New innovative solutions in wooden building components have allowed wood to enter into new construction end-uses traditionally dominated by concrete and steel. Massive wood elements open the way for taller wooden high-rise buildings than ever before.
When outside and inside become one
Vitrocsa, the Swiss manufacturer renowned worldwide for its ranges of ultra-minimalist windows, showcases its products to stunning effect in this feat of technical and aesthetic brilliance known as the “Floating Tubes House”. The project’s floor-to-ceiling glazing and subtle aluminium frames truly succeed in bringing the outdoors indoors in this ultra-modern villa in Israel
This impressive, resolutely modern villa is the embodiment of technical and aesthetic ingenuity, such was the architectural challenge posed by its design and proportions. Composed of three building elements arranged in a U-shaped configuration, the villa is built on two levels with fully glazed façades. These immense windows truly arrest the eye thanks to the stunning subtlety of the aluminium frames, and it’s all down to products developed by Vitrocsa, a Swiss manufacturer renowned worldwide for its ranges of ultra-minimalist windows.
Located in Israel, this outstanding building – known as “the Floating Tubes House” – was designed by Anderman Architects and showcases Vitrocsa windows to stunning effect. The site spans some 1050 square metres and the building itself is built over 750 square metres. The project is set in a boulevard of fig trees. This natural verdant setting was an obvious starting point in terms of the design’s inspiration. The line of the trees is echoed in the house’s long tubes, with a view to bringing the outdoors indoors. Thanks to its floor-to-ceiling glazing, the house enjoys an uninterrupted view of the garden at one end and the fig trees at the other. The sealed sides of the house’s tubular design nevertheless afford its residents the necessary privacy from their neighbours, which are almost invisible from inside the dwelling. The full splendour of nature can be admired from every vantage point in the house: this project truly succeeds in bringing the outdoors indoors. Yet, the external symmetry and order of the building are merely the frame of operation and the tubes provide the platform for real life to play out inside the house, in all its wild beauty.
Since it was founded in 1992, Vitrocsa has diversified its range of construction systems. Among the most recent, the Turnable Corner system optimises the living space using an original roller principle that completely frees up the glazed components from the passageway. The panels move laterally and at right angles on invisible rails embedded in the floor. Developed by Vitrocsa’s Research and Development team, the Turnable Corner system provides architects with technology that combines groundbreaking design with almost unprecedented functionality, resulting in glazed panels that are extremely easy and smooth to handle.
The guillotine window – another brand-new development – is designed to allow the creation of vertical opening elements that do not impinge on the room space itself. These guillotine windows operate using an extremely precise counterweight that ensures easy handling. The product, which can be motorised, features a horizontal metal profile measuring just 18 mm. For the ultimate in the sophistication, the vertically sliding panels can disappear fully into the floor with the incorporation of an underfloor recess.
The aesthetics of a Vitrocsa window are genuinely surreal. All the frames can be embedded in the masonry and invisible sills created, in which the sliding panel conveys a profile that covers the lower rail. Right-angled sliding windows with no visible uprights are also possible. Curved slides are also featured as options in the Vitrocsa catalogue, in addition to tall pivoting doors (up to 6 m2 and 12 m2 per panel). The perfectly balanced large mobile panels can be moved with just a few grams of pressure. All Vitrocsa products conform to strict standards governing thermal insulation (Minergie label), wind resistance and impermeability to water and air.
The windows and glazed partitions designed and manufactured by Swiss company Vitrocsa defy the imagination. With over 99% clear view, these products currently offer the most light of any on the market. Conceived over twenty-five years ago, the Vitrocsa process is based on a principle fully verified under real-world conditions: unlike conventionally designed windows, which use a metal frame to support the glass, Vitrocsa considers double or triple glazing sufficiently rigid to serve as both window and frame. A simple metal strip on the edge is all that’s needed for the finish.
However, this principle relies on one prerequisite: the aluminium profiles must be machined and assembled to horological standards, and on-site installation must adhere to strict tolerances. With these rigorous requirements met, the results exceed even the wildest expectations. Vitrocsa products allow for the design of sliding windows covering more than 18 m2.
The different product ranges (TH+, 3001, Swimms, V32 and V56) cater to numerous scenarios depending on the thickness of the glazed panels and the surface area proposed by the architects. The thermal insulation of these windows is remarkable. Because the design uses so little metal, the effects of conduction are minimised, while the excellent inertia of the huge double- and triple-glazed panels results in substantially lower energy consumption.
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