
Plans for the latest iteration of Champs-Élysées were unveiled in 2019 by local community leaders and businesses, while a major redesign has been proposed since 2018. The redesign aims to address the avenue’s “loss of splendor” over the last 30 years. Architect Philippe Chiambaretta of PCA-Stream created the latest plans for the development proposal. Chiambaretta said the Champs-Élysées has become a place reflecting the problems faced by cities around the world, namely pollution, the rise in transportation by car, tourism and consumerism.
The Champs-Élysées’ name is French for the mythical Greek paradise, the Elysian Fields. As The Guardian notes, it was originally a mixture of swamp and small gardens. It was renamed the Champs-Élysées in 1709 and extended. However, today it is famous for “its expensive cafes, luxury shops, high-end car salesrooms, commercial rents among the highest in the world and the annual Bastille Day military parade.” The new plans include redesigning the famous Place de la Concorde at the south-east end of the avenue.
The transformation of the Champs-Élysées aims to be complete by 2030.
Flush-fit, clean lines, pure linear continuity. The choice of a Filomuro door may be dictated by various furnishing needs: keeping the minimal aesthetics of a space unaltered; making passageways to secondary rooms, like pantries or storage closets, less visible; allowing special decorative motifs on large surfaces to continue on door element to complete the interior decor.
Compact and solid ,both in appearance and substance, LINE is a versatile partition wall with vertical modules that fit well in any type of setting and can be easily integrated in all the other systems proposed by Ge Giussani. Extremely flexible system, both in terms of size and materials. Modules completely solid, mixed modules with solid and glass panes in various sizes. LINE meets the various needs of users as regards as organization and functional changes in the working environments. It is characterized by an inner metal structure and a double paneling with vertical modularity .Essential elements of the system: modules with internal bearing structure ,with vertical uprights and horizontal stringers on which the double chipboard panels 18 mm thick , the aluminum profiles and the double glazing are fixed, one on each side.
Chapman Taylor has unveiled a masterplan for an 80-hectare World Horticultural EXPO in Łódź, Poland’s third-largest city. Also known as Green EXPO, the international exhibition devoted to the use of greenery and landscaping in urban environments will be located in the heart of the city center, in proximity to the main railway station, and surrounded by the urban fabric.
Developed on a site that includes two existing parks, the project is also adjacent to the city’s Medical University. Part of the city’s longer-term development strategy, the masterplan will introduce substantially more green space within the city’s urban fabric. It will act as an engine of urban regeneration, creating pocket gardens, living streets, and a network of over 120km of green trails.
Focusing on regenerating, restoring, recycling, repurposing, and reusing, Chapman Taylor’s masterplan concept is arranged around four themed zones: Nature of Leisure, Nature of Living, Nature of Health, and Nature of Business. Moreover, an overall “Nature of Us” theme “combines elements of all the others to reflect a modern city that provides employment, facilitates rest and recharging in green surroundings, showcases cultural diversity, and provides daily close contact with the environment, delivering significant physical and mental health benefits”.
Nature of Leisure: May the 3rd Park represents forest and lake environments, offering family recreation as well as sport and fitness options for people of all ages within the park’s restored and enhanced spaces, designed with respect for its history.
Nature of Living: Baden Powell Park will host the main EXPO program, including the Polish Pavilion, the City of Łódź Pavilion surrounded by Gardens of Four Cultures, the international participants’ National Gardens, an amphitheater, a viewing tower, and exhibition halls.
Nature of Health: the Zieleniec area includes environmentally friendly design solutions combined with EcoUMed Health Academy’s Horti-therapy program, Gardens of Healthy Food, Clean Air and Water, Gardens of Senses, and the Circular Village.
Nature of Business: the Zatorze area will host conferences, seminars, scientific meetings, and business networking, with a focus on the exchange of ideas for improving quality of life.
Created in consultation with the city and more than 50 other organizations, the project was originally scheduled for 2024, but the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the Łódź event being rearranged for 2029. Anticipating 4.5 million visitors from 43 countries, the project will be open for six months for the Expo. After its completion, some facilities will remain, while others will be converted to new uses such as permanent exposition spaces as well as business and administration, cultural, educational, healthcare, sport and leisure, recreational and gastronomic facilities – all within a mostly retained and carefully maintained, landscaped green environment. In addition, some pavilions, structures, and installations will be moved to other locations within the city, mainly its public green areas, parks, and squares.
The K EVO partition wall is a single glass system with single hollow profiles with variable adjustments, able to absorb dimensional wall tolerance. K EVO glass walls are stratified and can be transparent, etched, serigraphed or decorated with adhesive film. Stratified glass guarantees a better sound isolation. All spaces visually connect each other through the glasses that define the surrounding spaces. The K evo partition wall is a single glazed system with single hollow profiles and variable adjustment to absorb the dimensional wall tolerance.
Rainscreen wall panels, rear-ventilated facades, metal wall, architectural panels
Can be combined with other panel types, concealed fasteners, ten profiles, cladding
Presentation / packaging
Length: 5′ (1.52m) to 30′ (9.14m) Standard | Depth: 1-1⁄2” (38mm) | Cover width: 12” (305mm)
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Morin Corporation is specialized in roll forming of Architectural heavier gauge single skin metal wall and metal roof systems. They manufacture over 100 profiles of architectural panels for any size of project. Alongside panels, Morin Corporation offers a complete suite of metal cladding finishes which include perforations, corners, coordinated louvers and fasteners, and custom extrusions.
The Morin Metal Wall architectural panel selection consists of three series which use the same joining techniques and can be used in a mix and match fashion. The Matrix Series® is a, concealed fastener rain screen, metalwall panel system with ten profiles.
Galvalume/Zincalume Painted Steel
20 GA (.91mm) 22 GA
.050 GA(1.27mm) and .040 Ga (1mm)
22 G (.76mm) / 24 GA (.60mm)
20 GA (1mm) / 22 GA (.91mm)
20 oz. / 16 oz.
Morin Corporation can provide on-site installation guidance and technical staff to help with drawings, design, cost-saving ideas and technical knowledge.