All posts in Facades+ News

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Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene

Why is ETFE the material of choice for U.S. stadia?

"Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Thankfully "E-T-F-E" does. The material—commonly referred to by its acronym—is all the rave within the architecture world right now, mostly notably seen in contemporary stadia design.

A Project Engineer at New York firm, Thornton Tomasetti, Alloy Kemp spoke to The Architect's Newspaper about the material's key role in stadia projects such across the U.S. These included: the Banc of California Stadium (for the Los Angeles Football Club, MLS) and the U.S. Bank Stadium (for the Minnesota Vikings).

With regard to the latter example, the stadium makes use of a 240,000-square-foot transparent ETFE roof—the largest of its kind in the country. Here, transparency facilitates clear views outside and bathes the playing field in natural light. This also aids climate control within the space, a key factor when growing pitch-perfect grass. While the ETFE system facilitates solar gains, excess heat vents at the stadium's peak supplement ventilation requirements.

The latter meanwhile uses the material expose the structure as a roof clad with 190,000 square feet of ETFE film reveal long-span cantilevers. Kemp pointed out that the material lets a full spectrum of UV light through, something "which aids in plant growth." She also cited the material's "high span to weight ratio" and "its ability to warp" that allow "lighter and sparser structure," as a main reason for its selection. Additionally, kemp added that a low friction coefficient means with regular rainfall, it is capable of cleaning itself with little maintenance necessary.

Another stadium, this time for the LA Rams team, also makes use of ETFE. The stadium, designed by New York–based HKS, features a giant triangular roof supported by thick columns and made of the material. This super-roof also spans across an adjacent outdoor lobby called “champions plaza” to be used as a communal gathering spot for game day spectators. For year-round events, the stadium features a transparent ETFE canopy covering nearly 19 acres. The canopy allows all sides of the building to remain open to the air, allowing natural breezes to pass through while protecting the up to 80,000 patrons from inclement weather.

Alloy Kemp will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York on April 6 There she and Edward Peck of Forum Studio will discuss ETFE's use in the LA Football Club and Minnesota Vikings stadiums as well as in the DS+R's Hudson Yards Culture Shed. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com.

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Roosevelt Island

Find out how Cornell Tech will have the world's tallest Passivhaus building
On Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech (in collaboration with the Hudson Companies) is going through the motions of realizing a brand new 2.1-million-square-foot technology campus—one that will come complete with the world's tallest building made to Passivhaus standards. The building in question is a 270-foot-tall (26-story) residential tower that will house roughly 350 units for students and save 882 tons of CO2 per year relative to standard construction—the same as planting 5,300 new trees. Construction began in 2015 and the building is due to open this year. New York practices Handel Architects and Steven Winter Associates, along with engineers Buro Happold, worked on the project and made use of numerous "sustainability-focused design elements" to achieve Passivhaus certification. One of these includes a facade that comprises a prefabricated metal panel system. The screen, according to Handel, acts a "thermally insulated blanket." On the southwest side, which looks onto Manhattan, a louver system has been designed to be the structure's "gills." This feature provides an enclosed exterior space where the building's services (such as heating and cooling equipment) lie with sufficient ventilation. In addition to this, low VOC paint caps gassing and improves the air quality inside. “High-rise multifamily housing is a vital part of the solution to the challenges we are facing with increasing world populations and a changing climate,” said Blake Middleton, FAIA, of Handel Architects. “The Cornell Tech commitment to innovation was the impetus to rethink how these buildings are designed and built, and we expect this project to be a game-changer, creating a new paradigm for affordable, high-performance buildings to meet this challenge.” “Constructing the first Passivhaus residential high-rise in the world is the latest and most exciting example of our effort to set new benchmarks in sustainability and innovation,” said Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher. “We hope this will serve as a model for how Passivhaus standards can be brought to scale in the United States and create a new template for green design here in New York City.” The building will open later this year. Blake Middleton will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6 and 7. There he and Lois Arena of Steven Winter Associates will discuss the Passivhaus building in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com.
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Green Machine

