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Think modular! Utility, versatility, and economy of prefabricated elements

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Think modular! Utility, versatility, and economy of prefabricated elements

20 December 2019

Modules and architecture, from fractals to prefabricated elements

The discipline of architecture is characterized by proportions, modules, and ratios, which, in most cases, are inspired by nature. Starting with the Vitruvian Man, to the Modulor by Le Corbusier, the intention was always to find relationships between human beings and their surroundings. One of the main objectives, especially during Modernism, was to project efficient spaces, in terms of both usability and economy.

The study of modules and proportions became a specific line of research in architecture, which is known as modular architecture. This term defines any project of different scales that are composed of equal, separate, and repeated elements in such a way that they form a unicum. The main advantage of this type of construction is that each component can be easily replaced in case of breakage, without affecting the rest of the system.

In this way, modular architecture is characterized by versatility and ease of installation, with its consequent economic and time savings. All possible thanks to the production technology, characterized by innovative manufacturing techniques and resource optimization.

Many ideas come from Nature, which is an infinite source of inspiration. An example is the fractals, the perfect representation of modularity, which many contemporary architects refer to it as the natural world in their opera. An example is the case of the Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, famous for his modular macrostructures. An example of his work is the Oriente Station in Lisbon, also known as the Forest. Inaugurated for the 1998 Universal Exhibition, it is now part of the Park of Nations.

But we do not need to go so far away to perceive the concept of modularity in our daily lives. In Barcelona, the idea of modules and modularity is under our feet every day! The famous panots - the typical tiles of Barcelona - are an example of modularity, and we find them in all the main streets of the city.

At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the streets of Barcelona were unpaved. Thanks to the processes of urban regeneration activated by the Universal Exhibition of 1888 and 1929 and the introduction in the market of new prefabrication techniques - such as the hydraulic mosaic - the streets were quickly paved. In our post about the history of SAS, we told you how this technique represents an important step in the history of the prefabrication. The hydraulic mosaic allowed to produce elements perfectly equal, in a short time and with low costs. Also, they can be customized with unique designs.

Los Panots Barcelona – conocidos también como las Flores de Barcelona – son caracterizados por una flor realizada con la superposición de cinco círculos. Por otro lado, el Panot Gaudí, realizado también por SAS, tiene un diseño hexagonal que lleva un suave relieve de inspiración marina. Estos elementos son fácilmente reconocibles: caracoles, medusas y estrellas de mar. Este Panot fue inicialmente proyectado como pavimentación interna de la Casa Batlló, famosa por su tema marino, pero finalmente Gaudí decidió utilizarlo para la Casa Milà, conocida también como La Pedrera. Desde 1997, el Ayuntamiento de Barcelona pavimenta las principales avenidas de la ciudad con el Panot Gaudí, como por ejemplo el Passeig de Gracia, en honor al arquitecto Antoni Gaudí.

The panots Barcelona, also known as the Flowers of Barcelona, are the first results of this new technique and are characterized by a flower created by the overlapping of five circles. On the other hand, the Panot Gaudí - also made by SAS - has a hexagonal design that bears a soft relief of marine inspiration. These elements are easily recognizable: snails, jellyfish, and starfish. The Panot was projected for the internal paving of Casa Batlló, famous for its marine theme. But finally, Gaudí decided to use it for Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera. Since 1997, the City Council of Barcelona has paved all the main avenues of the city with the Panot Gaudí, such as Passeig de Gracia, in honor of the architect Antoni Gaudí.

Modularity assumes a vital role in the development of projects. And we at SAS also think that modularity is the best way to optimize our customers' time and economic resources. For this reason, our products are designed for easy transport and quick installation on-site, thus ensuring maximum versatility and speed in construction.

 

The Toscana modular fence is one of the best examples of modular elements in our catalog. The combination of our two pieces TPLA75 and TCOR75, gives life to infinite possibilities, creating different combinations and playing with the light and shadow effect. Also, with the Multiangle Column COL22, the angle of the fence can be customized, allowing to install them both at ground level or above any wall. Toscana modular fence allows you to integrate your house with the surrounding landscape in the best way, without renouncing to its function of protection and guaranteeing your safety and privacy.

One of the latest creations of SAS is the SASTRIA, designed in collaboration with the architecture studio GARCÍA-DURÁN & EQUIP. It is inspired by the triangle of Sierpinsky, a Polish mathematician fascinated by the beauty of triangular geometry. This modular element is the preferred flooring of our clients, both architects, and landscapers.

The modularity of SASTRIA allows you to play with the spaces and create different decorative motifs to obtain unique and personalized designs. Furthermore, the grass passes through its holes, giving a feeling of total integration with its natural environment.

Are you thinking about how modules are always present in your life? Look at your bathroom and its tiles, the kitchen, your furniture, the windows, and their dimensions. Everything has perfect proportions, established by different factors, including the ease of assembly, production costs, quality, and the aesthetics of the product. That is what we offer to our customers.

For more than a century, we have been innovating our products to make you easily carry out your projects. Any questions? Do not hesitate to contact us, and we will help you to think modular!

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