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Moderne Miami

Shulman + Associates blends the vernacular and contemporary in hybrid facade systems
On October 4, Facades+ is coming to Miami. The conference features nine speakers from a broad range of AEC firms, ranging from architectural concrete supplier Gate Precast to Paris-based Ateliers Jean Nouvel, and Miami's own Arquitectonica. Allan Shulman, who founded Miami’s Shulman + Associates in 1996, will be co-chairing the conference. Over the last two decades, Shulman + Associates has been recognized with dozens of design awards stemming from the practice’s site-specific designs and ambitious forays into architectural preservation and urbanism. To learn more about Miami’s architectural development, AN interviewed Allan Shulman on the city’s burgeoning urbanism, adaptation to climate change, and preservation efforts. The Architect’s Newspaper: Miami is undergoing a significant period of development, with seemingly continual expansions of the Miami Design District and nationally-prestigious projects such as the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Shulman + Associates is a player in this current trend. What factors do you perceive as driving Miami’s architectural renaissance? Allan Shulman: I am a bit skeptical of the term “significant period of development” in this city, because it seems as though the development cycle, like the touristic cycle, has sprawled into a continuous blob, not a focused moment. The challenges are therefore fundamental and strategic, not localized. Overall, I see three themes driving Miami’s development: First, we are building today the infrastructure of a great city. The reality and ambition of the city are driven by the idea of being a global city, comparable and compared to other such cities around the globe. Is the city just becoming a better version of itself? I don’t think so. Great parks and public spaces, great cultural facilities, great transportation networks, ground-up public involvement in design questions by an empowered and informed public are all at play. Yet the frustrations about our failures in this regard are as intense as the optimistic ambition. But still, the global city is the emerging measuring stick, so I think the discussion is getting more interesting. Second, we are witnessing a remarkable densification and consolidation of neighborhoods throughout the metropolitan area. In a city as decentralized as Miami, the building is not happening in just one or two areas, but across a broad swath of the city. Certainly, it is uneven and driven more by the glam end of the spectrum: downtown, Miami Beach, Wynwood, and the Design District, but you can see it cropping up around Metrorail stations, extending along Miami’s commercial arteries and mushrooming around old neighborhood centers. Also, you can see it in the widespread use of historic preservation to conserve neighborhood character, and in the vast number of civic initiatives that are a part of the discourse. Finally, it seems as though the “tropical” and the “modern” are new again. This is extraordinary…it ties us to our roots, of course. Miami has a long tradition, and some of the greatest work produced here was inspired by these themes. But it also launches us into the future because it engages two relevant themes: How do we understand and relate to our particular context? And what is the appropriate architectural solution to address the problems of today? Miami is known for its distinctive modernist heritage. How does this architectural heritage contrast or complement contemporary facade systems? AS: Miami has often been a laboratory of contemporary building systems; it certainly was in the 1930s, when the city experienced an explosion of construction. Plate and Vitrolite glass products and new lighting systems were used in support of modern architecture. Today, it is difficult to be innovative because we have a more limited array of available facade systems, compared to other cities in North America. Our building codes require compliance with water-tightness and impact criteria, and each system must be tested and approved for a specific use in order to be used in Miami-Dade County. The process is expensive and time-consuming and limits choices. Manufacturers with a large market for their product invest, but certain niche players find it not worth it. Of course, choices have expanded a lot since the imposition of the testing requirement after Hurricane Andrew in the 1990s, but this requirement is still quite limiting. Certainly glass systems have improved, as well as rain-screens and louver systems. There are a number of modern-appropriate systems we can use, but others we can’t. Restoration projects, such as Shulman + Associates' Betsy-Carlton Hotel, allow for the retention of historic properties while bringing them up to contemporary standards. How do you approach blending the new with the old, and is there a specific intervention or facade treatment that your firm is particularly proud of? AS: At the most basic level, we try to blend serious research-based preservation with inventive approaches in areas we add or adapt. We aspire to make the finished project a legible record of the building’s development over time. Regarding historic facades, we try to use the same techniques as were used in the original building’s construction, to be true to the material culture of the period. In new facades, we are all about the contemporary. We are proud of the Betsy-Carlton, where we used laser-cut aluminum to feature poetry, and abundant transparent walls at the new wings of the building while preserving the old fabric of the structure. We also developed a spherical object (an “Orb”) that ties the Betsy and the Carlton, in order to abstract an otherwise utilitarian building connection over the alley. What is new is proudly idiosyncratic and situational. The rest is context. Hurricane Irma highlighted the environmental challenges that lie ahead for Miami with increased incidents of extreme weather. What methods and techniques are currently being used across Miami and by Shulman + Associates to confront this predicament? AS: The most important new techniques involve raising buildings and protecting the facade from flying debris. We have been raising buildings for some years now, following FEMA requirements, but now we are raising them more radically, enough to open the space under the building. This is a practical and low-tech solution. The other strategy, protecting facades from flying debris, overlaps with the objective of protecting the facade from sun and rain. So hybrid facade systems that are layered in depth and have resilience are preferred. Outside of the threat of climate change and extreme weather conditions, Miami is located within a tropical climate. How can firms best adapt their facade systems to this environment, and what techniques are Shulman + Associates utilizing? AS: Adapting facade systems to the tropics is the biggest challenge we have because it affects everyday use, performance, and comfort of the building. Although we get no or little credit for it in our energy calculations, we generally shade and/or screen our facades to the extent we can. This again leads to hybrid systems that provide some depth by which to filter and dampen the extreme effects of the environment. The materials are new, but the techniques for doing this have been around since at least the postwar period. I consider myself an avid student of history in this regard. To learn more about Miami Facades+AM click here.
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Shadow Boxer