This Singapore conservatory houses 226,000 plants from every continent (except Antarctica)
In Singapore, this cooled conservatory contains more than a quarter of a million plants from every continent except Antarctica. Designed by British firm Wilkinson Eyre, the project known as "Gardens by the Bay" houses a 1.2 hectare "Flower Dome" that emulates the cool/dry climate found in the Mediterranean and a 0.8-hectare "cloud forest" that recreates cool/moist climates synonymous with tropical montane regions. The owner's technical representative, climate engineering firm Transsolar, produced a proof of concept with small demonstration greenhouses to aid the project. Adrian Turcato of Transsolar, was on hand to elaborate further. "Plants thrive outside," said Turcato. "Successfully including plants into buildings requires a deliberate design of a facade system that allows [plants] to thrive without compromising human comfort or operating costs," said Adrian Turcato, speaking to The Architect's Newspaper. Turcato added that "balancing plant requirements for light with human comfort by a direct manipulation of facade thermal and solar control" was also a key goal when developing the proof of concept. In 2012 the cooled conservatories were named World Building of the Year and in 2013 the project won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize. Turcato will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6 and 7. There he, Krista Palen (also of Transsolar), and Vishwadeep Deo from facade consultants Front Inc. will be providing a workshop addressing the issues raised by Turcato and will discuss the Gardens and the Bay—a case study among many, along with more practical demonstration calculations and processes—in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com.
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Perfect Perforation

The new L.A. Rams stadium will be breathable beyond belief

There are a few holes in HKS's stadium design for the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, there are 20 million. By numbers HKS has gone big: The $2.66 billion, 70,000-seater-stadium will use more than 36,000 panels of which will have 20 million perforations punched into them.

Dallas-based HKS prescribed an aluminum and ETFE skin to create a triangular facade-cum-canopy over and around the playing field where the Los Angeles Rams are set to play. Triangular panels form the structure too. Made from aluminum, the metal portion of the skin responds to the variable SoCal climate without the need for a HVAC system. Additionally, an ETFE ellipse, located in the center of the roof bathes the playing field in diffuse daylight. The desired effect, HKS said, is to create the impression of being outside.

A Design Assist project with facade fabricator Zahner Metals, HKS used their research and development arm, HKS LINE (the latter acronym stands for "Laboratory for INtensive Exploration") to aid the development of the stadium's skin. James Warton, a computational designer at HKS, spoke to The Architect's Newspaper, about the process used to conceive the facade.

Warton explained that the holes inside the in the triangular panels form an image on the facade, which can be seen properly when approaching the stadium from afar. Due to fabrication logistics and schedule, "only" 20 million perforations could be made with a required minimum distance of half-an-inch between each one. To get around this, though, eight different hole sizes were used to allow perforations to fall neatly in line with the panel's edge as well as enhance the facade's pattern.

To do this, a strategy using, Grasshopper, Rhino, C++ and Visual Studio was conceived which let HKS LINE determine perforation density and mapping. "Perforation sizes corresponding to grayscale values within the source image are also mapped onto the panel," said Warton. "We had to think of a system that would enable us to see every bit of information about every tile. This information is translated into text that can be used to make the panel."

The stadium, when completed in 2019, will be the world’s most expensive. James Warton will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6+7. There he and other members of HKS will discuss the Los Angeles Rams stadium and its facade in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com

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A. James Clark Hall

$90 million engineering and research hub coming to Maryland University
At the University of Maryland, the A. James Clark School of Engineering is edging closer to unveiling the new $90 million A. James Clark Hall. The 184,000-square-foot building will act as a hub for research and all engineering disciplines. One of its more striking features (aside from the plethora of technology due to be housed inside) is the facade that runs along Paint Branch Drive. The facade provides eastward views onto the pedestrian plaza from a long-spanning multi-use classroom, known as the "flex lab." Yosuke Kikuchi, engineering center manager at YKK AP, said the firm used the YUW 750 XT Unitized Curtain Wall System integrated with its sunshade system "in order to meet the demanding project schedule." Architectural Services Manager and YKK AP Ivan Zuniga elaborated, saying how the project was originally designed as a stick built curtain wall system, but construction schedule constraints meant that using a unitized curtain wall and custom baguette sunshade system allowed them to meet deadlines. In doing so, stainless steel sunshade brackets were used, in lieu of aluminum brackets, in order to meet the high thermal performance requirements of the project. The unitized curtain wall and sunshade systems were fabricated in a shop and shipped to the job site for installation. In this Design Assist project, commercial fenestration systems supplier YKK AP worked alongside Philadelphia-based Ballinger Architects and contractors Clark Construction (general) from Maryland and Glass & Metals Inc. (glazing) from Virginia. A. James Clark Hall is scheduled to open this year and has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification. Zuniga will be speaking at the Facades+AM conference in New York this April. There he will discuss his firm’s adaptive reuse work in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to am.facadesplus.com.
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Antunovich Associates

