The British firm of architects, Foster + Partners, headed by the famous architect Lord Norman Foster, is one of the most successful in the world. There is hardly a single metropolis where one of the imposing buildings built by this architect cannot be found. With their outstanding sense for distinctive designs, Foster and Partners has completed numerous large projects for renowned clients on many continents. In collaboration with the Spanish company Carbures Europe S.A and technology supplied by SAERTEX LEO®, another construction project designed by the architects at Foster has been completed. Carbures, with over 900 employees worldwide, specializes in processing composite components and composite structures. Since its establishment in 1999, the company has developed its own manufacturing processes and solutions for areas of application ranging from aerospace through to the automotive industry. Carbures undertakes truly pioneering work with its projects, particularly in the construction sector, and provides an indication of the direction the industry will take in future.



One of these pioneering projects is the “Pavilion of Inspirations”. For this project, the architects Lord Norman Foster, David Delgado, Raúl Gómez, and Jorge López took their inspiration from an airplane wing. The intention was to construct this pavilion next to the main building as part of the Norman Foster Foundation in Madrid. On the one hand, the pavilion was intended to remedy the asymmetric geometry of the external area, while making the roof appear to hover, on the other. In order to achieve this objective, the 172m2 roof was designed with a lightweight structure by architects working under Lord Norman Foster. The impression of a hovering roof is produced by a concealed steel structure which protrudes over a structural glass façade with no apparent support.



The composite roof, which is subdivided into sandwich panels arranged in parallel, was manufactured by Carbures S.A at its El Puerto de Santa María (Tecnobahía) plant. The roof’s structural fiberglass laminates are impervious to ultraviolet radiation, thanks to the use of the SAERTEX LEO® material system, and are particularly resistant to fire to comply with European standard DIN EN 13501. SAERTEX LEO® is a novel composite material system that not only meets the stringent fire protection requirements of the construction industry, the marine market, and the rail vehicle production sector, it also avoids the negative impacts on mechanical characteristics observed with conventional fire protection systems. A total of ten panels were used for the roof. The weight of the individual panels varies depending on their size, ranging from 98.09 kg for the smallest panels to 289.74 kg for the largest panels. The overall weight of the roof structure therefore reaches approx. 2000 kg. The time lapse film attached shows the progress of construction speeded up and in particular, between 0:36 and 0:40, how the ten panels were placed on the roof. 

Technical Benefits

  1. Weight saving.
  2. Particularly resistant to fire to comply with European standard DIN EN 13501.
  3. Impervious to ultraviolet radiation.

The Success Story

After the panels were installed with high precision, the project was completed on time and on budget, allowing the “Pavilion of Inspirations” in Madrid to be opened in June 2017. The pavilion houses a range of exhibits from the worlds of art, architecture, and design – including some from Lord Norman Foster’s personal collection.
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Carbures, with over 900 employees worldwide, specializes in processing composite components and composite structures.

LEO Infusion Resin

LEO Protection Layer (Topcoat / Gelcoat)

Core Materials (Optional)

LEO Reinforcement Material
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