The 350 individual elements can be produced and mounted on the wall in natural stone more cost-effectively than in other materials
“Corrugated stone façade” is a new term in natural stone architecture that is worth remembering. It was coined by Raffaello Galiotto, industrial designer and mastermind of stone, in Italian “Rivestimento lapideo ondulato”. The first example of this type of ventilated façade can be found at the new Margraf logistics centre in Gambellara, not far from Verona. “Ripple” is the name of the wall. The building is the counterpart of the monumental arch called “Arcolitico” on the other side of the complex, also designed by Raffaello Galiotto, which we recently described.
In our e-mail exchange with Galiotto, we had chosen the title “Curtain” for the project instead of his name Ripple. But he did not like that very much: what he had done here was something fundamentally different from what we are used to seeing in the past, for example when painters or sculptors recreated curtains, he wrote. Because: in those models, the folds were always determined by the material properties of the fabric and how it was hung – Ripple, on the other hand, is a completely free concept.
In reality, however, Galiotto is also guided by the material. One of the aims of his design is to produce as little waste as possible. Almost like a preacher, he repeatedly demands that the stone industry and architects treat the material, which is millions of years old, with respect.
Galiotto’s corrugated stone façade covers a total area of 600 m², is 20 m long and a good 10 m high. It is composed of 350 marble elements, which in turn form 35 vertical rows. Each of these rows consists of 10 elements stacked on top of each other.
Somehow, when looking at the photos, one senses that there are regularities in the folds, and they do indeed exist: each of the vertical rows is cut from a single raw block – of course, now one can see the uniform grain and color per row.
Moreover, each element is trapezoidal and also has the wave on the surface.
This results in the folds, which are diagonally positioned, just like you know it from a textile curtain.
Each individual element has its own special shape, whereby the entire building blocks “is in perfect continuity”, as Galiotto puts it. “The shape of the folds is a compromise between the desire for maximum aesthetic effect, the limitations of the wire saw and finally the specifications of an installation as a wall.”
Of course, there is also a door in the long wall – after all, Galiotto is a product designer, so it is important that his designs can be used in reality. Because the folds are now diagonal, the door in the middle of the wall must also be diagonal – from a distance, one might think it was the entrance to a home of hobbits or earth spirits.
The marble elements are between 70 and 35 cm thick.
In addition, there are 300 simple marble tiles for interior cladding. This is because the corrugated façade is placed in front of the wall of the logistics centre, so to speak like a wind screen. Its structure consists – from the outside to the inside – of the marble elements stacked on top of each other (which are self-supporting, by the way), then a steel framework to which the elements are fastened once again for safety, then a concrete wall for the steel framework, and finally on the inside of this wall the cladding with the rectangular and flat tiles.
The marble is of the Fior di Pesco Carnico variety, which Margraf extracts exclusively from its own quarry. The color is a grey, which is lightened by cutting it with the diamond wire. The tiles on the back are also made of this material but appear darker in the photos.
At the time of our research, more precise information on the consumption of material was not yet available because there were delays due to Corona.
On the corrugated stone façade, once again a great strength of natural stone comes into its own: if there are many different elements in a façade, cutting the individual elements with a wire saw is much cheaper than making them from artificial stone or concrete, for example. With stone, the 3D model from the computer is transferred to the real material in one step; artificial stone, on the other hand, would have to be cast and then cut to size, or a new casting mold would have to be made for each individual element.
Finally, we want to speculate a little about the future of corrugated stone facades: Is the wall suitable for dismantling, transporting to another place and rebuilding it there?
Galiotto liked the question and he thought it over immediately: “We overlook far too often that marble as a material deserves more attention than just random fashions or needs.”
In other words, an architect or designer who uses this ancient natural stone should resist banality and seek forms of expression that at least strive for timelessness.
Fotos: Raffaello Galiotto / Margraf
(26.06.2020, USA: 06.26.2020)