Zaragoza, SPAIN
Architect: Carme Pino

Design category winner 2015

Beautiful project which shows the estethic character of the building and a multitude of possibilities of the material itself.

The use of PC sheets in such a landmark building with the use of LED lightning is very original.

Four mm polycarbonate sheets were chosen for the distinguished 1600 m2 façades of the new Caixa Forum, a cultural and social center in Zaragoza, designed by Catalan architect Carme Pinós. Thanks to its unique structure, the building appears as a sculptural element amidst the park. Translucent PC sheets play a key role in illuminating the lighted organic drawings at night to create a unique atmosphere on the façades of the building. The façades are designed with perforated or dented metal panels with the polycarbonate sheets on the back and lighted with light emitting diodes (LED). Polycarbonate sheets used in this project are cut in different shapes in order to follow the total organic drawing in each façade. A special type of PC sheets was the material of choice due to uniform illumination with superior optical brightness for eye-catching display as well as its excellent fire safety behavior (of B-s2-d0 rating) according to the European EN standard. PC sheets employed in this project - unlike conventional sheet products - offer both uniform light diffusion to eliminate LED “pinholes” and a view of light sources, and superior light transmission for exceptional optical brightness at lower energy costs. In fact, this type of PC sheet boost light transmission to more than 50% versus PMMA. The product has a matte finish on its outward-facing surface to reduce reflections, and provides excellent UV protection as well as the renowned impact resistance. In her project for CaixaForum Zaragoza, Carme Pinós sets a building “that creates city and which, when lived in, allows visitors to feel part of it”. The building designed by Pinós splits into two high, geometric large structures that house the exhibition halls, creating a new public space on the ground floor that will connect the station with El Portillo city center. The “skin” of the building is covered with 1,600 m2 perforated aluminum/ polycarbonate sheets that allow locating the lights that provide the bluish lighting. The building can be seen walking through or from all sides making the park an extension of the city. At night, you can see illuminated organic drawings on the façades obtained by perforating the plate and using PC sheets as the diffuser, to get two different aesthetics, one during the day and another during the night. The PC sheets used in this project allow for high light transmission, combined with high light diffusion: for uniform illumination (light source not seen from outside) and to prevent bright spots (allowing fewer LED lights and lower total product cost). Additionally both surfaces of the panels are UV-resistant. They are as well impact resistant and have an outstanding white color retention after weathering and are easy to manufacture.