This article originally appeared as part of our January 2019 print issue in the timber feature.
The timber industry has long thrived on its small-scale, local nature due to the sourcing of its materials as well as the limits on project size set by the building code. With this has come a good deal of fragmentation and disorganization, so we decided to map out the different schools, organizations, and manufacturers that are leading the way in the research and development of mass timber across the United States and Canada.
The San Francisco Bay Area is nourishing one of the country's most active architecture scenes. Fueled by a booming technology sector, rapid population and commercial growth are delivering exciting new projects to the region.
On February 7, The Architect's Newspaper is gathering leading local and California-based design practices for Facades+ San Francisco, a conference on innovative enclosure projects across the city, state, and country. Participants include EHDD, BuroHappold Engineering, CallisonRTKL, CO Architects, Heintges Consulting Architects & Engineers, and David Baker Architects.
Joe Valerio, founding principal of Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDT), will co-chair the half-day symposium. AN interviewed Valerio about what VDT is working on and the firm's perspective on San Francisco's architectural trends.
The Architect's Newspaper: San Francisco is arguably the nation's leading technological hub. How do you see this role impacting the architectural development of the city, and what do you perceive to be the most exciting facade trends in San Francisco today?Joe Valerio: Perhaps, the pressure that technology companies are creating on the building sector will finally lead to real innovation in how we build things. The San Francisco building sector does not have the capacity to move forward using conventional means. I believe that continual innovation will help the city catch up to its vast demand.
It’s an exciting time for design in San Francisco. With technology evolving at such a rapid rate, it has been interesting to see how it is beginning to manifest itself in architecture, both physically and experientially. For instance, in the physical sense, buildings like the de Young Museum or the Transbay Terminal are utilizing parametric modeling to create interesting forms and textures with metal mesh. Faceted glass is also being implemented in interesting ways in high-rise projects, such as the LinkedIn headquarters or the Oceanwide Center.
But on the experiential side, digital is becoming a new palette for architectural design. The Salesforce lobby, for example, uses digital projection mapping to draw people in from the street. Its translucent facade almost disappears from view, making the lobby feel like its extension. This is something that we have been experimenting with in our own work, in projects such as Art on theMart in Chicago or the YouTube lobby in San Bruno.
What projects is VDT working on, and what innovative enclosure practices are being used?JV: We are developing a graduate student village for Vanderbilt University in Nashville, with our partners at Lend Lease Communities, and are looking at a wide range of modular and prefabricated construction techniques to meet the speed at which we need to deliver this project. New modular techniques that implement cross-laminated timber and steel into their modules are allowing us to go higher than the five stories limited by wood stick construction. We’re also implementing modular prefabricated cold-formed steel panel systems for quick assembly on site.
Universities present tremendous opportunities in housing, and we find that embracing challenging parameters leads to very exciting outcomes.
VDT is located in multiple cities across the country; what are the particular challenges and benefits of working in San Francisco?JV: One of the most exciting aspects of working in San Francisco is our client base. We work with companies that are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology, and for us, finding new ways to meet their needs with architecture is a thrilling prospect. Quite often, our work in the city deals with very interesting pre-existing buildings, such as in the case of Adobe Town Hall. Here we were challenged to both expand and reinvent the company’s dining experience all the while preserving a building that’s listed as a historic landmark. Its previous function as a tool factory became the driving force behind a new design, conceptually celebrating culinary tools developed by their new chef, and digital tools that Adobe continues to develop to this day. It’s opportunities like this that constantly pique our interest in San Francisco.
But on the other side of the coin, having such a highly innovative and skilled architecture community has created a severe labor shortage in the city—a constant reminder of how thankful we are to have such a talented team.
Is there a particular technique or materials that VDT is experimenting with?JV: There has always been a drive to bring new materials into our enclosures. Yet these systems are still dominated by old techniques and primitive materials such as glass. We have experimented with new materials such as ETFE, and we would forecast that assembling these old materials in innovative ways is the path forward. Remember the iPhone has a glass screen.