SOM rethinks city hall design with a new energy-efficient skin
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SOM has designed a master plan for downtown Long Beach, California, which involves new mixed-use developments across a 22-acre area. The Long Beach City Hall and Port Headquarters complex, comprising two new buildinds, is the first outcome of this planning effort. The project, led by SOM in collaboration with Syska Hennessy Group, Clark Construction Group, Plenary Group, and Johnson Controls International, is part of the largest public-private development on the West Coast, attracting attention and visits from municipalities across the country. The project team was able to reduce risk to the public side through a public-private partnership with a facilities operation maintenance (P3FOM) delivery method.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Benson Industries
  • Architects SOM
  • Facade Installer Benson Industries; Clark Construction Group, LLC (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Benson/SOM/Clark (facade development); Nabih Youssef Associates (structural analysis)
  • Location Long Beach, CA
  • Date of Completion 2019 (projected)
  • System curtain wall
  • Products unitized facade assembled by Benson from insulated glass (Viracon), extruded aluminum, formed aluminum (City Hall building), and shadow boxes composed of extruded aluminum slats with insulating glass at the face (Port building)
The project will replace Long Beach’s old city hall while adding new civic and infrastructure amenities such as parking, landscaping, a library, and marketplace. The two new buildings are identical in massing and proportion, utilizing long and narrow floor plates with split cores to offer better connections between interior and exterior environments. Syska Hennessy Group, the MEP and sustainable design consultant on the project, said the building's operating costs and carbon footprint were designed to be 50 percent lower than those of a standard office building. This was achieved through a collaborative design process involving preliminary energy modeling, solar shading studies, and building system schematic sketches to help resolve architectural and programmatic decisions. The primary feature of the project is an underfloor air conditioning system integrated into the floor plate structure. The design approach allows for taller ceiling heights and yields improved daylighting and aesthetics by exposing the ceiling finishes. Syska said the project is targeting LEED Gold certification, with all buildings exceeding ASHRAE 90.1-2007 by at least 22 percent before renewables are taken into account, and 34 percent after. Exterior curtain walls are composed of insulated glass manufactured by Viracon. The glazing is integrated into extruded aluminum framing fabricated and painted in Korea. The components were sent to Benson Industries' assembly shop located in Tijuana, Mexico, where they were assembled into unitized systems. This approach minimized costly labor on the job site. Subtle detailing differences emerged on the building envelope, which is composed of unitized facades fabricated and installed by Benson. At City Hall, the facade features solid white panels made from formed aluminum, while units with shadow boxes at the Port building are made from extruded aluminum slats with insulating glass at the face. These “shadow box” assemblies were carefully designed to be contextual and were inspired by colors and textures taken from shipping containers at the nearby Long Beach Port. The project, currently under construction, is scheduled for a late-2019 opening.
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Exhibit Columbus’s 2019 exhibition participants join 2018 National Symposium as featured speakers
During the 2018 National Symposium, Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation, all of the participants in Exhibit Columbus’s 2019 exhibition will take the stage for their first public conversations as a group. Before they create temporary installations that will be on view during next year's exhibition, these international leaders will visit Columbus, present their work, and to get to know the community. The J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipients—Agency Landscape + Planning, Bryony Roberts Studio, Frida Escobedo Studio, MASS Design Group, and SO-IL—will participate in a conversation moderated by Sean Anderson of the Museum of Modern Art on Saturday, September 29 from 4:30–6:30. The Washington Street Civic Project Leaders—Borderless Studio, Extrapolation Factory, LA-Mas, People for Urban Progress, and PienZa Sostenible—will participate in a conversation moderated by David Rubin of Land Collective on Saturday, September 29 from 11:00–12:30. The University Design Research Fellows will participate in the Afternoon Conversation: States of Design Education at The Republic Building on Thursday, September 27 from 4:00–5:00. Register for the 2018 National Symposium online by September 19. (Note: Tickets will be available on-site as availability permits.) The symposium is produced in collaboration with Docomomo US, the American Institute of Architects Indiana and Kentucky Chapters, and Newfields.
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V&A on the Tay

