Posts tagged with "multi-family housing":

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A closer look at Zaha Hadid’s first residential property in New York

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Originally unveiled in 2013, Zaha Hadid’s first residential property in New York is nearing completion. Situated on the High Line in close proximity to Hudson Yards, one of NYC’s largest developments, the intimate building offers 39 condo units, many of which include private vestibules and entrances. The project is perhaps the epitome of luxury “21st-century dwelling” in New York, but for all of its loaded amenities catering to private residents–an automated valet, one of the first private IMAX theatres in the world, advanced home automation capabilities, 24-hour gym, juice bar, private automated storage accessed via a secured viewing room (inspired by the design of a Swiss bank vault nonetheless)–the architects say the essence of this project is about an urban contextual response that results in a building that doubles as public art for passersby to enjoy. This dynamic plays out in the building envelope, a sculptural expression of hand-rubbed steel that weaves between motorized doors, windows, and curved glass units. Ed Gaskin, senior associate at Zaha Hadid Architects, said “in the great tradition of quintessential New York buildings, such as Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building, 520 West 28th is a building that seeks to improve the public realm through art and architecture.”
  • Facade Manufacturer M. Cohen and Sons (exterior metal cladding and railings); Stahlbau Pichler GmbH/Srl (curtain wall and window wall); Sunglass (glazing)
  • Architects Zaha Hadid Ltd; Ismael Leyva Architects (Architect of Record)
  • Facade Installer M. Cohen and Sons
  • Facade Consultants Gilsanz Murray Steficek
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System curtain wall over flat slab concrete frame
  • Products Aluminum frame curtain wall and window wall; handcrafted exterior metal cladding panels; Large scale curved glass; custom motorized sliding doors; custom motorized operable windows
The proximity of the High Line was particularly important for the architects, who say they were inspired by the overlay of public space near the site, namely the contrast between an elevated free-flowing High Line pathway with the urban grid of streets below. In response, the architects developed an “urban layering” concept that resulted in split levels, challenging the orthodoxy of flat floor plate construction. The resulting split-level configuration is articulated by a continuous chevron ribbon composed of a 900-piece hand-rubbed steel panel installation. “Rather than a staggered zigzag climbing the facade from floor to floor, the chevron is a continuous line, extending along and framing living spaces, bending around the soft curves of unbroken panoramic glass corners and wrapping the facade in free flowing lines each connected and looping continuously from one floor to the next,” said Gaskin. “Balconies and set-back terraces further express a sense of layering in the urban fabric heightened by balconies projecting and dynamically gesturing toward the High Line where it meets the site.” The metal facade was meticulously hand-crafted from stainless steel, recalling the spirit of Chelsea’s industrial past. The panels were engineered, cut, and welded by M. Cohen and Sons, a Philadelphia-based metal fabrication group offering design assist, engineering, project management, and installation services. They achieved a lustrous blackened finish by an antiquing process, light orbital brushing and hand tinting, to produce an effect that resonates with the adjacent elevated rail structure of the High Line.   The structuring of the 11-story building was achieved with a conventional flat plate in-situ reinforced concrete. Local areas of post-tensioning were required where cantilevered floors and balconies exceed the limits of flat plate spans.   Glazing design was key to the energy and visual performance of the building envelope. Insulated glazing units (IGU’s) track continuously around flat and radiused segments of the perimeter of the building. IGUs are composed of a layered assembly of three low iron glass panels, two of which are laminated together, with an air void along with low-e coatings for solar protection. The transition between flat and curved units was greatly scrutinized by the project team to ensure visual clarity and color consistency across the fluid expression of the building envelope. One of the challenges, however, was the convex and concave curvatures of the design required varied glazing manufacturing processes which yielded slightly different visual results. The major difference between concave and convex glazing was the location of the coating surface, which produced an “almost imperceptible change in color” according to Gaskin, who said the team “exploited architectural conditions to minimize the visual impact of these differences.” The concave units were located in full shade at deep balcony recesses, contrasting with exposed conditions of the convex units. Gaskin said this contrast of conditions assisted in masking the already subtle differences in glazing appearance. Additionally, during the product sourcing phase, the project team’s attention was focused on testing the supplier’s capability to deliver consistent quality through production and inspection of full-scale mock-ups. This attention to detail ultimately resulted in a “continuity of quality,” according to Gaskin, which was achieved by “understanding material qualities, impacts of manufacturing techniques and working with suppliers to coordinate and test results across different types of glass manufacturing and window unit assemblies.” The project complied with all code requirements, maximizing gross floor area (GFA), building height, and standard setback conformance. The IGUs were installed in a curtain wall system that hung on the outside of floor decks to fully enclose the building. These were selected after design simulation models of thermal and energy performance, which compared the assembly to more commonly-specified window wall systems which sit between floor decks. Gaskin said the facade design at 520 W 28th “successfully demonstrates a way of achieving dynamic and organic sculptural form by repetition of a limited number of standard cladding panel types. Further, use of common installation details and practices allows us to apply the best practices for envelope performance and costs.”
