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Not the Same Old Agora

This Colombian conference center uses a glazed skin to stay cool
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Convention centers owe their flexibility to their large, open floor plans. However, cladding and design often relegate these spaces into artificially illuminated and difficult to navigate venues for users. Estudio Herreros and Consorcio Bermudez Arquitectos’s Ágora-Bogotá, located in Colombia’s capital, responds to this stylistic quagmire with a multifaceted glass facade consisting of ten different treatments and electronically-controlled gills.
  • Facade Manufacturer GRUPO ALUMAN
  • Architects Estudio Herreros Consorcio Bermudez Arquitectos
  • Facade Installer Ramon Franklin
  • Facade Consultants Ignacio Fernandez Solla / ARUP
  • Location Bogota, Colombia
  • Date of Completion January 2018
  • System Custom-aluminum frame supporting ten different types of glass panels
  • Products Screen-printed and custom-glazed glass panels
The program of the 753,000-square-foot building blends significant public areas with more intimate meeting rooms and service areas. Different treatments of glass correspond to the acoustic and daylighting requirements of the various spaces. The 1,600-panel cladding system is tied to the overall structure via a network of large modular aluminum frames, with the glass panels ranging in size from approximately 4.5 feet by 8 feet, to 8 feet by 35 feet. According to the design team “the facade panels are mainly fastened by three-dimensional anchor elements made of stainless steel specifically designed for the project, being screwed to the edge of concrete slabs or being welded to the metal structure." Rather than relying heavily on energy-consuming heating and cooling systems, the Ágora-Bogotá uses its facade to moderate heat gain and loss. The east-facing facade is largely composed of single-glazed window panels to maximize solar gain in the morning hours. For the west-facing facade, the glass panels are imprinted with a dense silk screen pattern—an exterior-facing white pattern and interior black impression—to filter the stronger afternoon glare. In total, ten different glass types can be found across the building's elevations, which maintain a thermal transmittance below .704 BTU/per hour/per square foot. As a result of the many treatments and sizes of the glass panels, the visual qualities of the Ágora-Bogotá dynamically shift throughout the day and in different weather conditions. The facade is studded with a network of "ventilation gills" controlled by an electronic sensor system capable of tracking temperature, sunlight, and humidity. To cool the structure, the gills draw in Bogotá's mild weather—the city's temperature peaks in summer around 70 degrees farenheit—into its many conference halls and offices. In 2018, the project was awarded the "Best Project" prize at the Colombian Architecture Biennial, and the Madrid Architects' Association Global Practice Award.
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X-treme Construction

