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Polycarbonate facade construction

LPGarchitect

Hi guys, 

I am designing a commercial building as part of a side project, purely conceptual. I wish to design a seamless smooth looking polycarbonate facade, and wondered how could this be achieved on a large scale Eg. 40 meters in width. Ideally I don’t want any visible joining between polycarbonate sheets that are only a couple of meters in length, yet I have seen buildings on Dezeen & Archdaily that have accomplished this. I’ve looked everywhere for construction details but in vain unfortunately. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, whether it’s a link to a building with relevant construction details or some more insight into polycarbonate connections & how this can be potentially subtle on the eye. It’s a fascinating material and I’d love to incorporate it in future designs. 

 
Aug 7, 19 12:57 pm

2 Featured Comments

All 11 Comments

Koww

conceptually, anything is possible. you'd likely have to transport the 40m wide panels by a drone swarm

Aug 7, 19 7:59 pm  · 
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LPGarchitect

This suggestion, I love. Hopefully one day eh.

Aug 9, 19 4:50 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

It's conceptual and you're worried about imaginary joints? 


There, that's your answer. 

Aug 7, 19 9:39 pm  · 
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Featured Comment

Building out of plastic? FAIL.

Aug 7, 19 11:01 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

I approve of this feature comment.

Aug 8, 19 9:10 am  · 
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t a z

Look at Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park (Jean Nouvel).  Large format clear panels and full height operable doors.

(Except I think the actual material might be acrylic, not polycarbonate)

Aug 8, 19 8:48 am  · 
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t a z

https://www.frontinc.com/project/janes-carousel/

Aug 8, 19 11:55 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

OP, how do you plan to deal with expansion joints, service openings, fenestrations, etc in those 40m long panels?



Aug 8, 19 9:11 am  · 
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tduds

Conceptually.

Aug 8, 19 11:02 am  · 
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Wood Guy
Non Sequitur

so, is there some sort of farm-chique on the rise?

Aug 8, 19 10:15 am  · 
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Wood Guy

Perhaps? Modern architects have always been interested in agricultural buildings. I have a small farm and just find the FarmTek catalog to have interesting components at good prices.

Aug 8, 19 11:03 am  · 
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tduds

Metal buildings are the dream that Modern Architects had at the beginning of this century. It has finally come true, but they themselves don't realize it. That's because it doesn't take an Architect to build a metal building. You just order them out of a catalog - comes with a bunch of guys who put it together in a couple of days, maybe a week. And there you go - you're all set to go into business - just slap a sign out front.

Aug 8, 19 12:38 pm  · 
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LPGarchitect

Thanks for the suggestions and precedents guys I appreciate it, I will be looking into them. I’m a part 1 Architecture student and I have looked into a past project brief from a previous year and wish to prepare myself for anything of its likeness for my final year. 


The site is extremely overshadowed, and there is emphasis on environmental design, natural ventilation etc. I realise plastic might be counter intuitive however it’s a material I’d like to get more familiar with using and I’ve weighed up the pros and the cons, I’d just like to learn more about the construction of a large facade that could potentially look quite smooth and simple in essence.


Generally I’m only confident with rule of thumb design and Timber construction. I’m no technologist by any means, I’ll have a look at your suggestions, thanks again

Aug 9, 19 4:44 pm  · 
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Featured Comment

Herzog and deMeuron did a beautiful project called the Laban Dance center. If this is what you are after then it is not such a mystery how to do it. They built it in 2003 and it is apparently still as good as new. There are some design issues with the building as a whole, but those are not related to the building finish, just construction and planning issues...

We are working on a polycarbonate wall finish now using a similar system. semi-translucent insulation (same as Kuma used in his very interesting lixil project in northern Japan) so we can have light come through the walls and not worry overly much about being in snow country. Not sure if we will keep this but it is also an easy option.

Anyway, the answer is that polycarbonate comes in small pieces that join together to create large apparently continuous facades, similar to the way brick looks like a single wall but made out of many parts.

The polycarbonate is insulating and comes in different kinds of multi-celled panels. We worked out the details using the product catalogs and modified them for Japanese construction industry. It was not the hardest part of the project as the system is very well organized and well engineered. There are quit a few companies to choose from.

You should be able to find lots of details online with a google search of the manufacturers. That is how we did it, followed up with some correspondence with the companies. It was probably easier than reading the exchange above ;-)

Miles' comment about the fail of using plastic might turn out to be true, but it is too soon to judge to be honest. So far it is not looking like a bad material, on the face of it.


Aug 9, 19 10:44 pm  · 
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Cosmos

I know it’s been a while since this was originally posted, but check this project out;

Literary Park and Multi-Purpose Sports Center

Location: Pieve Di Soligo,  Treviso, Italy

Architect: Cecchetto & Associati 

Sep 29, 19 11:21 am  · 
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sameolddoctor
Why won’t you do more fun stuff conceptually, rather than worry about polycarbonate joints?
Sep 29, 19 1:28 pm  · 
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sameolddoctor
Why won’t you do more fun stuff conceptually, rather than worry about polycarbonate joints?
Sep 29, 19 1:30 pm  · 
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