Additionally, cross-laminated timber (CLT) continues to show a lot of promise. We have been working with a company on modular prefabricated CLT housing at a larger scale, and we’re excited to see how we can begin to leverage cost and design with new techniques.
Further information regarding Facades+ San Francisco may be found here.
In California’s Long Beach, a new biomorphic mass has surfaced along the waterfront. The semi-reflective blue structure is not a beached endangered species, but the Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD)–designed Pacific Visions wing of the Aquarium of the Pacific. The 29,000-square-foot project, which is set for a May 2019 public opening, features a triple-laminated glass facade rain screen subject to three different treatments.
Unlike the preexisting wing of the Aquarium of the Pacific, the newly designed Pacific Visions places an emphasis on curatorial spaces—the facility will hold an art gallery, exhibition space, and an immersive theater. In effect, the internal program requires a black box experience to function accordingly.
ManufacturerWoodbridge Glass Inc.
Sentech Architectural Systems
InstallerWoodbridge Glass Inc.
Seeing as daylight is not needed for the wing’s interior spaces, glass was not the immediate choice for their facade cladding. Working with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, EHDD experimented with a range of different materials following a planar cladding system envisioned as a continuous sinuous surface. According to the design team, they decided on “a completely unique glass assembly to evoke the effect of light on water, its depth, variability, and luminosity.”
The dynamic visual qualities of the glass paneling system rely on a trio of layered treatments by California manufacturer Pulp Studio. The manufacturer produced the glass panels over the course of four months, shipping them on A-frames to installer Woodbridge Glass Inc. Bernard Lax, founder of Pulp Studio, referred to the fabrication process as an "exercise in frustration," owing to the complexity in producing hundreds of unique glass panels with highly particular treatments.
“The innermost layer incorporates a subtle reflective finish that picks up changing light conditions and modulates the hue of the tinted middle layer,” said EHDD Senior Associate Quyen Luong, “the outer layer is made of low-iron, acid-etched glass, which eliminates direct reflection of the sky by diffusing light.”
In total, the facade features over 800 unique glass panels encompassing a surface area of approximately 18,000 square feet. EHDD worked with Sentech Architectural Systems to custom design an open-joint steel aluminum carrier frame painted with a stringent resistant coating. Fixing the cladding in place without disrupting the sinuous surface of the facade remained a stylistic obstacle for the project—the city of Long Beach requires all facade panels to be mechanically secured regardless of any use of structural silicone.
The design team took this challenge head-on by tapering the profile and size of the facade clips and examining their potential layout throughout the enclosure system. Through methodical research and adaptation, EHDD Senior
Associate Katherine Miller notes "the retention clips add a sense of scale and rhythm. What was initially considered a compromise resulted in an opportunity to add another level of articulation to the faceted geometry of the facade."
Quyen Luong will be presenting EHDD's Pacific Visions on February 7 at Facades+ San Francisco.
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.
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.
Metropolitan Atlanta is undergoing something of an urban moment; new developments and towers are cropping up across the city at a dizzying pace in tandem with public parks, pedestrian zones, and new transit lines. Initiatives such as the BeltLine and The Gulch promise a discernible shift from the car-centric planning that has been the city's course for decades.
On January 16, Facades+ Atlanta will bring together the leading architectural firms executing projects within the city, including Beck Architecture, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, HKS Architects, Duda|Paine Architects, and John Portman & Associates (JPA).
In anticipation of the conference, AN interviewed JPA's conference co-chairs Gordon R. Beckman, principal and design director, and Pierluca Maffey, principal and vice president of design, to better understand a city in flux and the storied firm's role within this transformation.
