Corian® is increasingly being used as a high-tech façade and exterior cladding material. For example, on an apartment building in Knokke, Belgium, which has been built with its façade and cornice work in Glacier White. The attractive surface is resistant to all the effects of the North Sea climate.
Sleekly designed façade
What do you do with a dated-looking building that is in a very visible location in a fashionable seaside resort? Well, developer DHR Projects from Knokke decided to completely rebuild the existing housing block on the corner of the Kustlaan and Ebbestraat. Architect Stefan Kips from ASK Architects designed a contemporary building with a spectacular duplex-apartment being created above the existing five floors. The sleek façade was primarily covered in Corian® in Glacier White. The result was a real eyecatcher: a benchmark for the town.
Searching for the right material
‘We had been looking for the right material for a long time,’ said Stefan Kips. ‘It had to be a contemporary building, but with striking shapes. We wanted the corners to protrude, but not to be right angles. How can you create attractive curved shapes?’ The architect and developer rejected the conventional architectural solutions. ‘If you apply concrete so close to the sea, it becomes sandblasted. It erodes, ages and quickly becomes dirty. We didn’t want that.’ Weather-resistant Corian® proved to be the solution.
Working with curved shapes
‘I was looking to create an area of excitement between the base and the top,’ said Kips. ‘With Corian®, fantastic, rounded corners can be created perfectly. And now you can see that these soft lines give the building its strong look.’ The new apartment building was covered in 3 x 1 metre panels in Corian® Glacier White and large aluminium window frames. Black ceramic tiles provided contrast, both in colour and texture.
Cornices as sculpture
The building appears to be crowned with a structure that has the look of a sculpture, and also finished in Corian®. This is a real tour de force by the certified supplier, Drooghmans Geveltechnieken from Balen. First, a special galvanised steel structure was built in an arched shape and then mounted on the roof.
Then the special cornice was made in Corian® and mounted on the frame. A very challenging job that was carried out with millimetre precision by Drooghmans. The firm was awarded the EC Converter certificate (nr. EC009) at the end of last year meaning that Drooghmans Geveltechnieken is the first certified Corian® Exterior Cladding partner in the BeNeLux.
High-tech Corian® on façades
The super-smooth cladding material is ideally suited for this façade because it is so easy to maintain. Corian® is strong, resistant and non-porous. Weather, wind and the sea air have no effect on it. It is easy to maintain and clean by spraying it with, for example, a high pressure cleaner. Repairs can also be made invisibly. That was discovered during the construction when a crane accidently damaged a panel 12 metres up. ‘In twenty years’ time, it will still be like new,’ promised the architect.
The strongest façade material possible
Corian® is a relatively expensive cladding material yet DHR Projects chose it decisively. Nathalie Vanden Eynde, Managing Director of DHR Projects said: ‘We didn’t do that for only aesthetic reasons. I trained as a chemist and my thesis at the University of Gent was about polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and that is one of the strongest plastics in the world. PMMA is an important element of Corian® and that immediately appealed to me. This material is very durable and DHR Projects builds for the long-term.’