All posts in Facades+

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Precast and Stacked

Studio Gang's first residential tower in New York ripples with scalloped concrete
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Since rezoning under the tenure of Michael Bloomberg, Downtown Brooklyn has undergone a tremendous transformation from a relatively low-slung commercial district to a burgeoning neighborhood defined by row upon row of residential towers. 11 Hoyt, located on the southern boundary of the district, is another addition to the area set to be completed in 2020. The tower, developed by Tishman Speyer, is Studio Gang's first residential project in New York City and breaks from the fairly lackluster design typology of the area with a unitized curtainwall of scalloped precast concrete panels. The 770,000-square-foot project rises to a height of over 600 feet and is tucked in midblock—the tower will be ringed by a street-wall podium which is in turn topped by a private park.
  • Facade Manufacturer BPDL Guardian Glass Stahlbau Pichler Metra
  • Architect Studio Gang Hill West Architects (Architect-of-Record)
  • Facade Installer Midwest Steel Enterprise Architectural Sales
  • Facade Consultant Gilsanz Murray Steficek
  • Location Brooklyn, New York
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System Custom Metra system, Custom Stahlbau Pichler window system
  • Products BPDL precast concrete panels Guardian Glass SunGuard® Neutral 50/32
The approximately 1155 precast concrete panels were produced by Canadian manufacturer Bétons Préfabriqués Du Lac (BPDL), and measure just under twelve feet in both height and width. The panels are composed of white concrete with a thin veneer of light grey calcite. They are arranged in seven sweeping undulations along the east and west elevations, and three to the narrower north and south elevations, creating diagonal strands of bay windows that protrude from the otherwise flush curtainwall. According to Studio Gang senior project leader Arthur Liu, "the design process and digital design tools helped create a small number of discrete facade elements arranged in a way that offered variation and flexibility to the design of the facade while simultaneously aligning with interior spaces and respecting the limits of constructability." The custom aluminum window systems fabricated by Stahibau Pichler were, for the most part, installed by BPDL into the precast while at the factory. In total, over 110,000-square-feet of glass, produced by Guardian Glass and cut by Tvitec, was used for the project. Prior to the construction of the park-topped podium, the multi-lot space has served as a staging ground for the installation of the oversized panels. The panels are split into two categories; the 22,000-pound "scalloped" panel and the 11,000-pound flat panel. Both are hoisted into position and connected for lateral and gravity support at the floor slab with multiple galvanized steel anchor assemblies. A particular challenge of the project was waterproofing associated with the exposed horizontal precast panels. "The waterproofing had to be applied at the BPDL plant to avoid costly and difficult installation in the field and it had to be done immediately at the time of production without disrupting BPDL's plant workflow," said Gilsanz Murray Steficek Partner Achim Hermes. "Due to winter weather restrictions in Alma, Quebec from October to April, the application of the waterproofing had to be done indoors. That meant it had to occur shortly after the precast panels were stripped out of their forms."      
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Clay Bae

Architectural terra-cotta is advancing in Buffalo, New York
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Now in its fourth consecutive year, the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW) has reached a new level of maturity. The annual conference, hosted in Buffalo, New York, counted a total of nine teams hailing from leading architectural and engineering firms across the country. For attendees, the gathering is an opportunity to part the veil behind the architectural terra-cotta manufacturing process, experiment with new concepts, and physically transform them into full-scale prototypes.  The collaborative project is the product of an ongoing partnership between manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta (BVTC) and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (UB/a+p); engineering firm Walter P Moore served as an additional sponsor for the event. Buffalo, New York is home to a broad range of 20th-century architectural heritage. It should then come, perhaps, as no surprise that BVTC made its bones in the field of architectural preservation. The company, originally founded in 1889 as Boston Valley Pottery, was purchased by the Krouse family in 1981 who converted the operation into a manufacturer of architectural components. Beginning with local restoration projects such as Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building, BVTC has since partnered with UB/a+p in the use of digital documentation to mass-produce historic architectural pieces. The use of digital design has facilitated BVTC's ascent in the field of custom terra-cotta assemblies; current projects range from Kohn Pedersen Fox's (KPF) supertall One Vanderbilt to Morphosis's Orange County Museum of Art The teams were made up of new attendees and familiar faces who had developed their prototype concepts in the months