Kengo Kuma’s Victoria and Albert Design Museum comes in to dock in Scotland
In 1844 the Scottish city of Dundee eagerly anticipated its first royal visit in almost two centuries. Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert’s stay was a resounding success and to mark the occasion, the city erected the “Royal Arch” in 1853. It was an instant icon. A monumental structure, it towered over the nearby docks and could be seen all around the city, and indeed the world as Dundee capitalized on its marketing potential. In 1964, however, the Royal Arch was shamefully demolished so the Tay Road Bridge could be built as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. Fast forward 54 years and Victoria and Albert have returned, albeit in the form of a museum, and with it, Dundee once again has an icon worthy of global attraction. The V&A Museum of Design, colloquially known as the “V&A Dundee” has been designed by Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma. Bizarrely, yet also somewhat endearingly, train station departure and arrival boards display the architect and his nationality. The city is undeniably proud of its revived, post-Victorian internationalism. “I was inspired by Japanese temple archways,” Kuma told The Architect’s Newspaper. “The archways connect the mountain and nature to the city.” Composed as two inverted pyramids, the V&A Dundee forms an archway of sorts of its own, framing a view on the River Tay and the Tay Road Bridge that spans it. Kuma was also keen to keep the museum decidedly Scottish. It’s ragged, craggy facade is inspired by Scotland’s cliff-edged coastline and comprises 2,429 pre-cast concrete slabs. These lean over the River Tay, mimicking the prow of a ship. One segment of the museum does, in fact, edge out into the river, while porthole-like windows looking over the Tay create the impression of being on a ship when inside. On the Tay’s banks, even at the end of summer, the wind is ferocious. The shallow pools that circle the V&A’s base produce miniature waves, enhancing the sensation of being, as Kuma calls it, “in conversation with nature.” Externally the V&A Dundee is an impressive structure. Walking around the building, it’s staggered facade undulates and unwinds, revealing views onto the building and the River Tay beyond. As a result, the museum has become an instant photo opportunity, with the public (myself included) capturing its curvature to send straight to their Instagram feeds. (The hashtag #V&ADundee already has more than 2,000 posts). This is a digital building for the digital age. “Twenty years ago, we could not have built this building,” said Kuma. “It’s curves and structure are too complex.” Such a distinctive form has its pros and cons inside. The structure works in tension, with a steel truss spanning roof to link up with the outward leaning facades. As a result, the new museum has the largest column-free exhibition space in Scotland, allowing it to host exhibitions that were previously only available to Scots and Dundonians willing to either fly or take a six-hour train to London. Gallery spaces are located on the museum’s upper level. The fittingly nautical Ocean Liners exhibition, sailing up from the V&A in London, inaugurates the museum. The Scottish Design Galleries, meanwhile, host permanent exhibitions, showcasing Scotland’s design prowess. Of the 300 objects on display, one has American roots: a model and sketches of Frank Gehry’s Dundee Maggie’s Centre. The most notable exhibit is Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s “Oak Room” which was designed for the Ingram Street Tearooms in Glasgow. The beautifully crafted ensemble from one of Kuma’s “heroes” has been restored and rightfully put on display, marking its first outing in half a century. Alongside the two galleries on the upper level are studios and an auditorium. These are joined by an open gallery, free to the public and restaurant, both of which look down into a lobby below via a mezzanine with the latter also offering views along the River Tay.  It’s here, though, that the museum’s shape causes problems. An outdoor terrace for the restaurant feels like an afterthought. Up here it’s even windier than at ground level and the tight space is encased by the concrete cladding system meaning there isn’t even a view worth braving the elements for. A similar story continues downstairs in the lobby, too. Oak veneered panels emulate the external facade and as a result are too steep to be sat on and truly useful. An auditorium may already be upstairs, but these panels could easily become bleachers, creating an informal auditorium in the process. This would even dovetail with Kuma’s notion of the museum’s lobby supposedly being a “living room for the city.” “This is not a space just for art lovers,” the architect said, but in reality, the lobby is just a cafe area and museum shop. The V&A Dundee has come at a price: $105 million, twice the initial budget. It’s also four years late. Dundonian’s, however, don’t seem to mind. “I’m just pleased that that kind of money is being spent of Dundee!” said one local, though on it’s opening day, a small protest by anti-poverty campaigners did take place. For all the efforts gone into making the museum happen, considerably less has gone into improving the surrounding area. An awful train station-hotel greets those visiting by rail and another, equally drab hotel is currently going up opposite the V&A. This is all part of a $1.3-billion waterfront masterplan which rehashes the work of planners 60 years ago. It’s just as well Kuma’s museum makes all that comes before instantly forgettable. The V&A Dundee is the icon Dundee has craved, turning the city into a genuine Scottish destination. https://vimeo.com/284710327
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The new Swisspearl Texial facade panel: A vibrant interplay of light and shadow
Innovative and sustainable products made of natural raw materials, such as the new large-size Texial facade panels, are borne of ingenuity and expertise. The fine surface structure gives the appearance of a fabric and is always one-of-a-kind because it is embossed by hand. A special feature is the manual embossing that generates a fine surface structure reminiscent of fabric and which makes each panel one-of-a-kind. Delicate nuances of color and the raw texture that is the result of the mechanical embossing process highlight the authenticity of the work. A vibrant interplay of light and shadow creates a dynamic effect, making the facades appear almost like a piece of cloth. Texial is available in five colors. While the earth tones blend seamlessly into their environment, at the same time they also make an impact because of their timeless nature. The natural, harmonic color spectrum underlines the character of Texial. Read more about our new Swisspearl Texial facade panel on our blog "A Swiss pearl for the world."
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Experience modernism in the heartland during the 2018 National Symposium in Columbus, Indiana
The 2018 National Symposium, Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation, takes place September 26–29 in Columbus, Indiana. This year’s symposium is produced by Docomomo US and Exhibit Columbus, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects Indiana and Kentucky Chapters and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Experience newly created tours that will take you behind the scenes and set the stage for how Columbus secured its place as an architectural mecca and earned the nickname the “Athens of the Prairie.” Join enthusiasts, architects, and preservationists alike for a four-day experience unlike any other, including engaging conversations with more than 40 visionary leaders in architecture, art, design, and community, and special programs like the kick-off events in the newly reinstalled Design Gallery at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and a screening of the documentary Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future plus a question and answer session with Eero Saarinen’s son, Eric Saarinen, and much more. Register for the 2018 National Symposium by September 19 and book your travel to Columbus today!
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A Pretty Penny

