Ventilated Ceramic Façades

Supreme surfaces: Specifying and installing mechanically-fixed ventilated ceramic façades.

By Werner Ziegelmeier Agrob Buchtal.

One of the key features of all acclaimed architecture is the thoughtful selection and application of materials. This particularly applies in the demanding area of façades because here both aesthetic aspects (visible façade cladding) and technical requirements (sub-structure and assembly) need to be perfectly compatible while complying with the most demanding technical standards.

In line with this comprehensive approach, the German Agrob Buchtal brand not only offers high-quality ceramic façade cladding but also the corresponding fastening systems, alongside a wide range of services, that taken together translate into practical advantages for architects, planners, and investors alike.

Aesthetics first
Façade concepts typically begin with the visible part of the façade; in this case the cladding material. Here Agrob Buchtal offers an almost unlimited variety of options. As well as a traditional rough clay look, the company’s extensive range also includes glazed mono-colours in varying degrees of gloss, as well as highly sophisticated printed designs. Examples can be found in the following collections:

Oak: Characterised by the typical grain and appearance of old oak boards.

Quarzit: Delivers the natural look and surface texture of natural quartzite rock.

Savona: A sophisticated fusion of smooth layers and striking textures.

Agrob Buchtal is one of only a handful of tile manufacturers world-wide that has the technical expertise and production capability to offer solutions in almost every area of ceramic tile application. The brand uses this versatility to offer architects a specific design advantage: the collections mentioned above, as well as many other collections, are not only available as façade ceramics but also as floor and wall tiles, enabling the creation of totally integrated surface solutions across exterior and interior areas in any project.

In terms of formats, Agrob Buchtal’s range of options is similarly extensive: various sizes, with lengths of up to 1,800mm, permit diverse solutions for tailored building envelopes and even allow for a charming rhythm across larger façade areas that can be structured in a filigree and subtle manner or exuding a distinctive level of confidence, depending on the design intention.

The spectrum is equally broad and expansive when it comes to design language, extending from plain large formats, through structured profiles, to special individual forms.

And as if this extensive standard range were not enough, special project-specific designs are yet another of Agrob Buchtal’s strengths, meaning that the company has the capability to satisfy that practically any special requirement. In addition, specifier’s should also consider the general design advantages offered by ceramic as a generic material. Tiles have a special look and feel that can convey the tectonic approach of architecture in a unique way. It is a durable, hard, and highly resistant material with unsurpassed textural appeal, and yet is an extremely authentic and natural choice.

Intelligent fastening techniques encourage creativity
Architects are able to take full advantage of ceramic tile’s incredible aesthetic versatility because leading manufacturers, such as Agrob Buchtal, also offer a range of appropriate fastening systems to complement their ceramic cladding materials. This not only delivers the reassurance of proven engineering solutions, but also ensures almost limitless creative scope.

At Agrob Buchtal, an essential role is by the KeraTwin K20 system, which has successfully proven itself over the years and is constantly being enhanced and developed to further boost its performance.

The most recent examples of the progression are the following two versions:
The K20-OmegaS-Profile: This permits the vertical laying of KeraTwin façade ceramics up to an impressive maximum format of 1,800 by 600mm. The effect of this unorthodox laying direction is quite dramatic and generates some impressive effects depending on the format and colour.

The K20-OmegaV-Profile: This enables free horizontal positioning of each façade panel for individual bonds, which reveal a fascinatingly subtle surface dynamic.

The common features of both variants include many essential advantages such as:
Easy, swift, and cost-saving installation without the need for specialist tools
Versatile application on special wall constructions, such as post-and-beam
Minimal dead weight, which offers significant transportation and load benefits
Design flexibility with installation with either open or closed joints (per profile)
Creative freedom thanks to the availability of many colours, forms, and formats in the same thickness

Individual services from professionals for professionals
As noted before, Agrob Buchtal not only sees itself as a supplier of products, but also as a trendsetter, project partner, and problem-solver for architects, planners, and investors alike.

One visible example of this ethos is the company’s In-house Planning Department, comprising a committed team of technicians, engineers, planners, designers, and colour experts. The principal goal of this team is to offer architects and planners effective support to enable them to fully realise their ideas, dreams, and visions. Generally speaking, architects and planners are relieved of tile-specific detail work, enabling them to concentrate on the things that are important to them.

One specific example concerns exact laying plans or detailed planning of special areas of the façade cladding, such as window soffits, or corner solutions. In addition, these details form the basis for exact calculations of the requisite quantities, while facilitating co-operation with the other parties involved.

Regular activities also include texts for bidding and specification purposes, or design proposals according to the planner’s exact or rough specifications. As a particular highlight, not only general but project-specific advice regarding application techniques is also offered.

The use of these and other services for facade projects in the UK is possible in an elegant and uncomplicated manner through Agrob Buchtal’s local partner: EH Smith Façades Ltd. with UK bases in Solihull and Brasted, EH Smith Façades acts as a competent contact and co-ordinator for all aspects prior to, during, and after the realisation of façade projects in the United Kingdom. This includes finding and supporting specialist fixing companies capable of undertaking skilled installation of Agrob Buchtal’s ceramic façade systems.

With these supporting services, Agrob Buchtal provides tangible added value: not only through its extensive portfolio of high-quality products, but also an extensive knowledge base and absolute dedication to quality that has build up during the firm establishment of this tried-and-tested partnership.

The additional benefit of HT coating
Sustainability will continue to be a major architectural focus. As a natural, durable, and sustainable material, ceramic has clearly established its green credentials. One particularly interesting feature in this context concerns the fact that a large percentage of Agrob Buchtal’s façade ceramics is provided with a factory-applied HT (hydrophilic tile) coating. This innovative solution is based on the effect of light and lends ceramic tiles some rather revolutionary characteristics. When it rains, they generate a self-washing effect. They also display an antibacterial effect without using chemical products and thus prevent the growth of algae or moss on façades. In addition, HT eliminates air pollutants, such as the exhaust fumes produced by industry and cars, turning every building into a kind of vertical urban forest. In these ways, ceramic façades with HT coating save time and money, contribute to environmental protection, and help to maximise the positive aesthetic impact of buildings. Furthermore, HT coating can aid architects and planners in their on-going search for comprehensive solutions that attach equal importance to urban development, ecology, economy, identity, and emotion.

EH Smith Specialist Façades
T: 0121 713 7200