leading up to the conference. The prototypes largely followed the ACAW statement of intent, which encouraged an exploration of the intersection between ceramic furniture and cladding. Projects ranged from SHoP Architects' self-supporting structure formed of interlocking terra-cotta units to KPF's manipulation of geometry and glaze embedded atop a concrete panel. There was also a significant alteration to the overall procedure of the conference. Andy Brayman, founder of the Kansas City ceramics collaborative Matter Factory and past ACAW attendee, recently partnered with BVTC to develop the company's first off-site Research & Development Lab within his own facility. "This strategy is helpful when taking on the ACAW projects which by their very nature contain at least one element (and often several) that could be considered experimental," said Brayman. "The bulk of the technical know-how comes from BVTC and it is augmented by research that has been done at the Matter Factory. Taking the projects out of the main factory that is focused on the production of existing jobs allows a different dynamic to take place." The conditions present at the BVTC are effectively replicated at the Kansas City collaborative as the gas-fired kilns are produced and calibrated by the same Italian manufacturer. Keynote speakers, many of them also workshop attendees, included Andy Brayman;  Dr. William M. Carty, a ceramics professor at Alfred University; Billie Faircloth, partner at KieranTimberlake; Sara Lopergolo, partner at Selldorf Architects; Sameer Kumar, director of enclosure design at SHoP Architects; Jason Vollen, vice president High Performance Buildings AECOM. What is the overarching goal of this annual earthenware gathering? According to UB/a+p associate professor and conference organizer Omar Khan, "ACAW’s ambition is to make Western New York a recognized center for architectural ceramic research. It is the only one of its kind and we feel that it will influence design and innovation in terracotta usage. From this year’s success, we are already receiving many inquiries to participate next year but our intention will be to internationalize the participants to some extent. This will put other issues and traditions in the mix, which we feel will help us better address more global concerns." Let's see what the future has in store for this corner of the Empire State.
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A Concrete Vision

Höweler + Yoon will plant fluted concrete in the center of Boston
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Breaking ground later this year, 212 Stuart Street is located on the northern edge of Boston’s Bay Village Historic District between two very different contexts: a midrise commercial corridor and the 19th-century enclave of brick rowhouses. Architecture firm Höweler + Yoon was challenged with bridging these distinctive neighborhoods via a 20-story residential building that is contemporary in design but still deferential to the landmarked neighborhood. The architects found inspiration in the masonry buildings in the area, notably the fluted piers on a nearby 1930s garage dubbed “Motor Mart.” In response, they designed a series of super-scaled precast concrete panels to break up the relatively straightforward massing of the high-rise building into “courses” of varying height.
  • Architect Höweler + Yoon Sasaki (Architect of Record)
  • Facade Consultant Vidaris
  • Structural Engineer McNamara Salvia
  • Location Boston, MA
  • Date of Completion 2021
  • System Precast concrete barrier and window wall system
The facade is constructed from 14-inch-thick concave panels whose rhythms produce a dynamic play of light and shadow; there’s a depth and richness to the facade that echoes the surrounding historic architecture. The design was developed and refined over many iterations and with many physical models. The developer-client was won over by the idea with a small plaster prototype of the fluting but was ultimately convinced with a full-scale foam mockup created to study the lighting effects and to better understand how the deep concrete panels would affect the views from the inside. The concave panels and the overall assembly were optimized in collaboration with pre-casters, who helped the architects realize that it would be more efficient to use nine unique panels than the three they initially proposed. Window walls and glass spandrels complete the envelope. The design is more complex than it first appears, with a lot of movement and deflection that required extensive coordination between multiple systems to create the appearance of a single unified building envelope. “Ultimately, we worked out all the details with the help of the pre-caster, the glazier, the facade consultant, and the architect of record, Sasaki,” said principal Eric Höweler. “It’s a very clear diagram, but it turns out that requires a lot of work to get right.” The design of 212 Stuart Street was a collaborative process during which the architects also worked closely with the Bay Village community—who needed to be convinced. For nearly everyone except architects, concrete has a bad rap in Beantown, and the architects had to prove that they weren’t trying to build another Boston City Hall. The 1930s Motor Mart that inspired their design helped with this: “People thought it was limestone, but it’s actually precast,” noted Höweler. “So we were able to show that there is a way to do precast beautifully. It doesn’t have to look like City Hall.”
