18 June 2020

A Flexbrick® facade on an office building in Wisconsin (United States)

  • The project designed by Flad Architecture is the corporate headquarters of a
    leading insurance company in the US market.
  • For the first time, the Flexbrick® system used special 5-foot-(142.5-cm)-wide
    mesh, the largest made to date.

The Flexbrick® system continues to progress in the US market alongside the company Shildan Group, its representative in the United States. The new project consists of the corporate headquarters of an important insurance company in the city of Steven Pints in the state of Wisconsin.

The project was headed and designed by the Flad Architecture studio. This seven-floor building has a net floor area of over 25,000 square meters and is an addition to the first office buildings that the company built in 1977.

The Flexbrick® ceramic fabric was used twice: first, as a coating for the facades of the car park used by both staff and clients of the company’s office buildings and, second, as the dividing latticework inside the reception area of the new building.

2,700 m² of Flexbrick® were fitted for the facades of the car park building, amounting to a total of 30,000 ceramic pieces in Titan Grey, chosen by the client for a good color coordination with other areas of the outer coating of the building. The pieces form a personalized section in horizontal segments with a random linear pattern, attached using 441 stainless steel meshes measuring an average of 8.5 m in length.

Close-up of the car park facade

Flexbrick® was also used as the dividing latticework inside the reception area. In this case, the special Flexbrick® indoor pieces were made in collaboration with the brand represented by Shildan in the US, as one of the important requirements of the project was its modular coordination with the 5-foot superformat and the rigid parts of thefacade that were used for the first time in the world on this project.

Images of the Flexbrick® indoor dividing latticework

The ceramic fabric sheet is curved horizontally to shape the reception desk and to limit the customer service area in the entrance zone, separating the space open to the public from the area used by company staff. Flat guides and a hoisting technique adapted to the site inside the building were used for this purpose. This other area covers a net floor area of around 280 m² and is formed by 3,600 ceramic pieces, as well as 45 meshes measuring an average of 4.13 m in length.

Special 5-foot-(152.4-cm)-wide mesh was used exclusively for this project for the first time, which was the widest made to date.

The new building is an addition to an office complex that includes a three-floor car park, a patio and gardens with walkways. It also includes personalized office spaces, meeting and conference rooms, an area with a cafeteria, and a break area.

Flexbrick ceramic material

This material was created by the architect Vicente Sarrablo, director of the Technical Department and Head of the Ceramics Department at the International University of Catalonia’s School of Architecture. Developed by two companies in the ceramic sectorin Spain –Piera Ecocerámica and Cerámica Malpesa– Flexbrick is an industrially produced system based on flexible sheets with ceramic, metallic, glass, wood and other elements to create pavement, cladding and lightweight lamellar structures. The ceramic textile speeds up construction and opens up a new range of possibilities for architectural dry cladding systems. This system allows you to “dress” façades, roofs, open areas, etc. Architects can customise their design according to the needs of each project. Numerous architectural firms have used Flexbrick for their projects, including: Archikubik, BlurArquitectura, Michèle&Miquel, Pich Architects, PMMT, Juan Trias de Bes –TDBArquitectura and LG Arquitectos, ArchiKubik, Atelier Galante, just to name a few.