concerning to the facing brick in Cajal.

Miguel Fisac


Miguel Fisac, as everyone, met the drawbacks while he was working. Just carried by the custom and use, it is common to try to solve a concrete and often seemingly insignificant problem, to accept as good something without thinking where from this instinctive and light dissatisfaction comes which is felt. Before this sensation, two things can be done: ignore it and look for “more important” challenges or go deeper to see where it take us. Miguel, as good architect and inventor, always chooses this last one.


In 1951, while he was projecting the Centre for Biological Research of the Instituto Cajal in Madrid, this discomfort comes up when realizing that the usual way to construct a non-load-bearing curtain walls made of brick, two options are possible, the first one is with a thick partition of 9 x 10 cm thick constructed with hollow double bricks (tabicón de ladrillo hueco doble in Spanish), which due to its impermeability and aesthetic deficiencies, requires a parging and one more coating work, which increase the cost and takes away its characteristic quality of curtain wall; the second one is to one-brick wall, which is a nonsense, since without using it as supporting element, the structure gets extraordinary overloaded and a little isolation is achieved. Developing these ideas, is when the hollow double facing brick with the exterior face slightly inclined to protect the joint from drips, “in this way, the exterior coating can be avoided, since the inclined face doesn’t let the water drip penetrate into the joints, and what is more, its aspect is pleasant and appealing, suits perfectly with solid facing brick buildings, and has got a proper and specific quality as curtain wall”.


The replacement of the original facing bricks for curtain wall, because of the adaptation works of the Instituto Cajal for the Finance Ministry offices, is justified by our necessity to value, care and conserve the projects which due to their importance and quality have reached us and form part of our more or less recent history and of our city. Thanks to the interest of HDR, grupo díaz redondo, for participating in this project and manufacture these ceramic pieces, a facing brick with great quality and identical features, with an “earthy color, quite dark”, the same one that will guarantee the preservation and will avoid an intervention which would have distorted the building constructed by Miguel Fisac in 1951.


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