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Terra-cotta sun shading offers transparency and dynamism for Australian business school
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Nestled into a small inner-city suburb of Sydney sits a new business school facility for the University of Sydney. The building, designed by Woods Bagot across three of their fifteen global offices, consolidates facilities that were once scattered across nine buildings on campus while supporting a student body of over 6,000 students. The massing of the building weaves into the context of the neighborhood, unified by a terra-cotta cladding system with carefully selected coloration that help to blend in with surrounding Victorian-era worker’s terraces.
  • Facade Manufacturer Gosford Quarries; Stane Industries
  • Architects Woods Bagot; Kannfinch; Carr Design Group (interiors) 
  • Facade Installer Stane Industries
  • Facade Consultants Taylor Thomson Whitting (structural engineering)
  • Location Sydney, Australia
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System terra-cotta screen over IMP/window wall assembly
  • Products GALVABOND® steel supplied by BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies
The building envelope of the University of Sydney's Abercrombie Business School is composed of three components: an all-glass undulating base level, a window wall enclosing classrooms and offices, and an exterior screen assembly composed of terra-cotta baguettes. Matt Stephenson, senior associate at Woods Bagot, said a primary focus of the design team was developing a project that was contextually sensitive. “With the enclosure, the challenge was to maintain a singular identity and dynamic expression for the overall academic building.” The team conducted color theory research, arriving at a scheme that balances “background” coloration of insulated metal panels on the building envelope with “foreground” terra cotta screen colors. A color palette of unglazed and white glazed terra cotta was selected which allows the two facade layers to visually merge, creating a texture inspired by sandstone local to the area. The terra-cotta screen is composed of repetitive baguettes, dynamically arranged in response to program and solar orientation. The architects “unfolded” each elevation, designing orthogonally by setting up a series of operations that began with a uniform screen density. They overlaid a solar analysis and a programmatic analysis of the base building skin that differentiated between room type and activity level. This zoning of the elevation helped inform where baguettes could be eliminated within each facade.  In active zones, the architects deleted over 35 percent of the baguettes to allow light and air into the active program spaces. Additional baguettes were culled in response to eye-height views, localized areas of seating, and areas of the facade that were obstructed by adjacent buildings. The last step was to rotate the baguettes on elevations that received the most severe sunlight in order to increase their ability to act as a sunshade while maintaining visual porosity. The result was a dynamic system assembled from standard componentry.
The project evolved between Woods Bagot’s Sydney office, located 30 minutes from the site, and their New York and San Francisco offices. The project teams would share design models on a daily basis, which, thanks to time zone differences, allowed for nearly continuous project development. Stephenson said firm benefits from expertise in multiple offices around the world, and that in the years since the early design phases of USBS, cloud-based model sharing has significantly improved, enabling for more streamlined workflows.
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Layers of Clarity

Swiss office retrofit features a sophisticated glass skin
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A new renovation and extension to the Swiss Société Privée de Gérance (SPG) features a complex facade composed of four layers of glass. Designed by Italian firm Giovanni Vaccarini Architetti, the sophisticated building envelope offers a new aesthetic identity for the office headquarters while achieving energy efficiency.
  • Facade Manufacturer Stahlbau Pichler
  • Architects Giovanni Vaccarini Architetti; Fossati Architectes SA (Technical direction)
  • Facade Installer Metal Glass Sagl
  • Facade Consultants Stahlbau Pichler (facade consultant); BCS SA (facade engineer); SIMOS (facade lighting design); Wintsch&Cie (structural, electrical, and mechanical engineering)
  • Location Geneva, Switzerland
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System double skin curtain wall
  • Products custom screen-printed glazing blades with aluminum attachments
The facade is composed of a double skin envelope, which allows the envelope to be naturally ventilated. A perimeter ventilation system paired with an interior forced air system reduces overall energy demands on the building by addressing thermal extremes at the facade. Vertically oriented glass fins treated with a frit coating are employed as a solar shading device. Stahlbau Pichler, the project's facade consultant, worked with the architectural team to develop the enclosure system's steel structural components which support the glass fins. The composition of glass and steel establishes a rhythmic composition that blurs light reflections, materiality, and the profile of the building. The facade system relies on repetition to produce these complex aesthetic effects. In a press release, principal Giovanni Vaccarini said the team’s design process was inspired by weaving: “Weaving is the first step in composing... the weaving is a rhythm of signs, an abstraction of meanings, figures, and suggestions.” Here, a triple-layer glazing assembly offers thermal protection, while the fourth layer of glazing is offset to establish a ventilated cavity space. Within the assembly, micro-perforated shading similar to Venetian blinds offer regulation of daylight. Outboard of the building envelope, the brise-soleil screens are composed of screenprinted glass. Stahlbau Pichler’s engineering helped to minimize visual distractions of the glass fin anchoring system. Their work also managed the 100-ton glass weight, a primary concern due to the structural constraints of the existing building.
