Regardless of materiality, we have had great success—and fun—in our exploration of computational design and digital fabrication methodologies. For the ongoing LA Rams stadium, we worked with Zahner to develop the metal cladding system. Our team was able to optimize the structural performance and detailing of the perforated metal skin by leveraging parametric design tools and fabrication technologies. In the end, the design of a custom perforation pattern was able to be realized by a digital workflow that exported analytical models directly into fabrication files for over 150,000 panels.AN: Minneapolis is experiencing a period of tremendous growth. A factor in this growth is the concentration of manufacturing and facade management firms. In your opinion, how does this proximity between design practices and manufacturers influence the execution of projects in the area? JS: We are somewhat spoiled by access to world-class glazing, sheet metal, and curtain wall fabricators right in our backyard. In many ways, one of the biggest benefits is easily facilitated collaboration between makers and designers, especially at those early "what if" design stages when fabricator expertise can help give an innovative concept legs. I think one of the biggest areas for untapped collaborative potential is the very unique brain trust that exists in the local region in terms of custom curtain wall engineering. I'm especially looking forward to this panel to see representatives from some of these influential players together in the same room to discuss the current climate and what the future holds for Minneapolis and beyond. WB: The most dynamic and successful designs attain prominence only by close cooperation and understanding between the design, manufacturing, fabrication, and installation teams. This is true in facade design perhaps more so than in any other subset of the building industry. With the importance of the building enclosure being far from lost on a design community in such a climate, combined with the fact that Minneapolis is a national hub for the production of cutting-edge systems; this design and construction community is exceptionally well-positioned to capitalize on this collaborative potential. As the desires and needs for high performance, increased quality, and more formally demanding skins continue to evolve; it’s exciting to see what creativity and innovation, whether in the form of panelization, various fabrication technologies, or other, will permeate into local works and how. AN: Increasing regulation coupled with the growing demand for sustainable design is fueling the proliferation of high-performance enclosure systems. How are Alliiance and StudioNYL addressing this challenge and what lessons can be learned from Minneapolis? JS: To start with, we're trying to set our goals on every project well beyond the minimal baseline of code regulation and treat performance and sustainability as integral components to the design process. Our office is a signatory to the 2030 Commitment which means we're also doing as much measuring as we can so that we can build a living data set to analyze and track trends as we go. The surge in the accessibility of analytical tools is having an impact across the profession, and we're incorporating these tools more frequently and earlier in the process to predict performance and even feedback into the process as a design-driver. Being located in Minneapolis, our frame of reference, of course, is cold climates and all the challenges they bring—so that means we often come to a project with a critical eye towards envelope performance. Marrying these technical demands of thermal performance, durability, and occupant comfort with early design concepts can make for a very rich approach to facade design—an approach that can be a valuable reference outside the region as all buildings become more closely scrutinized for performance. WB: As a firm, we’ve been pursuing sustainable initiatives in our enclosure, as well as in our structural, projects for years. Fortunately, this has become a prevailing sentiment found in not only my ASHRAE committee work where widespread thermal bridging code provisions are near, but also on the job site where the application of thermal break technologies is no longer viewed as a “specialty item."
As a result, “high performance” is being pushed even higher. Our work with Payette on Amherst College’s new Science Center, a 2019 COTE Top Ten award winner, is one shining example of this; while the recladding of the Social Security Administration’s half-century-old HQ we have underway with Snow Kreilich and HGA in Maryland is another.
One of the most compelling byproducts of such works is how quickly these tenets are reaching the mainstream, where I’ve even witnessed firsthand how net-zero and developer-driven goals can align on a mixed-use project. Another collaboration with Pyatt Studio on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation is seeing 21 net zero, low-income homes being built.More information regarding Facades+ Minneapolis can be found here.
- "Ant Farm" by WORKac celebrates social interaction, sustainability, art, music and landscape. In an ant colony-inspired structure, the public spaces and connecting circulation appear and disappear behind a perforated metal screen, resembling an ant farm of public activity while providing visual contrast, shade, and protection.
- "XOX (Hugs and Kisses)" by J.MAYER.H.: appears as gigantic interlocking puzzle pieces that nestle at the corner with the forms of WORKac's façade. "XOX"'s enigmatic forms, emblazoned with striping and bright colors, recall the aerodynamic forms of automotive design and appear to float above the sidewalk below. Smaller volumes, covered in metal screens project outward and are activated with embedded light at night.
- "Serious Play" by Nicolas Buffe: serves as the entrance and exit to the garage. It is constructed with a dark perforated metal backdrop. The façade features a variety of diverse 2D and 3D elements crafted from laser-cut metals and fiber resin plastic.
