Three-dimensional wooden facade for a project of the Carasso Foundation.

We have just finished a new consultancy work. It is the development of a unique three-dimensional wooden facade, which will be the main image of an interesting building with sustainable functions for the community located in Madrid.

“”El 17”. HUSELII’s sustainable project

The Spanish capital will witness an exciting rehabilitation project that will redefine the relationship between modern architecture and sustainability. HUSELII Arquitecturas SLP. a combination of the architectural firms HUSOS and ELII, will recover an industrial building to house the headquarters of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation.

three-dimensional wooden facade
Main scheme provided by the authors of the project © HUSELII

The project is not limited to aesthetic transformation; it seeks to incorporate a new urban paradigm. It is named “El 17” in reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The building becomes a model of environmental, social and economic excellence. The rehabilitation takes advantage of 95% of the existing structure, reaffirming its commitment to the circularity of materials.

fachada tridimensional de madera
Visualization and isometrics of facade modules according to the project © HUSELII

It not only represents an architectural revitalization, but also embraces a 360-degree co-design approach. In this way, it unites the vision of the architectural firm, engineering and other instances in the design and actual conception of the work. Among them, the technical department of Grupo GUBIA has collaborated in the development of the building’s facades. This, in addition, encompasses the multidisciplinary nature of the studio’s strategy to solve different conditions and specialties.

three-dimensional wooden facade
Elevation and section of three-dimensional wooden facades in the building © Grupo GUBIA based on documentation provided by the studio.

The three-dimensional wooden facade in the project

The project involves a complete redesign of the building envelope. This envelope incorporates wood both in its main façade, at 5 Juan Doña St., and in its rear facade. With a very unique volumetry, the three-dimensional facade is conceived as a double wireless skin of self-supporting and load-bearing wood, as it will serve as a support over its entire surface for planters full of vegetation. The technical challenge of the solution is to guarantee the strength and durability of these wooden facade structures.

wooden module
Isometric and initial section of the wooden module © HUSELII

For the development of the proposal we configured a module that is repeated rhythmically in the longitudinal direction of the facade. This module is initially proposed in chestnut laminated wood, with sections ranging between 60, 80 and 120 mm. A wood-wood connection is designed at the joints, using only stainless steel metal anchors in their connection to the building structure. The modules are braced with profiles of similar characteristics, of smaller section, which, in addition to providing bracing, serve as support for the planter modules.

three-dimensional wooden facade
Wooden modular isometric of the proposal © Grupo GUBIA

All wood angles and joints between them prevent the retention of rainwater and allow the intrinsic movement of the wood. The design of the solution contemplates the replacement of any part that could deteriorate over time.

three-dimensional wooden facade
Isometric, elevation and section of the proposed construction solution © Grupo GUBIA

The steps that accompany the consultancy, R&D+i 

The long trajectory in research on wood species, finishes, adhesives… that accompanies our professional career is the basis of the initial development of the consulting work, our R+D+i. However, each solution requires models, customized tests, laboratory tests… that have to accompany the execution of the work to be able to contrast the proposed solution.

When a solution is unique, knowledge can be extrapolated, but testing the real solution over time is essential. The consultancy involves a second step, no less important, which involves testing the solution with full-scale models, exposed in similar conditions to those to which the element will finally be exposed and subjecting the models to extreme stresses.

details of joints between wood elements
Details of metal connectors, screws and mechanical joints of elements in the wooden modules © Grupo GUBIA

Last but not least, a complete consultancy ends with a rigorous control of the materials supplied and a careful on-site management of the installation to be carried out.

At present, for this project we have not had the opportunity to continue with phases two and three. We are confident of a good final result, although we are aware of the difficulties in the correct execution that the final economy of a work entails.

three-dimensional wooden facade
Isometric and exploded view of the integral structural assembly © Grupo GUBIA

Award-winning project for sustainability

The design includes a rooftop energy landscape, harnessing solar energy and a complementary geothermal system. Active participation is encouraged through gardens and orchards that use captured rainwater, closing the food production cycle and contributing to sustainable development. This has earned it the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction‘s recent Golden Prize 2023. This institution delves into the breadth of the world’s diverse and innovative approaches to transforming the built environment.

Husos Holcim 2023
Receipt of the award at the event by the authors and the Carasso Foundation.

For all these reasons, the rehabilitation and new construction of the “El 17” project represents a triumph in architectural and sustainable terms. Setting a standard for future building initiatives, this is a living testament to how vision, innovation and collaboration can converge to shape a more efficient and conscious future. We are very proud to have contributed to these principles with the construction solution of this three-dimensional wooden facade, a great complement to the overall ensemble.