SHoP’s American Copper Buildings wear a skin designed to age gracefully
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The aptly named American Copper Buildings, two copper-clad towers designed by SHoP Architects on Manhattan’s First Avenue between East 35th and 36th Streets, rise to 48 and 41 stories respectively. The two towers, “bent” in the middle, are linked by the first new sky bridge in New York City in more than 80 years.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Jangho, ELICC Group
  • Architects SHoP Architects
  • Facade Installer Jangho, ELICC Group
  • Facade Consultants Buro Happold Engineering
  • Location New York City
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Unitized aluminum frame system mounted to slab edges
  • Products SEFAR® VISION Fabric, Copper composite panel with fire-retardant core and stainless-steel backing
The panels that give the buildings their name are made with a copper composite that includes a fire-retardant core layer and a stainless-steel backing. The facade system is a unitized aluminum frame mounted to the buildings’ slab edges. When asked about the material choice, Ayumi Sugiyama, director of cultural projects at SHoP, told AN, “We love our ‘live’ materials at SHoP, using metals that continue to oxidize and have an evolving appearance and where the oxidation of the material protects or preserves itself.” The project team considered many metal alloys for the towers but chose copper because of its transition over time from a bright, shiny material into a darker brown finish and finally to a green patina. “It’s a material New Yorkers are familiar with—we see it on our Statue of Liberty and the roofs of iconic buildings such as the Woolworth Building,” said Sugiyama. Along with the richness and patina of the copper, SHoP aimed to create a facade that used texture and variation to accentuate the form of the buildings. The firm did this by staggering the patterns of the panels emanating from the sky bridge. The overall pattern seems complex at first glance, however, the system was standardized for ease of fabrication and installation. Each unit used one of four typical window sizes. The sky bridge itself, a 100-foot-long, three-story structure, is clad in glass with an aluminum mesh interlayer. The mesh fabric is a contrast from the copper of the two towers and seems opaque from the exterior. The aluminum finish faces the exterior, while the interior is painted black and visually recedes, allowing for views of the city. The fabric interlayer also improves thermal performance by reducing solar gain.
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Going Down in Tinseltown

