Making the mould

IÑAKI ECHEVERRIA completes new department store with innovative facade design

by James 29 October 2012
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    Located in a strategic area on the south end of the city, the shopping center Plaza Altabrisa is part of a new development pole for Villahermosa, Tabasco. The project's challenge was to find a simple and effective construction system that would accelerate the production, assembly and installation of the facade and, at the same time, provide a complex and interesting proposal. Given Tabasco's tropical climate and its severe solar incidence and humidity levels, concrete was selected as the project's design material; a material both resistant and with extraordinary aging qualities.

    With the development of innovative construction technologies, the project would seek a new image for Liverpool. The solution emerged from a research and development process, where the concrete's potential and ability to form complex geometries was explored. On the other hand, extensive trial and error processes were applied involving different pouring methods and formwork materials, such as wood, fiberglass and sand.

    The result was a facade that's built by combining 5 different types of precast pieces shaped like a propeller. Each propeller rotates 180 degrees on its axis; heights vary between 16 to 20 m, depending on their position. These simple and controlled variations create numerous results for each piece, which in return provide an iconic image for the facade. Additionally, the light changes that occur during the day, and the artificial lighting at night, provide an interesting mixture of colours, reflections and shadows, achieving an always changing and never static image for the facade.


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