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Beautiful Brut

DIGSAU brings prefabricated concrete formwork to the Philadelphia Navy Yard
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The Philadelphia Navy Yard, similar to other waterfront areas across the country, is undergoing a two-decades-long transformation from a declining industrial district to a burgeoning office park. A significant number of businesses have located to the adaptively reused warehouses, while others are opting for entirely new construction. 351 Rouse Street, which is the U.S Headquarters of medical research laboratory Adaptimmune, is a recent addition to the area designed by architectural firm DIGSAU and clad in prefabricated concrete panels. DIGSAU, who are located a few miles north of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, are not unfamiliar with the site, having completed a similarly prefabricated concrete office building just down Rouse Street in 2015.
  • Facade Manufacturer Universal Concrete Centria YKK JE Berkowitz
  • Architect DIGSAU
  • Facade Installer Turner Construction EDA Hutts Glass Co.
  • Facade Consultant RDWI
  • Structural Engineer ENV
  • Location Philadelphia, PA
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Custom assembly
  • Products YKK YCW 750XT & 750SSG Guardian SunGuard AG 50 on clear, fabricated by JE Berkowitz Centria Silversmith Aluminum
Irregular sites require thoughtful and straightforward design and structural solutions; the project is located adjacent to an electrical substation, underground utility lines, and a nearby lot slated for future development. In response to this setting, DIGSAU developed a low-slung and, at certain moments, cantilevered massing for the nearly 50,000-square-foot structure. The overall character of the massing is extenuated by the horizontal impressions of the wood formwork. The light-gray surface is semi-reminiscent of a striated archeological section; the extruded and recessed finish alternates between rough and smooth grain and is broken up by ribbons of fenestration. The economy of the facade impression was significantly influenced by the budgetary and timeline constraints of the project, and the total tab for the project was an impressively tight $10 million. "The precast spandrel panels and ribbon windows are market-driven development approaches that have proven to be highly effective for controlling costs and speeding up construction timelines," said DIGSAU principal Mark Sanderson. "We were intrigued about how we might both embrace and deny these techniques simultaneously: the repetitive precast patterning is interrupted with vertical joints that increase in density where the ribbon windows are agitated." Installation of the panels had to be fairly straightforward to meet the tight timetable of the project. To this end, weld plates were cast into each facade unit which were then subsequently hoisted into place and welded to the steel frame. Once in place, the panels simultaneously function as both external cladding as well as support for the high climate-controlled YKK framing of the ribbon window. DIGSAU Associate Elizabeth Kahley will be joining the panel “Medium-sized and Mixed-use Projects: Opportunities for Creative Mix of Materials and Scale" at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Philadelphia conference on October 18.
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Windy City Enclosure

Edward Peck discusses enclosure technology and Facades+ Chicago
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On September 27, The Architect's Newspaper is returning to the Great Lakes for the sixth time to host Facades+ Chicago. The city is no stranger to architectural innovation, pioneering steel-frame construction, and the curtain walled skyscraper. The conference is, in effect, an appraisal of the most recent projects and research that keep Chicago ahead of the curve in architectural design and technology. Participants for the conference symposium and workshops are leading practitioners based in Chicago and the Midwest, including Brininstool + Lynch, the Chicago Department of Buildings, Gensler, Heitman Architects, Krueck + Sexton Architects, the Passive House Institute US, Sentech Architectural Systems, Sterling Bay, Thornton Tomasetti, and WJE. Edward Peck, managing director of Edward Peck Design and a facade expert with decades of experience, collaborated with AN as co-chair of the conference to curate the program and will also present on the panel "Ongoing Advancements in Glass Technology: From Smart Coatings to Connection Design," which will  be expanded upon as an afternoon workshop. In this interview with AN, Peck discusses the themes and objectives of the upcoming conference. AN: Research and Innovation are at the forefront of this year’s conference in Chicago. What lessons do you hope will be garnered by the audience? Edward Peck: Correct. At this conference, we want to draw the connection between the two. To innovate, one needs to invest time and effort into Research (R&D). We are a profession where every project is a prototype yet we find ourselves with less and less time for the integration of Research and Advanced Analytics but to build meaningful architecture that is inspirational, sustainable and resilient we will need to find better ways to perform and collaborate on Research and new Innovations to meet the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. AN: How are firms in Chicago impacting design across the country and perhaps globally? EP: Architects in Chicago have a rich history for impacting architecture and urban conditions globally. We have a collective body of progressive work around the world-leading innovations in sustainability, performance and structural force pushing towers to new heights. With this comes a body of innovative engineers that are our primary collaborators on these projects enriching the entire practice of architecture and enabling Chicago to maintain our position as a critical thought leader in progressive architecture. AN: What do you perceive to be the most interesting design trends within Chicago today? EP: I try to stay away from trends. One needs to focus on the building’s performance; both its impact on the environment and the user while understanding its urban or contextual integration. If these conditions are your focus your work will transcend trends. I believe the Trumpf Smart Factory, a featured project at this conference does that; it is focused on its program while also exhibiting the values and capabilities of Trumpf as a company. AN: Facade materials are undergoing a significant evolution due to advanced research. Are there any specific materials we should be paying attention to? EP: I think smart or dynamic building skins and systems are worth paying attention to – There are a lot of products that are now moving into their second generation making them more attractive and feasible in the market. Buildings must perform in a wide range of conditions, systems that can adapt or transition within this range will undoubtedly be integrated into future designs. Further information regarding Facades+ Chicago can be found here.
