A Suspended Ceramic Latticework

John Hill
7. October 2019
Photo: Adriá Goula

Architect Joan Miquel Seguí's design for the new entrance to the Intermodal Station in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, is appropriately the winner of a 2018 Tile of Spain Award: the ceramic latticework filters sunlight during the day and glows like a beacon at night.

Project: Entrance to Palma Intermodal Station, 2018
Location: Plaza de España, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Architect: Joan Miquel Seguí
Manufacturer: Cerámica a mano alzada
Product: Custom tile lattice
Production: Ceramica Ferres
Awards: 2018 Tile of Spain Awards: Architecture
Photo: Adriá Goula

Providing a cover for a subterranean entrance to a bus and rail station would seem like a must, but when the Palma Intermodal Station was built in 2007 at Plaza de España, one was not provided. Not surprisingly, the underground station flooded, the escalators broke, and passengers were uncomfortable on sunny days. A decade later Joan Miquel Seguí became responsible for a new cover as well as a detached information tower that would signal the presence of the station; both were built with ceramic latticework.

Photo: Adriá Goula

The cover over the entrance, the focus here, is a flat roof whose planks are punctuated by a random grid of round skylights and is supported by two large steel beams sitting atop two rows of three columns each. The roof structure cantilevers to support the suspended latticework that is framed by vertical metal tubes and horizontal angles at the top and bottom. From the outside, the metal tubes are invisible, set inside the ceramic latticework and aligned with the joints; once underneath the cover the metal structure is visible.

Photo: Adriá Goula

The ceramic pieces — 9,000 of them — that make up the latticework are each 12cm x 24cm x 12cm. A diagonal is inserted into the rectilinear pieces, creating a pattern achieved by alternating them and also serving to keep pigeons out of the cavities. Perhaps the diagonal also expresses the descent into the subterranean station. Whatever the case, the simplicity and repetition of the ceramic pieces makes for a fitting addition to the city's Plaza de España.

Photo: Carlos Gabilondo
Drawing: Joan Miquel Seguí
Drawing: Joan Miquel Seguí
Drawing: Joan Miquel Seguí
Drawing: Joan Miquel Seguí
Drawing: Joan Miquel Seguí
Drawing: Joan Miquel Seguí
Drawing: Joan Miquel Seguí

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