In villa Nurbs, located in Empuriabrava, the words project and process merge and complement each other. At the same time, it is a research project. Construction does not follow the sequence of conceptual design, basic design, detailed design and construction. Design and construction often go in parallel. On the one hand, this allows us to design in real scale, 1:1, see things get built, check the quality of materials and make decisions that respond to certain qualities which, following a traditional process, wouldn’t be percieved, or wouldn’t be percieved on time. On the other hand it allows us to use new materials and techniques that are being developed as the work progresses. That’s why materials that are not yet in the market are used in this project.
The construction is carried out through CAD-CAM: Cloud 9 computer-aided design is directly connected to the computer-aided manufacturing, applied by the different collaborators of the project. This process not only allows us to build things that were impossible before, but also is a new way to manage and communicate with the suppliers and engineers involved. There is only one 3D model of the project. From this model we get all the information necessary for each individual discipline. It is a way of direct communication. There isn’t a general builder in between. No information or precision is lost on the way: The laser-cut piece is a translation of the drawing into reality. However this production process is not standardized, and not all disciplines are connected to digital media. That is why, with each industrialist, artist or engineer collaborating, a new way to communicate has to be invented. Although the ceramic element can be understood as a unit, its study as an integral part in a whole has had to consider its repetition throughout the surface of the facade. Only in this way it has been possible to perceive its behavior. The main points considered for this study have been sun, wind and rain protection as well as the cooling of the facade. The result allows this skin to work as a set of leaves that protect the building from sun radiation, rain (channeling it from piece to piece by gravity) and the strong Tramontana wind coming from the mountains (but opening at the same time to the sea breeze).
After the shape study on a 3D virtual model, the base mould is created, also on a virtual basis. Then this mould is sent to Indústries de la Fusta Vilà. This company has hardware and software suitable for CAD-CAM processes. These processes consist of a relationship between computer-aided design (CAD) software and machine software that enables the physical production of the virtual model (Computer Aided Manufacturing: CAM). Then, through the reading of the virtual model, a digital milling machine acts on a solid block of expanded polystyrene, transforming it, by subtracting, roughing down and copying sections into this physical base mould for the piece. The same CAD-CAM processes are used to produce an aluminum spread of the ceramic piece. Once defined, in Ceràmica Cumella this aluminum pattern is used to cut the clay sheet, placed later on the polystyrene mould. The clay is deformed by its own weight, taking the shape of the mould. The painter Frederic Amat acts then on this deformed piece, continuing the idea of ’accident’, present in the whole project of Villa Nurbs. Amat works with layers of black and transparent enamels, giving life to the ceramic material. A cable system has been developed to hold the 406 pieces that will define the façade. In collaboration with BOMA (structural designers), we came up with the properties this system has to implement so that the whole set works. A system of ceramic pieces that, hanging from a cable structure, create a ceramic skin.
Gallego León family
Enric Ruiz-Geli, CLOUD9
Felix Fassbinder, Jordi Fernández Río, Víctor Llanos, Miguel Carreiro, Emmanuel Ruffo, Rosa Duque, André Macedo, Ura Carvalho, Hye Young Yu, Marta Yebra, Mae Durant, Angelina Pinto, Randall Holl, William Arbizu, Max Zinnecker, Laia Jutgla, Manel Soler, Megan Kelly-Sweeney, Alessa
BOMAINPASA (structural engineers); Aiterm, PGI, Reindesa, Aislatel, Inoxcolor (facilities); Led’s Go, BAF (lighting); Jerónimo Hagerman (landscape); Calderería Delgado (metal frames); Industrias BEC (tensile structure); Diorama (wood); Ramón Presta (hydraulic mechanics); Carsa (piling); Estudi Ramon Folch (environmental consultant); Emiliana Desigestudio, Artificio y Sheer (design); IFV (corian); Covertex (EFTE); Cricursa y Vicky Colombet (glass); Daniel Benito Pò, Xavier Badia, Agustí Mallol, G3 (architectural technicians).
Obres y Construccions Joan Fustè
Tile of Spain Awards Architecture 2008: Honorable Mention.