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Daniel Libeskind’s latest residence is clad in self-cleaning, air-purifying tiles

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This direct commission in Germany brought Daniel Libeskind back to Berlin for his first residential project in the city. The project, located on a busy corner in the Mitte neighborhood in central Berlin, presented a design challenge: How to carve out 73 desirable one- to four-bedroom apartments on a plot measuring a little less than half an acre?
  • Facade Manufacturer Casalgrande Padana (tile), Medicke Metallbau (windows)
  • Architects Architekt Daniel Libeskind AG (architect of record); Architekt Daniel Libeskind AG, Zurich, with Studio Libeskind (joint venture partner)
  • Facade Installer Medicke Metallbau (facade sub-contractor); PORR (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants ARUP Berlin (facade planning); Ingenierburo Franke (facade planning); PORR (structural engineer)
  • Location Berlin, Germany
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System ventilated facade on concrete structure
  • Products Fractile tiles finished in Bios Self-Cleaning Ceramics technology with HYDROTECT treatment; CP-VENTIL-KA ventilated facade system; Keil micro-anchors
The result is a faceted mid-rise building that negotiates Berlin’s zoning code with varied setbacks, angular windows, and canted walls. In select locations, the building envelope subtly pulls away from the primary facade, creating intimate outdoor balcony nooks. Stefan Blach, principal at Studio Libeskind, said the balconies not only give the facade more depth but also enhance the quality of the units. “There are 70 units, most of which are very small, and even those have a balcony that wraps from the living room to the bedroom. A lot of work went into developing these units—each plan is unique. The coordination between facade and plan was really special in this building.” The project is a showcase for Libeskind’s signature tile design, which wraps all of the street facades and as well as some key interior moments. Produced by manufacturer Casalgrande Padana, the three-dimensional geometric-patterned stoneware tiles, named Fractile, measure approximately two-feet by four-feet and feature unique advanced technology to self-clean and aid in air purification. This is achieved by the application of a specialized titanium dioxide coating that breaks down organic deposits when exposed to the Sun's UV light. The coating is the result of a master agreement signed between Casalgrande Padana and TOTO, a global leader in photocatalytic technology. Fractile is part of Casalgrande’s ongoing efforts to produce bioactive ceramic products capable of interacting with the environment. Of the 3,600 tiles supplied, only 500 were made in a standard production format. The remaining 3,100 tiles are custom shapes made using controlled linear and water jet cuts according to precise drawings. Additionally, every tile was specifically positioned to reflect the A or B sides of the pattern (the two positions of the tiles when rotated by 180 degrees). This specificity allowed the architects to control the overall patterning and reflective effects of the facade. The tiles were delivered in 15 different batches to the site and, due to the complexity of the order, each piece was identified with a unique number to ensure they were correctly positioned. The delivery of the tiles took nine months, with installation taking an additional four months—an outcome that the manufacturer called “high satisfactory, given the parametric complexity of the shapes that needed covering.” The ventilated facade was assembled utilizing a standard anchorage system from Casalgrande in combination with micro-anchors from KEIL. The facade has been built by general contractor PORR Germany and specialized facade consultant Medicke Metallbau. The building had to adhere to the 2013 EnEV energy code, one of the most stringent codes in the world. This limited the quantity of glazing in the project and, in response to the code, the project team specified high-performance triple-glazed units with external louvers. Operable units conform to a standard dimension, while fixed panels absorb irregular geometries of the facade. Studio Libeskind’s project team, led by architect Jochen Klein, encountered some zoning regulations as well, which affected massing strategy. The maximum height of the building was determined by zoning regulations. The required setback from the centerline of the street is minimum 0.4 times the building height, a rule that works to limit the height of the building. This introduced the need for a parapet configuration to allow for a primary street front volume and secondary taller penthouse volume. Blach said the overall height, which was taller than neighboring buildings, was successfully negotiated by the project team due to its prominent corner lot location. "There is a tradition in Berlin that the corner buildings are sometimes even a full story higher than their neighbors." Another regulation relates to the oriels, which are not allowed to consume more than one-third the overall length of the facade, and are limited to a projection of around five feet from the building. In the case of Sapphire, an agreement with the city allowed to the architects to cantilever a freeform volume of space over the sidewalk beyond the plane of the primary facade. With retail shops on the ground floor, underground parking, and a common outdoor area, this high-spirited, contemporary complex stands on land where the Wulffersche iron factory once operated, before being expropriated from its Jewish owners during World War II. Blach said the individuality of the plan and spatial layouts and the translation to the facade were the celebrated successes of this project. "Catering the building to all of the individual tenants who moved in was very special for us—each has inherited a unique apartment that's unlike their neighbors."
