How MVRDV Used Ceramics to Clad a Mixed-Use Project in France

Ascension Paysagère, designed by Dutch office MVRDV, is a mixed-use development that combines residential, commercial, and community spaces in the French city of Rennes. It stands out from its surroundings through a series of stepped terraces inspired by geological formations such as gorges and mountain ranges, with terraces designed to provide a variety of living and communal spaces, as well as tree-lined gardens and public squares. To amplify the effects desired by the designers, the chosen ceramic tile resembles the rock colors of the region, and changes its appearance with every change in climate, reflecting the environment and the light.

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© / Ossip Architectuurfotografie

The composition of the ceramic panels in five different shades of gray, arranged in stratified layers, reinforces this connection with geology and creates a dynamic pattern on the facade, with the pieces positioned vertically, varying between matte and glossy pieces. Near the ground level, darker and matte tones were chosen, while lighter and brighter pieces were applied at the higher levels. This effect grounds the building, making the upper floors visually lighter. At night, the lighting also reinforces this effect, with more lights integrated into the ceramic panels at the top of the building. As a result, the design feels like it really belongs on the site, and while it significantly densifies this part of the city, it does not become an oppressive volume.

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© / Ossip Architectuurfotografie

The product chosen for the cladding was the KeraTwin ceramic system, produced by Agrob Buchtal. With a variety of colors, textures, shapes and surface finishes, this product offers architects enormous design freedom, making it possible to clad walls and even sloped roofs, as was the case in the Ilot Queyries Apartment Building project by the same architects.

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© / Ossip Architectuurfotografie
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© / Ossip Architectuurfotografie

This extruded ceramic is a highly durable and weather-resistant material because of its Hytect coating, which is permanently fired onto the ceramic surface at high temperatures. When light falls on the coated tiles, active oxygen is released via photocatalysis, acting against bacteria and mold. The tiles also neutralize pollutants like nitrogen oxides in the air in an entirely natural way, which is important for a building located in a busy urban environment.

This facade system can be installed using various fixing alternatives that guarantee technical and structural versatility. Basically, the ceramic panels are connected to a substructure using a special clip system, made from a high-strength, corrosion-resistant material. They are designed to fit into pre-cut slots in the back of the panel and hold the panel securely in place as it is attached to the substructure. With quick and easy installation, this allows the panels to be easily removed and replaced if necessary, making maintenance and repair simpler and more cost-effective.

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© / Ossip Architectuurfotografie

The Ascension Paysagère project highlights how architecture can blend harmoniously with the environment, combining aesthetic and technological solutions. The technical and structural versatility of the facade system allows the building to be easily maintained and repaired, ensuring its durability and longevity.

Learn more about this product in our catalog.

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Cite: Souza, Eduardo. "How MVRDV Used Ceramics to Clad a Mixed-Use Project in France" [Painéis cerâmicos: versatilidade e facilidade de manutenção em projetos arquitetônicos] 28 Mar 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
© / Ossip Architectuurfotografie

陶瓷构筑,MVRDV 景观住宅综合体‘Ascension’项目材料解析

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