ALINGSÅS (SE) - Unable to find a builder who could execute the aluminium facade of their design with the necessary precision, UNIT Arkitektur turned instead to a local car parts manufacturer. For most Gothenburg-based architects, the many subcontractors of the region's automotive industry remain a relatively unexploited resource. While the level of skill in the manufacturing industry in western Sweden is world class, most of the building construction sector is based on 1950s-era technology. So says Mikael Frej, who together with Klas Moberg heads UNIT. In recent years, the duo has explored the use of materials in a series of villa projects, the most surprising of which is perhaps the Villa Bohlin's taped plastic facade.
They chose aluminium this time because of the modest size of the building, an extension to a single-family home. Architecture at such a small scale can easily be overwhelmed by all the joints between materials. Their strategy to make the facade and all of its details in a single material allowed them instead to give the box-shaped building a more coherent appearance.
The components were cut by Riboverken with a CNC laser normally used to make car parts for Volvo and SAAB. Thus the architects could work with a tolerance of as little as 0.1 millimetres, as opposed to the construction industry's margin of up to ten millimetres. The challenge was to negotiate the collision between these two worlds, since the existing building was a traditionally built wood-frame house.
The decision to deviate from established construction practice required a high level of detailing – every point of attachment, every edge and every corner had to be custom designed. The components were cut from three-millimetre-thick aluminium sheets, too heavy for a sheet-metal worker to modify on site, so every piece of the puzzle had to fit perfectly. After the thirty-odd pieces had been cut and shaped, they were anodized for an even finish. Anodizing produced a china-like oxidation layer only 25 microns thick that is expected to protect the building from the elements for about a hundred years without maintenance. (Björn Ehrlemark)
Facade, Metal |