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French housing tower wrapped in undulating balconies sculpts a new cityscape

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Paris-based Hamonic+Masson & Associés has completed a new housing tower that is composed of an angular core wrapped in undulating balconies. The project, titled "New’R," is located in Nantes, a city located in western France, and pays homage to Oscar Niemeyer as well as to the architecture of the 1970’s French Riviera. New’R contributes to an ongoing discussion about building height which according to the architects has become a pressing topic throughout the country. In 2015, the practice completed and delivered Paris’ first housing project measuring over 160-feet since the 1970s.
  • Facade Manufacturer Cladding: ALUBEL (product: OND-ALL 33, painted with RAL 9003 Signal White, 80% gloss)
  • Architects Hamonic+Masson & Associés (client: Kaufman & Broad)
  • Facade Installer Lucas Reha
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location Nantes, France
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Reinforced concrete load-bearing facade with exterior thermal insulation and aluminum cladding
  • Products Wooden balcony floor tiles: FGI (product: Snap and go); Greenhouse: EUROSERRE; Elevators: KONE; Lighting: DELTALIGHT (product: Super Oh)
Jean-Christophe Masson and Gaëlle Hamonic, principals at Hamonic+Masson & Associés, said the facade of the project was about connectivity to surrounding flows of the city’s people, cars, and bicycles: “The building’s transparency, depth, and various perspectives engender a dynamism and liveliness around the perimeter of the project, consequently enriching the surrounding environment.” New’R’s massing strategy pairs a simple faceted angular building envelope with outboard curvilinear balconies. Both the facade and balconies are outfitted with aluminum paneling from Italian-based ALUBEL. The building’s volume breaks down into four sub-towers helping to compliment the surrounding scale of the city while providing additional functional rooftop terrace space.  The architects say these intermediate landings produce a sequence within the volume of the tower that helps to produce a “graduated system of high-rise living.” The most impactful element of the project, New’R’s guardrails, are composed of two assembly types: an open rail system, and a perforated panel system. Furthermore, plant containers are selectively incorporated into the lower levels of the apartment building. The architects say this variation was contextual, citing higher floors allowed for unobstructed views while lower floors require more privacy. They also add that the building is an observation tower, both functionally, but also—and perhaps more importantly—symbolically. “Living here enables people to understand and appreciate the city that surrounds them: architecture in cinemascope.”
