Center of Building Engineeering
Warsaw, Poland - 1 Filtrowa str.

Technical facade's design - 1999-2000, winner oftwo prestigious Polish architectural awards.
Architectural design made by APA Kurylowicz.
Facade design and consultation Technical Bureau Tuscher.
Cost of facade $5.6M, Total cost $86M,
Gross area 61,994 m2, Cubature 243,500 m3.

High-tech cube-shaped administration building separated with internal courtyard.
There are eight facades in total, four inner and four outer, each designed in a generally different style from another.

This is the first "double-skin" facade ever built in Poland.

The south wall consists of two glazed skins - hence the name. The outer layer protects the inner layer from wind, rain, and traffic noise, while keeping it open for natural ventilation and reducing heating load. The design was developed on basis of extensive studies conducted upon the published data on performance of similar double skins erected in Germany. The exterior skin of safety glass is hung on the stainless steel consoles in front of the interior wall, designed for improved passive climate and acoustic control. The curtain walls and windows are made of aluminium profiles with thermal isolators and insulated safety glass. Exterior skin is built as a planar system. The ventilation of the cavity between the two south facade skins is alternating because of fire-protection requirements (every wall section has its own ventilation air inlet and outlet, incorporated inconspicuously into facade, staggered in alternate courses). The performance data collected upon completion confirmed satisfactory occupants' comfort inside the building. The heat extraction system is slightly undersized at cooling peaks, a typical trade-off of double skins. Most important gain is the reduction of noise from the heavy raod traffic from the highway facing the south facade. Materials : stone - granite veneer, aluminium stainless steel wall panels, glazing.   The cavity in-between the skins is equipped with maintenance catwalks made of hot zinc coated steel grating.

Other facades are covered with aluminium composite, steel and stone cladding. The low, flat skylight covers the interior courtyard in the center of the building. A gigantic airfoil wing, veneered with aluminium sheathing and dotted with decorative nuts, dominates over the south facade (visible on the photo below). Like in the case of other high-tech appurtenances of this facade, its  function is purely decorative.

FOCUS is given as an example of a true correlation between a quality and prestige of architecture and a commercial effectivity because it's office area was touted as the fastest and most expensive sold ever in Poland.

Example of a typical challenge:
We could not find a producer of aluminum systems that would agree to provide sufficient warranty for inwardly tilted sliding doors designed in steeply pitched exterior wall 45 meters (150 ft) above ground. Air and water leakage were expected due to the tilted orientation and the design pressure of wind driven rain at this altitude. As a solution, we designed a custom system of waterproofing and drainage of aluminum sliding door frame profiles, which alleviated the worries. 

Materials :stone - granite, aluminium, zinc coated steel, stainless steel, and glass.

The in-house cranes (window washing rigs) riding on rails located along the roof perimeter provide easy access to outer facades for routine maintenance and conservation.Washing and maintenance of courtyard's glass roof is achieved by a horizontal gantry rolling on rails underneath the skylight.


       south facade from bird's eye-click on image for better resolution

      south facade from car-click on image for better resolution(photo by courtessy of Mr.Darecky)


cover page of magazine


Pages from Polish "Architecture" nr 3 '2001 magazine -click on images for magnification

Last modification 02.27.2005