Posts tagged with "Thornton Tomasetti":

Placeholder Alt Text

Edward Peck discusses enclosure technology and Facades+ Chicago

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
On September 27, The Architect's Newspaper is returning to the Great Lakes for the sixth time to host Facades+ Chicago. The city is no stranger to architectural innovation, pioneering steel-frame construction, and the curtain walled skyscraper. The conference is, in effect, an appraisal of the most recent projects and research that keep Chicago ahead of the curve in architectural design and technology. Participants for the conference symposium and workshops are leading practitioners based in Chicago and the Midwest, including Brininstool + Lynch, the Chicago Department of Buildings, Gensler, Heitman Architects, Krueck + Sexton Architects, the Passive House Institute US, Sentech Architectural Systems, Sterling Bay, Thornton Tomasetti, and WJE. Edward Peck, managing director of Edward Peck Design and a facade expert with decades of experience, collaborated with AN as co-chair of the conference to curate the program and will also present on the panel "Ongoing Advancements in Glass Technology: From Smart Coatings to Connection Design," which will  be expanded upon as an afternoon workshop. In this interview with AN, Peck discusses the themes and objectives of the upcoming conference. AN: Research and Innovation are at the forefront of this year’s conference in Chicago. What lessons do you hope will be garnered by the audience? Edward Peck: Correct. At this conference, we want to draw the connection between the two. To innovate, one needs to invest time and effort into Research (R&D). We are a profession where every project is a prototype yet we find ourselves with less and less time for the integration of Research and Advanced Analytics but to build meaningful architecture that is inspirational, sustainable and resilient we will need to find better ways to perform and collaborate on Research and new Innovations to meet the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. AN: How are firms in Chicago impacting design across the country and perhaps globally? EP: Architects in Chicago have a rich history for impacting architecture and urban conditions globally. We have a collective body of progressive work around the world-leading innovations in sustainability, performance and structural force pushing towers to new heights. With this comes a body of innovative engineers that are our primary collaborators on these projects enriching the entire practice of architecture and enabling Chicago to maintain our position as a critical thought leader in progressive architecture. AN: What do you perceive to be the most interesting design trends within Chicago today? EP: I try to stay away from trends. One needs to focus on the building’s performance; both its impact on the environment and the user while understanding its urban or contextual integration. If these conditions are your focus your work will transcend trends. I believe the Trumpf Smart Factory, a featured project at this conference does that; it is focused on its program while also exhibiting the values and capabilities of Trumpf as a company. AN: Facade materials are undergoing a significant evolution due to advanced research. Are there any specific materials we should be paying attention to? EP: I think smart or dynamic building skins and systems are worth paying attention to – There are a lot of products that are now moving into their second generation making them more attractive and feasible in the market. Buildings must perform in a wide range of conditions, systems that can adapt or transition within this range will undoubtedly be integrated into future designs. Further information regarding Facades+ Chicago can be found here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Krueck + Sexton and Thornton Tomasetti bring undulating glass to Chicago's Mercantile Exchange