Extreme architecture: The great lengths (and heights) of high design
Throughout history, many great works of architecture both large and small have been made possible only through incredible feats of engineering and construction. In today’s world—where office and residential towers reach ever-increasing heights, new cities appear in an instant, and stringent safety and structural requirements make building arduous and time-consuming—architects must draw on their experience and know-how to bring innovative new projects to life. Three recent projects by American architecture firms highlight the lengths designers can go (and heights they can achieve) in pursuit of great design. Seattle Space Needle Olson Kundig The Space Needle in Seattle is a superlative building through and through. Built in 1962, the flying saucer-shaped observation tower was recently renovated by Olson Kundig and a daring team of contractors and engineers, including Hoffman Construction, Arup, Fives Lund, and Magnusson Klemencic Associates. To achieve their goal of modernizing the structure, the project team had to work delicately to make sure the weight of added and subtracted materials balanced out, while also ensuring that the majority of the new components could be transported up the needle’s two passenger elevators. Beyond these exacting specifications, crews also dealt with a job site located some 500 feet up in the air as they worked to install new panes of glass around the Space Needle’s flying saucer-shaped Top House. For the project, Hoffman and associated contractors erected a giant covered platform directly underneath the Top House to stage construction activities. The massive structure was lifted into the sky and built out from key hoist points, according to Bob Vincent, project manager at Hoffman. The platform, designed to function more or less like an oil rig deck, was used to stage construction so that workers could access the Space Needle’s Top House from below. The stage created something akin to a massive cocoon around the base of the Top House, and its associated enclosure kept workers protected from the elements. Vincent said, “With the full enclosure, the workers weren’t freezing and materials didn’t fly around too much. It kept wind and elements out, too. When we were done with the project, we dismantled the ring by bringing in all the components from the edges toward the middle.” Embassy in Chad Moore Ruble Yudell Architects A new American embassy campus in N’Djamena, Chad, by Santa Monica, California–based Moore Ruble Yudell (MRY) posed a different set of construction and site limitations. Located in a remote region of the country with a small pool of skilled labor, it fell on the design team to create a state-of-the-art building that could be constructed using locally available materials and building techniques. The approach for the technically complex and decidedly low-tech project was to blend simple finishes and off-the-shelf components with the aim of creating lively but humble buildings. The complex was erected using site-poured concrete walls and modular roof pieces, elements that helped meet the strict security and functional requirements for the embassy. The cementitious walls were then wrapped in exterior rainscreen paneling made up of thin-shell concrete and metal latticework. The lightweight panels, available in standard sizes that could be shipped easily to the site, were chosen to add color and patterning to the pragmatic buildings. In certain areas, including between the main lobby and the cafe, lightweight canopies were strung to create shaded outdoor areas and to collect rainwater. A new, centralized energy plant connected to solar panel arrays was also included in the off-the-grid project. Alexander Residence Mark English Architects While working on extensive renovations to an existing five-story cliffside home in the San Francisco Bay, Mark English Architects (MEA) was only able to deliver construction materials and remove debris via floating barge. With the closest road nearly 200 feet away from the waterfront home and accessible only by steep stairs and a cable car funicular, the design and construction team had to rent several barges to undertake the project. Located on the bayside face of Sausalito, MEA’s Alexander Residence is conceived of as a getaway spot for a client with an extensive art and furniture collection. For the renovation, MEA and GFDS Engineers worked to open up the 1970s-era home by removing some of the unnecessary interior partitions that marked its original pinwheel design. Along the lowest level, for example, facing the house’s private dock, a closed-off bedroom and living area were combined to create a studio apartment. Farther up, a home office, living room, and kitchen were united to form a great room–style arrangement with an elevated dining room, pass-through kitchen, and living area oriented around multimillion-dollar views of downtown San Francisco, Angel Island, and Alcatraz. “We rebuilt the house from inside out,” principal Mark English explained. “Everything we demoed, including the roofing, old doors and windows, and drywall, had to go out through the dock by barge.” The same was true for all of the replacement materials coming in, including new lengths of structural steel that were added for seismic resiliency and to transfer loads over some of the new window openings. For these elements, the contractors added a crane to the barge that was then used to lift the steel beams into place. English added, “We talked to two or three builders before settling on Landmark Builders. The others would inevitably bring up how difficult and expensive it would be to do this project. Luckily, we eventually found someone who thought it would be interesting to take on this out-of-the-ordinary project.”
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Super Bowl, Super Structure