Explore these two major adaptive reuse projects in Washington, D.C.
Arlington, Virginia—based practice Antunovich Associates has recently completed two adaptive reuse projects in Washington D.C. through Douglas Development: The former Hecht Company Warehouse and Uline Arena now offer living units and offices respectively, while both are home to new retail spaces. Located along New York Avenue, NE and a stone's throw away from the U.S. Capitol, the Hecht Company Warehouse is now home to 335 loft-style apartment units and 150,000 square feet of retail. Kevin Sperry, senior principle at Antunovich Associates, said the warehouse is "an esteemed Washington landmark." The firm has retained the building's historic and iconic glass block exterior, which stands six stories tall and runs along both New York Avenue and Fenwick Street. The glass block crown that sits atop its rounded corner is a rejuvenated beacon whose life and vitality is mirrored by new street-level activity. Here, a series of shops—notably a Nike outlet—now line New York Avenue, joined by broad sidewalks and shade-providing trees that accommodate outdoor dining and sidewalk cafes. In addition, an exterior court to the southeast of the historic portion of the Hecht Company Warehouse will accompany a grand entrance to the building. Residents, meanwhile, live in the five floors above. To cater to its new inhabitants, as well as the influx of people to the neighborhood, a garage and street parking facilities were built to the east of the building. This was achieved through the partial demolition of the one-story warehouse additions that adjoined the building. Southwest of Ivy City, in the NoMa neighborhood, Antunovich Associates undertook another mixed-use historical re-working. The 2.5-acre site of the Uline Arena encompasses the arena itself and an Icehouse building. The former hosted the first live Beatles performance in the United States in 1964, meanwhile, the latter, as its name suggests, featured a skating rink and ice hockey events. Work on the project saw the addition of more than 50,000 square feet of retail space and three times that of office space. A new above-ground parking structure accommodates 175 spaces while an interior courtyard (also new) provides abundant natural sunlight and a tranquil space for office tenants. Founder of Antunovich Associates, Joseph Antunovich will be speaking at the next Facades+AM conference in D.C. this March 9. There he will discuss his firm's adaptive reuse work in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to am.facadesplus.com.
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Facades+AM

Check out Gensler's perforated and fritted glass facade for this building in Tysons, VA
In central Tysons, VA, Gensler's Washington D.C. office has designed a mixed-use building that will house a fitness center, conference spaces, and offices. The latter will sit atop a nine-story, perforated metal-skinned podium that hosts a parking garage. The tactful metal facade bridges the two glass skins above and below it, mediating transparency in the process. At street level, glass fenestration encloses 25,000-square-feet of retail, amid other amenities—a bonus for shoppers stepping off the Greensboro Metro station which is a mere 50 yards away. Duncan Lyons, a senior associate at Gensler's D.C. office, said the building's design is “unique” for a mixed-use project and is “dynamic, yet flexible enough to attract a variety of tenants.” Floor plates will range from 20,000 to 28,000 square feet and the project offers public and private green terracing, shaped as triangles along the building’s stepped back and angled massing. The corresponding volumes are partially defined by skin, too, with various types of glazing being used either side of the parking garage’s metal facade. Above the garage, fritted glass panels—comprising 13 levels—are segmented into two volumes. Both facades employ a pattern of tall vertical piers and openings which link the levels together visually, while, according to Lyons, “providing a different material combination and view experience at each zone of the building.” Meanwhile, below the garage, a glass skin wraps around the corner edges facing onto the street. Due to the topography of the site, the glazing follows steps that run down the northside, westwards, and onto an entrance to the Greensboro Metro Station. This journey allows pedestrians to see more of the building’s street level interior as they go down, with entrances to this double-height space at both the top and bottom of the steps. “Within each zone, amenity spaces, collaboration areas, and extended terraces provide numerous interior and exterior experiences,” said Lyons. “It all adds up to a rich mixture; brings life, character, and vitality to the building; and makes the project a singular attractor,” he continued. “[The] design experience supports the continued growth of transit-oriented development and true place-making at Tysons Corner in the most responsive, distinctive, and adaptable way.” Duncan Lyons will be a co-chair for the Facades+AM conference in D.C. this March 9. He and Jeff Barber—design leader and principal and Gensler—will be speaking about this project in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to am.facadesplus.com.
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Facades+ Miami