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Chicago's Krueck + Sexton Architects, a practice founded in 1979, has established a particular niche in the design and implementation of complex glass facades. Their projects present a significant range in terms of location and scale, ranging from the multiplanar Spertus Institute on Michigan Boulevard to a slew of private residences and the restoration of Mies van der Rohe's prestigious structures dotted throughout Chicagoland. Recently, the firm wrapped up a full revamp of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's lobby with an undulating structural glass wall. Located on Lake Michigan, Chicago has served as country's primary inland entrepot for over a century—the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) was founded in 1898. The CME migrated to its current headquarters in 1987, a heavy granite-clad postmodern tower located immediately adjacent to the Chicago River. The design objective of the project was to establish an inviting and prominent facade for a structure in which over 10,000 people cross through daily, replacing 18 separate dark and weighty entrances.
  • Facade Manufacturer Roschmann Group Porcelanosa
  • Architect Krueck + Sexton Architects
  • Facade Installer Roschmann Group
  • Facade Engineer  Thornton Tomasetti
  • Location Chicago
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom structural glass system
  • Products Custom Roschmann IGU panels KRION Porcelanosa
The glass streetwall runs the entire width of the city block, weaving behind the square columns that form an encircling arcade. When developing the overall contour of the glass facade, Krueck + Sexton Architects analyzed the movement of surrounding pedestrians and inputted that information to follow the preexisting desire lines of foot traffic. Roschmann Group, the Germany-based manufacturer, handled the fabrication of the bespoke system. Each panel measures approximately 25-feet-by-four-feet and were installed using a custom-designed suction cup lifting device. "The glass is base loaded, and the glass fins provide support for lateral loads such as wind and inside and outside differential," said Krueck + Sexton Associate Principal Yugene Cha. "The top of the glass fin is held by a clever suspension system that can slide up and down and sideways allowing the building to move without breaking the glass." The street-level prominence of the facade, as well as the remarkable visibility of the oversized glass panels, required the implementation of direct and simple detailing where pane meets the ceiling, ground floor, and glass fin. The most challenging aspect of almost any project is the unforeseen conditions onsite after the commencement of construction. For the CME, frequent shifts in the grade below the street level required recalibrations of waterproofing details as well as glazing base plate design. It was critical to the success of the project to loop in the facade engineer, Thornton Tomasetti, from the point of conception. "First, Krueck + Sexton and Thornton Tomasetti worked together to develop a highly-detailed and complete facade package in the Schematic Design Phase, setting the project up for a successful Bidding Phase and Design Assist collaboration," said Thornton Tomasetti Senior Project Director Mark Chiu. "Second, Thornton Tomasetti pre-engineered the facade system’s glass sizes and thicknesses shown in the Schematic Design documents, validating the minimalist design details." Behind the structural glass facade, Krueck + Sexton placed a sophisticated system of 2,644 white synthetic-mineral panels that rise and curve to form the ceiling and continue outward to roof the arcade. The material is non-porous, allowing for straightforward maintenance. Krueck + Sexton Architects Founding Principal Mark P. Sexton and Thorton Tomasetti Senior Project Director Mark Chiu will be joining the panel "Ongoing Advancements in Glass Technology: From Smart Coatings to Connection Design" at the Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Chicago conference on September 12. In the afternoon, the panel will be extended into an intensive three-hour workshop.
Placeholder Alt Text

Repair plan for shuttered Transbay Transit Center is in the works

Late last week, Transbay Joint Powers Authority officials in San Francisco approved plans to repair a pair of fractured beams that were discovered at the now-shuttered Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects–designed Transbay Transit Center last fall. The plan calls for the installation of four sets of new steel reinforcing plates to shore up the failing members, The San Francisco Examiner reported. The peer-reviewed repair plans were approved in late December by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), a transportation agency that works across the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC’s preliminary investigation concluded that the issues with the fissured beams were linked to the presence of welding access holes that had been cut into the beams to facilitate their installation. In all, four beams will be reinforced under the repair plan: the two fractured beams spanning over Fremont Street and a pair of corresponding but uncompromised beams located on the opposite side of the building. According to the report, the steel plates will be bolted together above and below the areas where the fractures occurred on each beam. A date for reopening the center has not been set, but authorities are at work on a construction schedule for the repairs. A further update to the plans will be presented to the board of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority later this week. The $2.2 billion transit center opened to much fanfare in August 2018 but closed just a few weeks after its debut because of the construction faults. The transit center spans three blocks and is capped by a 5.4-acre park designed by PWP Landscape Architects. Thornton Tomasetti is the design engineer for the project. The center has been closed for over 100 days and commuters have gone back to using a temporary bus depot that had been in operation during construction for their daily transportation needs.
Placeholder Alt Text

