Name : Torre de Especialidades, Hospital Manuel Gea Gonzales
Location : Mexico City
Architect : Elegant Embellishment (Allison Dring and Daniel Schwaag, Berlin)
Year of Completion : 2012
What is it ?
- titanium dioxyde (TiO2)
- ABS-polycarbonate plastic sheet
- sponges and coral pattern
- the quasycrytalline / the penrose (aperiodic patterns).
Facade tilling study
How is it made ?
Computing : 2D then Rhino
Modelling : stereolithographs then hand-casted in polyurethane.
"CNC’d styrofoam shapes, which are then used to cast the aluminum. they are taped so they don’t stick to the sand into which the aluminum is cast"
Negative of the mold made in aluminium
Positive of the mold with hydraulic pipes for heating and cooling the mold.
- ABS-polycarbonate plastic sheet, vacuum-formed over aluminum tools,
- cut and coated by a robotic sprayer with layers of TiO2 and primers that adhere to the plastic substrate.
The aluminum tools : “cast from a sand mold and then mill-finished by a five-axis CNC machine while being supported by a series of hydraulic copper tubes that heat or cool the surface to maximize performance.”
"With help from the New York office of Buro Happold, the two devised Mega Panels, a clustering system for the tiles to connect using CNC-milled plastic plates. For the 509 Mega Panels used on the hospital façade, Elegant Embellishments generated 500 distinct drawings. Each represents a unique configuration of tiles along with connection points and front and back elevations. "
(interview from Shonquis Moreno)
How is it installed ?
1) Position the modules along the steel structure with hanging straps
2) Fix the panels to the steel structure.
They needed to train workers to install the facade.
As the pattern is not periodical each piece is unique. Each unit needs a different fixing.
How it works ?
The coating breaks the nitrogen oxides (NOx) and the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into water and calcium nitrate (fertilizer).
What is the maintenance needed for the facade ?
- damp cloth
- in-situ TiO2 sprayed (as often as outdoor paint)
What is the outcome ?
Daily the facade eliminate the amount of NOx equivalent to 1'000 cars.
As a conclusion, Allison Dring says : “There were surprisingly few problems for such complexity.”
It is "part of the 20 billion dollars investment" into the Mexico city "Health infrastructures" says Nick Parker, CNN.
Mexico's smog eating buildings, by Nick Parker, CNN, Jul 22, 2013
- Fighting a Megacity’s Pollution with Mega Panels, Elegant Embellishments’ sculptural façade system does double duty as an air-cleaning cladding, by Shonquis Moreno, March 28, 2013, <http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/projects/fighting-a-megacitys-pollution-with-mega-panels_o>
- CCTV reportage <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hteHN3mjGUE>