Honorary mentions for the Tile of Spain Awards were given to “Valle de las Cañas Sports Centre in Pozuelo de Alarcón” by Frechilla & López-Peláez Arquitectos.


Tile of Spain continues to stand behind its global commitment to the four hallmarks of innovation, technology, design and ecology. This belief has been aggressively carried out through recent programs that honor the best and brightest design using ceramic tile as a key building material, by supporting research and development in the field of ceramics and by Spanish manufacturers’ constant strive for technological breakthrough.

“Casp 74 Housing Block” by Bach Arquitectes.

Not Only Design

The Tile of Spain Awards has become a benchmark measurement for excellence within Spain’s architectural world. In its 9th edition, more than 145 designs were entered across the three categories of the awards: architecture, interior design and degree projects.

The jury judging the entries was chaired by Alberto Campo Baeza, a prominent Spanish architect who is known especially for buildings such as the Headquarters of the Caja de Ahorros de Granada, the Casa de Gaspar in Véjer de la Frontera and the Bit Centre in Inca.

When the jury met to select the winners of these awards it decided unanimously to award the prize in the architecture category to the “Casp 74 Housing Block” by Bach Arquitectes. The building was singled out not just for the high quality of the architecture but also for the exemplary way in which ceramic tiles were used on its façade.

The jury also awarded an honorary mention to the “Valle de las Cañas Sports Centre in Pozuelo de Alarcón” by Frechilla & López-Peláez Arquitectos, plus two distinctions to projects entered by Ramón Esteve and Mestura Arquitectes, “IES Jaume I” and “CEIP 2L Martinet” respectively.

In the interior design category, the award went to the “Avenida Libertad Car Park” by Manuel Clavel Rojo. The jury also gave honorary mention to the “Restoration of the Admiral’s House” by Estudio de Arquitectura Blasco Esparza.

Lastly, the Tile of Spain Awards recognize the best degree project completed by architecture students that give a prominent role to ceramic tiles. The jury awarded first prize to the “San Sebastián Thermal Sea Baths” by Alba Balmaseda Domínguez, who is studying at the Advanced Technical School of Madrid. It also awarded two honorary mentions: one to the “Escuela de Cine de Calatañazor” (“Calatañazor Film School”) by Sonia Pérez Rubio, of the Advanced School of Architecture of Madrid; and to “Centro de Arte Contemporáneo en el Barrio del Mercado” (Market District Centre for Contemporary Art) by María Asunción Ibáñez Roselló, Advanced School of Architecture of Valencia.

It's Time for Innovation

Tile of Spain recently demonstrated its ongoing commitment to innovation in the use and functionality of ceramic tile as well as its deep investment in the United States market. A one-year research program entitled “Ceramic Futures,” undertaken by the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) was supported and funded by the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER).

Over the past year, the project has engaged students from several GSD degree programs. Working with the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Harvard Ceramic Program, the Instituto de Technologia Ceramica (ITC) in Spain, and ASCER, the research team investigated processes for designing and robotically generating a customized ceramic shading system that reduces annual heating and cooling loads and improves occupant comfort. The broader ambition of the project was to develop and test a new design workflow that bridges the current gap between digital design and fabrication-a step that typically requires the generation of a new digital model from scratch.

Led by Martin Bechthold, Professor of Architectural Technology, and Christoph Reinhart, Associate Professor of Architectural Technology, the project combines the professors’ respective research in robotic fabrication methods and sustainable design analysis workflows. Prototypes and visualizations of the project were exhibited at the GSD from March 25 to April 17, 2011.

The “Ceramics Futures” research program, undertaken by the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), supported and funded by the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER), is led by Martin Bechthold, Professor of Architectural Technology, and Christoph Reinhart, Associate Professor of Architectural Technology. The project combines the professors’ respective research in robotic fabrication methods and sustainable design analysis workflows.

All Power to Technology

Technology is now catching up to the unbridled creativity which is widely recognized as a hallmark of the tile industry. This marriage of technological advancement and innovative spirit allows modern tile manufacturers to re-create the depth and spontaneity of classic tiles handcrafted by master artisans. Digital ink-jet glazing has taken reproductions of stone, wood and textiles to new heights allowing not only for perfect likenesses but also textures and finishes that are impossible to achieve in the original material. Traditionally, engineers have worked to create tile that is perfectly flat, square and regular but today they are doing everything they can to bend, stretch, fold, layer, distress, shape and warp modern tile into anything but.

Now...Ecology

In the eco-centric 21st century, all material’s value is weighed against its environmental impact. The tile industry is taking this mandate to heart by striving for zero waste manufacturing and creating innovative product solutions for the modern consumer. These ecologically driven designs are forcing recognition for tile’s environmental benefits. Recent advancements include incorporating smart minerals into ventilated facades to clean the air, thin porcelains which halve the embodied energy and resource consumption, self-cleaning and anti-microbial glazes applied to interior tiles. Most recently unveiled at Cevisama is phase-changing tile that harnesses the high thermal mass of tile to regulate indoor temperature and feel warm to the touch.

For more about tile produced in Spain, contact Tile of Spain Center at the Trade Commission of Spain, by calling (305) 446-4387 or visit www.spaintiles.info.