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International creations in VM ZINC®

September 2007

Published in Czeh Danish Dutch English French German Hungarian Italian Polish Portuguese Spanish

It seems only yesterday that a handful of colleagues sat down together to develop new ideas for communicating with architects. The result was FOCUS ON ZINC, and what began as a genuine experiment has become one of our most successful communication projects. Our initial precept was that the magazine should let our material speak for itself, accompanied by information chosen by architects, rather than by us in our role as industrial producer. By staying true to these principles we have gained an audience of which we are truly proud. The only real change that we have made over the years has been in improving our graphic design to give over even more space to photography, and this tenth issue presents you with a new concept for the cover. FOCUS ON ZINC is also more than the numbered issues of which this is now the tenth. Four years ago we launched the idea of opening the pages of our special issues to the architects themselves, handing over the editorial choice to professionals. This took the form of our ARCHIZINC competition, in which an independent jury selects prize winners from

a panel of projects submitted over a given period. The next issue of FOCUS ON ZINC will again be dedicated to our third ARCHIZINC competition and we have high hopes that the quality of the projects submitted will once again make this a truly exceptional issue. The registration form inserted in this issue provides you with the opportunity to compete in this next ARCHIZINC competition. Meanwhile, this tenth “standard” issue represents an impressive selection of recent projects around the world. Twelve different countries on three continents are represented, and the diversity of buildings, functions and applications pays tribute to the flexibility of our products. We hope you will continue to enjoy reading FOCUS ON ZINC just as much as we enjoy preparing it for you.

The editorial committee (from left to right)

Isabelle Ferrero Laura Terricabras Christopher Smith Marie-Pierre Lavergne Barbara Nordberg Uwe Nagel Céline Habert Daniel Juillard Emmanuel Henris

CONTENTS [ Spain ] Research Centre 4 5

26 27

[ Belgium ] Social housing [ Spain ] Day nursery

32 33

22 23

[ Germany ] School [ Italy ] Church

28 29

18 19

[ Switzerland ] Factory [ France ] Plant

24 25

14 15

[ Netherlands ] Concert and exhibition centre [ China ] Head Office

20 21

10 11

[ Germany ] Residential and office building [ Spain ] Private House

16 17

6 7

[ Brazil ] Cultural Centre [ Australia ] Collective Housing

12 13

2 3

[ France ] University [ Luxemburg ] Private House

8 9


[ Denmark ] Psychiatric Hospital

30 31


Commercial Buildings Research Centre Parc de recerca biomèdica de Barcelona, Barcelona Architect(s): Manel Brullet Tenas and Albert De Pineda Álvarez Contractor: Cubiertas Muñoz Technique(s): Standing seam Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 3,450 sq. m (34,000 sq. ft) 2

With a site on the Barcelona seafront close to a number of high-rise buildings (Olympic village, general hospital, blocks of flats, etc.), the designers of the biomedical research centre decided against competing with the neighbours by building even higher and instead sought a volumetric approach to blend their project harmoniously into its environment. This thinking inspired the surprising creation of an elliptical truncated cone with a partially hollow centre, answering both the main requirement of the programme and dealing with other constraints, such as the irregular geometry of the site and the need to install solar panels for the production of domestic hot water. In this highly innovative architecture, QUARTZ-ZINC® panels, assembled using the standing seam technique, clad the spandrels at the top level of the inner facades. The material finds its most traditional use on the roof, where it enables the thickness of the roof to be reduced to a minimum, integrating the solar panels without any visual interruption in the lines of the roof. Around the circumference of the building, a natural wood screen wall reduces the radiance of the sun on the picture windows, thus contributing to improving the energy performance of the building.



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: Manel Brullet Tenas and Albert De Pineda Ă lvarez, Spain.


Public Buildings University Physics building of the Université PARIS VII, Paris Architect(s): Atelier Chaix & Morel et Associés Project Manager: Itamar Krauss Technique(s): Interlocking panel Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 6,000 sq. m (60,000 sq. ft)


Since the construction of the François-Mitterrand library, the development of the Masséna business district in Paris has spread in concentric waves towards the Austerlitz railway station to the west and the Pont National to the east. At the edge of the site, plot M3C is the site of the Université Paris VII Denis-Diderot physics teaching and research building. The architects, Philippe Chaix and Jean-Paul Morel (who designed the Zénith) based their design on the “open island” planning concept specified by Christian de Portzamparc for the sector as a whole. The vertical volumes of the three main bodies of the building are set around two patios, emerging from the monolithic base at ground level, parallel to the lines of the streets. As these “towers or turrets” rise above their pedestal, they divide into a multitude of planes defining “a magical object whose facets change its appearance according to the visual angle” write the architects. To pursue this principle to its limits and to highlight the sophistication of the volumetric approach, the architects opted for a differentiated treatment of the facades, playing on the affinities in appearance and colours between terracotta and pre-weathered zinc. The unity of the building is emphasised by modules with the same dimensions which clad the facades on the street-front, while QUARTZ-ZINC® interlocking panels cover the facades which are set back from the street. As the hours go by and the light changes, the island declines its many changing faces.



