DuPont™ Tyvek® protects the chemical laboratories of a University in Como, Italy

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Comfort, energy efficiency and long-lasting protection for the laboratories of the University of Insubria

The northern facade of the new building housing the chemical laboratories of the University of Insubria’s Department of Science and High Technology (in Como, Italy) which benefits from the installation of DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Façade advanced breather membrane. DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade has been specially developed to protect the insulation and the structure of buildings with open-jointed or ventilated cladding from the effects of sunlight, wind and moisture, for up to 50 years. Photo Airaudo Costruzioni, all rights reserved

The construction of the new chemical-environmental laboratories for the University of Insubria’s Department of Science and High Technology’s (located in Como, Italy, about 50 km north of Milan) is now complete, creating the ideal conditions for the well-being and productivity of students and researchers alike.  Studio Ishimoto Europe, to whom the project was awarded, chose to protect the building envelope and guarantee its optimum performance by wrapping it with DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Façade, a special, UV-protected breather membrane for ventilated façade applications

Unique in its class, DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade is the only known protective membrane for open-jointed cladding systems to carry the CE marking, certifying full conformity with the European Union’s rigorous construction products directive. To obtain the CE marking for open-jointed cladding use, a membrane must resist artificial aging by permanent UV radiation for 5000 hours (for standard wall/roof applications the criteria is 336 hours).

The 3000 square metre cube consists of six floors and is designed to host 25-30 scientific research laboratories. The northern aspect of this sober, clean-lined building has been designed with a ventilated façade, behind which DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade adds benefits both in terms of shielding the structure from the adverse effects of weather and in terms of sustainability and cost-savings through enhanced thermal performance.

Furthermore, DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade protects the insulation materials that have been installed to the wall structure behind the exterior cladding, thus preventing moisture damage from degrading its fundamental performance.

The new building, an addition to the University that is both elegant and optimally functional, has been designed with an envelope composed of a structural layer of reinforced concrete, an insulating layer in polystyrene, and airtight ‘wrapping’ of DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade and exterior cladding made from perforated steel to form an attractive finish. 

The necessity of a protective layer with proven performance in its resistance to wind, water and UV had to be matched with  reliable vapour permeability, so as to avoid stagnation  due to residual condensation in the insulating layer, which in turn lies in direct contact with the aeration system of the reinforced concrete.

DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade is a membrane of pure black, a colour which is both aesthetically discreet and which also ensures the essential resistance to UV radiation required of a membrane which may be exposed to direct sunlight as part of ventilated façade system.

The benefits of the system extend beyond protection from the elements and to enhanced interior comfort and improved energy-efficiency. DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade has a functional layer with a thickness of 225µ, and together with its ability to withstand the degrading effects of sunlight, it is lightweight, robust and easy to install, thus also resistant to the kind of damage that can arise during the construction process.

DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Façade is CE certified and has passed rigorous testing against 5000 hours of permanent UV-radiation. The unique structure of the membrane is composed of millions of highly stabilized polyethylene microfibers that create a texture that guarantees the proper and homogenous diffusion of UV and thermal gains, offering superior durability and elevated resistance over time to heat or solar radiation damage.

The construction contract for the project was awarded to Airaudo Costruzioni (Cuneo, Italy), responsible for creating the ventilated facade system. This functional layered solution comprises masonry support in a thickness of 250 mm, an insulating layer of 100+50mm thickness, an airtight yet vapour-open layer of DuPont™ Tyvek® UV Facade, a variable ventilation gap of between 170 and 200 mm, a load bearing structure in aluminum, and finally, perforated Corten A steel sheets for the exterior cladding.

Now standing proud as an integral aspect of the University of Insubria’s campus, this massive yet elegant cube is also connected to the Educational Museum of Silk and Silk Processing, as if to create a bridge between Como’s historic role in the silk industry and the city’s bright future.