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North of the Border

Facades+ Toronto will dive into the trends of North America's fastest growing construction market
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On October 11, The Architect's Newspaper is bringing Facades+ to Toronto for the first time to discuss the architectural trends and technology reshaping the city and region. Toronto's KPMB Architects, an architectural practice with a global reach, is co-chairing the conference. Panels for the morning symposium will discuss KPMB Architects' decades-long collaboration with Transsolar Klima Engineering, the proliferation of timber construction across Canada and specifically its university campuses, and the adaptive reuse of Ontario's architectural heritage. The second portion of the conference, which occurs in the afternoon, will extend the dialogue with intensive workshops. Participants for the conference symposium and workshops include the Canada Green Building Council, the Carpenters' District Council of Ontario, the College of Carpenters, Diamond Schmitt Architects, ERA Architects, Kirkor Architects & Planners, Maffeis Engineering, Moses Structural Engineers, MJMA, NADAAA, RDH, and UL. In this interview with The Architect's Newspaper, KPMB's Director of Innovation Geoffrey Turnbull and Senior Associate David Constable, the conference co-chairs, discuss the theme of the symposium's first panel, "Dynamic Skins: A Conversation on Innovative Facades," an exploration of KPMB and Transsolar's use of double-glass facades. AN: KPMB & Transsolar’s collaboration began over a decade ago with the Manitoba Hydro Palace. Can you expand on the significance of the project, and how lessons learned from the collaboration were applied to future projects David Constable & Geoffrey Turnbull: Manitoba Hydro represented a turning point for KPMB in how the office approached sustainability, but more fundamentally, forced a re-think of the typical design process. This project demonstrated how building design and function may converge to become something greater than a sum of its parts. One of the first projects in North America to invest in a true IDP, or ‘Integrated Design Process’, the design team undertook a process with the client to bring all disciplines to the table at the very beginning of the project. Decisions were discussed and evaluated in detail with input from all disciplines, and the form and strategy for the project grew organically from that process. The first step in the integrated process was the development of a Project Charter, which became the guiding code against which all decisions were measured and validated. AN: How does the use of software inform Transsolar’s consulting during the design process? DC & GT: Transsolar has a high degree of in-house technical expertise in the physical sciences, as well as a deep well of experience on built projects. These capabilities, paired with advanced modeling tools, gives Transsolar a unique ability to develop strategies for projects from a first-principles perspective. As architects, this is transformative in terms of the possibilities that can arise from a collaboration with Transsolar. Where we would otherwise be limited to rules-of-thumb and best practices, working with Transsolar allows us to interrogate the particulars of a given project and derive solutions that are unique to that specific project. Manitoba Hydro Place is an excellent example of this… It’s not immediately obvious that, in a cold climate like Winnipeg, a glass office tower would make sense. By understanding the site, identifying what is unique about it (e.g. there is a very high degree of sunshine in Winnipeg for such a cold city), and then building a strategy around that, we were able to design a project that provides an exceptional degree of comfort for the occupants, a lot of natural daylight, and terrific views to the landscape, all while being one of the most energy-efficient buildings on the continent in a city with a seasonal temperature swing of 65 degrees. In addition, Transsolar uses Transys modeling software, which allows for robust, iterative testing of concepts at a small scale, allowing the team to quickly test assumptions and prove out specific relationships between building components. This process allows active components such as motorized operable windows and automated louver blind systems to be tested in a dynamic way. Elements such as wind, sun, and humidity can all be modeled and reviewed dynamically over the course of an entire year. AN: All of the projects to be discussed during "Dynamic Skins" possess double-glass facades. Can you elaborate on this feature and its merits? DC & GT: Ultimately, on any project where a double facade represents an optimal solution, this will be driven primarily by the desire to optimize the interior environment for occupants. These systems allow us to accomplish a host of optimizations that enhance comfort in the space: maximize daylighting while modulating glare, provide natural ventilation for a larger percentage of the year, minimize radiant asymmetries so that it’s comfortable to sit near the window in winter and summer, etc. Fundamentally the difference between a traditional facade and a double facade is this concept of static versus dynamic. Traditional facades are forced to implement one static condition throughout the entire course of the year. In a Canadian environment, this can represent a huge swing in conditions – temperature, radiance, wind, and humidity can all change radically and quickly. A double facade allows the building skin to become an active component in the life of a building. Windows and shading devices become active elements which remain in constant dialogue with both the interior and exterior environment and allow the building to adapt in real-time to its environment. Further information regarding Facades+ Toronto can be found here.
