Small elements for complex
Although architects have endless possible combinations of forms and materials, it is clear that they always use one of three main categories of elements to create the visual structure of the building envelope:
- A large number of small elements to create a tight grid
- Juxtaposed strips with assembly joints creating an impression of parallel lines
- Large elements or large panels to create a large grid
While strips and large elements are used for the majority of projects today (*), small elements, which are often used in highly pertinent architectural choices, are paradoxically less popular. Yet this principle of tight meshing which is reminiscent of fish scales or birds' feathers, offers numerous advantages and, when created using zinc, the end result is always of the highest quality.
Whether produced industrially or in the installer's workshop, once small elements in zinc are installed they merge to clad the building with a mesh that blends with the overall form and creates a unique texture, while at the same time making the building watertight.
(*) Strips or large elements will be the subject of specific articles in the forthcoming issues of this newsletter.
Photo: Kallan Macleod of Kallan photography
Complex curved forms are made
Small, identically sized elements make it very easy to create adjusted forms with a single or double curve (see photos) and are sometimes the only elements that can be used to create complex or non-adjusted forms, because it is possible to vary and adjust the dimensions of the zinc scales.
Apart from giving the envelope a unified appearance, small elements make it possible to create a subtle play on textures and shades. Their small dimension and their positioning make it possible to create various reflections of light and sky (pixellisation). Work on joints and overlaps, whether marked by a shadow effect or, on the contrary, moderated by discreet “dimpling”, provides the architect with the option of reinforcing the ruggedness of the envelope.
Continuity of material
Contrary to large elements, long strips and small mineral elements in slate or terracotta, small elements in zinc can be formed on request, making it possible to eliminate the use of inelegant flashing strips for changes in layout ( junction between roof and facade/dormer cheeks,……).