Architectural aluminium systems

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Conscious that each architectonic Project presents their own uniqueness and identity, CORTIZO can count on a specific area that is integrated in its Department of Architecture and Engineering that is exclusively dedicated to the implementation of ad-hoc projects in order to respond to the creative liberty of the Architect.


From this area based on flexibility and innovation, the professionals at CORTIZO collaborate, hand in hand, with the group of architects, curtain wall specialists and installers in order to develop specific solutions that guarantee the perfect integration of the CORTIZO enclosures in the architectonic design of each project.



To participate in the new corporate headquarters of the Idom group in Bilbao, was for CORTIZO an ambitious challenge from the beginning.  The demands that a project of such importance make and subscribed to by one of the principals in engineering at worldwide level, was no easy task. 

The close collaboration, hand in hand, between the Department of Architecture and Engineering and the CORTIZO Light Façade R & D Division with Javier Pérez Uribarri, the creator of the Project and head of AXCT, the architectural and engineering company in Bilbao, was fundamental in order to ensure the correct use of the architectural creative liberty and at the same time, to maximise attaining the strict premise of established sustainability and energy efficiency. All of that accompanied by its impeccable execution carried out by VIFASA, a company that for more than 20 years has specialised in the finishing of façade and enclosure integral glazing at a national level that knew, and furthermore had to adjust to some restrictive building terms and conditions.



Located in the old free port deposit situated in the Duesto Canal in the Port of Bilbao, the Project responds to the innovative and colouful restoration of an old customs port warehouse that now houses almost 700 professionals.  With a surface area of 14,400 m2 distributed on 5 floors and dedicated to offices, R & D areas and social spaces, the new Corporate Headquarters of the Idom Group has been built as the new icon for the Vizcaina capital. 

One of the architectural objectives was to provide great individualism to the surrounding architectonics of the building and turning to an internal skin solution between fixings resulted in the Insert Façade and an external skin of 600 mm louvres, designed “ad-hoc” by Peréz Uribarri, the project creator, and he affirms that “they provide a high degree of solar protection, without compromising the views from the interior of the building, helps to control solar radiation and consequently, energy consumption”.



“The Insert Façade, that works as a general external enclosure, takes the form of consecutive vertical vision modules, seperated by opaque modules in order to achieve a hidden step in to the inernal pillars”, states Domingo Brión, Director of the CORTIZO Dept. of Architecture and Engineering. “In relation to its fixing, the system has been fitted as modules between the fixings and its profiles adopt the the necessary section for calculation in order to adapt itself to the demanding environmental conditions of the building. Externally it achieves the horizontality of the modules due to the abscence of a vertical direction profile, thanks to the flexibility of the system. The option was taken of the availability of a flat cover, fitted perimetrally, in order to to be able to give place to the  meeting points of different materials in the building. In order to give restricted maintenance access to the exterior tramex, we turned to the Cor 60 system maintaining an external style by way of the fitting of glued glazing to the previously mentioned system”. 


According to Peréz Uribarri, “the external skin of louvres constitutes the extension of an imaginary green carpet shaped by a vegetal façade which has been deposited on the covering of the building, like something that has been extended over the façades and has been “folded”. During the project process, we developed various and multiple designs leaning finally towards a horizontal solution with the optimum equilibrium between, style, cost and maintenance. It counts on a dense area of louvres and with a projection of at least 600 mm in order to achieve the required shading for the thermal calculations of the building”, affirms the ACXT architect.

The determining factors for the design presented to us were, on one hand, the necessity of fixing the louvre only afterwards and on the other, the resistance of the combination of its own weight, snow loading, pressure and wind suction.

“With the objective of the initial architects’ design optimisation, a more exact alternative to the real possibilities of extrusion and fitting were presented by Cortizo.  It consisted of a base profile that was sufficiently resistant and two bodies linked together and at the same time, the base profile, fixed by way of a mechanical fixing with srews at certain distances”, affirms the CORTIZO management of the R & D division for Light Façades.  


Once the building work was awarded to the installer, the VIFASA curtain walling company carried out a refined re-calculation of the loadings and requirements using Finite Element Software that demonstrated that the louvre needed to be something more consistent in order to support what was finally opted for in order to change direction of the resistant part of the louvre to a steel element that would remain hidden once fitted to the main body.  Also, the louvre bodies were re-inforced adding two more central strengtheners to the body. Finally, a link system was designed to allow a quick positioning of the secondary body and for the weight and geometry of the same could be taken immediately to site. A thin neoprene coating was ordered to ensure that no contact was made at any point between the supports or on the main louvre body, but did require a specific machining in order to allow for the penetration of the “U” socket. 



On the other hand, the building is to found near to the River Nervión, and involved the façade systems being faced with corrosion due to the marine environment and very high wind loadings (degree of environmental roughness = I –sea or lake edge-, according to CTE), but was resolved with a Class 2 high durability matt super polyester RAL-6010 colour coating with a thickness always above 80 microns.


The spaces in the rest areas found on each floor of the building were resolved with the Cor Vision CC series.  This thermally broken sliding system  counts on a seen section of only 20 mm in the central junction which strengthens the room luminousity and allows the users to enjoy to a greater extent, a priviledged environment.

In the emergency exit areas, the Millenium Plus door was decided on for its smooth style, its robustness and its elevated thermal and accoustic features.


The building counts on innovative energy efficient measures such as solar panels, low consumption taps and sanitary equipment, internal rain water storage, automatic lighting regulation and a unique system of water diffusion and displacement, and combined together with the solar protection louvres and the eco-efficient CORTIZO fenestration systems, confers an energy saving of 60% of the normal consumption for a building of this type.