Interview with Enri Chabal, architect


Architect Enri Chabal exploits the innovative possibilities Ductal® provides to create light, complex forms which display outstanding strength. One example is the sun shades which he designed for the university library on the Doua scientific campus in Lyon.


Why did you choose Ductal® to create the sun shades at the university library on the Doua campus ?

I was looking for a material which most closely resembled the concrete used to build this building in the 1960's. I also sought overall harmony and building materials that would age in a similar fashion. We also had to solve the constraints inherent in installing sun shade segments on this concrete façade. Lastly I wanted to create elements which were extremely thin, between 3 and 4 centimeters thick, yet with substantial span, between 1.7 and 2 meters. Graceful elements which were capable of withstanding significant loads such as heavy snowfall. Ductal® met every one of these demands.


Ductal® facilitates architectural creativity and enables you to reach new heights.

Enri Chabal

Was it the ideal material for this type of creation?

It is indeed totally unique, and displays several mechanical and esthetic qualities. It provides the architect with nearly unlimited potential to create complex, even extreme shapes that are also very light. It's a bit like working with modeling clay. You can do just about anything with Ductal®, it facilitates architectural creativity and enables you to reach new heights. It is ideal for use in small areas, on facings, decoration and other uses, despite a few technical constraints.

Such as ?

Ductal® is a highly technical material whose use requires total technological control. Its ability to replicate mold textures is such that if the mold is perfect, the concrete surface can appear as sleek as metal or plastic. In this case, it is less appealing for an architect like me, for I seek, above all, a somewhat mineral texture. For the Doua library, I had to explicitly ask the manufacturer to leave a few "defects" (blisters) so as to retain the appearance of concrete. Yet, I also used the luminosity and the reflection to turn the sun shades into "shelves of light" able to reflect the sun's radiation onto the suspended ceiling which diffused the light inside the building.

What, in your opinion, is the best market for Ductal® ?

The market for the renovation of old buildings, at any rate due to the purely architectural possibilities it provides, for with Ductal® you can redesign the façades of the buildings you renovate.

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