Facades+ Los Angeles will scale the heights of Southern California design

From October 25 to 26, Facades+ will bring local and national leaders of the architecture, engineering, and construction industry to Los Angeles for the fourth year in a row. The first day of the conference features keynotes by Thom Mayne, founding principal of Morphosis Architects; and Heather Roberge, principal of Murmur.

Founded in 1972, Morphosis has spread its distinctive presence internationally. In recent years, the firm has completed the Bill & Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University, 41 Cooper  Square in New York City, and Kolon One & Only Tower in Korea. Opening in late August, the 123,000-square-foot Kolon One & Only Tower features a sweeping primary facade built of high-tech fiber manufactured by the client. Each fiber appendage is latched to the curtain wall with traditional stainless steel brackets that knife through exterior joints to steel mullions that ring the structure.

Heather Roberge founded Murmur in 2008. The firm’s work is characterized by its experimentation with a broad range of materials to create projects unique in layout and form. In 2015, Murmur unveiled En Pointe, a group of conjoined, aluminum-paneled columns standing atop razor-like fulcrums. According to the architect, “to achieve a balanced state, the mass and silhouette of each column are eccentrically distributed to stabilize its adjacent columns.” Other realized projects, such as the pentagonal Vortex House and a multi-sided addition to a Beverly Hills Residence, highlight Murmur’s unique approach to facade fabrication and design.