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Let in the light

Krueck + Sexton and Thornton Tomasetti bring undulating glass to Chicago's Mercantile Exchange
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Chicago's Krueck + Sexton Architects, a practice founded in 1979, has established a particular niche in the design and implementation of complex glass facades. Their projects present a significant range in terms of location and scale, ranging from the multiplanar Spertus Institute on Michigan Boulevard to a slew of private residences and the restoration of Mies van der Rohe's prestigious structures dotted throughout Chicagoland. Recently, the firm wrapped up a full revamp of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's lobby with an undulating structural glass wall. Located on Lake Michigan, Chicago has served as country's primary inland entrepot for over a century—the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) was founded in 1898. The CME migrated to its current headquarters in 1987, a heavy granite-clad postmodern tower located immediately adjacent to the Chicago River. The design objective of the project was to establish an inviting and prominent facade for a structure in which over 10,000 people cross through daily, replacing 18 separate dark and weighty entrances.
  • Facade Manufacturer Roschmann Group Porcelanosa
  • Architect Krueck + Sexton Architects
  • Facade Installer Roschmann Group
  • Facade Engineer  Thornton Tomasetti
  • Location Chicago
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom structural glass system
  • Products Custom Roschmann IGU panels KRION Porcelanosa
The glass streetwall runs the entire width of the city block, weaving behind the square columns that form an encircling arcade. When developing the overall contour of the glass facade, Krueck + Sexton Architects analyzed the movement of surrounding pedestrians and inputted that information to follow the preexisting desire lines of foot traffic. Roschmann Group, the Germany-based manufacturer, handled the fabrication of the bespoke system. Each panel measures approximately 25-feet-by-four-feet and were installed using a custom-designed suction cup lifting device. "The glass is base loaded, and the glass fins provide support for lateral loads such as wind and inside and outside differential," said Krueck + Sexton Associate Principal Yugene Cha. "The top of the glass fin is held by a clever suspension system that can slide up and down and sideways allowing the building to move without breaking the glass." The street-level prominence of the facade, as well as the remarkable visibility of the oversized glass panels, required the implementation of direct and simple detailing where pane meets the ceiling, ground floor, and glass fin. The most challenging aspect of almost any project is the unforeseen conditions onsite after the commencement of construction. For the CME, frequent shifts in the grade below the street level required recalibrations of waterproofing details as well as glazing base plate design. It was critical to the success of the project to loop in the facade engineer, Thornton Tomasetti, from the point of conception. "First, Krueck + Sexton and Thornton Tomasetti worked together to develop a highly-detailed and complete facade package in the Schematic Design Phase, setting the project up for a successful Bidding Phase and Design Assist collaboration," said Thornton Tomasetti Senior Project Director Mark Chiu. "Second, Thornton Tomasetti pre-engineered the facade system’s glass sizes and thicknesses shown in the Schematic Design documents, validating the minimalist design details." Behind the structural glass facade, Krueck + Sexton placed a sophisticated system of 2,644 white synthetic-mineral panels that rise and curve to form the ceiling and continue outward to roof the arcade. The material is non-porous, allowing for straightforward maintenance. Krueck + Sexton Architects Founding Principal Mark P. Sexton and Thorton Tomasetti Senior Project Director Mark Chiu will be joining the panel "Ongoing Advancements in Glass Technology: From Smart Coatings to Connection Design" at the Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Chicago conference on September 12. In the afternoon, the panel will be extended into an intensive three-hour workshop.
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If It Looks Like Marble...