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LOHA’s star-shaped Mariposa 1038 brings 32 units to L.A.’s Koreatown

Los Angeles–based Lorcan O’Herilhy Architects (LOHA) recently completed work on Mariposa 1038, a diamond-shaped 32-unit multifamily apartment structure in L.A.’s Koreatown neighborhood. The 68,000-square-foot structure occupies a tight urban site in one of L.A’s densest neighborhoods and aims to provide much-needed housing to an area that is otherwise at risk for gentrification. The apartment building is shaped like a cube that has been puckered at the corners, revealing gently-curved facades that swing back from the street. Along the sidewalk, the voided segment leftover as the facade pulls back is filled with a large concrete block planter packed with trees and shrubs. The overlooking curved stucco walls are studded with folded metal window hoods that frame varied apertures and inset balconies. The window hoods themselves extend out from the curved facade to the original extents of the mass, are painted in monochromatic tones, and vary in width across the expanse, changing to their attendant apertures. In a statement announcing the project’s completion, LOHA drew attention to the window treatments, saying, “Throughout the day, the movement of dark shadows across the white and black facades activates the project with a dynamic sense of constant rearrangement.” Along its interior, Mariposa 1038 features a central, stark-white courtyard that is outlined in sinuous, streamlined geometries and contains an embedded water catchment system along the ground floor. When it rains, water collects from around the courtyard spaces into a landscaped planter that not only harvests water but contains integrated seating elements, as well—here, a pair of angular wooden benches. The segmented courtyard geometries wrap over the uppermost parapet, connecting the space to a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. Meanwhile, the units inside the structure are spare in their ornamentation and feature floor-to-ceiling window assemblies—the same openings framed by the exterior hoods along the facade. The units are organized with integrated storage walls and have been designed to maximize passive ventilation strategies, as well. Aside from the completion of Mariposa 1038, LOHA is also at work on a bevy of innovative projects across Los Angeles and recently opened a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan.
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Playful screens connect Swedish housing project to nature

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Located approximately halfway between Stockholm and Copenhagen, the city of Jönköping is situated at the southern end of Sweden's second largest lake, Vättern. Swedish architects Tham & Videgård Arkitekter designed two urban housing blocks that aim to balance private domestic interiors and a vast landscape with a screened balcony threshold. Titled Västra Kajen, which literally translates to West Quay, the waterfront project is the result of an invited competition from nearly 10 years ago.
  • Facade Manufacturer Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (aluminum screen)Architects Tham & Videgård Arkitekter
  • Facade Installer Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (aluminum screen)
  • Clients Vätterhem and Riksbyggen
  • Location Jönköping, Sweden
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System reinforced concrete with aluminum screen
  • Products custom anodized aluminum screen in dark and light bronze finish
Rather than a row of standard housing “slabs,” the apartment units were assembled into two compact volumes. The architects say these buildings urbanistically help to establish a “solid position” that is proportionally acceptable both to the city as well as the adjacent lake, while minimizing the building envelope area for their ambitions to minimize building energy usage. An outer layer of terraces surrounds the perimeter of both buildings, providing every unit with a generous portion of outdoor space. These balconies are contained within a transparent screen of anodized aluminum that diffuses daylight. The system is composed of arched shapes that create alternating open and filtered views, offering a buffer zone between the intimate domestic interior of the apartments and the vast scale of the landscape outside. By shifting the voids in the screen every second level, a characteristic pattern emerges that unites the six floors into one distinct cubical volume. Both apartments are organized around a large vertical atrium with a top-lit stairwell to delineate a central social space that doubles as a circulation stairwell for the units. This atrium hall naturally preheats fresh air, contributing to overall energy efficiency of the building. Notably, the majority of the apartments are located at corners of the building, benefiting from good views and light. The two buildings are set at an offset angle to one another, to deliberately open up the inward facing sides to further prioritize daylight and views. The angle is determined by the geometry of the property, which accommodates a road that follows the edge of Lake Munksjön, a smaller body of water that taps into Lake Vättern by means of a harbor canal. While both six-story buildings are detailed similarly, subtle differences add variation to the project. This begins with the orientation to the siting of the building but extends to the interior geometry of their atria—a square cube volume in one building and a cylindrical volume in the second building. The aluminum screen and trim details further delineate the two buildings, finished in a dark and light anodized bronze color scheme.
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Black glazed tile clads a curved “mega-bay” in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley

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A new market-rate micro-housing project in San Francisco's Hayes Valley—developed in tandem with a new clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club—features 70 studio and two-bedroom apartments clustered around a courtyard with ample, secure bicycle parking. The wood-framed housing structure sits atop a concrete podium housing retail spaces just off the main Hayes Street corridor. The new construction project continues development of vacated land caused by the collapse and removal of the Central Freeway. The project—designed by David Baker Architects, which has designed and built more than 10,000 dwelling units—achieves a density of 240 bedrooms per acre, and consists of 40-percent two-bedroom units located at each corner and facing the courtyard. This is the result of a policy by the city to allow new residential developments to accommodate families. The other apartments are classified as micro-units, ranging from 325 to 400-square-feet. These compact studio apartments embrace an "affordability by design" concept, which, according to David Baker Architects, has “proven popular with younger professionals, as well as seniors.” One of the most contentious issues of the project was a large corner bay clad in a custom glazed tile. The bay's massing spans the entire end of the building, out of scale when compared with a typical vernacular bay, however, the architects say this feature is rooted in careful planning and urbanistic principles. The positive and negative forms of 388 Fulton and the Richardson Apartments across the street—another project by David Baker Architects—make a frame for the City Hall dome two blocks away.