Everything you need to know about Super Bowl LIII’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium
On Sunday, all eyes will be on Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new arena that, less than 18 months after opening, is hosting the biggest sporting event in the nation: Super Bowl LIII. The National Football League (NFL) championship game—this year between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams—will be played with an architectural backdrop unlike anything in the world. The $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the most sustainable sports facility on earth. It is LEED Platinum and the only stadium of its kind with a kinetic, retractable roof. Designed by HOK in collaboration with BuroHappold Engineering, the building broke ground in 2014 and officially opened in August 2017 during the Atlanta Falcons’ pre-season. The sculptural structure replaced the 25-year-old Georgia Dome which was demolished the previous month. Ahead of the game this weekend, here’s everything you need to know about the 2-million-square-foot Mercedes-Benz stadium: Situated in downtown Atlanta, the Benz (as locals call it) houses 71,000 seats for NFL games and 32,456 seats for Major League Soccer games. It features a motorized scrim attached to the roof structure that can cover several sections. Designed to emulate the Pantheon in Rome, it features a semi-transparent retractable roof that’s nicknamed “the oculus” that lets sunlight into the interior. Bill Johnson, design principal of HOK’s Kansas City office, said this “literal out-of-the-box” thinking was what won the over Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank who bankrolled the project. “We wanted to move away from the typical square roofs you see on most stadiums and come up with something that created energy in the middle,” Johnson said. “The vision was that the opening would create a very tiny pinpoint of light on the Falcons’ logo at the 50-yard line, and as the roof retracted, the spotlight would become bigger and bigger.” The stadium’s kinetic roof consists of eight, 200-foot-long triangular “petals” made of lightweight ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). These petals are fixed to 16 individual tracks that can move at different speeds. The Benz now holds the record for the largest application of a single ETFE membrane in the world at 143,000 square feet. The angular facade of the Benz consists of wing-like sections made of insulated metal panels that wrap around the bowl. As a nod to the swooping wings found on the Falcons’ logo, these sections overlap one another and create a feeling of movement on the exterior. The base of the building features a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall that lets light into the facility during the day and serves as a 16-story panoramic window to the city. To Johnson, the success of Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been its ability to create social experiences for visitors. “Fans' tastes have changed and people want a big, game-day experience,” he said. “Some of it is driven by social media, and some of it is driven by younger fans who want to get up and move around throughout an event, gathering together and watching things from different angles.” Several aspects define the Benz as ultra-green. It’s powered by 4,000 photovoltaics, including an array of solar panels designed as carports. Alone, these generate 617 kilowatt-hours of energy each year for the stadium and the surrounding neighborhoods. According to Johnson, up to 10 NFL games can be powered with this amount of energy. Additionally, underneath the stadium is a 600,000-square-foot cistern that can hold up to 2 million gallons of rainwater. Johnson said the intervention has helped decrease flooding in this area of Atlanta, while simultaneously providing irrigation for local trees. One of the most impressive features of the Benz, according to Johnson, is the 360-degree halo scoreboard that wraps the oculus. It stretches 1,075-feet-wide and six stories high. Over 4,000 miles of fiber-optic cable support the ring-shaped screen, as well as the 2,000 televisions, and other technology found in the building. While this is the first time the Benz has hosted a Super Bowl, it’s the third time Atlanta has won the bid in 25 years. The city put out a proposal midway through the construction of the new stadium. Post-opening, its first big test came last month when it played host to the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The college playoffs will come back to the Benz in late December and next year, it will host the NCAA Men’s Final Four.   For more, check out this timelapse of the Benz's build-out courtesy Earthcam.
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UV for Days

C. F. Møller Architects wrapped this Danish school with thousands of solar panels
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Solar panels are increasingly ubiquitous across a broad range of recent and ongoing projects. For the most part, this technology is applied along rooflines or as standalone installations supplying the energy demands of an adjacent complex. Completed in 2017, C.F. Møller’s Copenhagen International School bucks this trend with a facade composed of thousands of solar panels. The Copenhagen International School is located in the city’s fast-growing Nordhavn district, a significant harbor area undergoing a range of mixed-use development. The school, surrounded by looming cranes and shipping containers, is not out of place with its box-like massing.
  • Facade Manufacturer SolarLab
  • Architects C.F. Møller Architects
  • Facade Installer Per Aarselff A/S, Eiler Thomsen Alufacader A/S
  • Facade Consultants Niras A/S
  • Location Nordhavn, Copenhagen
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Concrete structural system with photovoltaic rainscreen
  • Products SolarLab custom-designed photovoltaic panels
According to the architects, the overall focus of the new masterplan for the district emphasized the use of sustainable energy embedded in a newly built network of roads, commuter stations, bike paths, and pedestrian paths. After testing the practicality of water and wind energy, solar energy was chosen as the most suitable for the school's needs. Rising from a ground flour base, the school building is divided into four educational towers ranging in height from five to seven stories. The facade of this unique arrangement is composed of over 12,000 custom-designed photovoltaic panels produced by Danish manufacturer SolarLab. The panels, which additionally function as a rain screen cladding, are all colored the same shade of blue-green. Each panel is slightly angled and treated with a nanogel to add a layer of dynamism to what would otherwise be a static facade format, which gives the effect of different colors and shading due to shifting environmental conditions. Each panel is approximately 2.5 square feet in area, and are mechanically held in place by a system of glass rails and aluminum cassettes, pitching each panel at an angle of 4° in relation to the facade. In total, the panels have a surface area of just over 65,000 square feet. For the most part, the panels are formed of 16 solar cells linked by tinned copper threads. The facade is split into eight-panel modules, each connected to independent inverters suspended under the ceiling throughout the building, converting the solar energy into an alternating current of 230 Volts. In total, the panels are estimated to produce 300 MWh per year, fulfilling 50% of the school's energy requirements. In 2017, the project was awarded Germany's Iconic Award, noting the school's innovative facade cladding, and C. F. Møller is currently designing a trio of floating classrooms adjacent to the Copenhagen International School.
   