The effect of the facade can also be experienced from the interior, where Vaccarini says the assembly produces what he called an augmented window. “From the outside, the ‘thick’ surface of the screenprinted glass panels and the steel become a volume and define the very body of the architecture, whose outlines dematerialize into a pulsating material entity sensitive to color changes in the surrounding area,” Vaccarini said. “Our perception of the building is continuously transformed. The overlapping visions we have of it, from both the inside and out, produce a kinetic effect.” At night, the effect is intensified when glass panels and the edge profiles of custom-profiled aluminum anchors are lit by a bright white LED lighting system designed by SIMOS. This graphic further softens the perimeter surface of the building, producing what the architects call a visual reverberation effect.
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Light Spire

A closer look at lighting integration on Wilshire Grand’s spine
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Over sixty years ago the original Wilshire Grand Hotel opened as the Hotel Statler, thanks to the City of Los Angeles, which issued the largest single building permit in their history for the construction of the $15 million project. That landmark legacy continues today, as the new 1,100-foot-tall Wilshire Grand tower lays claim to being the tallest building in Los Angeles, the tallest building in California, and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.  
  • Facade Manufacturer StandardVision (facade lighting); C.R. Laurence (glass entrance systems supplier); Viracon (cladding);  Schuff Steel (structural steel); Conco (concrete)
  • Architects AC Martin
  • Facade Installer Turner Construction (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Benson Industries (facade consultant); Heitmann & Associates, Inc. (facade consultant); Thornton Tomasetti (structural engineering); Brandow & Johnston (engineer of record); Glumac (MEP Engineer)
  • Location Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System curtain wall, with integrated LED
  • Products custom LED
The tower formally breaks from a 1974 ordinance requiring towers to have flat roofs for helicopter rescue in the event of fire. A tapered form was permitted due to advances in fire safety and building technology, such as a reinforced concrete central core that exceeds the city’s current fire code. The facade features a fully integrated, centrally controlled experiential LED lighting developed by StandardVision. The linear fixtures were custom made per floor, and installed throughout each of the tower's 73 floors. One centrally controlled system ties the entire system together. This allows possibility for the facade for incorporate full motion video, artwork, accent lighting, and brand signage as desired. All linear accent lighting was integrated into the glazing panels, and the fixtures were pre-installed in the facade contractor’s shop prior to site delivery. This unitized approach minimized staging time on-site and allowed for a smooth installation workflow. Joshua Van Blankenship, vice president of media platforms for StandardVision, said this was one of the biggest challenges of the project. Another technical challenge was to ensure lighting occurred seamlessly despite traveling over expansion joints in the facade and encountering over 200 parametrically controlled panel widths. “Resolving these two factors with Benson [the facade contractor] allowed us to save tens of thousands of man-hours in exterior installation, and focus our budget on providing the technology solution the architect wanted without a single SV change order,” he said.