Over the last decade, Downtown Los Angeles has experienced an upswell of high-rise development. At Facades+, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) and century-old Los Angeles–based firm AC Martin Partners will discuss the immense change underway. SOM’s Olympia complex is one of the boldest being undertaken in the area, composed of three towers of stacked terraces clad in translucent and clear glass wrapping visible concrete piers. AC Martin, with its long Angeleno history, has continually left its imprint in the downtown area with projects such as the twin-towered City National Plaza built in 1972 and the contemporary 73-story Wilshire Grand Center.

Representatives from Walter P. Moore, CO Architects, HKS Architects, and Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will also be on hand to discuss the assembly of complex facades at ever-rising heights as well as significant projects shaping the cultural scene of Los Angeles, such as The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Further information Facades+ Los Angeles can be found here.

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Runners Up

Meet the honorable mentions of our 2018 Best of Products Awards
After hours of careful deliberation over hundreds of entries from our largest ever Best of Product Awards, we are excited to share the winners and honorable mentions. The 12 categories cover a wide range of disciplines, including building materials, interior furnishings, IoT solutions for baths and kitchens, lighting, textiles, and more. Our esteemed team of judges evaluated submissions for originality, innovation, aesthetics, performance, and value, and selected one winner and two honorable mentions in each category. Both winners and honorable mentions are featured in our September issue. The Best of Product Awards Jury: Rosalyne Shieh Founding Partner, Schaum/Shieh Jean Lin Founder, Colony Dung Ngo Founder, August Editions Shaun Kasperbauer Cofounder, Souda William Menking Editor-in-Chief, The Architect’s Newspaper Gabrielle Golenda Products Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper

The Honorable Mentions

Textiles Darning Sampler Collection Maharam Textiles Inside Shapes Form Us with Love for Shaw Contract Outdoor Landscape Compact mmcité Outdoor Brixx Dedon HVAC LG Multi F with LGRED LG Electronics HVAC Breezintegrity ITG100ELED Delta Facades Concrete Skin with Vintage Surface Rieder North America Facades Clearshade Panelite Smart Home Systems V-Motion Valcucine Smart Home Systems Lock Status Sensor Marvin Windows and Doors Interior Furnishings - Commercial Glasspost Carvart Interior Furnishings - Commercial Von Atlason Studio Interior Furnishings - Residential Wit Chair Wit Design Interior Furnishings - Residential Blendy De Padova Kitchens Chef Center XL Franke Group Kitchens Integrated Column Refrigerators Fisher & Paykel Openings System M Pivot Hinge System FritsJurgens Openings Hirt Retractable Wall Goldbrecht Finishes + Surfaces Acoustic Mesh Panels GKD Finishes + Surfaces Alpi Sottsass Alpi Lighting + Electrical Modular Column Selux Lighting + Electrical Twice As Twiggy Grid Foscarini Bath Bathing, Again Milliøns Bath Linea Shower Base Fiora
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Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation