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Tropical Topic

Maldives resort makes solar panels stylish for a luxury private island
Hot on the heels of the world's first underwater resort opening in the Maldives, an upscale hotel has opened a building with a distinctive solar panel roof on a private island in the Indian Ocean archipelago. New York's Yuji Yamazaki Architecture (YYA), which also created the submarine building, designed the new destination, known as the Kudadoo Maldives Private Island. The architects claim that the 320-kilowatt-peak (kWp) capacity of the roof system is enough to power the entire resort and that the system will recoup its cost after five years of use. Other design touches, like gaps between the panels to allow filtered interior daylighting and an extensive canopy overhang for shading, aim to minimize power use. The Maldives, a low-lying collection of atolls in the middle of the ocean, are exceptionally sensitive to climate change and any subsequent sea-level rise. Some studies estimate that islands like the Maldives may be uninhabitable by the middle of the century as rising sea levels flood aquifers, damage infrastructure, and submerge livable space. This makes the use sustainable power sources like solar panels particularly salient for the area. YYA chose to celebrate the panels on the roof rather than minimizing them or trying to camouflage them among other materials. Visitors will primarily approach the resort by plane, and the panels will be one of the first things they see. Of course, rooms at the private island don't come cheap. A recent search showed rooms starting at $2400 a night.
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Putting on a Public Face

Check out 2018’s best facade products for enclosure performance and design
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To ring in the New Year, AN dived into a year's worth of facade products to select the best of 2018. Ranging from operable vent windows to manually-embossed cement rainscreen panels, these products are sure to boost the environmental performance and aesthetic value of any new project. SUNGATE 400  Vitro Architectural Glass Sungate 400 is glazed with a passive solar control coating that improves thermal performance and reduces solar heat gain. This energy efficient solution helps to reduce winter heating costs and provides exceptionally clear views. YOV SSG OPERABLE VENT WINDOW YKK AP Engineered for maximizing views, this curtain wall system is built around structural silicone glazing. It includes an operable vent for aeration without the unsightly aesthetics and sight blockage of traditional windows and openings. NX-300 Kawneer Designed for historic window restorations, the NX-300 thermal window bestows an antique look updated to meet contemporary performance codes. It is available in a variety of casements: outswing, awning, fixed, and fixed-over-awning configurations. SELF-CLEANING AND SUSTAINABLE FACADE Neolith + Pureti This facade system is treated with a photocatalysis-activated coating that is accelerated by light, which decontaminates the surface millions of times per second. As a byproduct, the autonomously cleaning cladding also improves air quality. 3D WALL PANEL Corian Design Undulating and virtually seamless, this 3-D surface can morph into almost any shape imaginable. Using a thermal-forming technology, it can be produced in varying levels of transparency and in countless colors. Texial Swisspearl The Texial facade panel is manually embossed to create a surface similar to that of fabric. Through manual input, each panel is different from the next, adding a layer of complexity to any facade. TERRART Baguettes NBK NBK's TERRART baguettes can be customized in a number of shapes and uses, ranging from rainscreen to brise soleil. A wide range of color and glazing treatments are available for each project. TECU DESIGN_PUNCH KME Architectural Perforated and embossed, this sheeting creates an ever-evolving, “living” facade. It can be used as screening or secondary cladding and in its natural coloring or in a range of colors that pass through the various stages of oxidation.
MOTION MESH
This kinetic metal fabric system is a solution that addresses all kinds of decorative and functional screening purposes—from signage, to sun shading, to exterior cladding. It is fashioned in laser-cut stainless-steel letters and it is offered in endless combinations of custom colors.
Dekton Stonika Collection Consentino Group The Dekton Stonika Collection features a range of architectural surfaces suitable for both interior and exterior application. Each panel is a blend of glass, quartz, and porcelain, allowing for a high range of UV and environmental resistance.
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Clay Bonanza

