Art centre uses Mermet System

Botin Center – Santander

Centro Botin is located in Santander: north-western Spain. It hosts the artistic, educational and cultural events of the Fondation Botin, the largest private cultural foundation in the country. To pay homage to a spectacular vista on the Atlantic Ocean waterfront, architects Renzo Piano worked closely with Madrid agency Luis Vidal + Architects. They have focused on natural lighting and a lightweight structure, which required that solar shading be intergrade in the actual building design.

To protect the artwork collections and ensure optimal visual and thermal comfort for visitors throughout the year; an ingenious combination of Mermet fabrics Satine 5500, SV 10% and Karellis 11301 was developed.

The two-part arts centre is built on the waterfront in the Jardines de Pereda Gardens. It has become a major tourist attraction, not simply because of the 270,000 ceramic discs that embellish its outer walls.

The two curved structures that enclose 10,000m2 of space are supported by tree-high pillars to provide an unrestricted vista enabling onlookers a direct view of the bay from the historical old-town:

  • The west wing houses 2,500 m2 of galley space on two 5-metre high levels,
  • The east wing hosts classrooms, workspaces and a 300-seat auditorium which features a 7.5-metre high double-glazed façade facing south across the water.

For the architects, several points were essential:

  • Allow as much natural light in as possible while limiting flare,
  • Ensure seamless transparency, both inwards and outward, to enjoy this remarkable construction thar offers magnificent visual links with the water of the bay and the surrounding park,
  • Protect art installations while ensuring visitors enjoy optimal thermal comfort.

Developed and installed by bling maker Resstende s.r.l, the solution to meet all these requirements involved overlaying three Mermet fabrics up to 8m high (a total of 300 blinds):

  • A tall external blind (1.20 x 7.90m) to control light and heat: the Satine 5500 fabric 0201 White Grey filters 94% of solar radiation to deliver thermal comfort while preventing glare and blocking UV radiation to protect exhibited works,
  • Two internal fabrics complete the solar shading,
  • To darken and block out sun rays, zip internal blinds measuring 0.8 x 7.90m and using Karellis 11301 thin and lightweight fabric 608 Chartreux, serve to regulate light and provide full blackout capability,
  • To enhance the light levels in open spaces, the SV 10% fabric 0102 Grey White was selected for use on 0.80 x 4m roller blinds due to its light diffusion capabilities and transparency.

Excellent fabrics for an excellent project

Due to their composition, Mermet fabrics are especially well-suited to the new norms of contemporary architecture especially large glass facades like those on the Centro Botin. This is because of:

  • Their excellent mechanical strength for tensioning,
  • Their M1 (French) and BS fire ratings which satisfy the requirements for public-access buildings,
  • Their dimensional stability, which is all the more important for tall window walls,
  • Their durability, as demonstrated by the 10,000 cycle mechanical endurance test.
  • Satine 5500, the external solar shading solution.

Credits to Blinds & Shutters Magazine – ISSUE ONE 2020