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: Atelier d’architecture Chaix & Morel et AssociÊs, France.


Individual Housing Private House Contemporary house, Esch-sur-Alzette Architect(s): Ballini, Pitt and Partners Contractor: Rollinger Walfer Technique(s): Horizontal interlocking panel Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 200 sq. m (2,000 sq. ft)


In traditional construction, blind walls facing north to break the cold bite of the wind were often left without cladding. This rough finish is not fashionable in contemporary architecture, even when durability and energy performance are prime functional requirements. Built of wood and made to last while providing the best energy balance, this architectural house on the outskirts of Esch-sur-Alzette, in Luxembourg, was designed according to the age-old principle: open to the south and closed to the north. At noon, the living areas, terraces and balconies are exposed to the view, light and heat. On the northfacing street side, it pits against the weather a protective front almost entirely made up of QUARTZ-ZINC® with contrasting wood panels. The architect found that these natural and durable materials presented “an ideal solution in the search for a sober appearance”. The pliability and versatility of zinc made it particularly suited to the installation of the long narrow windows and the garage openings without compromising the intended minimalism.



Photos: What if..., Belgium. Drawings: VM ZINC速 Design Assistance Office, France.


Public building Cultural Centre Centro cultural Telemar, Rio de Janeiro Architect(s): André Lompreta, Gustavo Martins, Marco Milazzo, Thorsten Nolte, Ana Paula Polizzo Contractor: N. Didini Engenharia e Construção Technique(s): Flat lock panel Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 800 sq. m (8,000 sq. ft) 8

The transformation and extension of this early 20th Century building in Rio de Janeiro, which now houses the cultural centre for Telemar, the main telecommunications operator in Brazil, was the result of an architectural contest the subject of which was self-evident: communication. To meet this challenge, the winning architect created a dialogue between past and present in the form of two very distinct architectures. Facing the street, the brick facade of the original building evokes a past when architects strove for the balance and regularity of classical architecture. Set behind the original building and linked to it by a glass “connector”, the 700 sq. m extension, freed from these constraints, proclaims, on the monolithic surface of its facades, its new identity as telephone museum, exhibition space and internet café. Clad in QUARTZ-ZINC® flat lock panel, these continuous facades devoid of openings, support an interlace, the perfect image of a communication network embodying “the immaterial nature of space which,” says the architect, “is the home of communication”.

Photos: André Lompreta, Gustavo Martins, Marco Milazzo, Thorsten Nolte, Ana Paula Polizzo, Brazil. Drawings: André Lompreta, Gustavo Martins, Marco Milazzo, Thorsten Nolte, Ana Paula Polizzo, Brazil.




Collective Housing Collective Housing Villiers Street Apartments, Melbourne Architect(s): Nicholas Murray Architects Contractor: Academy Roofing Technique(s): Standing seam, Flat lock panel and Interlocking panel Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC®, QUARTZ-ZINC® PLUS, ANTHRA-ZINC® PLUS

In this project, which combines housing and offices at the foot of a hill in the north of Melbourne, the architect, Nicholas Murray, played the card of repetition for the mixed use building to the extent that, “the houses are stacked vertically like books in a bookcase”. By choosing zinc for cladding, the designer found resources of expressivity to break the monotony of “cut and paste”. QUARTZ-ZINC® and ANTHRA-ZINC® in standing seam, flat lock panel, and interlocking panel, endow the entire project with cohesion and unity, thanks to the virtuosity of their lines which are softened by occasional coloured touches of cedar cladding.

Surface in zinc: 280 sq. m (2,800 sq. ft) 10

Photos: GAZI photography, Australia. Drawings: Nicholas Murray Architects, Australia.