Penetrations through the building envelope were reduced to a singular point per floor level. A small kick plate access hatch offers accessibility from the interior. This utility space houses LED drivers for the fixtures and wiring for the system. The detailing and design coordination of this moment in the facade went through rigorous proof of concept water-testing to ensure performance. Van Blankenship credits a close design-build relationship between documentation and fabrication teams at Benson and StandardVision for the success of the integrated lighting system. “Our designers in L.A. were regularly working these shifted-hours to have time to overlap with Benson's Singapore team, and by the end of the process, we were incredibly efficient in defining how our respective scopes were going to relate.” he said. “Throughout this entire process AC Martin, Turner and Rosendin (the electrical contractors) were great partners in helping to make this hybrid system work.” Wilshire Grand’s lighting system highlights a robust curtainwall system that was optimized for California’s seismic loads and solar gain. Thornton Tomasetti developed a parametric facade panelization model that consolidated and synchronized information in required for architectural documentation and specialty construction. Concurrently, Glumac developed energy models and shading studies throughout the design process to study building envelope performance. The models take into account shade from DTLA’s surrounding context cast onto the tower, proposing a series of varied fin depths along the south facade. This level of study saved curtain wall material while maximizing the shading potential of the building envelope. California’s Title 24 energy code limits glazing to 40 percent window-to-wall ratio (WWR), but with these advanced parametric modeling and analysis tools, the design teams were able to demonstrate a larger WWR of 50 percent could still outperform California code baseline through careful specification of glazing material, insulation values, and shading schemes.  
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Tinted Views

Dynamic Glass makes appearance in overhaul of Swiss hotel
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Electrochromic glass by SageGlass allows for facade shading without impeding views. This technology is perhaps most beneficial in a place like downtown Geneva, Switzerland, where mid-rise housing and office blocks frame distant views to snow-capped mountains and Lake Geneva. Recently, the Warwick Geneva Hotel became the first hotel in the world to be fitted with SageGlass’s dynamic glass products. The building, which first opened in 1972, is a collection of 167 rooms and suites as well as seven meeting rooms, in the center of the city. With this spectacular setting, the hotel owner sought a solar control solution that would block harsh UV rays while affording views to the city and beyond.  
  • Facade Manufacturer SageGlass
  • Architects dl-c, designlab-construction
  • Facade Installer SVS SA (facade specialist)
  • Facade Consultants SVS SA (facade specialist)
  • Location Geneva, Switzerland
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Retrofit with dynamic glazing units
  • Products SageGlass Climatop Classic with LightZone
The solution was to retrofit over 10,000 square feet of glazing with a new dynamic glass material that automatically tints when exposed to the sun. The material is incorporated into SageGlass’s thermally calibrated units via three zones within a single pane of glass to help establish a more balanced distribribution of daylight. Similar to eyeglasses that passively tint when exposed to daylight, dynamic glass is an electrochromic glazing that is integrated with a building management system. The units have the the ability to automatically tint, and also tint “on demand” when requested by room occupants. For instance, in Warwick Geneva, meeting rooms will often use this function during video projection presentations. The facade intelligence allows the building envelope to maximize daylighting while reducing heat and glare, and maintaining views outward.
Alfonso-Agustín González García, architect at dl-c, designlab-construction, a Swiss-based firm, said dynamic glass was a material familiar to the office but was introduced to the project from the client. The architects worked around existing precast concrete “portal” shaped panels, detailing the replacement windows. This process led to a more vertically oriented proportioning system. The installation process was celebrated as an “efficient and flexible” process by Alain Rigazzi, director of the hotel, “Thanks to the new SageGlass facade, our guests benefit from a very effective thermal and acoustic insulation. The efficient and flexible installation process allowed us to complete the renovation without ever closing the hotel.” The thermal performance of the replacement window units is expected to allow the building to meet Switzerland's contemporary energy regulations. The retrofit has contributing to reduced heating and cooling costs, while satisfying owner desire to re-establish a visual connection to the surrounding context.  