Thousands of terra-cotta louvers shade the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre
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Five years ago, Fuzhou hosted an international competition for a new cultural center to affirm the city's as a premier destination along the Strait of Taiwan and the East China Sea. Opened in October 2018. The Strait Culture and Art Centre is a five-pronged complex on the banks of the Minjiang River designed by Helsinki and Shanghai–based PES-Architects. The complex is clad in terra-cotta louvers over a yawning glass curtain wall made of trapezoidal panels. According to the architects, the design of the Strait Culture and Art Centre intends to provoke a dialogue with the residents of Fuzhou and Fujian province as a whole. Every city in China has its own distinctive flower: Shanghai has its magnolia, Guangzhou the Bombax ceiba, and Fuzhou the jasmine white. The five wings of the center, clad in LOPO China and Zhonglei-produced terra-cotta glazed brilliantly white, function as conjoined "petals" of a gargantuan 1.6-million-square-foot flower.
  • Facade Manufacturer LOPO China              China State Construction Company (CSCEC)              Zhonglei              Shanghai Haojing Glass Products Co. 
  • Architects PES-Architects
  • Facade Installer Jiang He Curtain Wall Co. CSCEC
  • Facade Consultants Schmidlin Facade
  • Location Fuzhou, China
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Terra-cotta screen mounted atop diagonal steel tubes with custom-designed clips
  • Products LOPO Terra-cotta plates Zhonglei terra-cotta baguettes            Custom-designed clips by Guangdong Jianlong Hardware Products Co 
The Strait Culture and Art Centre’s facade is composed of roughly 42,250 repetitive terra-cotta baguette louvers, measuring nearly six feet in length and nine inches in depth. The position of the louvers was determined through methodical evaluation by sunlight simulation scripts; solar radiation analysis revealed the optimal vertical spacing between baguettes to be 11 inches with an upward tilt of 45 degrees. The density of the louvers across sections of the curved elevations was determined by interior shading and visibility requirements—sections facing northwest bear significant breaks in the primary skin. To fasten the system of terra-cotta baguettes to the structural steel columns of each wing, PES-Architects collaborated closely with consultant Schmidlin Facade to custom-design clips for the sunscreen. According to project architect Martin Lukasczyk, the greatest difficulty of the clip design “was to develop a system to allow for tolerance in multiple directions, to cope with structural inaccuracies on site, and to ensure an even spacing and continuous pattern of the louvers.” While PES-Architects repeated digital simulations of the design and performance of the building, the scope of the project and the challenges of construction in China related to potentially poor-quality installation due to rapid-paced construction time demanded further testing. Lukasczyk went on to note that "it took several rounds of reviewing 1:1 mock-up models before the final product of the ceramic louvers, and the final detailing" could be accepted by the design team. The end of each baguette is outfitted with an aluminum plate adhered with a neoprene layer and shaped to match its profile. Each clip consists of an aluminum "hand" bolted to the ceramic louvers, and an "arm" tying them back to the secondary structural system of double-curved pipes. Bar the custom-designed clips, a similar fastening system is repeated between the primary and secondary structural systems; rows of arms, which are adjustable to compensate for installation tolerances, protrude from the main steel columns towards the curved pipes. Seeing as the bulk of interior space of the complex is dedicated to performance or entertainment, significant portions of the facade design did not demand the same level of visibility requirements. For these portions, Zhonglei produced approximately 2.5-feet-by-1.5-feet terra-cotta panels with the same brilliant glazing as the louvers. Following the lens-shaped contours of the buildings, growing gaps naturally occurred between terra-cotta panels moving towards the structures' apex. To remedy this issue, PES-Architects placed flexible aluminum profiles along the borders of the terra-cotta tiles that thicken to address the growing width of gaps.
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Tiny Homes