Possible source of failure discovered for San Francisco’s Transbay Center

Nearly three months after a pair of cracked steel beams were discovered at the Pelli Clarke Pelli–designed Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco, crews investigating the structural failures have begun to piece together what might have gone awry. According to recent investigations, the beams in question were not only fabricated with imperfections that rendered the steel more brittle and weaker than specified, but they were also altered by the fabricators before they were installed in a way that differed from the shop drawing designs that had been initially approved for the project, The Mercury News reported. The changes include the addition of so-called “weld access” or “weld termination” holes along the web of each joist to make installation easier. While it is still unknown exactly which type of openings were made in the beams—there are key design differences between the two types of holes—the resulting change is thought to have created an imbalance in how the loads from the building above were delivered down to the transit center’s foundations. As the center came under regular use, the buses and crowds that occupied its upper levels put enormous strain on the compromised beams, resulting in the debilitating fissures. The Mercury News reported that Stockon, California–based Herrick Corporation, the company responsible for fabricating the steel beams in question, prefers to refer to the openings as “weld termination” holes because those openings are less strictly regulated than “weld access” holes, which have more stringent design and finishing requirements. Design engineers Thornton Tomasetti have not provided comment regarding the nature of the openings in question. Robert Hazleton, president of Herrick Corporation told The Mercury News, “It may sound like a small thing, but it does change how you finish the inside of the hole,” adding, “There are less specific requirements for a weld termination hole.” The stresses resulting from the new openings compounded the inadequacies of the steel members, according to the report, which also highlighted a lack of specificity regarding these types of failures in San Francisco’s building codes as a key oversight in the building’s design. Potential fixes for the beams include welding supplemental steel plates to each member to improve their rigidity, though the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the public agency tasked with building and maintaining the terminal, will not have a specific plan for repairs or an estimated date for reopening the $2.2 billion complex until January 2019. Until a final cause and remedy are found, San Francisco commuters will continue to use the temporary bus terminal created during construction of the Transbay Center for their transportation needs.
Placeholder Alt Text

Facades+ Seattle will trace the rise of Pacific Northwest design

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Over the last three decades, Seattle has experienced explosive population and economic growth, that has fundamentally reshaped the city’s architectural makeup as well as its AEC community’s relationship to national and international trends. On December 7, Facades+ Seattle will bring together local practitioners in an in-depth conversation around recent projects and innovative facade materials and design. Consider architecture and design practice Olson Kundig. Founded in 1966, the firm has established an international reputation for blending high-performance enclosure systems with the craftsmanship of local artists and artisans. Principal Blair Payson will serve as co-chair for the conference, with other principals of the practice moderating the three panels.
  • Co-Chair Blair Payson, Principal Olson Kundig
  • Firms Olson Kundig Gensler Katerra PAE Front Inc. Werner Sobek Thornton Tomasetti Eckersley O'Callaghan
  • Panels Integrated Envelopes: New Project Delivery Workflows Envelope Performance: Current Trends in Codes, Energy and Comfort Envelope Design: Innovations in Facade Materials and Design
  • Location Seattle
  • Date December 7, 2018
One such project is the recently completed Kirkland Museum in Denver, which features an array of glazed terracotta baguettes produced by NBK Terracotta arranged in a unique alternating pattern, and amber-colored glass inserts produced by small-scale manufacturer John Lewis Glass Studio based out of Oakland, California. The firm collaborated with local sculptor Bob Vangold to embed a sculptural form within the facade. To achieve this effect, the sculpture is anchored along the horizontal roof edge with a series of base plates. On a larger scale, the Olson Kundig-led renovation of Seattle’s Space Needle recently wrapped up after 11 months of sky-high construction. The project entailed the removal of decades of haphazardly designed additions in favor of an open-air viewing area. Working with facade consultants Front Inc., the design team converted floors within the top of the Space Needle to transparent glass panels providing revolving views on the city below, and wrapped the observation deck with 11-by-7-foot, 2.5-inch-thick glass panels produced by Thiele Glas and installed by a team of robots designed by Breedt Production. Just south of Seattle’s Space Needle, the trio of Amazon Spheres consists of approximately 2,500 glass panels suspended over a complex steel truss system. Collaborating with NBBJ Architects, Front Inc. led exhaustive case studies, with the help of custom-built software tools, to develop a glass tiling scheme matching visibility requirements for occupants and light exposure for the greenhouse within. Following the creation of multiple digital models, Front Inc. led the fabrication of full-scale mockups of the design to test the computer-generated models. Representatives of these two firms, as well as Gensler, Katerra, Werner Sobek, Thornton Tomasetti, and Eckersley O'Callaghan, will be on hand to dive deeper into the architectural resources and trends present in both Seattle and the rest of the country. Further information regarding Facades+AM Seattle may be found here.
 