  • Facade Manufacturer Fireclay Tile (glazed thin brick veneer); James Hardie (fiber-cement siding); Golden State Steel (sun shade fabrication); Peerless Architectural Windows and Doors (aluminum windows)
  • Architects David Baker Architects
  • Facade Installer Fisher Development Inc. (General Contractor)
  • Facade Consultants KPFF Consulting Engineers (Structural Engineer)
  • Location San Francisco, CA
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System wood frame over concrete podium
  • Products Glazed Thin Brick in Inkwell and custom colors by Fireclay Tile; ENERGSAVE by Peerless Architectural Windows and Doors (aluminum windows); HardiPanel & HardieTrim (fiber-cement siding)
The black coloration was produced from custom low fire glazed tile sourced from local clay. An artisan tile company glazed the brick with a palette of five subtle variations on a standard “Inkwell” black color. The architects specified a repeating pattern for the colors, which Baker said sometimes gets mistaken for being a uniform color. "The different tile colors added a richness to the composition, which one color would not have provided." The thin tile was set directly onto a mortar bed over a cement plastered wood-framed wall. Expansion joints coordinate with punched window openings for a clean composition. The stacked bond tile also integrates precisely with vents on the facade, which required careful coordination between the contractor and architect. The windows in the curved mega-bay have a custom extra-deep extrusion to accommodate the thickness of the glazed tiles. Computer analysis from programs like Autodesk Ecotect was used to optimize perforated aluminum sunshades on the curved facade and west-facing windows. Design criteria included the relative amount of solar radiation that would hit each window for different times of the day and year, including shade from the building, neighboring buildings, and sunshades. After several iterations, the design resulted in a combination louver-and-fin for windows along the curved bay, and a vertical fin of varying length along the west-facing facade. The shapes of these elements were standardized into three repeatable configurations for fabrication efficiency while minimizing solar radiation during the afternoons in late spring and early fall, particularly into studio units with challenging western exposure. Baker said the project team integrated a lot of fun detailing into the project: “The large curved bay is the signature of the building, and something we put a lot of energy into. We took fairly humble materials, and made them look crisp and sleek." A trademark example of this design approach is the “random batten system,” a phrase coined by the office for an aesthetically driven approach to installation of fiber-cement trim board. Baker called this "ranch house technology." The assembly calls for standard fiber cement board trim to be applied in a randomized pattern, transforming a ubiquitous board and batten system into what Baker said, "Looks like something that you would order from Italy."
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Copper Mesh Facade signals renewal in historic town center

"The copper woven mesh opens like a curtain over the city. It unfolds like a filter in front of a fully glazed facade. It shows off the facility while protecting it."

ARC.AME Urban Architects have designed a new School of Art in the center of Calais, a northern port city in France. Recently the town has been notable for a growing refugee population which has attempted to migrate to England by means of the Eurotunnel transit tunnel beneath the English Channel and ferries. The architects say this project exists as a symbol of the revival of the city center: “the powerful and original architecture of the project had to respect the balance and the scales of the context into which it was embedded.” The school program was designed to be fully public, allowing for freely accessible galleries. A secondary residential program provides 25 apartments, placed like houses on the rooftop.  The units are designed as duplexes, each with a south facing terrace. A central courtyard links these residences with the university program. The architects say one of the major challenges at stake in the revitalization of historic city centers, which have been abandoned for the suburbs, is the new lifestyle that a dense mixed-use environment creates.