5G Studio Collaborative brings trapezoidal sintered stone to Dallas
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Downtown Dallas is undergoing a remarkable process of development, ranging from new office towers to prestigious cultural facilities. 5G Studio Collaborative, an architecture and design firm founded in 2005, has consistently expanded its body of work within its home city over the last decade-and-a-half. Completed in 2018, the AC Marriott Hotel Dallas is another addition to that ensemble, bringing a Catalan Modernisme-inspired sintered stone facade to the city center. The massing of the nearly 170,000-square-foot project is defined primarily by the northern elevation's slightly curved rectangular volume. Sintered stone and glass are the main facade elements for the elevation, and approximately 400 custom panels were used in total. The panels themselves are angular and protrude outward from the primary structure, giving the facade further depth while passively shading the window modules.
  • Facade Manufacturer Neolith Alucobond Trulite Vitro Cardinal Glass
  • Architect 5G Studio Collaborative
  • Facade Installer Holland Marble NOW Specialties
  • Structural Engineer DCI Engineers
  • Location Dallas, Texas
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Neolith StrongFix system
  • Products Neolith Calacatta Alucobond FR Vitro Solarban 60 Cardinal Low-E 366 & 270
According to the design team, the initial material choice for the project was white marble—a light-colored facade is a useful tool for reflecting the sun's rays in a hot state like Texas. However, it was soon learned that the delicate composition of marble would not fare well in Dallas's emission-cloaked environment, or under the significant temperature variances of north Texas. While sintered stone proved to be a more durable material than marble for the purposes of the project, the weight and complexity of the panels brought its own challenges to the project. The project team struggled with the rain screen system and its application to the sloped soffits of the exterior. The solution was to use an internal truss system located behind each individual panel. Additionally, the edges and intersections of each panel were custom-measured onsite following the actual evaluation of site conditions. The slabs were produced by Neolith and assembled by Holland Marble, a local fabricator and installer. Utilizing Neolith's StrongFix system, the design and fabrication teams were able to maintain a continual dialogue to adjust the anchoring components and assembling services to conform to the largely unique panels. "The design journey was an enjoyable one as we were able to maintain the initial concept right from the beginning until completion," said 5G Studio collaborative associate Lauren Cadieux. "We are very happy with the end result: a seemingly 'floating' facade that transitions effortlessly across the front, west, and east sides of the exterior."      
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Hancock Brethren

Pei Cobb Freed's One Dalton joins the Boston skyline with curved glass curtainwall
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Rising from a triangular lot in Boston’s Back Bay, One Dalton is a 61-story, 706,000-square-foot residential tower designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Its gently curving triangular floorplan—a direct product of the unique site—is extruded vertically to create the building’s clean but dynamic glass form. The slightly bulging facades and the sheer size of the glass units presented some major challenges when it came to developing the cladding. The glass panels are some of the largest the firm had ever worked with, with a typical unit spanning 12-feet-tall by almost 6-feet-wide with a 30-degree curve. The firm set ambitious goals for the glass beyond the unusual size and shape with specific targets for deflection and distortion, solar and thermal transmission, color rendering, transparency, UV filtration, glare and reflectance, and noise suppression.
  • Facade Manufacturer Guardian Glass Oldcastle Building Envelope Sobotec Kenneth Castellucci & Associates
  • Architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners CambridgeSeven (Collaborating Architect)
  • Facade Installer Metro Glass & Metal Cheviot Corporation Kenneth Castellucci & Associates
  • Location Boston, MA
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom glass and aluminum curtain wal
  • Products Guardian SunGuard SN 70/41
To find the perfect glass, the architects tested many different assemblies using full- scale mock-ups. They ultimately decided on a hybrid design that incorporated laminated, tinted glass with a mild, Low-E coated solar control product (Guardian SunGuard SN 70/41), a low-iron substrate, and argon-filled airspace. Testing also showed that the curving glass produced funhouse mirror-like reflections at night, so an interior anti-reflective coating was added as well. Much like the individual panes of glass, the overall facade is more complicated than it at first appears. Subtle incisions break up the massing of the upper 40 floors, creating protected spaces for operable casements while formally suggesting large bay windows that distinguish the condominium units from the hotel rooms below. “I’m a great believer that, especially in a city, it’s important to bring out the different uses that are taking place [in a tower],” Henry Cobb told the audience in June at AN’s Facades+ conference in Boston. One Dalton wouldn’t be possible without the rapid evolution of architectural glass driven by ambitious designs and new technologies. Commenting on these changes, Roy Barris, associate partner at Pei Cobb Freed, noted that despite the firm’s exhaustive pursuit of the perfect material, “If we were to start this project again today, we’d have to start from scratch.”
