On the Subject of Ceramics on Façades
On the subject of ceramics on façades, what comes to my mind first is Renzo Piano’s IRCAM building in Paris. I used to visit Paris for a while very often. Actually, I was very surprised when I saw this building. Of course, façades of many buildings have been covered with materials like ceramics through centuries. This is nothing out of the ordinary, but I was very pleased when I saw the functioning of this through Piano’s tectonic language. The reason was very simple, as a modernist architect, it was something that would always give me a hard time to bond and process a material on the façade using a sort of “glue” but here, a new technique was employed by a method reduced to the essence of the material which was quite a new approach at the time. The method we call “Rain-Screen” allows rain water to go behind the front wall. Therefore, the gaps between ceramic and steel load bearer on the front wall are left void. The obtained result is a very elegant appearance and indeed, the façade allows us to decipher how it has been built. But the greatest advance of this approach was that a red colored material we call terracotta could be used on the exterior in such fine detail. Use of a moderate material with steel which has harder and sharper lines is very attractive for me.