Exterior Cladding - Private Residence

Private Villa, Lisbon, Portugal, project and photo Duarte Pinto Coehlo

Technological innovation in architecture - Corian® exterior cladding for a spectacular residence near Lisbon

In a luxurious and exclusive setting, the use of Corian® solid surface exterior cladding for a private residential project near Lisbon gives the façade a starring role in the architectural design, adding a unique mix of character and personality to the structure. Once again, an architect has abandoned the use of traditional materials and adopted Corian® solid surface for exterior cladding.

The specification is based on the inherent qualities that make Corian® so well suited to outdoor applications including the ability to create customised panels (with a seamless look, if desired), a sleek finish, nonporous homogeneity, resistance to weathering agents and UV rays, and easy graffiti removal.

Duarte Pinto Coehlo, the architect who designed the project, commented: “The use of Corian® exterior cladding was almost by accident. The client wanted to use it for the interior cladding of kitchen and bathroom areas. So I investigated the possibilities of the material and my attention was captured by its recent use as an exterior cladding, as an outer 'skin' for buildings.” 

Examples of this new area of application for the material are the Seeko'o Hotel in Bordeaux, France and the Palais des Congrès in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which respectively feature 1,000 and 8,000 square metres of Corian® solid surface over the entirety of their external walls.

Architect Duarte Pinto Coelho continued, “The demands of the project were decisive: it was necessary to minimise maintenance needs, create a uniform structure, a monolithic and compact mass that would reinforce the impact of a large ‘blind’ wall, with vertical joints of 1.8 by 1.8 metres, that could be assembled easily and have a special, unique look. Corian® was the solution to all of these specifications. Other options could have been poured or prefabricated concrete, large sheets of stone or other conventional options, but the result would have been an exterior cladding looking the same as many others, without the noteworthy character we wanted.

“The installation of Corian® was exactly as we expected it to be. Quick, clean, extremely precise and undertaken by the excellent professionals of the Portuguese company Materfut. Regarding technical advantages, it is very important to create a ventilated façade and enable thermal insulation over the entire external surface area. This system permits that, and the colour of Corian® that was selected (Glacier White) serves also, beyond its aesthetic appeal, to reflect the sun-light and decrease the thermal inertia of the building. At the same time, there is the possibility to modify a dimension or an alignment or correct an error with great ease and with perfect final results,” commented Coehlo.

Simon Langlois, DuPont Building Innovations business development manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, explained, “The corporate philosophy of DuPont is deeply rooted in innovation based on science and technology and on the continuous evolution of materials, products and technologies. Corian® is a material that perfectly demonstrates this philosophy. Originally conceived to replace conventional countertop materials for homes and public spaces, it has become a superior performance solution for an extremely wide range of applications. Now it has also entered architectural and construction markets, something that was considered just 'a futuristic vision' until only a few years ago, offering a special combination of functional and aesthetic benefits, and bringing design flexibility in a market dominated by conventional materials and solutions.

“This exterior cladding project in Portugal is a significant milestone for Corian® solid surface. The creativity of the architect Duarte Pinto Coelho and the technical skills of our network and partners have turned a beautiful concept into a reality - a reality which will gain the admiration of the international community of professionals in construction, architecture and design,” emphasised Simon Langlois.

A total of 600 square metres of Corian® (12 mm thick, Glacier White colour) were used for the building's exterior cladding. A double structure of aluminium was used for fixing the panels made with Corian®: a primary frame made with vertical profiles and a secondary frame consisting of horizontal profiles. The panels were then attached to the horizontal profiles via an invisible fixing system.

With this system it is possible to install an insulating material (in this case a polyurethane foam) and waterproof/breathable membranes between the rails. At the same time, this system also provides exceptional impact strength and resistance to positive and negative loads. In this case, the panels made with Corian® solid are 4.8 metres high and 1.8 metres wide. They were pre-assembled at the factory and sent to the worksite in two pieces for their attachment to the rails.

Duarte Jervis de Atouguia Pinto Coehlo graduated with a degree in architecture at the University Lusiada in Lisbon (1994). Founding partner of Fragments of Architecture studio (1994). Collaborated with the architect Ruy Jervis d’Athouguia (1988 to 1996). Worked at Sua-Kay Architects and with the architect Rui Vieira Grego, between 1996 and 2001. Fragments of Architecture develops its activity cross-sectionally, acting in the different areas of architecture, urbanism and interiors.

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