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Living in a moving façade
9/17/2013

For Nanterre city center the architects Nicolas Desmazières and Anouk Legendre designed a large residential complex named X-TU, whose patterned façade cuts a striking figure even from a distance. Close up we can make out the printed glass panels by Colt, which as balustrades are immovable, but on loggias and pergolas can be adjusted by residents. As such the horizontal pattern changes from one day to the next, depending on the weather and temperature.

The elongated complex accommodates stores and offices in an extensive base area on which nine residential towers with up to ten stories are arranged. Five of them are south facing and require sun protection. Here the X-TU architects chose the Shadoglass system by Colt, which was printed with five patterns of differing densities that at a distance produce various shades of gray. The residents can open the movable lamellae with a hand crank and in so doing regulate the shade and ventilation of their loggias themselves, or they can transform them into a winter garden in the cold season.

An impressive 4,075 glass panels, assembled into units measuring 1.5 x 2.7 meters, were installed on a total of 1,350 square meters of façade. The busy subway traffic underneath the building also presented a major challenge and led to the complex having to be built on vibration dampers – meaning that the Shadoglass system had to be able to absorb these vibrations with no stress transfer. Moreover, Colt performed a “lifecycle test”, in which 10,000 movements of the lamellae were tested. The Shadoglass elements passed without any complications.

The residential complex in Nanterre near Paris consists of nine towers with up to ten stories each. Photo: © Colt
The residential complex in Nanterre near Paris consists of nine towers with up to ten stories each. Photo: © Colt
The five different printed patterns generate the animated appearance of the façade. Photo: © Luc Boegly
Deep incisions structure the buildings, while pergolas and loggias can be found behind the glazed south façades. Photo: © Luc Boegly
The varied façade looks extremely homogeneous in sunlight. Photo: © Luc Boegly

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