Case Study - U Pavayun - Villa del Sol, Monaco
High above the city centre, halfway between the mountains and the sea, there is a building that nobody can fail to notice: ‘U Pavayún’ proudly showcases the principality’s official colours – white and red – in a way uniquely its own. By combining vivid colours inspired by nature with a bold and modern architectural concept, the building maximises the visual impact of its ventilated façades. To add thermal efficiency to the cladding’s enduring beauty, external insulation has been integrated into the façade system.
Striking and colourful: an apartment building in Monaco makes a stunning design statement with Trespa® Meteon® cladding
The starting point: an awkwardly shaped lot
The building is located on a tightly curved street. To make the most out of the available space, the east façade is markedly convex, while on the opposite side, the building’s façades are orthogonal. Jean-Michel Ughes of ArchiStudio in Monaco was put in charge of the project by the Principality itself. The architect was keen to stick to a design concept entirely based on the stringent interaction between lines and geometric volumes. On the west side, this idea translates into what looks, at first sight, like a deliberately deconstructed pile of boxes – in stark contrast with the smooth curvature of the east-facing balconies.
Cleverly stacked boxes with sharply defined sea views
The box-like volumes opening on the Mediterranean Sea and the Principality are a defining feature of the building. The views help remove the boundaries between indoor and outdoor by acting as extensions of the indoor living spaces. Flooded with sunlight, the apartments gain an additional dimension.
Cladding the boxes: why Trespa® Meteon® was the solution of choice
Jean-Michel Ughes explains: “I was attracted to Trespa® panels right away, as we were working on a project which is completely at odds with traditional buildings. We wanted to design façades that would set us apart – that would be more contemporary, more innovative, and ultimately more enduring”.
In addition, the ventilated Trespa® Meteon® façades have been designed to include external thermal insulation: the insulation material is located between the exterior walls and the Trespa® panels. As uncommon as this technical option might be in Monaco, it comes with a crucial advantage: in a city where real estate is extravagantly expensive, every square foot counts, and external insulation – unlike its internal alternative – does not encroach on the available living space.
I was attracted to Trespa® panels right away (…). We wanted to design façades that would set us apart – that would be more contemporary, more innovative, and ultimately more enduring”. Jean-Michel Ughes, Archi Studio.
Playful interactions: how the vivid Trespa® colours complement the white parts of the façade
For ‘U Pavayun’, the architect selected two best-sellers among the wide range of available Trespa® Meteon® finishes. Sienna Brown is a solid reddish brown tone reminiscent of brick, rammed earth and the painters’ famous ‘Terra di Siena’ colour. It is evocative of regional building traditions and materials. New Decor French Walnut, the second finish, is inspired by natural wood. The alterning use of each finish on the protruding box-like volumes containing the balconies creates a recurrent pattern that underscores the carefully constructed geometry of the façades. In addition, both colours ideally complement the white elements of the building – the stuccoed surfaces and the balcony rail guards in perforated sheet metal.
A technical challenge dictated by the architectural signature
The Trespa® Meteon® panels have been fastened to a two-part sub-frame: vertical sub-framing rails help achieve perfect alignment with the protruding boxes and horizontal rails support the cladding itself. Jean-François Riehl of Monégasque de Couverture, the installer in charge of the project, comments: “The complexities we were faced with derived from the need to achieve perfect alignment. Any discrepancy between the position of the panel joints and the box outlines would have been very unsightly”. The required shop drawings were made by ArchiStudio themselves. They thoroughly optimise the signature pattern of lines that sets the façades apart – to such an extent that the panel joints’ position picks up on the railings of the balconies and the edges of the adjacent window frames. Invisible panel fasteners have been used almost throughout. Exposed screws with inconspicuous, colour-matching heads were only used for the ceilings of the boxes that enclose the balconies.
The complexities we were faced with derived from the need to achieve perfect alignment. Any discrepancy between the position of the panel joints and the box outlines would have been very unsightly”. Jean-François Riehl, Monégasque de Couverture
The first building to comply with the Cerqual NF habitat HQE certification
The Principality’s first building to be awarded this demanding certification – a benchmark for environmental compliance since 2015 – ‘U Pavayun’ combines 33 apartments on nine floors with three offices spaces on the ground floor. As a result of a comprehensive energy-saving approach, the building’s efficiency and performance exceed by a full 33% the criteria defined by the RT 2012 energy regulation. The installed equipments include LED-only lighting, photovoltaic solar panels (121m²), solar water heating panels (18m²) and reversible heat pumps (heating/AC) that include a fallback water heating function.