- "Urban Jam" by Clavel Arquitectos: draws from the rebirth of urban life in the Miami Design District - where old structures and discarded spaces have been revived by architectural and urban designs. Urban Jam suggests a similar "repurposing" of very familiar elements, using 45 gravity-defying car bodies rendered in metallic gold and silver.
- "Barricades" by K/R: inspired by Miami's automotive landscape; particularly it's ubiquitous orange- and white-striped traffic barriers. In this case, the faux-barriers are turned right side up and form a brightly colored screen. The façade has fifteen "windows" framed in mirror stainless steel, through which concrete planters pop out above the sidewalk.
THEVERYMANY first developed its idea with a similar, but smaller, installation in France. That project, Pleated Inflation, was installed at a school in Argeles, near the border with Spain.
Solid Brass Grommets offer a luxurious wire management solution for executive work desks and conference tables. MM Series - 4 sizes, 7 finishes.
One of Zahner’s classic facade manufacturing techniques has now become streamlined thanks to its automated method for creating perforated louvered screen wall facade systems. Now it is easy to create picotage effects for architectural metal that allow airflow without harsh sunlight.Fabrik Shildan for Flexbrick
Fabrik is very much like a textile for exterior architecture. It consists of a steel framework into which materials are woven (including terra-cotta, glass, wood, etc.) to create endless patterns in a flexible architectural mesh. In addition to facades, Fabrik can be used for pavement, roofing, shade screens, and more.Hudson Cambridge Architectural
Designed for parkade facades, Hudson is a new stainless-steel mesh pattern and exterior cladding system with an open area of 82 percent. It provides a high level of ventilation, while still being capable of screening indirect sunlight and exterior views from the street.Simple Modern Pure + Freeform
Inspired by the designer and creative director’s travels throughout Europe, the finishes are meant to evoke tradition and craft. The Blue Rust finish was taken from the Beverly Pepper sculpture installation outside of the Ara Pacis in Rome. All nine finishes can be used for both interior and exterior spaces.Prodex Prodema
Available in an astonishing ten colors, ProdEx is a construction kit for the cladding of ventilated facades made from natural wood panels consisting of a high density bakelite core, clad in a veneer of natural wood with a surface treated with synthetic resin and an exterior PVDF film, which protects it from solar radiation, dirt, and graffiti.Pura NFC Trespa Pura NFC (natural fiber core) is a sustainable exterior cladding made from up to 70 percent natural fibers infused with thermosetting resins. Pura resembles real wood, is easy to clean, and comes in six natural wood tones. It is also certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
The facade's stainless steel panels form a wave pattern, cutting down on glare and heat loads while representing the contribution computing has made to design.The recently completed Bill & Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, combines the schools’ Computing Science and Information Science departments under one roof. Designed by Morphosis, the facility encourages spontaneous interactions between these two disciplines with common spaces for comingling and transparent partitions that allow views, and daylight, to pass from space to space. The building envelope, a unitized glass curtain wall system, is wrapped in a band of perforated stainless steel panels that forms a dynamic, angular wave pattern across the surface. In addition to creating a sense of movement across the exterior, it serves as a fitting symbol of the contribution that computing has had on the arts and sciences: The architects used advanced digital modeling tools to design the geometry, pattern, and details of this additive layer, and made it to function both as an aesthetic gesture as well as a performance enhancing element of the architecture. “The goal was to establish a consistent level of daylighting throughout the interior,” said Cory Brugger, director of design technology at Morphosis. “We maximized the exterior glazing to get the light coming through. The design of the screen reduces the amount of glare and heat gain and starts to help with the performance of the facade system itself.” Located between Cornell’s historic Barton Hall and Hoy Field, Gates Hall fits 100,000 square feet of program in fives stories on a site roughly 150 feet long by 80 feet wide. “It’s a fairly squat building with a large foot print,” said Brugger. “So what we wanted to do was find a way to give some break on the facade.” The metal screen forms a band that covers the second through fourth floors. The first and fifth floors are fully glazed. At the main entrance on the building’s west side there is a large cantilever covering an entry court with some indigenous plantings and sculptural precast concrete “rocks.” Here, the facade becomes an integral part the overall massing of building, breaking down proportions of footprint and creating a sense of motion, giving the sense that structure is coiled to pounce across the road. Morphosis specified a YKK YUW 750XT 4 sided SSG unitized curtain wall system outfitted with a Viracon VNE 24-63 double glazed insulated glass unit. Ithaca does have a heavy winter, and heating days predominate over cooling days for the facility. To optimize the daylight/insulation ratio, the architects intermixed fully glazed panels with insulated spandrel panels. “There’s an alternation between full glazing and spandrel panels that helped us balance the environment and meet our efficiency target,” said Brugger. “It’s not fully glazed everywhere.” The curtain wall’s aluminum mullions are reinforced with steel, giving them the necessary stiffness to support the screen system. Morphosis designed the screen system in its own proprietary software program and used Rhino with Grasshopper to do the visualization. To coordinate fabrication of the panels with Zahner in Kansas City, the architects worked with CATIA and Digital Project. Zahner fabricated the screen panels out of 316 stainless steel. There are 457 panels total, in 13 different types, that bolt back to the vertical mullions at one of three elevations. The perforated panels have an angel hair finish. “It’s a non-directional finish takes away most of the gloss of stainless steel and gives it a little more depth in reflectivity, kind of a clean, matte finish,” said Brugger. “It still has a certain luster and gloss, but it cuts down on glare.” W&W Glass installed the facade, first putting up the YKK curtain wall and then erecting the screen system in a second pass. “We couldn’t unitize the two systems because they’re quite large and differently sized,” said Brugger. “Each stainless panel takes up two curtain wall modules.” The curtain wall modules are 5 feet 9 inches wide, whereas the stainless panels are 10 to 12 feet wide. The panels are set at different angles across the facade depending on solar orientation, with those on the south face at the most obtuse angle to create the deepest ledge for shading. This variation around the building envelope creates visual interest and expresses the computational nature of the design.
