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The Ceramic Façade employs an archaic language of arches and rhythms to suggest entrances, windows and spaces.

Designed for a ceramic tiles manufacturer in Lebanon, the façade was inspired by historical arches and entrances found in archaeological/architectural sites.

Having to deal with one main entrance and large windows, as well as a technical approach that would allow for in-house manufacturing, the proposal suggests differently sized portals and transforms the façade giving it a rather unique identity.

Being located in a row of similar commercial galleries, the rhythm of arches and portals becomes a landmark that surpasses its context and delivers a mesmerizing an artistic approach to the commercial purpose of the space.

The ceramic façade has been the first step in transforming the given space and a more bespoke approach will be considered for organising the interior and ceramic products

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project title : Ceramic Facade
architect : Traian Tuta
year : 2018
location : Bucharest, Romania
task : research and design
status : proposal
design and technical drawings : Traian Tuta

digital model and render : Alexandru Mihai Popescu of PMAA

The proposal replaces an existing prefabricated façade corresponding to a commercial space on a commercial type street in Lybia. The space will be housing a ceramic tile manufacturer exhibition of size, color and texture. One of the main tasks was to adapt the existing façade volume to be inhabited by a new support structure that would hold the new ceramic façade. After several design iterations, the structural scaffold would accommodate different sized flat ceramic tiles that have their precedents in local vernacular household design hierarchies.

Totem Group’s showroom facade has been envisioned to employ the very materials that are to be found in the exhibition and on sale. The facade becomes a vibrant alluring reason that acts as a good example of both the selling offer as well as the architectural design. Thought of as a permeable facade that allows visual introspection of the showroom, the architectural solution also becomes the local landmark.

Looking at vernacular examples and precedents of Lybian architecture, we managed to isolate architectural elements that proved to be valuable to the final design proposal. Arches, windows frames, a vertical architectural language and the rhythm found in the repetition of arches, ultimately gave us the tools to design a contemporary proposal which is anchored in traditional Lybian design.

Corridor of arches - Arches were used to consolidate and also connect structures. This gesture created corridors covered by arches that allowed pedestrians to move beneath freely. This movement was carried out perpendicular to the arch.

Frame within the arch - Similar to the showrooms’ facade, traditional dwellings reveal frames of access - either movement related or visual thresholds.

Vertical visual awareness - The columns in ancient Lybian temples or other forms of social gathering (theatre, squares) proved to be valuable as our vision for the showrooms’ façade dealt with its’ vertical dimension to stress access points.

Rhythm in the arch - By observing the rhythm in the arches,  the façade became articulated differently according to entrance/exit points, windows and even the human scale.

The current facade is visually marked by two separate entrance points. Our proposal plays on the local arrangement and size of the commercial facades and emphasizes the importance of a hierarchy between access points. By looking at the scale of the neighbouring constructions, and the overall commercial scale, a decision was made to highlight the right side access point as an entrance scenario. More attention would thus be drawn to that point in the longline of the facades’ presence.

The second access doorway would be treated only as an ‘exit ’ moment in the facade overall design, by giving it a a more discrete visual role and impact. The design proposal then links the two doorways to create an overall visual link across the whole facade.

The showrooms’ facade is currently divided into two visual areas. Large windows at street level, and an opaque surface above. The whole opaque facade is covered with bond tiles. Our proposal plays on that division and proposes a more subtle visual separation by employing the traditional architectural elements. The design proposal also includes the mashrabyia as an enticing detailed architectural element.

A mashrabiya is a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework located on the second story of a building or higher, often lined with stained glass. The design proposal includes this architectural element to reference the projects’ context as well as to highlight its’ local presence turning the showroom into a landmark. This design element turns the facade into a completely permeable membrane.

The upper details of the facade have been divided into 3 different registries that were suggested by the opaque area of the facade, by its proportion. The 3 different size opaque screens remind of the detailing found on the upper area of exterior walls. The different rhythms ultimately introduce the window frames below as well as showing the material potential of the products in the showroom. The vertical blades create a protective membrane that also allows visual introspection of the mashrabyia and the interior showroom.