ETFE and facade engineering in Miami
Federico Balestrazzi, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, is a leader of the facade engineering practice for the mid-Atlantic South region of the firm’s operations. He, along with other associates of the engineering firm, will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference. Thornton Tomasetti’s facade engineering team specializes in the design and construction of complex building enclosures and facades, particularly high-rise curtain wall systems, and provides innovative approaches that are both practical and cost-effective. Balestrazzi will be presenting insights into recently completed arena and stadium work like the Miami Dolphins stadium renovation that carefully integrates structure with facade engineering. The project team designed a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) shade canopy. Inflated pillows of ETFE cover the canopy, blocking rain and direct sun from the seating bowl while letting light in. In a recent blog post about the firm’s research into ETFE, Thornton Tomasetti said, “We believe the high-visibility use of ETFE at the Hard Rock and U.S. Bank stadiums (as well as in other buildings, like ARTIC and The Shed) marks a turning point in its adoption as a viable option for transparent roofs, skylights and building envelopes in the U.S.” The transparent polymer foil is celebrated for its unique properties: It is highly durable, low maintenance, lightweight, and admits the full spectrum of light (including UV, which allows for plant growth). Balestrazzi said roughly half of the projects he works on are sited locally in the Miami area, and that these projects must respond to environmental conditions unique to the region. "Being in a hurricane region completely changes the game when it comes to wall performance. Dealing with the threat of hurricanes on a yearly basis is a very local phenomenon." You can see Balestrazzi’s presentation on facade engineering at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference, on January 26 and/or take part in a Thornton Tomasetti workshop, “Choosing Between the Titans: Glass vs ETFE.” Registration is open now. For further details, visit the Facades+ Miami site.
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Facades+AM San Francisco

Colin Touhey of Pvilion on the future of facades and flexible solar panels
Colin Touhey is the founder of Pvilion, a New York-based company that designs and manufactures flexible photovoltaic (PV) solar structures and products. He is also wrapping up a fall semester fabrication studio at Columbia University GSAPP titled “Wired Skin.” Touhey will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+AM San Francisco conference on the concluding panel, titled Facades: The Next Generation. The Architect's Newspaper (AN): What’s your office like? Half of our office is a design office, and the other half is a workshop where we get our hands dirty. We are also building what we're designing. We're not a contractor, we're not an engineer, and we're not an architect—we're a little bit of all of those things. We come into a project as scrappy experts. We're talking about how to hoist up a building component early on in the design process. When we sign a contract with someone, we don't know how we're going to solve a problem, but we know that we will be able to figure out a solution. More conservative firms would say, ‘Oh we'll sell this when we know exactly how it's going to get done.’ If we knew exactly how to do a project before we started it, we wouldn't be in business. How does Pvilion balance futuristic tech with commercial work? We see what's 10-years out, and are working on that. But we also have [a] real product today. The two feed off each other. While we [have] a futuristic technology, we're not futurists. We're not sitting around speculating about what's going to happen in 50 years. What are some issues you are working through at Pvilion? We're trying to create building skins that both increase energy performance and reduce fossil fuel consumption. We're also providing a platform in which an architect can create. Rather than working with glass or steel, if you're wrapping a building in a flexible material, you can create interesting forms, and with those forms you can produce electricity. Also, we are thinking a lot about the installation process. Like Christmas lights, 30 to 50 solar panels can arrive on site folded up and pre-wired. When you're paying union labor to hang off the side of a facade with a tower crane, you want an efficient installation process. Due to the modularity of the system, you can replace components as needed without taking the entire system down. What’s next for facades? We're not only coming up with some rendering and saying, ‘Wouldn't this be the city of the future!?’ This is real now. We're not a research lab with kooky ideas about stuff that will never be built. We have real projects, we're really building things, and we have experience. Our work is UL certified, grid-tied, and warranty-able for 25 years. One of the really interesting things we're looking at now is dynamic facade elements. [With] these pieces, you have...south, east, and west facades [that] may all be moving throughout the course of the day, like a solar tracker. When you add the fourth dimension into a building, which is time, you end up with a moving system—your building is changing over the course of a day, and over the course of its lifetime. That's an entirely new concept that is really exciting for us. When your goal is to maximize energy production, dynamic facade elements are very intriguing. For example, consider a fabric membrane that's twisting over the course of the day, so it's opening up the facade when there isn't much light, and it's closing it up where there's more light, and it's simultaneously producing more energy. Can you give us a preview of what we can expect from your studio at Columbia? We are looking at the building facade as an opportunity to provide shade, increase building performance, and provide electricity. The idea of a wired skin—a living breathing organism—is electrical and mechanical and serves many purposes. The skin should protect you from the environment. It is a porous envelope, but also an enclosure. How do you balance the openness of the facade? Do you cut holes in it? Do you open it up? Do you fully enclose it? Do you create heat chimneys so that air flows between the glazing and your skin? Also, what are its thermal properties, and how can you take advantage of shading the building. Those are all the things we're exploring. Since we are not academic professors, we're grounding this course in reality—which is important to us. It's a fabrication studio class, so we're building facade elements. The deliverable at the end of the semester is to build a facade element that moves and works, and then provide a scale model of the building that has hundreds of facade elements on it. We're saying if you can't build it, you shouldn't be designing it.
Touhey takes the stage with Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab and Sanjeev Tankha of Walter P. Moore to discuss the next generation of facades. Go to Facades+ AM San Francisco to learn more about the event and the other sessions taking place.
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Facades+ AM San Francisco