The Architect's Newspaper: Atlanta is undergoing a period of incredible growth that is reshaping the physical character of the city. What do you perceive to be the most interesting facade and structural innovations in Atlanta today?Pierluca Maffey: Just like people in many other cities in the U.S., Atlantans are rediscovering the advantages that urban living means to everyday life. The idea of buying a big house with car garages that look like hangars is shifting towards the purchase of more efficient spaces possibly near or well connected to public spaces and activities where human interaction occurs and social experiences unfold. This is the sociological change at the base of the new urbanism that is shaping many cities in the U.S. Share more space instead of owning it; share a mean of transportation; share experiences instead of having exclusive ones and so on. Even the workplace is based on sharing more knowledge to spark innovation, and the hospitality business is doing the same by transforming exclusive hotel lobbies into urban hubs where people and events take place.
In that sense, Portman was way ahead of its time when in the early '60s, while America was abandoning every downtown to escape in the promise land of suburbia, he invested in redeveloping downtown Atlanta. Designing, developing and promoting the heart of the city was and is the best way to build the identity and the culture of a town. The less risky route of urbanizing more land in the outskirts of an older city is far more devastating to the development of a community. Today, we see people demanding for a higher quality of urban living and the administrations and the developers must cater to this “new” idea of a city, one in which people can feel safe to occupy and live during the day and night. Unfortunately, Atlanta does not have the same density as other important cities in the U.S. however, it is moving in the right trajectory to attract the new generations of citizens. Capitalizing on some of the major assets that the city owns like Georgia Tech and the busiest airport in the world, the city is becoming a hub for many industries, and it is attracting a cosmopolitan population that will enrich the experience and the development of this city. These newcomers, like myself, are bringing in new ideas and demanding more updated public space throughout the city.
The results are visible in many recent projects around town, from large to small, where the leading factor is no longer the efficiency and the return on investment, but the public demand for better public spaces and streetscapes where the building facades represent the edges like walls in a house. Unfortunately, the demand for cars is still high because the public transportation grid quality is still very weak but hopefully it will change in the future with the right policies and a good collaboration between public and private partnerships on how to address traffic and development in the city.
Gordon R. Beckman: It's a great time to be in Atlanta. The last two or three generations seem to have found a renewed interest in urban living and its associated benefits, culturally, socially, and environmentally. The result has been an influx of people, an influx of ideas, and a necessity to increase opportunities for living and working. This is a huge plus for the city as it demands increased density, further defining edges between private and public spaces resulting in a more walkable place-oriented city fabric.
Building enclosures fulfill numerous roles, the most basic being to separate us from the elements, but they also form a significant part of the building identity and in the best cases they integrate ideas and ideals of energy to boost occupant comfort while minimizing energy consumption. Importantly, they also become the enclosure system for the public realm and the public spaces of the urban environment. Atlanta, as most cities are, is composed of multiple distinct neighborhoods. As a result, there are numerous projects throughout the city both planned and completed that are unique in their image, form, and enclosure systems.
A key part of Tech Square, the JPA-designed Coda project, derives out of the idea of creating a public open space within the urban block. Its elegant glazed exterior wall defines the street edges, is modulated to define a pedestrian scale at the street and, together with the data center and historical Crum and Foster building, define the inner public space. High-performance glazing together with view glass in a unitized curtain wall contributes to the expectation of LEED Gold status.
Historic preservation is gaining in popularity in Atlanta. How do you perceive this trend altering the city, and how can architects embrace it?LM:Historic preservation is a must. Buildings of the past represent a culture and decisions that were taken at a certain time by people who came before us. That said, when a building loses its main purpose, I see an opportunity for us to reinvent that same structure and breathe new life into it without losing its richness and history. A lot of structures were torn down in the past decades, and that was the trend around the nation. Perhaps it was not the best thing to do, judging with today’s mentality, but we can’t change that anymore. What we can do is preserve what we have today and what was left from before.
Our 230 Indigo is a repurpose of the first office project designed by Portman in the '60s. We converted the first nine floors into a hotel and preserved the rest as an office. The massing composition of Coda was all based on the 1926 Crum and Forster building. It was a priority to preserve the structure as a jewel and that led to a decision to create active space around it and place all the higher structures away from it to create a neutral background for its classical unique architecture.