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Small Spaces
2018 Best of Design Award for Small Spaces: Sol Coffee Mobile Espresso Bar Designer: Hyperlocal Workshop Location: Longmont, Colorado Designed by Hyperlocal Workshop, Sol Coffee’s Mobile Espresso Bar is a fully solar-powered espresso bar built on the frame of a 1979 Toyota Dolphin. Providing a full-service cafe experience, the design utilizes a hybrid lever-pull espresso machine. The truck offers a quiet atmosphere for coffee patrons to enjoy a cup in almost any location. Its massing evokes the Rocky Mountains—where the truck is located—and features a significant angled roof area for a 1.4kW solar array. The skin is composed of lightweight polycarbonate panels that reflect incoming sunlight from the interior and exterior. Additionally, the rear opens to host guests while a lowered main floor allows the barista to be in direct contact with his or her patrons. Honorable Mentions  Project Name: Cabin on a Rock Designer: I-Kanda Architects Location: White Mountains region, New Hampshire Project Name: Birdhut Designer: Studio North Location: Windermere, British Columbia
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Crystal Balls

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Facades
2018 Best of Design Award for Facades: Amazon Spheres Designer: NBBJ Location: Seattle Designed by NBBJ in cooperation with Vitro Architectural Glass, the Amazon Spheres are the crown jewel of Amazon’s $4 billion urban campus in downtown Seattle. Composed of three interconnected geodesic domes, the project covers 70,000 square feet of meeting, relaxation, and collaborative space. The Amazon Spheres also house 40,000 exotic and endangered plants and trees from around the world, including Australian tree ferns, African aloe trees, mosses, flowers, and succulents. Glazed in Vitro’s Low-E Solarban Solar Control 60 Low-E coating, the tallest of the metal-framed spheres accommodates five stories of workspace. The two other temperature-controlled domes contain rivers, waterfalls, and tropical gardens. In total, the project incorporates 620 tons of steel and 2,643 Vitro Starphire low-iron glass panels. Honorable Mentions  Project Name: The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech Designer: Morphosis Location: New York Project Name: Museum Garage Designers: WORKac, J. Mayer H., Nicolas Buffe, Clavel Arquitectos, and K/R Location: Miami
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Simply the Best

Presenting the 2018 Best of Design Awards winner for Building of the Year
  2018 Best of Design Award for Building of the Year: Transart Foundation Designer: SCHAUM/SHIEH Location: Houston The Transart Foundation by SCHAUM/SHIEH was developed for a Houston-based artist/curator working at the intersection of art and anthropology. The project consists of two buildings: a repurposed 1,200-square-foot private art studio and a new, 3,000-square-foot primary building for visitors that holds exhibitions, performances, and salon-style dinners. The second and third floors of the new construction include an office, a conference room, a cavelike nook, and a roof terrace. The facade is clad in smooth white stucco panels, creating a tectonic language that allows gaps and seams to manifest as swooping window frames. The structure incorporates thick timber beams in a manner akin to a Dutch barn, carved so that the front corners join precisely in front. “I am especially impressed by SCHAUM/SHIEH’s ability to generate complex spatial effects from what are essentially graphic motives—an ambition that would literally fall flat in lesser hands.” Jesse Reiser, Principal, Reiser + Umemoto Structural Engineer: Zia Engineering and Environmental Consultants Contractor: Welch Construction Lighting Designer:  Lighting Associates Custom Nook Fabricator:  Jeff Jennings and Steve Croatt Custom Steel Windows:  Cedar Mill Co.   Finalist Project Name: Daniels Building Designer: NADAAA Location: Toronto “This is a great example of how old and new can be seamlessly integrated. The addition improves on the experiential quality of the historic structure and makes it one of the most sustainable buildings on campus.” Pratik Raval, Associate Director, Transsolar Finalist Project Name: Saxum Vineyard Equipment Bard Designer: Clayton + Little Location: Paso Robles, California “The project is an attentive and delicate reinvention of the agricultural shed as a responsive, performative infrastructure for the nearby vineyard.” Tei Carpenter, Founder, Agency—Agency
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Poutine on the Ritz