  • Facade Manufacturer GKD France
  • Architects ARC.AME Urban Architects, DPLG and associate
  • Facade Installer Rabot Dutilleul Construction (General Enterprise)
  • Facade Consultants INGEROP Engineers, Babylone (Landscaper)
  • Location Calais, France
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System reinforced concrete frame with copper gold varnished mesh screen and extensive vegetated roof gardens
  • Products GKD/Spirale Escale (mesh facade); KME/Tecu Gold (copper roof)
With adjacent buildings literally tied into an existing commercial mall building on the site, demolition was a challenging aspect to the project. The new structure is coordinated to the massing heights of the contextual buildings, however it strongly varies in materiality.  A woven copper mesh product from GKD France screens a facade composed primarily of glazing, and formally opens up onto the city as a curtain. The mesh filters daylight, protecting art galleries and equipment from direct exposure. The coloration of the mesh incorporates a high gloss paint to protect the material from its coastal environment. The roof is detailed in a lacquered copper, subtly – nearly invisibly – transitioning to the metal mesh product which rolls over the facade walls. Several mesh configurations were tested to achieve desired lighting results for classroom and studio spaces. The radial section profile allows the product to be incorporated onto the facade as a single piece, without any splicing required. The architects say one of the greatest successes of the project is the qualities this solar shade provides: “We love many aspects of this project; the mesh, the concrete matrix, the central garden, the exhibition hall…but the thing that lived up most to our expectations is the quality of the light which diffuses all across the building and the visual transparencies between the several indoor spaces.”
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Koning Eizenberg blends old and new

In 2006, the 28th St. YMCA was added to the City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments List, and in 2009 it was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

In 1926, just three years after becoming the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Paul R. Williams designed a landmark YMCA building on 28th Street in Los Angeles. Nearly ninety years later, the building has been restored, and transformed, into a modern multi-family housing complex. Koning Eizenberg Architects (KEA) worked on the project for Jim Bonner, FAIA, architect and executive director of the nonprofit affordable housing organization Clifford Beers Housing. The architects restored the historic 52-unit building, reorganizing the layout into 24 studio apartments, and constructed a new 5-story, 25 studio apartment building next door.  The project features a perforated metal screen scrim wall, an integrated photovoltaic panel wall, restored historic stone work. and a shared roof deck that programmatically connects the historic building with it’s modern neighbor. There were two very different projects involved: a substantial restoration and a 5-story new infill construction building. Brian Lane, Managing Principal at KEA says these two projects were “married at the hip”: “We were digitally analyzing Paul Williams’ work on top of crafting our own work.” The architects carefully looked at shadow lines to understand the restored, cast-stone balcony and other components, generating drawings from a careful analysis from historic photographs, looking at shadow lines to understand profiled depths of the historic work. This commitment to digital analysis is most noticeably exploited on a new perforated metal scrim wall, visually buffering the apartment buildings’ circulation system from the sidewalk. The patterning and tabbing of the aluminum metal panels are derived from digitally-controlled abstractions of historic ornamentation found on Williams’ building. In addition to the two-dimensional surface treatment of the aluminum, the panels are assembled on a sub-frame that incrementally rotates outward to provide views of nearby downtown Los Angeles. Julie Eizenberg, Founding Principal of KEA, says that this move creates an effect that is “less rigid,” and “loosens where things begin and end.”
  • Facade Manufacturer C.R. Laurence
  • Architects Koning Eizenberg Architecture
  • Facade Installer Alpha Construction Co., Inc.
  • Facade Consultants C.R. Laurence, Parker Resnick Structural Engineers
  • Location Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System lightweight perforated metal screens with aluminum substructure framing, wall-mounted photovoltaic array, stucco cladding
  • Products Tinco Sheet Metal (metal panels), Sunpower (photovoltaic system), Sun Earth (solar hotwater), Series DPS200C Deluxe Perforated Panel System, Shamrock Stucco applied by Ken Harges Plastering Co.