Placeholder Alt Text

Salesforce Transit Center closed as cracked steel beam is discovered

The recently-opened, $2.2-billion Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects–designed Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco was closed unexpectedly this afternoon after a major crack was discovered in a steel beam that supports the structure's 5.4-acre roof garden. The fissure is located on the third level bus deck on the eastern side of the transit center. Bus operations that serve the terminal were rerouted back to the so-called “Temporary Terminal,” a makeshift bus depot at Howard and Main Streets that was used while the transit center was under construction over the last eight years. Mohammed Nuru, chairman of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the entity that oversaw construction of the transit center, told The San Francisco Chronicle, "I'm told there's a problem with a steel beam," without elaborating further. NBC Bay Area reports that Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority issued the following statement:
“The safety of everyone who visits the Salesforce Transit Center is our obligation and highest priority. While this appears to be a localized issue and we have no information that suggests it is widespread, it is our duty to confirm this before we allow public access to the facility."
Thornton Tomasetti, the engineer-of-record for the project, did not immediately respond to requests for comments for this story. PWP Landscape Architecture was the landscape architect for the project. It is unclear if the issue at hand is in any way related to recent reports of the pothole-like depressions that have been spotted along the walkway of the rooftop garden in recent days. The nearby Millennium Tower designed by Handel Architects has also suffered mysterious structural anomalies since it opened in 2016. A recent report indicates that the structure was leaning as much as 18 inches to the west. AN will continue to monitor the situation and report updates as news on the transit center takes shape. Update 10:30am PST: The streets around the transit center remain closed this morning as crews work to inspect the structure for further anomalies. Reports indicate that the cracked support member was last inspected a year ago and that it is made from American-produced steel. Salesforce Transit Center officials have planned a news conference for noon Pacific time to provide an update on the investigation.  
Placeholder Alt Text

A skin for the spectacular? It has to be ETFE.

From biodomes to Disney resorts, "Sheds" and stadiums, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, better known as ETFE, has become the material of choice for architects designing a venue for the spectacular. Appealing to designers as an affordable, translucent building skin, the material is now the go-to polymer for flamboyant facades. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke to three firms leading the way to get the lowdown.

"When we designed Eden over twenty years ago, this was the largest installation of ETFE, which had principally been used for small sports buildings," said Andrew Whalley, Partner & Deputy Chairman at Grimshaw Architects. Whalley was, of course, referring to the Eden Project in the U.K.'s southwest, the project that put ETFE and its use for buildings on the map. Previously, the material had been used mostly in the aerospace industry, with the odd agricultural project thrown in. Now it was being used for huge, bulbous "biomes" that drew inspiration from Buckminster Fuller.

"I think the Eden project certainly gave it a much higher profile, which led quickly to its use on several high-profile buildings. This rise in popularity has lead to a continual refinement in the product, and with secondary applications," added Whalley.

Grimshaw has since gone on to be a pioneer of the polymer in architecture. Their U.K. National Space Center in Leicester was another landmark project, and, more recently, the firm has stepped it up a level, with the dazzling Disney resort, "Tomorrowland," in Shanghai. Whalley continued, "Current ETFE is much more transparent than its earlier version, is available in a range of color tints. It can be fritted, and combining this with variable air pressures can change the amount of light passing through the envelope." Light and colour certainly abound at Tomorrowland. David Dennis, Associate Principal at Grimshaw explained how this was achieved through a double-layered ETFE cushion that spans 164 feet across a complicated twin-gridshell canopy. This is then held in place by custom-formed aluminum clamps that respond to the tight bending and twisting of the structure. "ETFE’s inherent flexibility permitted spanning these complex forms. Meanwhile, advancements in imbedded color and custom-applied ‘frit’ patterns enabled a backdrop suitable for both daytime and nighttime light shows," elaborated Dennis. "The canopy structure required a lightweight cladding that could keep guests dry and comfortable in Shanghai’s wet summers. At the same time, it also needed to be an expressive and iconic canvas for lighting effects and projections that celebrate Disney’s stories and capture the Tomorrowland theme of an optimistic future," he added. "ETFE met these needs, providing flexibility of form and advanced capacity for showcase." But how is ETFE being used on U.S. shores? Alloy Kemp, a Senior Project Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti's New York office, was on hand. The engineering firm has already worked on numerous ETFE facades, including Banc of California Stadium (for the Los Angeles Football Club, MLS), the U.S. Bank Stadium (for the Minnesota Vikings) and the Hard Rock Stadium (for the Miami Dolphins) in Florida. Right now, Thornton Tomasetti is working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and the Rockwell Group on The Shed at Hudson Yards which, yes, you guessed it, has an ETFE facade. According to Kemp, The Shed uses a pneumatic system, whereby three foils made into a panel are inflated with air. "The air is not structural; it serves to stabilize the foils," said Kemp. "The outer foil is fritted (printed with silver ink in a dot pattern) to reduce the light transmission of the panel into the space." The middle foil, meanwhile, is clear, and the inner foil is white, with 20 percent opacity. Kemp remarked that the "overall effect is to diffuse and scatter the direct sunlight into the space." ETFE is also representing the U.S. on foreign soil, too. Back in the U.K., Philly-based studio KieranTimberlake Architects recently used the material to clad the U.S. Embassy in London. Partner at studio Matthew Krissell told AN how the "single layer tensioned membrane," arranged in an array of sails on three sides of the building, optimized natural daylighting with a high level of transparency. Meanwhile, the scrim also provided a second air gap to give further resistance to thermal transfer.
And so what of the future of ETFE? Whalley shared that Grimshaw is currently looking at new versions that integrate high-efficiency photovoltaic cells and low-emission coatings. He, along with Dennis, Kemp, and Krissell, will be talking about ETFE (and the projects mentioned here) in greater detail at the Facades+ NYC conference this April 19. Whalley is the event's co-chair while the rest will form a panel specifically on the material.
For more information and tickets please visit www.facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.
Placeholder Alt Text