Redefining residential architecture: Clark Manus
The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke with Clark Manus, formerly the 87th president of the AIA, who will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ AM San Francisco panel titled “Redefining Residential Architecture.” Manus has served as an advisor to the Mayor of San Francisco, chairing the Citizens Advisory Group for the area that was vacated for the removal of the freeways in Rincon Hill in the 1980s. He currently lives in Oakland and was appointed by its mayor to serve as Planning Commissioner. Also a CEO of Heller Manus Architects, Manus says his firm has completed over 50 projects at a range of scales, jokingly saying they have done everything aside from hospitals and jails. We spoke about defining issues in the Bay Area that are shaping new construction: cost of construction, San Francisco’s historic urban fabric, energy codes, and more. On Cost of Construction Manus says the difference in the type of facade materials you would use in a Type III building—rainscreen assemblies, punched windows, shingles—is dramatically different than a Type I building where curtain walls are utilized. Manus said California’s statute of limitations for condo liability—set at 10-years—establishes a motive for developers to construct buildings using more durable Type I construction, as opposed to Type III or Type V, when they can afford it. "You begin to look at issues on the facade related to the efficiency of the structural system, and the use of skin materials that are going to be better to deal with water and noise: potential problems that might exist over time. So the difference between using a curtain wall versus a window wall is maybe a dollar issue, but we tend to try and help clients understand the basis for deciding on a skin irrespective of the efficiency of the floor plan is really related to a whole bunch of other issues. There's a whole bunch of glass curtain wall buildings." On Context and Urban Fabric “In some ways San Francisco is a little schizophrenic in that it absolutely loves its Victorians and historic fabric, but it also aspires to looking for a modern vocabulary.” Manus says facade expressions vary heavily with context. In traditional neighborhoods, an emphasis on compositional strategies involving bay windows and other vernacular elements are prioritized, while areas with less context tend to receive a more minimal and/or modern aesthetic. “Community groups in these neighborhoods want to be involved in a dialogue about what will be constructed. As an architect, this presents a challenge in terms of where your project fits and where it does not. There is also a planning department that does very detailed design review on projects, so as an architect you go through a discussion with them in addition to presenting to community groups about what might fit in. Our projects in these neighborhoods are not the same ones we would do in a new district where there is no context.” On Energy Codes Despite a temperate climate, heat gain from glazed facades still presents a significant design issue. Manus says energy conscious design has a lot to do with the facade, it's orientation to the sun, glazing, and other elements that will assist the building in getting to a higher level of efficiency. "The energy codes are really great at creating a better environment, but have made glass darker and darker which, in my mind, is not really conducive to creating a visible transparency for residential use. It's really unfortunate. If you want to see the life of the city, and what's going on behind the facade, you don't want a dark or mirrored glass." Manus' projects, while market rate, have significant inclusionary housing in them. Anywhere from 12, 15, or 18 percent, which he cites as an “unusual rate.” He concludes that the growth of San Francisco—or the “transformation of San Francisco,” as he calls it—is great, but very challenging because with success comes things that you sometimes don't anticipate. “I think getting out in front of developments and truly creating new housing takes a long time. Issues like high cost of construction basically take hold very early on in the process. The regulatory environment, compounded with the process of developing drawings, and the course of construction takes time—you could either be through another cycle, or you could have created other problems you didn't anticipate.” Manus takes the stage with Anne Fougeron of Fougeron Architecture and Cynthia Parker of BRIDGE Housing to discuss more aspects of facades and residential architecture. Go to Facades+ AM San Francisco to learn more about the event and the other sessions taking place.
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December 7

