Lisbon-based architectural firm Falanstério crafted a cubic extension for a primary school in the centre of the Portuguese town of Montijo. Its ventilated curtain wall façade now gleams in spectacular HI-­MACS® ‘Alpine White’ and boasts triangular cut-outs as interesting design elements. The curtain wall made from the solid surface material protects the glass façade behind it from inclement weather and provides effective shade from harsh sunlight.

EB Joaquim de Almeida primary school in the centre of Montijo was extended to include a nursery school and additional classrooms. The rising number of pupils had outgrown the old school buildings, so in response, Lisbon-based architectural firm Falanstério designed an extension on the eastern side of the canteen, which with a floor space of 100m2 would provide additional space for pupils, teachers and also parents. The extension functions not just as an addition to the existing canteen, but also houses the teachers’ room with work areas, meeting rooms and a representative reception area.

The main space of the extension was executed as a cube-shaped pavilion. The architects first installed a high-quality double-glazed glass façade with aluminium framework. 

Next, fabricator Horta & Veríssimo gave the new building a ventilated curtain wall made of Solid Surface material HI-­MACS® to provide shade for the glass façade behind it and ensure optimal ventilation at the same time. The curtain wall primarily comprises HI-MACS® panels in ‘Alpine White’: 19 panels measuring 3,680 mm × 1,350 mm × 12 mm, five panels measuring 3,680 mm × 910 mm × 12 mm, and nine panels measuring 3,680 mm × 760 mm × 12 mm. Two panels in ‘Black’ measuring 360 mm × 760 mm × 12 mm were added as well. Overall, the entire process from panel manufacture to final installation on site took just under four weeks. The solid surface elements were fixed with KEIL undercut anchors.

With its almost unlimited design possibilities, HI-MACS® was the ideal choice for this type of façade cladding. The Solid Surface material boasts a number of special properties including excellent weather resistance, which was a must in this project. The ability to process the Solid Surface panels with precision – to give them routed geometrical cut-outs in the shape of triangles – means that the curtain wall still lets in enough light from the outside while also providing sufficient privacy and a pleasant indoor environment.

HI-MACS® is also the first solid surface material on the market to receive the official European Technical Approval (ETA) for façades for the Alpine White S028 colour. In addition, the solid surface material also received the French QB certification and the CSTB ATec “Avis Technique” for façade applications.

Visually the new space blends in perfectly with the existing buildings. Thanks to its striking aesthetic and notably contemporary design, the pavilion contrasts interestingly from the old buildings, but still maintains a harmonic connection to the adjacent buildings due to the geometrical design elements, inspired by traditional Portuguese styles.