I am glad that the developers and designers are preserving a lot of the industrial structures bringing new life into them. Ponce City Market and Krog are the best examples we have in town, but there are many more done by other developers and very good architects who understand the richness and responsibility of preserving older structures. What I really do not like is new developments and designers promoting new buildings to look like industrial warehouses. That is tricking the customers, just like giving them a fake 1500 Tuscan Villa in the outskirts of a U.S. metropolis.
Atlanta's skyline is defined by your firm's projects. Can you expand on the relationship your firm has cultivated with the city? LM: Like many other cities in the U.S., Atlanta has seen the exodus of the middle class towards suburbia. The fact that Atlanta has no natural boundaries like mountains or water that could constraint its sprawl in the territory caused the “explosion of the city” into many other satellite cities. At a moment in which Downtown Atlanta lost most of its economic force and middle class, Portman decided to reinvest in the city and never left its core. The office never left downtown, and the investments that were made through the years into what is now a large master plan were able and still can bring millions of visitors to the city. The design aesthetic adopted at an era when brutalism was spreading around the world is seen today as very stark and not inviting. The decision to create an alternative to the open public space offered by the streets was a way to provide safety for people and businesses that were catering to the visitors coming to the conventions and to the fair held by America’s Mart and the Georgia World Congress Center. It is understandable how today we see those solutions as unfavorable to the evolution of the activity and safety of public open spaces however, they provided a viable solution at the time they were conceived and are still significantly successful today with thousands of people meandering through the food court of Peachtree center and the atriums of the Hyatt Regency and Marriott Marquis. Today Ponce City Market and Krog Street offer the more appealing “food hall,” but the concept is the same: an introverted world where the public space is privately owned and managed. We still can’t take a stroll down the street looking at shops and choose a restaurant out of hundreds available like you would do in Europe.
Coda is opening to the city again and it reflects the current city culture. We deliberately created an open plaza easily accessible from two major streets and widely open to the sidewalks. It's a place for gathering and connecting with other people. It's still a privately owned and managed place but exposed and available to everyone to experience. That said, the owner decided on building an adjacent food hall to energize the outdoor space and activate it throughout the day. We are still far from the great public urban space seen in other cities in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world, but those are not developed by private companies. Those public spaces are built by the administrations and they reflect the culture of the society at a particular time. We might not be there yet, but we are certainly ready to play our part in designing them.
GB: Atlanta has a rich and varied architectural legacy. Our founder John Portman contributed to the vast array of projects that define this city. He recognized that for Atlanta to remain a vital urban place, the energy of the urban core needed to be maintained through comprehensive economic planning, as seen in the offices and hotel of Peachtree Center. At the time these projects were being executed, the city was blighted by suburban flight that challenged the primacy of urban living.
Portman and his internal public squares recognized the need for public spaces within the city. Now, our practice is seeking to blur the boundary between interior and exterior. The contrast between the Marriott Marquis and the new Coda project demonstrate this idea in a powerful way.
Atlanta is on fire with its growth, with the metropolitan area projected to grow to nine million residents by 2040. This exponential growth means more work, more housing, more cultural projects, more urbanism, transportation systems, infrastructure, and so on. The future vision of the city largely rests on Atlanta's community of architects, planners, and developers.
Further information regarding the Facades+ conference can be found here.
With a wine-producing history stretching back three millennia to Greek colonization in the 6th century B.C., the French region of Provence is nearly synonymous with viticulture. Winemaker Les Domaine Ott Chateau de Selle has called the region home since 1912 and last year completed a full-scale revamp of its facilities by Paris-based Carl Fredrik Svenstedt Architect (CFSA) featuring a facade of self-supporting one-ton blocks of local stone.