Preview the upcoming Facades+ AM conference in San Francisco
On December 7th, Facades+ AM will return to San Francisco. It’s the last event of this year's Facades+ AM conferences, which have visited Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Kansas City, and Dallas. The morning-long program will be delivered in a unique three-session format that condenses a typical two-day event into a quick-take forum tailor-made for the Bay Area. The conference will pair regional and national leaders in building envelope design with local design professionals and industry leaders who will deliver presentations and participate in Q&A discussions. John Kuchen, associate director at SOM and chair of the San Francisco conference, said the format brings together a wide range of groups who share a common interest in advancing the role of the building skin. "Now with increased technological capacity, we can tune the facade with its related building systems. High-performance design involves MEP systems, lighting systems, overall vision area versus opaque area, automation capabilities, thermal response, and more. I am interested to see the discussions that result from bringing together professionals from a variety of backgrounds all involved in one way or another the production of a building envelope." Kuchen says the flow of the conference was carefully thought out. The Redefining Residential Architecture session highlights issues that the building envelope plays in housing by bringing together leaders in design and development of housing in the Bay Area. This conversation will lead into a set of presentations concerning high-performance design and energy consumption. Titled High-Performance Design + the Building Envelope, this session will introduce insights from leading facade engineers and building science specialists. Kuchen says “high-performance” is not a new issue in architecture: "For us, high-performance is something that has always been inherent in architecture. It's becoming something that is becoming more relevant to clients and end users of the buildings because of the search for a more sustainable method of building."  The conference will conclude with a panel of presentations focused on the next generation of facades. Over the coming weeks leading up to the conference, The Architect's Newspaper will be interviewing presenters—sharing their insights and previewing the issues that will be discussed. More details can be found at Facades+ AM.
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Facades+Dallas

Weiss/Manfredi's Marion Weiss on "surface presence" in facades
"Surface Presence," the title of WEISS/MANFREDI cofounder Marion Weiss' upcoming keynote presentation at Facades+Dallas, "captures the essence" of the firm's recent investigation of the facade as more than skin, she said. "We've been very preoccupied in our own projects with landscape, topography, sequence, section, and movement." "The idea of section and movement has often been obscured in the facade," explained Weiss. But if sequence, section, and movement can instead be revealed by or encoded in the building envelope, "we could also look at the facade as something not so much tied to reductionist modernist ideals of what glass can be—that is, transparent." Among the six projects Weiss will highlight in her talk are three that treat glass "as a material that has a presence, that has a life": the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, the Novartis Office Building, and Barnard College Diana Center. WEISS/MANFREDI has also explored the surface potential of materials beyond glass. For the just-dedicated Kent State Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, the architects worked with brick maker Belden to apply ancient technology to a custom pattern that inverts the usual focus on the ground plane. The facade of the Marshall Family Performing Arts Center near Dallas similarly examines the "tug between section and surface," said Weiss, through a combination of earth-colored brick and fritted glass. Finally, said Weiss, the fifth facade—the roof—has the capacity to act as a "chameleon," as at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center. There, the rooftop garden, overlaid on a glassy conservatory roof, expresses the "tension between complete transparency and the surface of the ever-changing medium of the roof," she explained. Hear more from Weiss and other thought leaders in high-performance facade design at Facades+Dallas. Register now to secure one of the few spaces remaining.