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GFF’s Brian Kuper on seamless facade design and fabrication

Architecture Facades+ News Southwest Technology
Burnet Marketplace, Austin. (Courtesy GFF)
Burnet Marketplace, Austin. (Courtesy GFF)

Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can turn an architectural challenge into an opportunity. Such was the case for Dallas-based GFF, which hired a crop of new design school graduates earlier this decade—just in time to deliver an innovative solution to a seemingly prosaic problem. The problem involved enclosing a bridging element between two parts of a Burnet Marketplace, a mixed-use project in north Austin. The solution, courtesy of one of the new hires, was to streamline design and fabrication using Rhino’s parametric modeling capabilities.

GFF used Rhino to streamline documentation for the Burnet Marketplace project. (Courtesy GFF)

GFF used Rhino to streamline documentation for the Burnet Marketplace project. (Courtesy GFF)

Upon seeing the young designer’s presentation on some of the digital design skills he had learned in school, recalled Design Director Brian Kuper, GFF’s more experienced staff thought “this is an opportunity to use parametric design, and Rhino specifically, to not only design a sun control and space-capturing system that we could model in-house for the client, but to go straight to fabrication with our documents rather than take a more traditional approach.” Kuper plans to tell the story of the Burnet Marketplace project in a panel on “Getting it Built: Overcoming Design, Time, and Budget Concerns” at next month’s Facades+ Dallas conference.

GFF completed the design work and sent the documentation directly to the fabricator in Austin. The fabricator then water jet cut the aluminum components. Relatively speaking, the entire cycle was complete in a snap. “Something that could have taken a lot of time and effort was really seamless,” said Kuper. “It also gave the message that younger folks have the ability to participate in and impact the design process.”

Hear more from Kuper and other facades pros at Facades+ Dallas. See the conference website to register for the symposium and a lab or dialog workshop of your choice.

The aluminum cladding was fabricated locally. (Courtesy GFF)

The aluminum cladding was fabricated locally. (Courtesy GFF)

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