EBBA’s most recent project, La Falda, has created a lively and friendly façade for children at a primary school in Alicante by using cladding tiles made from recycled bitumen panels. The name La Falda - the Spanish word for ‘dress’ – derives from the resemblance between the new façade’s form and textures to the traditional dresses worn by Valencian women.
La Falda is an experimental project completed as part of a renovation to a primary school, using simple panels in variations of the terracotta which mimic the roofs of buildings in Spain. In accordance with Spanish planning laws, the school’s location on designated agricultural land means that any new buildings have to be classified as ‘temporary’. The current primary school is housed in a 30-year-old prefabricated structure which has inevitably weathered over the years, and EBBA wanted to help provide a distinctive architectural identity that would transform the project and could inspire the students in the years to come
The tectonic assembly of the tiled system involves a series of bespoke aluminium brackets fixed to the existing building. Timber battens support each of the panels, installed using simple fixings.
EBBA developed the project through rigorous material investigations as well as the testing of paints and different colour variations to help achieve an effect that feels almost crafted. The choice to use the corrugated sheets came from the economy of means and the resources available, yet the versatility and malleability of the material offered an opportunity to create tiled-sized panels that could cover a large area of the façade. The project was a search for new methods of using the material – which is often used to clad warehouses and farm buildings - in an inventive and beautiful way.
The result is a patchwork of tiles in different shades of red that have a richly textured surface. The subtle tonal variations of the façade give the building its dress-like quality. The resulting visual appearance makes for a strong image against the blue skies while the stark shadows cast across the building transform the architecture throughout the day.