The Curtain of Terracotta

Terracotta bricks arranged in a way you've never imagined!! And is in a library!!

Nembro library


Hi, in middle of the Atlantic Ocean is a very peculiar island that could well be worth to build a great building, using materials and systems of construction that I have been describing in the past, but, I would have to spend much money in the transport of goods. The place is called Ascension Island, and is well known because it was reclaimed by the british when «Napoleón I» was exiled to St. Helena… away of a rescue!!

And speaking of the Lord Napoleón Bonaparte, better known as «Le Petit Caporal» (the small Cape), I must tell you something that few people know, in his youth he had an «affair» with an ancestor of my family… Would You have liked that my name were Rodolfo Bonaparte? I do not like the idea, certainly rarely the history shows us a character so controversial like this… Anyway, today I will show you a construction with the material cooked oldest placed in an exquisite and unique way. Do not you imagine it? Keep reading…


The twelfth stop: The Curtain of Terracotta. The main building was built in 1897 and was originally a primary school, clear that with time the building is adapted to different uses: offices of the City Hall, nursery or consultancy. The City Council of Nembro (city) was who proposed a new change of use, and this was none other than the one of a library. The «lovers» of the books and the study were in luck with this decision, although the best was to come: the shape and the structure of the original building required the incorporation of a new nave. The ancient construction, in «U» shape, gives in the rear on to a courtyard, and in front of him the Archea Associati architecture team projected the construction that before us today.

Nembro library


The building connects through the basement to the main construction, which enables clearly the physical separation of the different styles, without sacrificing the historic nature of the first building by the innovation of the new construction. Very well thought! In the basement exist a large room for computer consultation, from the basement is accessed to the new building which contains a reading room, as if were a treasure (indeed it is) the books available for consultation are there ; the numerous tables of reading and study rooms are located at ground and first floor of the old building. The cost of the intervention was 1.888.250 euros and the surface of action reached the 1,875 square meters.

The new nave has been made with a metallic structure and a enclosure outside transparent (12 mm of tempered glass, 15 mm of air chamber and a sheet of glass laminated 6 + 6), and as an element of sunscreen have opted for the traditional elements of a way atypical, but equally functional. They are terracotta bricks or pieces of ceramic formed by the cooking of treated clay, enamel of red carmine and introduced of randomly and pointing different directions in a tubular structure anchored to the main one, for me, this are a perfect curtain that distributed inside the light and the shadow in an effective way and nothing harmful.

Terracotta, Ceramic. The clay bricks are possibly the first constructive element made artificially. It is so simple that it is used by (almost) any civilization that is in any part of the world: If you have clay, water and a mould you can already put to work. Examples of brick buildings of clay are the great wall of China, Hagia Sophia or the dome of the Cathedral of Florence, separate, and clear, countless castles during the Middle Ages, their influence is such that even the native Americans knew of its existence and used them in the great pyramids of the Maya.

Nembro library


The quality that makes possible this massive use of the clay is the plasticity, property by which a material is deformable and adopts the new form irreversible and permanently once exceeded its characteristic elastic limit (each material has a different elastic limit). When this happens, once molded the material, it enter into the oven and the temperature rising between 700 and 1000 ° C, this makes a material undeformable, rigid and with a extreme durability. If we have vitrified this material we can obtain pieces of exquisite fracture and greater resistance to scratched.

The Curtain. The company Sannini has been responsible for the realization of these enameled bricks of 36 x 36 cm, whose weight is 13 kg the unit. If we look at the brick from the top will see that it has 8 holes, which correspond with the name of the city «Nembro’, plus two for signaling and insert the steel bars that attach them to the structure… is not brilliant?

Nembro library


It should be noted that the distances between the different elements of the «curtain» are not identical, nor follow a vertical order; this makes difficult the aesthetics uniform and create different environments inside and outside the building. The clamp system is very simple and didactic: terracotta plates are inserted into steel bars, organized in different orientations, these plates are set with a plastic plug and a set screw and it join to main tubular structure that transmits the efforts to the pillars to prevent displacement, the pillars are formed by four profiles in «L» and welded to a central platform, as you can see, everything is very well studied.

I not need to tell you that already I ordered him the company Sannini Impruneta a few ceramic pieces with my registered name… right? Bye bye.


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