Why is ETFE the material of choice for U.S. stadia?

"Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Thankfully "E-T-F-E" does. The material—commonly referred to by its acronym—is all the rave within the architecture world right now, mostly notably seen in contemporary stadia design.

A Project Engineer at New York firm, Thornton Tomasetti, Alloy Kemp spoke to The Architect's Newspaper about the material's key role in stadia projects such across the U.S. These included: the Banc of California Stadium (for the Los Angeles Football Club, MLS) and the U.S. Bank Stadium (for the Minnesota Vikings).

With regard to the latter example, the stadium makes use of a 240,000-square-foot transparent ETFE roof—the largest of its kind in the country. Here, transparency facilitates clear views outside and bathes the playing field in natural light. This also aids climate control within the space, a key factor when growing pitch-perfect grass. While the ETFE system facilitates solar gains, excess heat vents at the stadium's peak supplement ventilation requirements.

The latter meanwhile uses the material expose the structure as a roof clad with 190,000 square feet of ETFE film reveal long-span cantilevers. Kemp pointed out that the material lets a full spectrum of UV light through, something "which aids in plant growth." She also cited the material's "high span to weight ratio" and "its ability to warp" that allow "lighter and sparser structure," as a main reason for its selection. Additionally, kemp added that a low friction coefficient means with regular rainfall, it is capable of cleaning itself with little maintenance necessary.

Another stadium, this time for the LA Rams team, also makes use of ETFE. The stadium, designed by New York–based HKS, features a giant triangular roof supported by thick columns and made of the material. This super-roof also spans across an adjacent outdoor lobby called “champions plaza” to be used as a communal gathering spot for game day spectators. For year-round events, the stadium features a transparent ETFE canopy covering nearly 19 acres. The canopy allows all sides of the building to remain open to the air, allowing natural breezes to pass through while protecting the up to 80,000 patrons from inclement weather.

Alloy Kemp will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York on April 6 There she and Edward Peck of Forum Studio will discuss ETFE's use in the LA Football Club and Minnesota Vikings stadiums as well as in the DS+R's Hudson Yards Culture Shed. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com.

