When Skandinaviska Glassystem (SG), was asked to produce the facade for a six storey office block in Copenhagen that would present two entirely different aspects depending on the viewpoint, it partnered with DIAB, to develop an innovative, modular system using sandwich composites (based on Divinycell P structural core). Viewed from one side, the building would appear to have a glass wall facade and when viewed from the opposite side, the facade would appear to be completely finished in marble.
Achieving such an effect for all four sides of the building (a total area of 4,000m2) involves the use of a complex geometric arrangement. The traditional approach would have been to create steel latticework on to which the travertine (a type of marble) stone cladding and glazing units would be attached. However, in this case this was not feasible in terms of building loads, cost and installation time. A solution was required that would be significantly lighter than the steel latticework, would allow rapid installation, meet fire regulations and would preserve the architectural design.
Divinycell P structural core was chosen as it was able to meet the structural requirements of the application and the fire testing in accordance with Danish building regulations. Once the lightweight composite approach was finalized, the laminates were designed based on the use of Divinycell P recyclable core, tri-axial e-glass reinforcements and polyester resin. DIAB engineers carried out FEA (Finite element analysis) to evaluate the global behaviour of each module and its reaction forces into the concrete. In addition testing was undertaken to ensure that the method by which the 30mm thick travertine cladding was attached to the sandwich composite component would meet Danish building regulations. The marble is both glued to the panel and secured with metal fittings.
Sandwich Composite Benefits
Each module is approximately 4 x 4.5 metres. As the system is significantly lighter than the traditional approach – by a factor of around 4:1 – it is well within the permitted building loads. Taking a lightweight approach also facilitates rapid installation by a much smaller team. Further time and cost is saved by the fact that the modules can be installed directly to the steel reinforced, concrete floors of the building virtually as soon as the floors are complete and without the need for additional supporting steelwork. Other benefits include the inherent insulation properties offered by the system, it does not rust or corrode and is immune from moisture uptake.
DIAB Core Kits
The composite panels were produced using infusion, an environment friendly closed mould method creating repeatable high quality products. DIAB core was cut and delivered to fit the mould thereby ensuring zero core material wastage for SG.
Once the composite elements are completed they are transported to Skandinaviska Glassystem facility where the glazing units and travertine cladding are installed. The two stage assembly process minimizes damage to the fragile travertine stone and reduces transportation costs. Installation of the completed modules onto the building is carried by just a four person team using a specially developed mounting fixture.
The innovatory cladding system has been recognized by the JEC organization with a JEC Innovation Award.