Commercial Buildings Residential and office building Residential and office building, Hamburg Architect(s): LHD-Architekten, Hambourg Contractor: Company Enk, Brackel Technique(s): Interlocking panels Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 560 sq. m (5,600 sq. ft)


How do you avoid vanishing into the crowd? How do you avoid merging into the cityscape? For individuals as for buildings, whose size or other exceptional features do not make them stand out, the answer often lies in the choice of clothes. In Hamburg the 5-storey office building project designed by LHD Architects has opted for dark ANTHRA-ZINC® with interlocking panel cladding as its style statement. Situated at the end of a row of blocks of flats and beside an elevated suburban railway line, the building fulfils its role as a landmark by means of the cladding on its side wall – a choice further emphasised by the gathered openings into the righthand side of the façade. Between the monolithic block thus formed and the openings, a row of deep and narrow embrasures provides a rhythmic transition. The wooden frames of the windows add a touch of warmth. These details are the important touches which mark the success of a declared purpose. In a word, elegance.



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: LHD-Architekten, Germany.


Individual House Private House Casa U2, Munguia Architect(s): Erredeeme Rubén De Miguel, in collaboration with J. Ramiro Higuera and David Cantalejo Contractor: Cubremetal Technique(s): Interlocking panel Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 163 sq. m (1,630 sq. ft)


Its shapes, its composition and the character of its interior space leave no room for doubt: the U2 house, built on the outskirts of Munguia in the Spanish Basque country, is a stylistic composition. Rubén De Miguel, the architect, took the natural surroundings - geography, orientation, scenery as his starting point, so as to organise all the functional constraints - family, social and professional life - in a house design which he wanted to be “a flowing area with open spaces to link up and full blocks to unify”. Like a twinned crystal enclosed by glass panels, the house consists of three parts and is arranged on three levels, without in any way compromising its basic unity. Its walls are clad in interlocking panels in ANTHRA-ZINC® providing the various volumes with a harmony of rhythm, volume and the silky elegance of its aspect, while expressing the peculiar dialogue of interior and exterior, reflected by the identical treatment of the living-room chimney, from fireplace to chimney stack.



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: Erredeeme RubĂŠn De Miguel, J. Ramiro Higuera and David Cantalejo, Spain.


Public Buildings Concert and exhibition centre Muziekgebouw aan’t Ij, Amsterdam Architect(s): Arn Meijs (Pays-Bas) and 3XN (Danemark) Contractor: Limeparts (LMP) Technique(s): Cassettes manufactured and installed by LMP (Genk - Belgium) Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 2,200 sq. m (22,000 sq. ft)


After over a century’s reign of the Concertgebouw as high temple of the Romantic repertoire in Amsterdam, music has brought new life to an abandoned industrial zone. Like the Cité de la Musique de la Villette in Paris, the Muziekgebouw built in 2005 welcomes both concerts and exhibitions. This remarkable architectural creation makes the very most of its site on the banks of the Ij. Overhanging the water, the glass arch of the building is protected by a light canopy roof, but these classical lines are interrupted by the presence of the Bimhuis, an extension clad with ANTHRA-ZINC® cassettes, pinned to one of the façades as abruptly as one of John Cage’s “clusters”. It is not hard to guess that this is the space dedicated to “alternative” music, especially jazz, experimental music and improvisation, whose intonations have contributed to the revitalisation of the district. Built with limited funds, the Muziekgebouw aan’t Ij has already been awarded several prizes: in 2006, the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence (Europe category) and the Dedalo Minosse special prize; and in 2007, the Dutch prize for best building (public building category).



Photos: What if..., Belgium. Drawings: 3XN, Denmark.


Commercial Buildings Head Office TASLY Headquarters, Tianjin Architect(s): Mr. Liu Xin, Tianjing Institute of Architecture and Design Transformer: Bluescope Lysaght Contractor: Local companies Technique(s): Single lock seam standing seam (lower section) double lock seam standing seam (upper section) Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC® PLUS Surface in zinc: 3,000 sq. m (30,000 sq. ft) 18

Zinc is making a name for itself throughout the world as a key element of architectural creation. In Tianjin, on the shores of the Yellow Sea south-east of Beijing, the TASLY Group, which manufactures products based on traditional Chinese medicine, has built its head office around a zinc-clad dome. The symbolic shape was one reason for the choice of material, but there were also functional reasons: Tianjin’s proximity to the sea exposes it to a corrosive atmosphere and to severe sand storms blowing in from the Gobi Desert. This environment puts to the test the air-and-water-tightness of buildings and the surfaces of the materials used. The QUARTZ-ZINC® cladding of the dome is impervious to the abrasive effect of the sand since its patina reforms naturally. It is also completely air-and-water-tight thanks to the single-welt standing seam sheets, which are even double welted on the upper part of the dome. Superbly simple once finished, the cupola was very difficult to assemble because of its irregular geometry. Because its shape is ovoid rather than spherical, the VM ZINC® Design Assistance Office and the PRO-ZINC team contributed their expertise.