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1933-2018

Geodesic dome pioneer Jay Baldwin passes away at 85
Pioneering environmental architect and industrial designer James Tennant Baldwin has passed away. The 85-year-old architect often went by the name of Jay and is well-known for his pioneering research in the realm of geodesic dome design and for work inspired by the research of Buckminster Fuller. An avid inventor and tinker, Baldwin leaves a legacy of non-stop experimentation and inquiry that includes pursuing innovative social ideals, developing advanced and sustainable construction systems, and interrogating new technologies. Baldwin is perhaps best known as the inventor of the so-called “pillow dome,” a modular metal tube structural system filled-in with ETFE panels. Early in his career, Baldwin pioneered solar geothermal and sustainable technologies and is among the earliest adopters of nascent sustainable approaches to design and building. Baldwin was born in 1933 and attended the University of Michigan in 1951, where he studied automobile design. As a young student, Baldwin once witnessed Fuller lecture for 14 hours straight; the episode inspired Baldwin to study under and eventually work for Fuller before graduating. After graduating in 1955, Baldwin worked for Bill Moss Associates, designing advanced camping gear. During the 1960s, Baldwin was a visiting lecturer at Southern Illinois University and the design editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. Baldwin was later employed in the California state government under the first Jerry Brown administration in 1975, serving in the California Office of Appropriate Technology. In the 1990s, Baldwin wrote a book about Buckminster Fuller’s work and legacy titled Bucky Works: Buckminster Fuller's Ideas for Today. Baldwin—a life-long educator—taught at the variety of educational institutions including California College of the Arts in San Francisco, University of San Francisco, the San Francisco Institute of Architecture, and Sonoma State University. In a statement, CCA president Stephen Beal said,
"I am privileged and proud to say that Jay was a part of our CCA community for over 20 years, inspiring generations of CCA students beginning in 1995 and continuing through his recent retirement in 2016. From his groundbreaking work in sustainable design, to his contagious spirit and undying passion for the field, Jay was a remarkable human being. It was truly an honor to have known him and to know that our students had the chance to learn from him."
   
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Hangar On

Graham Baba brings a new community space to a Seattle suburb
With the 5,000-square-foot Kenmore Hangar, Seattle-based Graham Baba Architects (GBA) and landscape architects HEWITT have brought a new “Town Green” and community center to the heart of Kenmore, Washington. Kenmore is a bedroom community that sits on the northern edge of Lake Washington, a few miles north of the Seattle city limits. The town was originally founded in 1901 but did not incorporate until 1998. That development spawned a city-led push to remake the former speakeasy haven into a town with a traditional, communal city center surrounded by mid-rise mixed-use structures. The municipality is currently redeveloping a series of city-owned lots, with the Kenmore Hangar and the attendant Town Green being among the first projects to come to fruition so far. HEWITT is working as the project executive for the Town Green designs, while GBA led the design of the Kenmore Hangar itself. The project’s aim, GBA Principal Jim Graham said, is to create a new “living room for the city” that could anchor the downtown area by harnessing the power of public open space. To fulfill this promise, GBA has deployed a humble brand of architecture, creating a steel post-and-beam structure wrapped in structurally insulated panels and ribbon windows. The community center offers movable interior partitions as well as aluminum clerestory storefront windows and a deep-set visor that creates covered outdoor space along two sides. The clear cedar-siding-wrapped facilities host a local coffee shop that fronts onto a trapezoidal plaza populated by movable chairs, tree-filled planters, and an interactive fountain. A phalanx of ginkgo trees turns the site’s street-adjacent edge into a zone fortified against automobiles while the building’s louvers and eaves protect against solar glare. Inside the structure, exposed steel elements, drop-down lighting, ductwork, and a large fan lend the space a sense of pragmatic utilitarianism. The divisible community room opens onto the 14,000-square-foot plaza via a 24-by-16-foot bi-fold window wall that turns the complex into an indoor-outdoor space. A wood-burning stove anchors the community living room while heated rocks embedded in the outdoor fountain create warm areas outside that allow the building’s uses to shift with the seasons throughout the year. The project, according to Graham, will guide future development in the city: “Kenmore [city officials] realize now that if they’re thoughtful about development and create an urban center, they will draw residents to its urban core.”