The 2018 Docomomo US National Symposium brings progressive preservation to Indiana
The Docomomo US National Symposium will take place from September 26 through 29 in Indianapolis and Columbus, Indiana. Created in partnership with Landmark Columbus and titled Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation the symposium will focus on the three most important aspects of any preservation effort: design, heritage, and the community. We also developed the program with the American Institute of Architects Indiana and Kentucky Chapters and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. The original design and construction of buildings of our recent past require interventions and strategies that go beyond earlier periods in their scale and materiality. Conceptual, financial, political, regulatory, and environmental factors are all influencing preservation’s shifting landscape in directions away from traditional preservation approaches. This, combined with the constantly expanding number of recent-past sites and modern buildings eligible for heritage status (the large majority of our built world dates from the second half of the 20th century), a diminished regulatory participation on all levels of government, and concerns about the elimination of financial incentives demand new preservation policies, practices, and ways of thinking. Preservationists, designers, artists, and architects must engage in dialogue with communities to find creative, meaningful, and forward-looking solutions to preserve our modern heritage. Recognizing that preservation itself now has a 50-or-so-year history, different terms and descriptions have been adopted to highlight new approaches with words ranging from ‘experimental’ to simply ‘new.’ For the symposium the word progressive was attached to preservation to emphasize that our approach must look towards the future and must engage younger audiences and communities. It is also a reference back to a time when preservation as an action by itself was considered progressive. Columbus is the right place to undertake this dialogue at this critical time. Since the late 1930s prominent modern designers have been commissioned to create projects in this small American city, creating an unparalleled heritage of modern design and architecture. This practice continues today and expresses the ongoing significance of design in this community, creating a basis for a preservation mindset that is collective rather than regulatory. In addition, the Exhibit Columbus program, currently in its second round, commissions contemporary artists and designers to create installations that engage and interact with the community and its heritage. From a Docomomo US perspective, this forms an ideal background to explore a broader discussion: how do we best ensure the preservation of the recent past in a manner that is meaningful to a wide variety of communities, bring contemporary designers into an ongoing dialogue, and how can those efforts be replicated elsewhere? I hope you will join us later this month as we explore these important themes in one of the most interesting small cities in America. Docomomo US is the acronym for Documentation and Conservation of buildings sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement in the United States and is a national nonprofit dedicated to the education about and advocacy for modern design heritage. It is the US affiliate of an international network with representations in over 75 countries.
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Best of Products Awards

Meet the winners of our 2018 Best of Products Awards
After hours of careful deliberation over hundreds of entries from our largest ever Best of Products Awards, we are excited to share the winners and honorable mentions. The 12 categories cover a wide range of disciplines, including building materials, interior furnishings, IoT solutions for baths and kitchens, lighting, textiles, and more. Our esteemed team of judges evaluated submissions for originality, innovation, aesthetics, performance, and value, and selected one winner and two honorable mentions in each category. Both winners and honorable mentions are featured in our September issue. The Best of Products Awards Jury: Rosalyne Shieh Founding Partner, Schaum/Shieh Jean Lin Founder, Colony Dung Ngo Founder, August Editions Shaun Kasperbauer Cofounder, Souda William Menking Editor-in-Chief, The Architect’s Newspaper Gabrielle Golenda Products Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper

The Winners

  Acoustic Sheers by Designtex Textiles Acoustic Sheers Designtex   PlayCubes by PlayPower Outdoor PlayCubes Playworld   NRCB Combination Boiler by Noritz HVAC NRCB Combination Boiler Noritz   Tensile Fabric Mesh Facade Screens by Structurflex LLC Facades Tensile Fabric Mesh Facade Screens Structurflex LLC   Solar Canopy by Brooklyn SolarWorks Smart Home Systems Solar Canopy Brooklyn SolarWorks   Q! by Springboard Interior Furnishings - Commercial Q! Springboard   Wyandotte Guest Chair by Skram Furniture Company Interior Furnishings - Residential Wyandotte Guest Chair Skram Furniture Company   +Venovo by Poggenpohl Kitchen +Venovo Poggenpohl   Integrated Rolscreen by Pella Openings Integrated Rolscreen Pella Corporation   Terrazzo Patterns by Formica Corporation Finishes + Surfaces Terrazzo Patterns Formica Corporation   Filigrana Light by Established + Sons Lighting + Electrical Filigrana Light Established + Sons   Tethys by Sonobath Bath Tethys Sonobath
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Tricks of the Trade