The 47,000-square-foot winery is partially nestled into the hillside, rising from a stepped concrete foundation. The two primary elevations of the structure run adjacent to each other, with that to the east following a gentle curve. Each stone block of the facade is approximately 3 square feet in area and 1.5 feet in height, stacked to reach a total height of nearly 33 feet. Each stone block weighs approximately a ton, allowing for the insertion of certain load-bearing elements into the blocks for interior slabs and beams.
ManufacturerCarrier De Provence
ArchitectsCarl Fredrik Svenstedt Architect
InstallerPrintemps de la Pierre
LocationTaradeau, Provence, France
SystemSelf-supporting limestone facade with a concrete core
ProductsLa Pierre du Pont-du-Gard limestone
Soleal Evolution Technal aluminum window frames
The arrangement of the self-supporting stone blocks dilates and contorts according to interior function; the central body housing dozens of stainless steel and wooden wine barrels must be guarded from UV rays, while gaps in the imposing elevations crop towards the north and south for office spaces and screened courtyards.
For French vineyards, the concept of terroir, or the unique qualities of local mineral and environmental conditions, is directly credited for the final palette of each vintage. For CFSA, it was imperative that the design of the new winery similarly reflect the surrounding geography. To this effect, the design team procured the beige limestone blocks from quarrier Carrières de Provence who source from local a limestone quarry dating back from the Roman era. The large-grain stone, known as La Pierre du Pont-du-Gard, was first roughly harvested from the quarry and subsequently fashioned in an on-site workshop with diamond disc rotors.
“Using stone quarried nearby was coherent for the insertion of such a large building into the landscape,” says Carl Fredrik Svenstedt, “at the same time the stone has fantastic thermal properties for a winery in a hot climate, with great mass inertia and hygrometry, while also being very accessible financially.”
Following fabrication, the stone blocks were transported 125 miles from Carrier de Provence's facilities to the construction site and craned into position atop the perimeter of the concrete shell. Joinery of the blocks was fairly straightforward: they are held together by gravity and mortar. Since Provence is located in an active seismic zone, CFSA added two key elements to boost earthquake resistance: every sixteen feet, the stone piers were hollowed to facilitate the insertion of a vertical concrete pier directly to the foundation, while strategically placed pins are used to the same effect for areas with significant openings.
Similar to historic wineries that rely on a system of vaults to allow for flexible interior floor plans, the great halls of the facility are supported by a system of precast concrete beams and columns. CFSA relied on rebar and infill concrete between limestone columns and the core to tie the stone and concrete elements into a cohesive structural system.
Available in six custom finishes and stains, WOODWORKS Linear Solid Wood Panels are made of western hemlock. The 12-inch-by-96-inch linear panels attach to Armstrong’s Prelude EL Exterior system via screw fasteners. Perfect for creating seamless indoor-to-outdoor transitions, the exterior panels are designed to withstand the elements and are great for overhang and soffit applications.
Made by glue-laminating panels of Scandinavian pine together, Lunawood’s cladding boards are made in a thermal manufacturing process where wood is processed using only heat and steam, a technique nearly as natural as the wood itself. Available in planks with horizontal or vertical textures, the natural brown color of the wood can be retained using a surface finish or left untreated to patina.
Made of durable New Zealand-sourced pine, Exterior Wood Cladding is optimal for both large-scale commercial projects and detail-oriented residential designs. Accoya’s external wood siding is extremely durable, and it is available custom profiled to fit specific building designs and specifications.
Pairing the charming aesthetic qualities of wood with the strength and resilience of aluminum, Technowood’s aluminum panels are laminated with natural wood veneers. Using less wood than typical siding applications, AluSiding is environmentally sustainable, lightweight, and recyclable.
Characterized by the clearly defined lines naturally occurring in solid wood, Pure is FunderMax’s new color collection in its Nature collection wood-based cladding. Stark yet soft in its straightforward design, Pure is offered in four thicknesses and six finishes.
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
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.