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Olive Garden

Palm Springs planned community boasts an olive grove in the desert
Palm Springs is the latest city to embrace environmentally conscious design, as 300 acres of what was originally slated for a golf course will instead become an ecologically-oriented planned community. Miralon, a 1,150-unit development in Coachella Valley with 75 acres of olive groves, will join agricultural neighborhoods across the country when it opens this fall. Miralon, despite its ambitious name, wasn’t originally pitched as a holistic district. Before the 2008 recession, developer SunCal had begun work on an “Avalon” neighborhood on the same plot, even going so far as to build out a 75-acre, 18-hole golf course. After the market crash, the land was left untended for a decade, and the harsh desert winds destroyed the course. Enter national developer Freehold Communities, which unveiled plans for Miralon on the same plot early last year. Banking on the idea that prospective buyers were more interested in living near open space rather than a golf course specifically, Freehold has planted 70 acres of olive trees on what used to be the course, as well as smaller groves in the teeing areas. Besides being drought and pest resistant (olives need to be cured before they’re edible), the olive trees are expected to produce up to 15,000 gallons of oil every year, to be harvested and pressed on site by the Temecula Olive Oil Company. Other than the groves, Miralon will convert 6.5 miles of roads originally designated for golf carts into hiking and jogging trails, and all of the 1,150 buildings will come equipped with solar panels. The Modernist-inspired residences will be a mix of single-family homes, condos, and townhouses, and will all adhere to design guidelines drawn up by Robert Hidey Architects. Under Robert Hidey’s framework, all buildings will need to adhere to a shared material palette, height restrictions, plant selections and a plan for arranging homes to keep the neighborhood from looking monotonous. Robert Hidey will also be designing the community’s central clubhouse, and C2 Collaborative Landscape Architecture will handle the landscaping and olive grove installation. Miralon seems to be hopping on a $134 billion worldwide trend of planned wellness communities, as well as the trend towards agricultural communities that blend residences with farm-to-table dining.
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Low-impact Lodgings

Snøhetta reveals an “energy-positive” hotel that rises from an arctic fjord
After tackling an underwater restaurant in the south of Norway late last year, Snøhetta has unveiled plans for a “floating” hotel in the country’s north. “Svart,” named after the adjacent Svartisen glacier, will produce more energy than it consumes thanks to the Arctic Circle’s 24 hours of sunlight during the summer months. Reminiscent of the space-aged Apple Park doughnut, the ring-shaped Svart will rise from the waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord via crisscrossed timber columns and would provide guests with panoramic views of the lake and surrounding Almlifjellet mountain range. A round, wooden boardwalk will be suspended between the support struts and guests can stroll above the lake in the summer months; the path will be used for canoe storage in the winter, negating the need for an additional boathouse. The circular construction references Norwegian vernacular architecture, and draws inspiration from both the “fiskehjell” (a wooden, A-shaped structure for drying fish) and the “rorbue” (a type of traditional seasonal house used by fishermen), as fishing poles informed the wooden support design. Wood panels will also be used to clad the hotel’s exterior. As part of preserving the fragile natural landscape around the hotel, Svart will generate all of its electricity on site. Meeting Powerhouse standards (a collaboration meant to stoke energy positive building construction) will be accomplished both through design as well as technology. The hotel’s circular edge is rimmed with private terraces, which will set the building’s façade back and shade against solar insolation in the summertime, while the floor-to-ceiling windows will let sunlight passively heat the interior in the winter. The roof will be clad in locally produced solar panels, made with clean hydroelectric power, and the building will be constructed from materials with a “low embodied energy,” such as wood, meaning that a minimum amount of energy went into producing them. In designing the shape of the building’s roof, Snøhetta optimized the panels’ orientation to best take advantage of the “midnight sun” effect, where the sun never sets during the summer months in the Arctic Circle. Geothermal wells connected to heat pumps will warm the building in the colder months. Altogether Snøhetta estimates that Svart will use up to 85 percent less energy than a hotel of comparable size. “Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier,” said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner at Snøhetta, in a press release. Svart is being developed in collaboration with tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway, consulting firm Asplan Viak, and Skanska. Together the four companies make up Powerhouse, a group dedicated to advancing the construction of “plus houses,” buildings that produce more energy than they consume over a 60-year period, including the usage of building and demolishing the structure. No estimated completion date has been given at the time of writing.