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It makes an impression

Post-Office Architectes stamps Tribeca with corrugated cardboard concrete formwork
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Tribeca is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that non-landmarked lots throughout the area are being snatched up and redeveloped for commercial or residential purposes. 30 Warren Street, which is currently wrapping up construction, is located on a northeastern corner of Church and Warren Streets. Designed by the Paris-based practice Post-Office Architectes, which was founded by The Ateliers Jean Nouvel alumni David Fagart, Line Fontana, and Francois Leininger, the new luxury condominium joins the scene with an ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) facade formed with corrugated cardboard. The approximately 50,000-square-foot project is located just outside of the official boundaries of the four historic districts within Tribeca. As a commercial center for the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the architectural makeup of the neighborhood is defined by Renaissance Revival masonry and cast-iron offices and warehouses, differing in scale according to their proximity to either the avenue or side street. For the architects, it was integral that the design of the new residential development stands on its own as a contemporary project while still paying reverence to the context with a mineral-based cladding. In terms of massing, the 12-story project rises on the entire footprint of the corner lot and sets back at the fifth floor in unison with the cornice line of the adjacent historic structures. The north elevation will eventually rise to two stories and will serve as a retail space.
  • Facade Manufacturer TAKTL Schuco Rainscreen Solutions
  • Architect Post-Office Architectes
  • Facade Installer GGL Enterprises
  • Facade Consultant Front, Inc
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion Fall 2019
  • System Custom TAKTL system
  • Products TAKTL RAL 8019 Schuco window system
"Thanks to its very fine grain, UHPC typically allows all kinds of textures," said Post-Office Architects Co-Founder Francois Leininger. "Rather than creating a complicated texture using readily available digital processes and having to deal with the constrains (repetition, uniformity...), we wanted to create something crafty, something that would look a bit handmade, something with a unique feel. This was our way to pay tribute to the magnificent cast-iron architecture across the street and all around Tribeca." In total, there are approximately 921 UHPC panels across the facade, all of which are 3/4-inch thick and vary in size; the largest is about 11-by-3.5 feet. The system is not complex, as the panels are secured to a stud system that rests on the floor slabs. Where the assembly does stand out is in the use of a matrix of 1.5-inch-wide black aluminum channels placed behind the joint of each panel—a challenge when many of the panel dimensions are in fact unique. The aluminum channels serve two functions; the depth of the concrete panels is visually extenuated, and they obscure the insulation located behind the rain screen. Detailing for the precast concrete panels is fairly subtle and clever. The team suggested industrial-grade one-sided corrugated cardboard, pressed against the concrete slabs at a 45-degree angle. The 70 molds produced are imperfect; cardboard has a habit of micro-tearing and causing other impacts associated with the fabrication process. "The result, as one can observe on site today, is an ever-changing texture, reacting to the slightest inflections of light," continued Leininger. "The presence of the ribs helps to make the concrete panel look homogeneous, while the change of direction of the ribs, at each setback, modifies the perceived color of the panels." The project is slated to wrap up in the fall of 2019.
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Chicago Common Brick

Brooks + Scarpa parts the veil with an undulating brick screen wall
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Evanston, Illinois is located over a dozen miles from the city center of Chicago, on the northern fringe of Cook County, and is bounded by Lake Michigan to the east. The city is fairly typical for the region: there is a postwar central business district surrounded by tracts of suburban housing, some clad with wood drop-siding and others with exposed brick. Completed in 2018, the Lipton Thayer Brick House by Los Angeles-and-Florida-based architectural practice Brooks + Scarpa and Chicago's Studio Dwell burst onto the scene with a twisting-brick screen backed by a Miesian glass curtain wall. The 2,500-square-foot family residence and conforms to the city-mandated suburban lot lines, with the entire outer shell composed of Chicago Common Brick. The side elevations rise sheer with limited fenestration to the east and west, while the 21-foot-tall brick skin on the north elevation breaks to partially reveal the entrance courtyard.