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 PANELCorian 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Constructed in the center of the canal-ringed Dutch city of Delft, Mecanoo Architecten’s new City Hall and Train Station conveys an up-to-date take on the city’s overarching morphology and history with an expressive glass facade and articulated massing.
Delft is located approximately 10 miles from the Port of Rotterdam, one of the world’s busiest, historically embedding the city within European and international trade flows. The city’s primary product was a style of tin-glazed ceramic dubbed Delftware, which largely consisted of blue detailing laid over white porcelain. Protected by relatively stringent architectural conservation regulations, the city still largely follows its centuries-old layout of narrow streets, plot lines, and modest building heights. The challenge for the architectural practice was to incorporate these elements into a 305,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art infrastructural hub and seat of government.
SystemSteel-and-concrete with custom facade framing
ProductsAKS Bouw custom facade framing
St. Gobain kiln formed glass
The complex rises from a vaulted and mosaic-tiled four-track train station, with the first floor largely serving as a conduit of circulation between the streetscape above and transport embedded below. Floating above the station’s principal concourse are approximately 2,000 425-foot-long curved ribs printed with a historic map of the Delft region in 1877.
The glass panels are primarily a single height of approximately 11.5 feet, with varying widths of 1.5 to 3 feet. Each panel was glazed a soft blue in homage to eponymous ceramics formerly produced in Delft. Working with curtain wall fabricator AKS Bouw, the design team utilized a custom-designed aluminum framing system, hanging each facade element from the interior with a specialized hook.
For fabrication and glazing of the glass panels, Mecanoo Architecten collaborated with specialist St. Gobain. Kiln forming was used to imprint street-facing panels with their lens-like spheres, a vernacular detail commonly found within the city.
According to the design team, this kiln forming process is fairly straightforward: “a regular sheet of float glass is heated and put over a mold containing holes for the heated glass to drop into, the ripple effect is formed by a nose that sits at the center of the hole."
From the second story, the structure rises as an irregular glass mass measuring nearly 50,000 square feet in surface area. Mecanoo used two strategies to relate the complex’s volume to the city-at-large: deep incisions punctuate the east and west elevations of the street wall recalling the city’s network of alleyways and courtyards, while the roof gradually slopes downward towards each corner to match surrounding cornice lines.
Modular construction is gaining steam in New York City, with the technique being utilized for new projects ranging from affordable housing to academic facilities. In September 2018, modular technology reached a new height with the tallest modular hotel in the United States, the 21-story citizenM New York Bowery located in Manhattan.
For the modular units, Concrete Architectural Associates, Stephen B. Jacobs Group Architects and Planners, and DeSimone Consulting Engineers reached out to Polish manufacturers Polcom Modular, and Aluprof S.A. The units, which measure 48 feet by 8 feet by 9 feet and incorporate two hotel rooms and a central corridor (following a pattern of guestroom-corridor-guestroom), were specifically designed to navigate the street width of New York City. Each module was assembled with the street-facing facade included.
SystemMullion/transom captured system with hopper tilt-in windows
ProductsAluprof MB-SR50 Hi; MB-60l
Following fabrication, the 210 modular units were transported hundreds of miles from the manufacturing facilities in Goleszów, Poland to the northern port city of Gdańsk where they began the second leg of their trip to New York’s Red Hook Terminal. From Brooklyn, a convoy of flatbed trucks transported the units across the East River to the construction site.
The project began with the construction of a four-story concrete base, topped with a 36-inch-thick slab that spans up to 38 feet. This podium, which houses larger amenity spaces below, serves as a transfer slab to support the modular pods above.
While the bulk of the citizenM New York Bowery hotel is composed of modular units, there are certain structural elements that span the building’s height. Prior to the craning in of prefabricated components, the construction team poured a full-height concrete structural core along the sites southwest corner and a sheer wall to the north.