Placeholder Alt Text

Stacking glass bars in Chicagoland

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Chicago architects Goettsch Partners, along with Clayco and Thornton Tomasetti, among others, have achieved U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum certification on a new North American headquarters for Zurich Insurance. The campus, located in suburban Chicago is the largest LEED Platinum Core and Shell v2009 project in the U.S. and the only LEED Platinum CS v2009 project in Illinois. The building achieves a 62.7 percent whole-building energy cost savings, making use of multiple green roofs, energy efficient technologies, rainwater harvest and re-use, accommodations for electric and low-emitting vehicles, and native landscaping with more than 600 trees on 40 acres.
  • Facade Manufacturer FacadeTek (Indianapolis) for Ventana
  • Architects Goettsch Partners; Clayco (developer/design-builder)
  • Facade Installer CK2 installer (contracted by Ventana)
  • Facade Consultants Thornton Tomasetti (sustainability consultant / daylighting / façade performance); CDC (unitized curtain wall design for Ventana / FacadeTek); Sentech (engineering of glass fin lobby wall and ventilated double skin façade)
  • Location Schaumburg, IL
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Unitized curtain wall with integrated horizontal aluminum sunshades, structurally glazed ventilated double wall
  • Products Shanghai Pilkington / Carey Glass / PPG-Oldcastle (exterior glazing); Ventana / FacadeTek-CDC/ Active Glass (Curtain wall and storefront systems); Ventana / Sentech (Structural glass systems); Prodema (exterior soffits); Horiso (Double-skin façade cavity shading); Lutron (Interior solar control shading)
The building is composed of three primary “bars” stacked and arranged to maximize views of the surrounding landscape and optimize solar orientation. The composition is benchmarked off the top volume, which was rotated 22-degrees. Paul De Santis, principal of Goettsch Partners, said this calculated move aligns the building with downtown Chicago, over 30 miles away. "The idea that you are in the suburbs but have a visual connection to the city resonated with Zurich's leaders." The lower bar on the east side of the campus is set 90-degrees off of the top bar, which helps to deflect northern winds and buffers sound from a nearby highway. Its rotation allows for direct sun in the courtyard near midday, promoting outdoor campus usage during the lunch hour. The curtain wall facade wraps outboard of three super scale trusses that are set 60 feet on center, achieving an 180-foot span over the middle of the campus, and a 30-foot cantilever at the perimeter. Michael Pulaski, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, said that their team fine-tuned the glazing characteristics on the building, and custom designed a shading system that reduces peak gains and optimized daylighting. Detailed daylighting studies, using parametric software like Honeybee, were used to evaluate the effects of automated interior blinds and fine-tune the depth of the exterior shading devices for each orientation. The analysis optimized the depth of the shades for energy performance, which reduced peak solar gain for better thermal comfort and the size of the mechanical systems. De Santis said that in addition to this significant work to manage electricity usage, the management of water on site helped the project achieve its LEED Platinum rating. To push the project from a gold to platinum rating, De Santis said, "it comes down to two things: energy and water." The project team also incorporated features such as 1 acre of green roofs, native planting strategies, and large water retention areas for landscaping irrigation. The most advanced facade assembly occurs along the glazed south-facing wall of a three-story cafeteria where a ventilated double-wall facade was specified. Here, to verify performance and optimize the façade for reduced energy consumption, Thornton Tomasetti provided computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. The 4.5-foot-wide double wall with integrated shades is designed to reduce solar gains in summer, while increasing the gains in the winter, as well as to improve daylighting, resulting in an estimated 33 percent energy savings in the adjacent space. Elsewhere, a single low-e coating on the number two surface (inner side of the exterior layer) continues through the insulated spandrel panels to produce a more uniform aesthetic while helping to minimize solar heat gain. The ground floor features a more transparent recessed glass, which De Santis said was an aesthetic and compositional move to help the upper floors read as "floating" volumes. With approximately 2,400 employees moved into the facility, the campus was designed to accommodate up to 2,800 employees. De Santis said the two lower bars are designed to extend an additional 100-linear-feet if and when more space is needed in the future: "It's very rare to work on a 26-acre site. We're used to working in very urban conditions. So the idea that the land allows for some of these growth strategies is very natural for the project. The longer these bars get, the more elegant the architectural expression will be."
Placeholder Alt Text

ETFE and facade engineering in Miami

Federico Balestrazzi, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, is a leader of the facade engineering practice for the mid-Atlantic South region of the firm’s operations. He, along with other associates of the engineering firm, will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference. Thornton Tomasetti’s facade engineering team specializes in the design and construction of complex building enclosures and facades, particularly high-rise curtain wall systems, and provides innovative approaches that are both practical and cost-effective. Balestrazzi will be presenting insights into recently completed arena and stadium work like the Miami Dolphins stadium renovation that carefully integrates structure with facade engineering. The project team designed a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) shade canopy. Inflated pillows of ETFE cover the canopy, blocking rain and direct sun from the seating bowl while letting light in. In a recent blog post about the firm’s research into ETFE, Thornton Tomasetti said, “We believe the high-visibility use of ETFE at the Hard Rock and U.S. Bank stadiums (as well as in other buildings, like ARTIC and The Shed) marks a turning point in its adoption as a viable option for transparent roofs, skylights and building envelopes in the U.S.” The transparent polymer foil is celebrated for its unique properties: It is highly durable, low maintenance, lightweight, and admits the full spectrum of light (including UV, which allows for plant growth). Balestrazzi said roughly half of the projects he works on are sited locally in the Miami area, and that these projects must respond to environmental conditions unique to the region. "Being in a hurricane region completely changes the game when it comes to wall performance. Dealing with the threat of hurricanes on a yearly basis is a very local phenomenon." You can see Balestrazzi’s presentation on facade engineering at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference, on January 26 and/or take part in a Thornton Tomasetti workshop, “Choosing Between the Titans: Glass vs ETFE.” Registration is open now. For further details, visit the Facades+ Miami site.
Placeholder Alt Text

