Until now, SANAA's big projects usually dealt with cultural or educational facilities. However, within this project, they have faced a new challenge, designing what it should be a sticking and quite large warehouse for Vitra production facilities.
The most interesting and challenging part of the project and the one that I am going to be presenting in here is the Façade: a double glazed rigid curtain.
In order to build this continuous surface, they used wavy acrylic glass elements wavy of approx. 1.8 meters wide by 11 high. This wavy surface consists on a colorless transparent outer layer and an opaque white inner layer.
The individual panels were melted down flat so after they could be heated at 60º in order to give them the structural curved shape they designed by means of a vacuum process.
The main concern of the architects was also avoiding the feeling of a smooth, repetitive and continuous image of the surface; therefore, they design three different types of elements with a different succession of waves that could be rotated 180 degrees. Having this in mind they finally achieve having six different types of panels to work with.
From a certain distance, the façade seems a plain and smooth surface due to the whiteness and brightness of the material. However, as the viewer gets closer, the façade gains in vitality and depth.
Another important characteristic of the façade is that from the outside you can only appreciate partly the building so it gives a sensation of being smaller and lighter.
The building is an enigmatic piece, which does not reveal anything about its function. It is also interesting that from the exterior is almost impossible to perceive that the plan of the building is a perfect circle. This characteristic is linked to the idea of the architect of avoiding the feeling of the perfect circle because being too rigid.