concrete forms: brise soleils of Henry Klumb

After years of photographing, sketching and even having listened to unsatisfactory explanations, it wasn’t until recently – while visiting the Río Piedras Campus to see the remains of an experimental green roof – that I gained consciousness of the constructive, or rather assembly logic of Henry Klumb’s brise soleil system at the Osuna Building. The following sketches and photos aim to illustrate my understanding of these and other quiebrasoles found at several of the German master’s buildings.


20130101-042423 p.m..jpg Based on the concrete brise soleil system at the Juan José Osuna Building, Pedagogy Faculty at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras.


20130101-044853 p.m..jpg Based on the concrete façade system at the former IBM building in Santurce, Puerto Rico. The same system was used at the Student Center at the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico.


20130101-050351 p.m..jpg Sketch is based on the reinforced concrete brise soleil system at the Law School building at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. The same system was used at the main library at the Mayagüez Campus.

These are the sketches I made on the visit to the green roof.

20130203-125138 a.m..jpg
Plan of the green roof at the Faculty of Social Studies and a small site plan indicating its location within the building. The section of the main hallways that lead to the classrooms shows the spatial relationship of the quiebrasoles; the drop and gap between screen and hallway accentuate the separation of the façade freeing it from the main structure. This sketch fails to illustrate the fact that at every level the brise soleil displaces outward at least 6 inches from its vertical axis; a subtle change only visible to those who pay attention. (I wasn’t on that day since I was amazed of my recent discovery).

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This pages (a rather awkward composite of sketches) illustrate several aspects of the system; the one point perspective tries to emulate the spatial feeling of the hallways; while at the margins a section and elevations of the screen give way to the ‘blow up’ details of the concrete spacers.

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Here’s a section of the classrooms that i made on a separate visit. It not only illustrates the screen’s displacement as you climb floors, but also shows the stepping of the courtyards as one progress from one to the next.

3 thoughts on “concrete forms: brise soleils of Henry Klumb”

  1. Es hora de que alguien escriba sobre Henry Klumb en términos espaciales y no hagiográficos o meramente porque fue una figura que apropió el idioma del Movimiento Moderno. Jorge Rigau


  2. Nice topic and sketches. When I opened the link I was expecting to read a detailed explanation of the brise soleils of Henry Klumb (other than the captions). But if this is part of a previous post then I will look it up.

    Happy New Year and keep on writing! L.

    Sent from my iPhone


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