A tall challenge

ravelling in a car without a seatbelt, smoking on a plane, or entering a hospital without wearing a mask; all these things were normal years ago, but today are unthinkable. 

The time and the context we live in shape our customs, cities and societies.

And continuing with things that are impossible today: 

Building a 54-metre-tall tower in the historical centre of a town. 

Let’s bring this idea back down to earth.

The project that we’re talking about today, the Zabalotegi Tower of Bergara in the north of Spain, was built in 1967, when there was a great need for housing due to the economic situation at the time. Back then, there was a huge influx of people coming to work in Bergara’s burgeoning industry, which was largely focused on textiles and metals. Their industry became so important that the colour of blue working fabric became known as “Bergara blue”.

There wasn’t enough space in the town centre, so they had to consider building vertically. Today such a project would be unthinkable, as now we try to integrate buildings more appropriately into their surroundings.

From an architectural perspective, building towers has always been a challenge as well as a symbol of technological development. That is why so much precision is required when restoring them

The initial objectives: repairing and insulating the structure

As with many buildings from this period, one of the main obstacles is the instability of the structure, in addition to the need for thermal insulation.

The restoration project was carried out by the BEB architectural studio (Iñaki Berasategi, Elisabeth Ena and Xabier Berasategi), who decided to cover the old facade with the Stoneo facade cladding, thus giving it a fresh new appearance and providing the building with thermal and acoustic insulation.

The facade systems leave a ventilated chamber between the cladding and the insulation, which is why it is considered one of the most efficient and profitable building solutions (for new buildings or restorations), due to its ability to combine:

Comfort, durability, strength and energy savings.

Prior work is essential: wind and structural calculations

It is essential to be fully specialised in the design and installation of these types of buildings and also to have a team of specialists who can provide personalised technical advice. 

Before we begin work, our installation protocols require that we carry out anchor extraction testing on the supporting walls, in accordance with the recommendations of the ETAG 020-B standard.

We also follow the standard’s recommendations when choosing the type and geometry of the anchors that the panels will be fixed to, taking into account the properties of the base wall materials, including both the brickwork and the type of concrete used. 

With towers, these points are even more critical, as wind loads must also be taken into account to ensure safety.

Since the beginning of history, towers have been a symbol of power and have reflected the development of the societies where they are built.
Although the Zabalotegi tower was not built with this goal in mind, its new appearance will help to make it look more friendly from any point of Bergara

Well-designed aesthetic

In order to adapt to the scale of the building, large format panels (1600 x 900 mm) were chosen for the 2,500 m2 facade, with the slate texture of the Stoneo Pure range in three different colours: white (M24), cream (M29) and grey (M06). These panels were installed horizontally, to balance out the vertical nature of the building. 

The importance of insulation

If you need advice for a tall building project, get in touch with us. We can offer bespoke looks for all your projects.

It is essential to install insulation in a facade cladding, as it allows you to avoid thermal bridges and improve energy efficiency. Eliminating these bridges will also rid you of undesirable damp and condensation in the homes. All of this helps to achieve interior comfort and energy savings of up to 30%.

This insulation is installed on the outside of the building, within the ventilated chamber in between the wall and the facade, to avoid the need for construction work indoors. This will help to prevent the residents being bothered by the renovation process.

At ULMA we have been installing facade systems for years and our work is always based on the criteria of efficiency, sustainability and safety. All our construction solutions are in line with the principles of environmental protection, energy efficiency and user comfort.