Thornton Tomasetti to hold event encouraging young women's interest in science and engineering careers

On October 10 this month, New York engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti will host an event aimed at young women interested in science and engineering careers.

The event will start at 9:00 a.m. and run through until 1:00 p.m. (breakfast and lunch will be served), and will be located at the Thornton Tomasetti offices in New York City on 51 Madison Avenue, 18th Floor.

The event aims to address the following questions:

What does a structural engineer do? What does a facade engineer do? What is blast engineering?

Can girls succeed as engineers?

What is the difference between an engineer, an architect, and a sustainability consultant?

How can I start designing buildings?

Additionally, other small group tours and hands-on activities will take place. The event is open to all high school girls, though spaces are limited. For those interested, RSVP to: Vanessa Rodriguez: VRodriguez[at]ThorntonTomasetti.com, 917-661-7800.

Placeholder Alt Text

SOM's Neil Katz on parametric modeling in facade design

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) associate Neil Katz describes his approach to crafting facades as involving a “computational design” methodology. In computational design, the architect generates solutions to a particular problem by first defining a set of rules and criteria for the model. Though the many tools Katz uses during this process include intangibles like “a desire to explore as many valid options as possible” and his office’s collaborative environment, in many instances he also performs literal computation—specifically, parametric modeling. Katz will moderate a panel on “Creating Complex Facades with Parametric Control” at next month’s Facades+ Chicago symposium. On day two of the conference, he and SOM colleague Joel Putnam will lead a dialog workshop on “New Techniques in Parametric Design." Parametric modeling can be the means to several ends, explained Katz. First, it can be used to explore a building’s massing, taking into account constraints like program, site, climate, context, and the overarching design concept. When applied to facade panelization, meanwhile, parametric control works with a different set of rules, including the relative flatness of the facade or the desire for regularity or other panel properties. Finally, observed Katz, “analysis and simulation, and visualization of the results, is also part of the parametric process—and can be a parametric process in its own right.” Katz’s affinity for parametric design is in part an outgrowth of his interest in programming. “Even in school, but especially when I started working at SOM, this ability became a natural part of creating models, and performing many of the tasks I was given,” he said. During the 1980s, as a design student enrolled in computer science courses, he was an anomaly. But that may be changing. “For many years, engineers [also had to have] some expertise at programming to do their work,” said Katz. “That’s becoming true for architects as well. I would say that most architecture students are now interested in acquiring and using this skill.” He has observed a similar shift among his fellow architects at SOM. “More and more, my colleagues are building their own models, and my contribution is helping to develop a strategy to make the model as powerful and flexible as possible,” said Katz. Like Katz, his co-panelists are working to solve some of the challenges inherent to parametric design, including the time it takes to perform the various analyses. Tristan d’Estrée Sterk, of Formsolver and ORAMBRA, is “currently developing a tool (Formsolver) which will allow architects to easily optimize a building’s form and material use as little energy as necessary,” said Katz. Matthew Shaxted will also join the conversation. Parallel.Works, the firm he co-founded, gives AEC industry professionals access to the computing power necessary to perform many of the analyses described above. “Parallel.Works does not create new tools, as Formsolver does, but allows people to use existing tools in a more powerful way,” observed Katz. Thornton Tomasetti vice president Hauke Jungjohann is the third member of the panel. A specialist in parametric modeling, form optimization, and digital information transfer, Jungjohann leads the Facade Engineering practice for the firm’s East U.S. Region. Hear from Katz, d’Estrée Sterk, Shaxted, Jungjohann, and other leaders in the field of building envelope design and fabrication November 5-6 at Facades+ Chicago. Learn more and register today by visiting the Facades+ website.