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Demo Day

URBAN-X’s latest startups bring AI to urban roads, floating cameras to the skies
At URBAN-X’s latest demo day, held at the nARCHITECTS-designed ADO creative hub in Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday, the incubator's third batch of cohorts presented technological solutions to urban problems, ranging from a “smart crane” to collaborative retail for small stores. URBAN-X, a startup accelerator and partnership between MINI and Urban Us, takes on up to 10 companies every six months, invests up to $100,000 in each, and connects them with business and design expertise. The most recent group, with nine companies, debuted products and services that were designed to change the way we live in cities, with a focus on the human-centric experience. Qucit (Quantified Cities) is attempting to improve not only urban mobility, but happiness, through artificial intelligence. While other companies have focused on monitoring narrow bands of things such as transit ridership, street usage, bike docking and other urban information, Qucit wants to integrate all of this information vertically into a cohesive model. By aggregating usage data, Qucit has already helped redesign a dangerous roundabout in Paris, and will be bringing its machine learning services to Downtown Brooklyn for a pilot project in early March. Swiftera is approaching similar problems from the air. By using a balloon and floating a camera above what drones can reach, but below satellites, the company is promising high-resolution imagery at specific locations with a short turnaround. By selling actionable geospatial data to planners, developers, architects and municipalities, Swiftera would be able to help monitor traffic and accessibility, as well as things such as roof conditions. Blueprint Power is addressing the disconnect between the energy grid and buildings by creating a market for the surplus energy that buildings are capable of producing. When the grid is stressed, buildings with co-gen plants or solar panels should be able to transfer their extra electricity back to the larger network, benefiting both the building owner as well as the general public and utility companies. This transformation of buildings into “intelligent energy nodes” would ultimately see the buildings’ energy systems automated and managed by an AI system. The complete list of cohorts and their pitch videos can be found here, as well as a video of their evening conference. While most of the group has already begun working with real-world companies, they will also be seeking venture capital funding in the near future. Keep an eye out for URBAN-X’s fourth cohort, which will be announced in May of this year.
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Concrete Strategy

Mecanoo interprets Moorish vernacular architecture for Spain’s Palace of Justice
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Constructed adjacent to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the new Palace of Justice in Córdoba, Spain delivers a contemporary take on the traditional courtyard typology and Moorish screening techniques found throughout the city. Led by Dutch firm Mecanoo and Spain's AYESA, the 51,000-square-foot super dense project was initially awarded after a competition in 2006, and after a long delay, it was designed and built from 2014–2017.
  • Facade Manufacturer Prehorquisa (GRC); Riventi (aluminum); Schüco (windows)
  • Architects Mecanoo Architecten; Ayesa
  • Facade Installer Ute Isolux Corsán-Copcisa (contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Ayesa Seville (Structural, mechanical and electrical engineer; fire safety, sustainability, lighting, acoustics; and roofs and facade consultation)
  • Location Córdoba, Spain
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System GRC panels; anodized aluminum screen
  • Products GRC sandwich panel by Prehorquisa, composed of approx. 3-1/2" expanded polystyrene insulation between 3/8" GRC sheets; custom bronze anodized aluminum screen system by Riventi
The exterior cladding is responsive to large massing blocks that accommodate deep courtyard recesses for daylight admittance. These voids in an otherwise imposing monolithic block doubly function as spatial dividers for various internal zones serving civic, judicial, administrative, and institutional spaces. The resulting semi-public patio spaces offer up an opportunity for admittance of natural light and ventilation deep into the core of the block, where a central circulation “spine” runs. The cladding strategy is precisely coordinated with the massing of the building, relying on 33 versions of white glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFC) panels, articulated with a loose grid of punched window openings and recesses in the facade for texture. The depth of this system offers solar shading at glazed openings to help buffer the building’s occupants from southern Spain’s subtropical climate. A large cantilevered entry, and numerous courtyards, assist in the self-shading strategies of the building massing. A bronze-anodized aluminum lattice composed of vertical plates and horizontal tie rods clads the courtyard walls. These screens sit outboard of various window configurations to accommodate the office program beyond. While the Córdoba city center is located south-east from the site, the building volume was condensed to create a generous ramping entrance square to the north which connects the Palace of Justice with the existing Huerta del Sordillo gardens. The building contains a courthouse with 26 courtrooms, a wedding room, a Forensic Institute, offices, a cafe, an archive, a prison, and a parking garage.
"One can say that the sustainability of the building is not achieved by expensive technological mechanisms but by an intelligent interpretation of the vernacular architecture," said Mecanoo, referring to the unique shaping of their building, in a press release. "The massing strategy creates urban integration through fragmentation. It follows a similar strategy to the spontaneous growth process of medieval cities resulting in a volume which is carefully sculpted to adapt to the surrounding context. This results in a puzzle-like structure which hints its process of formation and emulates the experience of the dense historical center of Córdoba." Francine Houben, a founder of Mecanoo, will be delivering a keynote presentation at The Architect's Newspaper's (AN) upcoming Facades+ New York conference, a two-day event in mid-April focused on the design and performance of the next generation of facades. More information on the conference, along with registration details, can be found at facadesplus.com.