The wall system is the result of a collaborative and iterative design process with LA-based C.R. Laurence who, among other things, fabricated the panels.  KEA exploited design opportunities of die-cut metal fabrication after discovering a significant cost savings over newer water jet-cutting technology.  This included experimentation with the perforation process: various radii were tested, and they developed a “hanging chad” perforation style that cuts and bends the metal at a controlled 37.5 degree angle.  The architect’s iterative process during the design phase of the metal screen wall included studies of numerous digitally abstracted patterns, laser-cut study models in chipboard, and mock-ups of the panels. By selectively controlling which perforations remain connected to the panel, a secondary pattern becomes visible in the panel. Lane says there was significant value brought to the project through this low cost fabrication method: “We got a real richness and depth to the panel in a very affordable way.” One of the successes of the screen is the dynamic visual quality of the screen through various lighting conditions. Sunlight is reflected off of the perforated screen during the day, while a soft backlit glow is emitted through perforations during the evenings. On the south facade of the building, a “rainscreen” made of jet black photovoltaic panels is set one foot off of the stark white stucco building facade. While some efficiency was lost by orienting the panels in a vertical array, locating the panels on the facade was done out of necessity. With the rooftop area taken up by various building systems, the south facade became an opportunity to integrate renewable energy features. In the spirit of this “low-tech/high-value” type of project, the PV array helps to block direct gain, while promoting air circulation behind the assembly. Architecturally, the project has been celebrated for it’s novel organization of building systems, its “low-tech” approach to adding value to standard building components, and its dialog between old and new (namely its registering of a digitally manipulated image of historic architectural ornamentation prominently on a primary facade). Outweighing the architectural innovations are the social and cultural benefits to the design, which re-establishes this building’s role as an important cultural community resource by bringing living quarters in compliance with contemporary standards and offers a sense of dignity to low income housing residents and staff.
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Tree-like diagrid columns connect two greenspaces in Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Unbroken bands of window walls sit beyond an exterior concrete structural frame.

Completed earlier this year, a new market rate rental building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side by Handel Architects features a striking exposed cast-in-place concrete diagrid “exoskeleton” structure. The system is designed in response to required zoning code setbacks that restrict building area to a mere 35’ wide at times. The project, named after it’s address at 170 Amsterdam, is located two blocks north of Lincoln Center, situated between two greenspaces – Central Park and the Lincoln Tower superblock – via 68th Street. The lobby is a prominent glassy space containing a mix of community programs, formally and programmatically connecting the two sides of the building together, while abstracted tree-like columns punctuate the building envelope. Frank Fusaro, Partner at Handel Architects, says the use of exposed architectural concrete is a contextual response to its location between the muscular buildings of Lower Amsterdam, where Lincoln Center resides, and the heaviness of classic Upper West Side apartment buildings. “LaGuardia High Schools exposed concrete, MLK School’s corten metal and glass skin wrapped around an opaque core, and the heavily ornate Beaux-Arts exterior of the Dorilton with its quoining, ironwork, brackets, cartouches, oriels and other details all share something in common: these are tough, robust and bold buildings.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Residential Windows, Skyline Dual Action Windows; Retail storefront, YKK; Lobby entrance storefront: Sentech Architectural Systems; Metal Panel North and South walls, Painted Aluminum Composite Panel by Omega Panel Products; Ground floor (East), Canopy and Bulkhead: Pre-finished Cement Board: Fibre C; Wood cladding: Descience Laboratories; Wood trellis: Structurlam
  • Architects Handel Architects
  • Facade Installer Cast in Place Concrete, Ryder Construction/ RC Structures; Residential Windows, Skyline; Retail storefront & Lobby Entrance, Ground floor (East), Canopy and Bulkhead: Crowne Architectural Systems, Inc.; Metal Panel North and South walls, KNS Building Restoration Inc.; Wood cladding & trellis: JM3 Construction LLC)
  • Facade Consultants IBA Consulting & Engineering
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion April, 2015
  • System High strength exposed architectural cast in place concrete exoskeleton with continuous window wall
  • Products Concrete formwork, Molded Fiber Glass Construction Products; Glass: Insulated energy efficient glazing PPG Solarban 72 Starphire Operable window hardware, Geze