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: VM ZINC速 Design Assistance Office, France.


Commercial Buildings Factory Ricola Factory, Laufen Architect(s): Zwimpfer Partner, Basel Contractor: Gebr. Baur AG, Baar Technique(s): Double-lock standing seam Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC® PLUS Surface in zinc: 4,000 sq. m (40,000 sq. ft)


For almost 80 years Laufen, south of Basel in Switzerland, has been the home of a delicious industry: the manufacture of Ricola herbal sweets. In 2006, in order to meet the demands of increased production reaching 12,000 tonnes a year, the company opened a new factory, also built at Laufen so as to remain close to the 200 Swiss mountain farms cultivating the mint, elderberries, burnet etc., used in the manufacture of the sweets. Like the company’s other buildings, the architectural design of the work was the subject of deep reflection. The choice of material for the façades was finally decided in favour of an ANTHRA-ZINC® PLUS cladding, which met the demand for an industrial architecture of high quality. Colour durability was also one of the criteria of choice, as the façade has to be pressure-washed regularly to remove the deposits associated with the production of sugary smoke. The appearance of the material has been judged impressive. Indeed, its anthracite tone shows a strong affinity with the dark colour of the firm’s sweets…



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: VM ZINC速 Design Assistance Office, France.


Public Buildings Plant SIAAP water treatment plant (Syndicat interdépartemental pour l’assainissement de l’agglomération parisienne), Valenton Architect(s): AA’E (Architectes Associés pour l’Environnement), Avgui Calantidou, Jean-François Capeille, Pierre-Henri Montel Contractor: Lagrange Technique(s): Single lock seam standing seam Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 5,500 sq. m (55,000 sq. ft) 22

Clear colours, transparent facades, integration into the landscape – building after building, the growing concern about the environment is shaping the architectural style of environmental installations by choosing the same range of materials: glass, steel, zinc and concrete. The water treatment plant at Valenton (Val-de-Marne) is one of four SIAPP plants where the three million cubic metres of waste water from Paris and its suburbs are treated. Built as part of an extension programme, these five buildings house the different stages of an innovative sludge treatment process implemented here for only the second time in Europe. Before being sent to agricultural land for use as fertiliser or being transformed into combustible fuel, 200 tonnes per day of sewage sludge are successively dehydrated, dried, deodorised, packaged then stored in the silos at the plant railway terminal. The drying furnace at the centre of the operation occupies the main building, which is clad in distinctive QUARTZ-ZINC® with a matt finish which softens or emphasises the volumes according to variations in light. At night, the play of light continues with the interior lighting of the buildings casting reflections on the lac des Oiseaux towards the town and the Mediterranean TGV track which runs along the edge of the site as it leaves Paris.


Photos: AA’E & le SIAAP, France. Drawings: AA’E, France.



Public Buildings School Pauline-Thoma-Schule, Kolbermoor Architect(s): AV1 Architekten, Kaiserslautern Contractor: Güther GmbH Technique(s): Interlocking panel, locally perforated interlocking panel Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 1,750 sq. m (17,500 sq. ft)


Since he had plenty of space to build a school in a residential area of Kolbermoor, in southern Bavaria, the architect pictured a group of buildings which, seen as a whole, does not interrupt the continuity of the neighbourhood. The same logic is applied to the use of the buildings: each module is “the home of a class” which, depending on the time of day and the timetable, is either on the first floor for scholastic subjects or on the ground floor for other activities. The differentiation of functions, the stated aim to blend with the neighbourhood and a third criterion - durability – resulted in contrasting treatments of the levels and the choice of ANTHRA-ZINC® Interlocking panel cladding for the upper level. On completion of the construction, the question of cleaning and maintenance arises for schools as for all public buildings. Here the key word, regardless of the creative approach and initial ambitions, is usually cost-efficiency.



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: AV1 Architekten, Germany.


Public Buildings Church Chiesa Beata Vergine delle Grazie, Conegliano Veneto (TV) Architect(s): Studio Architetto Nerino Meneghello Contractor: EU-CO S.r.l. Technique(s): Flat lock panel Aspect(s): QUARTZ-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 1,000 sq. m (10,000 sq. ft)


At Conegliano, 50km north of Venice, the Church of the Holy Virgin is clad in the simplest possible garment – a cloak which emphasises the curved lines of the building. Beneath the radiant light of the sun which bathes the peninsula, gentle reflections glow on the weathered surface of the patina while, on the shady side, the seams of the flat lock panels are barely discernible. These almost invisible lines reflect the knowledge and craftsmanship of the roofer who installed the ventilated facade. The 430 x 1,200 mm QUARTZ-ZINC® panels are attached to an extruded aluminium framework. In order to ensure the precision of the curved sections, the profiles were roll-formed between cylinders. This operation is especially delicate as the folds for interlocking the panels must under no circumstances be crushed.