Sidewalk Labs releases a new site plan for its Toronto neighborhood
Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs is continuing to refine its plans for Toronto’s waterfront Quayside neighborhood. The tech company released its first look at the mass timber development in August of this year and has now released a more in-depth breakdown of how its 12-acre site will be developed. The latest vision of Quayside comes in advance of a roundtable on December 8 with community members and elected officials, the second-to-last such meeting before the release of the master innovation and development plan in 2019. The new draft site plan, which Sidewalk Labs described as “more Jetsons, less Black Mirror,” has slashed the development’s height and set specific affordable housing and sustainability targets. Quayside, which will be 90 percent affordable in accordance with the area’s existing zoning, is leaning on mass timber for its mixed-use towers. The Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture was tasked with creating a kit-of-parts that could work with buildings of every scale. Each building will be anchored by an open-air “stoa,” covered walkways supported by rows of V-shaped heavy timber columns. New York's Beyer Blinder Belle is responsible for the project's master planning. Development will now be clustered around 12 mixed-use mass timber towers, with the tallest topping out at 30 stories. The tallest building in the sensor-integrated smart neighborhood was originally supposed to reach 50 stories tall. Sidewalk Labs now expects approximately 5,000 residents to call Quayside home, and have earmarked 20 percent of the units as affordable, and another 20 percent as below-market rate. Fifty percent of the development’s housing will be rental units. On the transportation side, Quayside is positioning itself to connect with Toronto’s light rail network. The neighborhood is also looking into a “flexible street” system that can transition from supporting traditional cars to autonomous vehicles once the technology comes to fruition. Quayside is shooting to reduce emissions over a typical neighborhood by 75-85 percent through a combination of geothermal wells and solar panels. The timber used, all of it locally sourced in a boost to the Canadian lumber industry, will also produce less carbon dioxide emissions overall when compared to a typical concrete-and-steel building. As Engadget noted, Sidewalk Labs has been less-than-successful in its attempts to create a trust to oversee the massive amounts of data the neighborhood would collect on its residents. Last month, the project’s lead expert and consultant, Ann Cavoukian, quit over concerns that the trust would not be able to anonymize the information it was receiving. Following the final roundtables and the approval of a master plan in 2019, Sidewalk Labs expects construction of the project to last three to five years.
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Cu In My Dreams

SHoP Architects makes waves in D.C. with patinated copper and a trio of skybridges
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Located in the heart of staid Washington, D.C., SHoP Architects' 14-story Midtown Center establishes a prominent presence with a contorting copper-and-glass facade and a trio of sky bridges. Opened in September 2018, the one-million-square-foot project stands on the site of the former headquarters of The Washington Post.
  • Facade Manufacturer Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Tivitec, Soheil Mosun
  • Architects SHoP Architects
  • Facade Installer Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Clark Construction
  • Facade Consultants Curtainwall Design Consulting, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Location Washington D.C.
  • Date of Completion September 2018
  • System Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope WT-01 and WT-03
  • Products Pre-patinated copper components, Guardian Climaguard Premium 2T and AGC Stopray Vision 50T, Ipawhite Low-Iron Glass
Built according to a U-shaped layout, the street-facing elevations are defined by sawtooth protrusions on the curtain wall. The projections ripple across the elevation, originating from two corners of the facade and softening toward the center. Each of these three-dimensional units that hang off of the structure’s rectangular mass share a standard width of 5 feet and a height of up to 10 feet. While the use of a traditional material such as copper facilitates a stylistic link between Midtown Center and its historic surroundings, the metallic surface is also performative. The copper accretions are oriented toward the direction of the sun, reducing internal glare and solar heat. Each panel is clipped to the facade system with formed stainless steel angles and pop rivets. The three sky bridges that crisscross above the courtyard echo the use of copper as an exterior detail; approximately 350 vertical fins, two inches wide and five inches deep, line the skyways. Although the fins function as a brise-soleil for the suspended corridors, their primary effect is visual. A rich turquoise rhythm reflects off of the courtyard’s glass modules while ribs create a matrix of shadows below. The fins themselves are bolted to a substructure rail that is held three inches off of the glass by horizontal mullions running across the top and bottom of the sky bridges. To clad the bulk of the enclosure system, SHoP Architects turned to Spanish glass-fabricator Tvitec. For the 4,500 facade panels, the fabricator used Ipawhite low-iron glass subjected to multiple thermal coatings to ensure visibility while meeting thermal control standards. At the ground level, SHoP Architects collaborated with SCAPE to design the publicly accessible 15,000-square-foot courtyard. According to SHoP Founding Principal Gregg Pasquarelli, the design team "took inspiration from Washington's original master plan to create a building that allows the public to angle strategically across the site." Diagonal paths cut through the building, past sunken granite fountains and plots of landscaping.