The Weft of Aluminium

Hangar 16 of the Cannes-Mandelieu airport is wrapped in aluminum, wood and glass spectacularly.

Hi, as I promised I have been reviewing the Atlantic Ocean in search of an island where starting to build. My first stop was in Quebec, in the islands of the Madeleine, they are twelve in total even though only eight are inhabited… I have lots of space to build a beautiful construction!! They have a climate quite soft and… the best are the beaches!, I will like to return there.

Today, with your permission, I am going to make a small literary experiment, as the great writers, such as, for example, Gabriel García Márquez in his famous book «The general in his Labyrinth» whose main character, as you know, is Simón Bolívar. What I propose to is to recount in third person as I discovered the greatness of the following material in my list, the aluminium. You judge by you same if is fiction or reality what I describe below:


Meeting at the airport (seventh stop)

For Rodolfo have to wait, is not an option and, if it were not for the importance of the appointment, perhaps he already had gone to perform other tasks. When their private plane landed in the Cannes-Mandelieu airport, specifically in the hangar 16, he could not imagine how much that he was going to like this experience. The hangar had been designed by the architecture group Comte and Vollenweider which, with a budget of only 15 million of eur, had built this marvel of concrete, wood, glass and aluminum. The total area of the hangar is 3.486 square meters and the offices included in it have 920 of the same unit, in total 4.406 square meters of construction and 6,000 of aeronautical surface.

Rodolfo had travelled in March of the same year at the fair of the wine of Mandelieu – La Napoule but he had not come through the airport, he had used the sailboat of a good friend of French, so he did not know the building, is true that the authorities had invited him to the inauguration, but he did not attended to not overshadow the mayors of the two cities (Cannes and Mandelieu). While the traders were arriving to the meeting, Rodolfo thought that the use of wood in structure was a good idea, it was making triangular lattices with laminated beams supported in solid wood. But, at its criterion, the star of the work was certainly the singular weft consisting of glass and aluminium.


The Weft of Aluminium

When the three traders arrived to the airport (high positions in their companies, two women and a man) Rodolfo knew that the supplier of aluminium profiles was Kawneer, who had also worked in the technical advice that needed this facade, it consisting of triangles and pyramids of glass (diamond points). He realized right away that the solution was basic and complex at the same time: Basic because it was a classic curtain wall (light facade that transmits its load and the thrust of the wind to the adjacent structure) and complex because it has 403 pyramids of triangular base and 403 flat triangles.

The three executives explained their ideas for the business that they had between hands, and Rodolfo listened with patience, but he did not can «to remove the eye» to modular boxes with form of triangle. This had needed six months of work, meetings between the parties, of discipline, of exchange of ideas and much collaboration to devise the operation of the façade (his own meeting seemed it a joke in comparation). But the result was impeccable, the divisions are easily interchangeable if required, the solution enables perfectly the dilatation of each member and the connecting elements are not visible, this makes that the surface look is of glass. The project is perfectly integrated in the landscape of the lower Valley of the river Siagne.



Aluminium is one of the most abundant materials of the Earth, it has many applications: in construction, packaging, transport or decoration. The main advantages are lightness, strength, plasticity and versatility.

This material is extremely malleable; this is a great advantage because with a little effort can be created the most incredible shapes (paper, artistic figures, aluminium profiles most common in the construction…). Another curious advantage is that aluminium will oxidize more quickly than iron, this is an advantage because the oxide layer that forms on the aluminium is transparent and very tough and this prevents that the material can oxidize.


But the most interesting is that the aluminium is a material that, by its qualities, has still defiance for reaching.

I now conclude the experiment of today, but not before you explain that executives were stunned when I showed them my ideas, of course. Bye bye


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