Photos: EU-CO S.r.l., Italy. Drawings: EU-CO S.r.l., Italy.


Collective Housing Social housing Social housing, Ougrée Architect(s): Nicolas Prebenna and Eric Gaillard Contractor: Bernard Genon Technique(s): Vertical standing seam, Horizontal Interlocking panel Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC®, QUARTZ-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 600 sq. m (6,000 sq. ft) roof, 250 sq. m (2,500 sq. ft) facade 28

It has been a long time since life in Ougrée, in the suburbs of Liège, has been ruled by the sound of sirens from metal production factories. Today, the deserted industrial zones are being taken over by a new urban fabric. In tune with tradition and in harmony with the environment, the 20 homes in this residential complex designed by Nicolas Prebenna and Eric Gaillard pay discreet homage to the architecture of the old mining villages through the use of brick and by its general appearance. “The guiding principles from beginning to end for this social housing project were quality and longevity,” the architect explains. Separated by covered entrance stairways clad in ANTHRA-ZINC®, which emphasise their autonomy, the housing units, also clad in ANTHRA-ZINC®, open onto the courtyard and the street “in order to optimise the access of heat and light”. On the street side, bow windows surrounded in QUARTZ-ZINC® interlocking panels mark the entrance to the complex and set off the brick gables while creating an elegant contrast with the dark lines of the standing seam.



Photos: What if..., Belgium.


Public Buildings Day nursery Guarderia Piedra Machucana, Ávila Architect(s): Arturo Blanco Herrero, Alegría Colón Mur Contractor: Collosa Technique(s): Interlocking panel Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 520 sq. m (5,200 sq. ft)


This day nursery is situated in the historic centre of Ávila, close to the Santo-Thomás convent, which “discreetly influenced its design, the repetitive volumes of which are a veiled reference to the Renaissance architecture of the monument”, according to the architect, Arturo Blanco Herrero. More significantly, and also less obviously, he concentrated on managing the lighting and the quality of light, so that all the spaces – activity rooms and playground – gained maximum benefit from their exposure to the sun which, in this southern city, is at its optimum for ten months of the year. The materials for the building were chosen to suit this project: perfectly opaque ANTHRA-ZINC® interlocking panels and glass in varying degrees of transparency, which create light wells, openings to the outside and light-reflecting surfaces. On the outside this minimalist approach helps emphasise the volume of the building without giving it a heavy appearance. Inside, the abundant light calls attention to the facilities which are designed to allow the children to find their bearings visually.



Photos: Paul Kozlowski, France. Drawings: Arturo Blanco Herrero and Alegr铆a Col贸n Mur, Spain.


Public Buildings Psychiatric Hospital Psychiatric Hospital, Aalborg Architect(s): Cubo Arkitekter A/S Transformer: AE Stålmontage A/S Contractor: Carl Christensen & Co. A/S Technique(s): Locally manufactured Cassettes Aspect(s): ANTHRA-ZINC® Surface in zinc: 2,000 sq. m (20,000 sq. ft) 32

“One of the most important roles of architecture is to be a dynamo for life and to create the best, most inspiring surroundings for human activities”, states the designer of this establishment. When it came to building a new psychiatric hospital for the city of Aalborg, in northern Denmark, this eminently functional vision gave rise to a building complex in a great variety of sizes and dimensions, built according to a rigorously planned structure and organisation and which the architect compares to a small town situated on a south-facing slope. Catching the daylight, “particularly lovely and good for everyone inside the building”, is clearly the most important role of the broad glass surfaces which characterise the building. On the outside too, these big reflective surfaces give it its architectural identity, combining with the lines of the metal trim and the ANTHRA-ZINC® cassettes to create a very striking facade, or opening up even wider breaches for the light on the brick facing.



Photos: Martin Tørsleff, Denmark.


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N° 10 - September 2007. FOCUS ON ZINC is the international architecture review from VM ZINC®. It is published in Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. Publication Director: Christopher SMITH. Project Manager: Isabelle FERRERO. Editorial committee: Tugay DINDAR, Isabelle FERRERO,

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Focus On Zinc N°10  

International creations in VMZINC®

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