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About This Project

Olombian-born architect Juan Gabriel Moreno has become one of the five architects who is redefining Chicago’s urban skyline, thanks to the singular appearance and architecture of “El Centro”, a building on Northeastern Illinois University’s satellite campus.

The building’s futuristic design – with an asymmetrical structure clad in materials as diverse as glass, URBATEK through-body porcelain tiles makes it one of the most instantly recognizable reference points for motorists on the Kennedy Expressway, one of the main highways leading into Chicago. Most of this merit can be attributed to its unusual glass façade, clad in a succession of bi-coloured fins, which give the building a blue or yellow appearance depending on the vantage point.

Converging diagonal lines lend a sense of dynamism to “El Centro’s” glass-clad structure, which stands on a more compact base that is also polyhedral in shape. For the building envelope of this section, JGMA architects’ studio used an innovative ventilated façade system by Butech featuring through-body On Black Nature tiles by URBATEK.

The deciding factor in choosing these porcelain tiles for the outside of the building was their superb technical performance, in particular their resistance and durability. Another important factor was their variety of inter-combinable modular formats (59.6 x 59.6 cm and smaller cut-down versions). Lastly, their cement-like appearance fits in perfectly with the building’s modern design.