These concrete structural elements are the primary lateral system for the tower, with the sheer wall largely preventing the modular units from twisting. "Diagonal strap bracing on the module ceiling acted as the floor diaphragm to transfer the floor lateral loads back to the sheer walls," said DeSimone Consulting Engineers Managing Principal Borys Hayda, "the sheer wall's steel connection plates were bolted into the module ceilings and the female end of a Halfen stud embedded into the concrete structure."
Once on site, the modules were lifted by crane and stacked module-to-module, each tied to the one directly below by bolted connections. According to DeSimone Engineers, "countersunk bolts were typically used for the diaphragm connections to prevent boltheads from interfering with the bearing of the module above." During construction, the prefabricated units were effectively cocooned within a watertight membrane, with the central portion later being cut out for the hotel’s corridors. After a brief learning curve at the start of the project, the construction team was capable of installing one floor of modular units per week.
The top two floors of the tower are framed by structural steel, allowing for larger amenity spaces.
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.
ManufacturerLOPO China China State Construction Company (CSCEC) Zhonglei Shanghai Haojing Glass Products Co.
InstallerJiang He Curtain Wall Co.
SystemTerra-cotta screen mounted atop diagonal steel tubes with custom-designed clips
ProductsLOPO 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.
Commonly known as the capital of the New South, Metropolitan Atlanta is one of the largest cities of the American southeast and has the architectural output to prove it. A number of firms across a range of sizes call the city home, producing designs at local, national, and international levels. On January 16, Facades+ Atlanta will bring leading figures of the city's architecture and development community into a robust dialogue, while also exhibiting an array of facade manufacturers. Gordon R. Beckman and Pierluca Maffey, both directors at John Portman Associates, will be co-chairing the event.
Gordon R. Beckman, Principal John Portman Associates
Pierluca Maffey, Principal John Portman Associates
John Portman Associates
The Allen Morris Company
Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
Gamma Real Estate
Da Vinci Development Collaborative
January 16, 2019
John Portman Associates, founded by the late John Portman in 1953, is the firm perhaps most synonymous with the city the firm has called home for over six decades. The firm, often cited for its soaring atria and forward-looking facades, has imprinted the Atlanta skyline with dozens of buildings, such as the 14-block Brutalist Peachtree Center. Ongoing projects within the city include the 21-story Anthem Technology Center clad in a dynamic perforated aluminum skin. Outside of the United States, the practice has established a significant presence in China, South Korea, and India, leading the design of sprawling complexes and urban master plans.
Duda|Paine Architects, a Durham, North Carolina-based firm, is similarly prodigious in the core of Atlanta and across the country. Founding Principal Turan Duda and Principal Jay Smith will participate in a panel: "Giant Skins: Developments of Midtown Atlanta" that will dive into contemporary projects that define and influence the city’s neighborhoods. The firm is currently wrapping up the NCR World Headquarters with a facade of sweeping glass planes in Midtown, and the 1.5-million-square-foot Terminus campus.
Buckhead, a residential and commercial district just outside of the core of Atlanta, is experiencing a spate of development featuring novel facade designs. Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects has led the design of residential, cultural, and commercial projects found throughout the district, such as the recently completed Two and Three Alliance Center towers. Both Scogin and Elam will be leading the panel "Buckhead Rising: Complexities of Commercial Facades," with Ryan Woods, an associate of Beck Architecture.
Similar to other cities across the country experiencing a surge in growth, Atlanta is reappraising its architectural heritage as an asset to be preserved and enhanced. Across the downtown area, historic towers including the 117-year-old Flatiron Bower and the Hurt Building have been painstakingly restored and repurposed for contemporary uses. "Atlanta Repurposed: Adaptive Re-use and Preservation of Facades" will survey projects across the city utilizing unconventional methods of restoration.
Representatives of HKS Architects, The Allen Morris Company, Gamma Real Estate, Lucror Resources, and DaVinci Development Collaborative will also lead panels following contemporary development in Atlanta.
Further information regarding the conference may be found here.