  • Facade Manufacturer Chicago Common Brick Vitro Accurate Metal Chicago LM Scolfield
  • Architect Brooks + Scarpa Studio Dwell
  • Facade Installer Studio Dwell
  • Structural Engineer Louis Shell Structures
  • Location Evanston, IL
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Custom steel screen Type V wood frame over Type I reinforced concrete
  • Products Chicago Common Brick Vitro Solarban 80 LM Scolfeild Lithochrome
As Chicago Common brick has not been produced for nearly four decades, the material was salvaged from past and ongoing demolitions of historic structures. It is an irregular and coarse material formerly harvested from local clay beds that were formed from the diverse deposits of retreating glaciers from the last ice age. The resulting finish—the clay is baked at a temperature of 1500-degrees Fahrenheit over the course of a few days— is inconsistent in color from brick to brick which provides a softly gradated facade. While visually complex, the design team utilized a straightforward methodology to achieve the rotating pattern. "Using ruled surface geometry, the undulating facade is formed by connecting two curves with a series of straight lines to form the surface of the facade," said Brooks + Scarpa. "This technique allowed the design team to work with complex curved forms and rationalize them into simple, cost-effective standardized components, making them easy to fabricate and efficient to install." A thin layer of mortar is located between each successive brick of the vertical columns. However, the task of keeping the masonry screen in place falls to a steel system produced by Accurate Metal Chicago. A steel rebar pipe, running from base to cornice, passes through each individual brick. Additionally, interstitially-placed steel plates are integrated with the vertical bands of rebar and brick every few courses, supplementing the screen with horizontal bracing. Past the screen wall, the courtyard is lined with rectangular, high-visibility glass curtain wall modules framed with aluminum. Sunlight from the northern exposure is filtered through the screen wall, softening the daylight that reaches the interior spaces. The rear elevation, which faces a service alley, is composed of recycled Portland cement panels stained with LITHOCHROME to achieve a light-grey finish.  
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Not your father's Garden City

Ron Arad Architect's Totzeret Haaretz contorts over Tel Aviv with glass and sintered stone
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The recently completed Totzeret Haaretz (ToHa) office tower on the eastern border of Tel Aviv offers a new public-facing approach to superblock megadevelopments, while simultaneously delivering a remarkably unique design merging glass, sintered stone, and brass. Designed by Ron Arad Architects with the help of executive architects Yashar Architects, the 29-story tower is the first phase of a larger project that will include an additional development of twice the height.
  • Facade Manufacturer Cosentino Guardian Digom Pellini Industries
  • Architect Ron Arad Architects Yashar Architects (Executive Architect)
  • Facade Installer Aluminum Construction
  • Facade Consultant Buro Happold David Engineers
  • Location Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom Aluminum Construction system
  • Products Guardian HD 67 DEKTON Cosentino sintered stone panels
The building rises on a trio of stiletto-like heels, which constitute a footprint of just under 16,150 square feet. Besides enhancing the nearly full-block public plaza surrounding the building, the seven-story plinths house the bulk of the tower's mechanical infrastructure—permitting the roof to function as an open space with a perimeter walkway and two terraces. To allow for the proper ventilation of the mechanical system while maintaining aesthetic standards required for a street-level facade, the design team developed a permeable system of cross-mounted DEKTON sintered stone panels supplied by Spanish-manufacturer Cosentino. The panels are approximately 10-feet tall and 2-feet wide and are fastened to a mullion between the respective floor plates. The panels were produced in six colors, creating a visual gradient across the weaved-stone street wall. Moving upwards, the tower rotates, widens, and tapers to dramatic effect. Each floor is cloaked in double-glazed Low-E glass curtain wall modules, measuring approximately 12.5-feet by 4.5-feet, inset from a protruding concrete floorplate. The double-skin glass system was developed in collaboration with the contractor, Aluminum Construction, and was tested at the IFC Rosenheim research lab on the southern border of Bavaria, Germany. "Each unit contains an integrated reflective blind manufactured by Pellini Industries and an automated air inlet system which periodically pumps air into the glazed cavity," said Ron Arad Architects. "The warm air exits the unit through an outlet opening at the top." Due to the unique geometry of the project's massing—no two floors of the tower are the same—there is a significant range of solar incidence across each elevation. Using computational tools, the design team determined the appropriate width of the floor plate extrusion, which serves as a passive shading device for the floor below. Similar to the base of the building, the extruding elements are clad with sintered stone panels measuring approximately half-an-inch thick and 6.5-feet wide. A particularly stylistic flourish is found on the south elevation facing HaShalom Road, as the first seven stories of the section are clad in a brass sheathing. The pattern for the sheathing mirrors and twists the extruding floor plates above, creating a complex matrix of sunlight reflection and shading that varies throughout the day. Over time, the sheathing will patina from its current gold-like composition to a more subtle shade of bronze. The entrance is demarcated by a nearly 100-foot-tall structural glass curtain wall, which leads to a seven-story high atrium with a view to the summit of the tower.