Aside from the contextual benefits to exposing a concrete system, the architects noted several benefits to a structural exoskeleton system, contributing to the client’s full support from nearly the beginning of the project. The most significant benefits to the building envelope design were seen when interior floor area was able to be maximized. The structural system of the building resembles a shell structure, achieving high stiffness from an exterior diagrid of columns tied together with repetitive structural floor slabs. This stiffness allows for no shear walls to be required in the core of the building and relatively few interior columns. By moving the columns to the outside of the building, the city’s zoning department allowed for the floor area of the building to be measured to the face of the window wall, rather than the face of the structure. This allowed the architects to add an entire extra floor of program to the building. Additionally, the depth of the facade assembly acts as a brise soleil, passively helping to manage a less-than-ideal solar orientation (unavoidable due to the city grid and buildable area on site). Beyond the columns, a continuous band of window units, spanning from floor to ceiling, establishes the building’s thermal envelope. The windows feature a high performance low e coating to allow for high levels of transparency without sacrificing solar performance. Fusaro says the unbroken line of windows in the apartment units was essential: “The studios are sized just over 400 square feet, so having an exterior wall of glass makes the units feel much larger.” An extremely dense mix of concrete allows for the smooth finish and eliminates voids. The use of less rebar permits a pump tube to be placed in the column and minimizes vibration. Slag was added to the mix to make the color of the concrete more like limestone. Installation of the building envelope after the concrete was poured occurred surprisingly quickly, at a rate of about one floor per week, adding value to the system. The design of the diagrid was optimized to reduce the quantity of fabricating costly “X” forms by shifting the grid on a diagonal axis. The success of 170 Amsterdam has led Handel Architects to further work with exposed architectural cast in place concrete. Most notably, in the Upper West Side, another market rate rental building is under construction currently. For Fusaro, the elegance of exposed concrete is activated with an underlying connection to nature: “I love the organic nature of concrete, you can add or subtract a little of this or that and make it into something entirely different.” Handel Architects: Partner in Charge/Design Principal; Frank Fusaro Project Manager; Honyi Wang Design Team; Alan Noah-Navarro, Elga Killinger, Shridhuli Solanki, Rinaldo Perez, Ren Zhong Huang, Jessica Kuo, Jordan Young, Shujian Jian, Hong Min Kim, Ade Herkarisma, Ana Untiveros-Ferrel
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The History and Future of the Los Angeles Dingbat

“Dingbat” is a word with many meanings. It’s a synonym for nitwit. In typography, it’s a symbol used in place of a letter. And in Los Angeles, it’s a particular type of multi-family housing, dominant in the 1950s and 1960s and alternately maligned and embraced over the decades. Dingbat 2.0, an upcoming publication from the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design (LA Forum), explores the history and future of dingbat apartments. The subject of a current Kickstarter campaign, Dingbat 2.0 brings together essays on the origins of the Los Angeles dingbat with highlights from the LA Forum’s 2010 Dingbat 2.0 competition, in which participants were asked to reconfigure the dingbat for today’s urban reality. The dingbat is a “really interesting architectural type that can be looked at in a lot of different ways,” said Thurman Grant, co-editor with Joshua G. Stein of Dingbat 2.0. A subset of what John Chase and John Beach called “the stucco box,” the dingbat is unornamented except on its street-facing facade, where applied texture, rear-lit sconces, and pressed-wood script bearing the building’s (often fanciful) name differentiate one structure from the next. In obeisance to postwar cultural norms, dingbat developers built a separate entrance for each apartment, and made room for the automobile in a ground-floor carport. “In one way [the dingbat is] kind of sticky, in that you can apply a lot of things to it,” Grant said. “But it’s also kind of slippery, because you have these apartment buildings that are very clearly dingbats, and others that could be dingbats.” Part of the Dingbat 2.0 project is to better define the dingbat apartment typology. But the dingbat is more than just a historic artifact: it’s also a contemporary problem. The dingbat began as a waystation for upwardly-mobile immigrants from the Midwest. Today’s urban nomads have a different set of needs, which aren’t necessarily addressed by the car-centric stucco box. “That’s what the LA Forum initially identified [in the Dingbat 2.0 competition],” Stein said. “Something’s changed...We want to figure out what would better serve those kinds of populations.” The 2010 competition began a conversation that continues in the Dingbat 2.0 publication, many of whose contributors served on the competition jury. Whether the topic is the dingbat’s historical backstory, the appropriation of the dingbat aesthetic by 1970s avant-garde artists, or a speculative reimagining of small-lot development, Stein sees Dingbat 2.0 as a vehicle to better understanding the Los Angeles of today. “The book becomes a handbook to describe the life of the common Angeleno,” he said. Dingbat 2.0 includes essays by Barbara Bestor, Aaron Betsky, James Black, Dana Cuff, John Kaliski, John Southern, Steven Treffers, and Wim de Wit, plus a photo essay by Judy Fiskin. Click here to contribute to the Dingbat 2.0 Kickstarter campaign.