SOM uses interdisciplinary collaboration to design innovative facade systems
On September 21, Facades+ is coming to Chicago for the first time in three years. The conference features moderators and speakers of leading firms from across the country. Skidmore, Owings & Merril—the architecture and engineering firm that has called Chicago home for over 80 years—will have a particularly strong presence at the upcoming conference. To learn more about what Chicago’s largest firm is up to and to investigate larger industry trends, AN sat down with SOM’s Dan O’Riley, associate director, and Lucas Tryggestad, technical director. The Architect’s Newspaper: For over a century, Chicago has been at the forefront of architecture and engineering. What do you find most interesting about facade and structural innovation in Chicago today? Dan O’Riley: What’s most interesting about innovation in Chicago is that, aside from all the advancements the industry has made in materials, design, and construction over the years, the city continues to innovate based on the same philosophy of discovery and collaboration that has always put Chicago at the forefront of architecture and engineering. Chicago is the city that “makes no little plans,” and while nothing is built without reference to the past, the city is constantly looking towards the future. For example, 400 Lake Shore Drive, currently under development, blends contemporary materials, such as glass, with traditional materials, such as terra-cotta, matching historical vernacular, but creating something totally new. We’re also seeing new designs and concepts that go beyond the standard limitations of glass, which are applied to facades at larger scales, such as the Apple Store in the shadow of the Tribune Tower. And projects such as the IIT Innovation Center are experimenting with new facade materials, such as ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) foil cushions. Together these types of innovations continue to keep Chicago at the forefront. Currently, what projects are you working on that demonstrate SOM’s longstanding synergy of architecture and engineering? Lucas Tryggestad: For 80 years, SOM has operated at the forefront of design, engineering, and urban planning. While each project is unique, collectively the firm’s projects represent the integration of these disciplines. Several of our current and recent projects represent this synergy through the facade expressions, the space layout, and how buildings interact with their contexts. In North Sydney, Australia, 100 Mount Street has an innovative, cross-braced exoskeleton structure and soaring glass curtain wall. It has an offset core and two rows of columns that allow for a 6-meter cantilever running the whole length of the facade. In Salt Lake City’s financial district, our 111 Main project is a Class A office tower anchoring a larger urban redevelopment in the area. To ensure that the project would not compromise the functionality of an existing theater at its base, the entire structure is suspended from a steel hat truss on top of the building, allowing the theater to slide under the tower’s south side. These synergies have always been integral to SOM’s buildings throughout the firm’s history, visible here in Chicago from the Inland Steel Building, the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly John Hancock Center), to projects currently underway, such as “The Porch” on 330 North Green Street. How can AEC firms confront the challenges and opportunities presented by sustainable design in facade systems, and how can fenestration and enclosure innovation to boost performance? DO: Innovations in sustainable design for facades and facade systems must begin from a holistic point of view. The initial stages of a project’s design should account for and integrate different building systems and programs within the building, drawing input and expertise from different design and engineering disciplines to create better and more informed high-performance solutions. The idea of high-performance design at SOM is an interdisciplinary collaboration integral to the total set of design activities that develop sustainable environments responsive to their environmental context and recognizing the impact of the built environment on the planet’s collective resources. By prioritizing collaboration, AEC firms have the opportunity to design and take advantage of integrated mechanical systems, active facades, and energy-efficient strategies for solar control, thermal comfort, glare, and other factors affection a project’s overall sustainable performance. For example, the Roche Diagnostics Learning and Development Center in Indianapolis, designed by SOM, has a building enclosure that utilizes high-performance, low-e coated, argon-filled insulated glazing units and a window-to-wall ratio of less than 60 percent. The east, west, and southern facades also incorporate computer-controlled exterior Venetian blinds to protect and regulate the building envelope. Interdisciplinary collaboration allowed the project team to respond to the needs of the client and the context of the project itself to achieve a very strict set of high-performance goals, with great success. SOM is increasingly taking on transportation-related projects; Moynihan Train Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2, Denver Union Station, to name a few. What lessons from these projects are translatable to tower and super tall construction? LT: SOM is active across a wide range of practices and research areas, including transportation, aviation, healthcare, urban planning, and interior design. While each project is distinct, the lessons learned from what we’re doing for an airport terminal, for example, inform what we’re doing for a rail and transit hub. This is the value of working within an integrated practice, where ideas and strategies are continually evolving to create buildings that are distinctive and synthesize programmatic function, structural rationale, and environmental sustainability.