Diab Divinycell P Norman Foster

Reducing weight of the Pavilion of Inspiration with composite materials

19 December, 2017

World-famous British architect Norman Foster, pioneer in the use of crystal technology applied to architecture and the designer of a large number of famous landmark buildings, chose Carbures to construct a glass and steel pavilion in the courtyard of the new Norman Foster Foundation in Madrid, Spain.

Pavilion of Inspiration
Foster’s international research center is housed in a historic building that has been restored and expanded. The courtyard, which leads to a basement filled with Foster’s archive and library, as well as a photography and slide collection, houses the spectacular Pavilion of Inspiration, made of glass and steel. The construction has involved many experts within the field of composite materials.

Composite specialists come together
Founded in 1999 in El Puerto de Santa María, Spain, Carbures specializes in the manufacturing of composite parts and structures. With its own technological and manufacturing processes to produce composite structures, the company has managed to branch out into different industries. For the Norman Foster project, Carbures teamed up with ENAR. Founded in the same year as Carbures, ENAR is a Spanish technical consultancy and engineering firm specialized in building façades, especially when emergent technologies and new materials are used. Carbures’ long-term business partner Diab was contacted as supplier of the core materials for the construction. Having worked together with Diab in others segments, such as transport and aerospace, Carbures was well aware of the advantageous properties of Diab’s core materials when it comes to weight reduction.

Divinycell P for the panels
The pavilion consists of 172 m2 panels made of glass fiber reinforced polymer, divided into ten units of three meters. The panels were made using Divinycell P60, P100and PX150, materials which, apart from being lighter than most traditional building materials, are fire and ultraviolet rays proof. In addition, the anticorrosive properties require a minimum of maintenance. 

Smooth infusion process and easy assembly
With the use of grooves and perforations in the composite materials, the infusion process went smoothly. The so-called GPC1 attribute has been developed to make the infusion process reliable, fast and robust on flat or slightly curved surfaces, while imprints on the surface are minimized. For fast and easy installation, the sheets were delivered as kits to be assembled on site. Through superior materials and composite expertise, the Pavilion of Inspiration is a true work of architechtural art.