Projects

Multifunctional complex "How More International Center" - Shanghai (CHINA)

Post-rationalist revolution

SHANGHAI REDISCOVERS THE BEAUTY OF TERRACOTTA AND ESSENTIALITY AS THE LANGUAGE OF THE FUTURE
Author
Carlo Paganelli
Architect
Guido Giacomo Bondielli - Zhang Ying
Surfaces
SANNINI
Distributor
Be New Form Building Material Co. Ltd
Year of completion
2009

The fact that architectural projects are showcases of possibility is illustrated clearly by China’s staggering building development of recent years, which has ushered in new architectural concepts dominated by towers. Sky-scrapers have shot up almost overnight to form a strongly verticalised metropolitan scenario. But lately the race to build ever higher towers appears to have given way to different types of buildings, to other forms of architecture that may be less breathtaking but result in more normally scaled urban landscapes. So what is the future of the large Chinese metropolises? The current trend appears to be steering in a slight different direction, opening up to a variety of forms and non-Eastern influences. As a result, portions of cities will in all likelihood use materials from the European tradition such as terracotta (with its unlimited variety of shapes and surface treatments), hybridised with the architecture of third-millennium China. The multifunctional complex “How More International Center” combines various functions: a hotel, several shopping centres, services and about twenty office buildings of similar height and volumetric configuration. The concept behind this architectural complex stems from the post-rationalist language that emerged in the 1980s, a movement in polemical opposition to Post-modernism that, particularly in Northern Europe, sought to revive the golden years of twentieth century architecture (returning to the poeticism of Less is more, the design concept of Mies van der Rohe) and oppose a rampant historicism dangerously determined to sweep away all other contemporary paradigms. Each building consists of a basement floor housing various types of services such as car parking areas and gyms, and three above-ground floors occupied by offices and surmounted by a terrace roof. Built with a reinforced concrete structure clad with granite slabs around the basements and the cornices and with special terracotta components on the office levels, the architectural envelope has blind sections with flat rectangular elements and solar screen portions with square cross-section profiles. This assures considerable energy savings as well as improved comfort due to the reduction in direct influx of external light. The two systems are anchored mechanically by means of aluminium profiles. The entire facing consists of material made by Sannini Impruneta, which supplied the terracotta components pre-treated with siloxane-based impregnating agent and descaling acid detergent for removal of the efflorescence that sometimes appears on terracotta, thereby cutting maintenance costs.

Tiles
Sannini Impruneta, "piastra 25 mm" and "quadrello" elements
Type
terracotta
Sizes
25x50x2.5 - 5x5x50 cm
Colours
natural
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): max 7%
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
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