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Order Up

Carol Ross Barney to design Rock ‘N’ Roll McDonald’s replacement
Carol Ross Barney, the Chicago architect behind the city's acclaimed Riverwalk, is now tackling a totally different project: a flagship McDonald’s in River North. The glass, steel, and timber structure will replace the just-demolished Rock 'N' Roll McDonald's on the same site. At 19,000 square feet and one story, it's about 20 percent smaller and a floor shorter than its beloved predecessor, which was famous for its giant double arches and on-site memorabilia museum. While the Rock 'N' Roll McDonald's featured a two-lane drive-thru and ample parking, the new McD's welcomes pedestrians into burger heaven with a grassy outdoor plaza shaded by 70 trees and a sawtooth canopy reminiscent of a fancy truck stop. Inside, ferns and white birch trees will float in a ring of glass above customers as they place their orders, and diners can crush Big Macs beneath a living wall. The kitchen, which is the only part of the McDonald's left over from the old building, will be planted with apple trees. Although customers will still be using plastic utensils to eat out of disposable containers, the building will be energy-efficient. Its roof will sport solar panels, and Barney's firm is designing the HVAC system, as well as the all-important fryers, to use less non-renewable energy. “It’s so interesting to work on a project like this because you’re designing for an icon,” Barney told the Chicago Tribune, which first reported the story. The redesign is part of McDonald’s corporate rebranding that emphasizes sleekness over kitsch. The company, not the franchise owner, is paying for most of the new building, part of a $2.4 billion investment campaign that's mostly focused on changing the customer experience in its U.S. restaurants through 2020. This year, 4,000 outlets in the state will be renovated to include new-ish devices like self-order kiosks, plus new service options like delivery and curbside pickup.  
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Desert Drama

Utah museum by Brooks + Scarpa echoes the surrounding desert landscape
Cedar City, Utah—about two and a half hours northeast of Las Vegas and three hours south of Salt Lake City—is a diamond in the rough. Or in this case, in the mountains. It’s surrounded by peaks and foothills and is in close proximity to a staggering array of national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park. Therefore, Brooks + Scarpa wanted to incorporate the timeless, yet eroded look and feel of these landscapes into its new building, the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA)—the newest piece of Southern Utah University’s Beverly Taylor Sorensen Center for the Arts campus. The vivid, white, 28,000-square-foot building, clad on its flanks with textured, ribbed concrete panels, indeed resembles many of these carved-out formations. Its most noticeable element is the sculpted roof that features a 120-foot cantilever protecting the museum’s 20-foot-tall west-facing glass curtain wall from solar gain and glare. It also creates a covered social and event space underneath. The underside of the roof is a continuation of the plaster surfaces inside the museum. “I wanted to make the museum’s interior available to people outside without going in,” noted Brooks + Scarpa principal Larry Scarpa, who calls the single ply roof, visible from almost anywhere around the museum, the museum’s “fifth facade.” The roof also collects snow and rainwater, pitching and bending into a canyonlike formation that funnels water and snow melt, without any drains, into concealed wells at the base of the structure, where they are collected and recharged back into the aquifer. The museum’s interior consists of a large, open orthogonal gallery space that can be easily divided via freestanding partitions. These will host traveling exhibitions, student and faculty shows, artists, and a permanent collection of landscape-inspired work by local painter Jim Jones. Smaller spaces edging this core include a large classroom, offices, and back of-house storage. One hundred percent high-efficiency LED lighting, green materials, drought-tolerant plantings, and a trigeneration system to create heat, electricity, and cooling in one process, all contribute to energy conservation. Brooks + Scarpa, along with landscape architects Coen+Partners, carried out the revised master plan for the five-and-a-half-acre, $39.1 million Sorensen Center for the Arts, which includes sculpture gardens, parks, a tree-filled allé, and exterior spaces for live performance and public use. Its buildings include the Engelstad Shakespeare Theater, the Randall L. Jones Theater, the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theater, and an artistic and production facility. “We wanted the facilities to have their own identities, but still work together as a single complex,” explained Scarpa.