A structural, textured metal system wins first place in a competition and the chance to develop a façade with Zahner.Reinforcing the idea that time fosters wisdom, Nicholas Bruscia and Christopher Romano’s third iteration of a structural architectural screen was awarded first place in Tex-Fab’s digital fabrication competition, SKIN. According to Tex-Fab’s co-director, Andrew Vrana, the team’s 3xLP project was selected for its innovative façade system, which uses parametric design and digital fabrication. The 3xLP designers’ exploration of the relationship between academia and manufacturing merged at the University at Buffalo’s (UB) Department of Architecture. Starting their collaborative research with a digital model, Bruscia and Romano solicited the help of local manufacturer Rigidized Metals, (RM), who helped realize the second stage of the project’s evolution with two thin gauge metals featuring proprietary patterns. “The project is important because we’ve partnered so closely with Rigidized Metals,” Roman told AN. “We’ve brought digital and computational expertise, and they’ve provided material knowledge for textured metal—it’s a reciprocal team.” Bruscia said the computational models were heavily informed by material parameters. Working with various patterns in RM’s product library, the team started to see various textures performing differently in structural applications, though the company’s metals are typically used in cladding or decorative applications. “Rigidized Metals’ patterns are stronger than flat metals,” Romano said. “That informed how we selected textures and which became a part of the computational conversation.” Drawn to the geometry of the embossed 4LB sheet, they found the low relief pattern to perform comparably to a deeply stamped-style, and that it complemented other chosen patterns nicely. Structural loading was tested in Karamba, an architect-friendly finite element method analysis plugin for Rhino that was developed recently in Austria. Designed primarily in Rhino 5 and Grasshopper, the team also wrote many of their own scripts. For the SKIN competition, the team adjusted porosity of the screen to increase transparency for façade applications. The screen’s pattern is articulated from all perspectives, creating a dynamic quality that is achieved by a slight twist through the entire structure. “The twist in the system is a result of us getting the geometry on the screen for the system to perform structurally, and to make it possible to fabricate,” Romano said. “Some geometric moves on the screen can be difficult to fabricate, so to remove those you get subtle twisting in the elevation.” At RM’s Buffalo facility, profiles of the system’s components were turret-punched on a CNC, and folded on a press break to achieve a diamond shape. A tabbing system was also milled so the shapes could be fastened with stainless bolts to form a seamless, continuous cell structure. As part of the SKIN competition, Bruscia and Romano will continue working with RM, as well as A. Zahner Company, to fabricate a façade system with a glazing component. The 3xLP team will exhibit their results at the Tex-Fab 5 event in Austin, Texas on February 19.
|Brought to you by:|
A new convention center in Texas is wrapped in a skin of delicate copper circles that appear to float in midair.Located halfway between sister cities Dallas and Fort Worth, the Las Colinas master-planned community is an ideal place for the newly opened Irving Convention Center. It is also a natural setting for the copper facade that architect RMJM Hillier designed for the 275,000-square-foot, $133 million project. Fabricated by architectural metal and glass innovator A. Zahner Company, its angular walls rise from the ground like a sun-baked geological formation. Up close, these walls look surprisingly delicate. To let light into the center’s expansive interiors and avoid a conventional convention-center design, RMJM and Zahner designed a skin of perforated copper that wraps the building’s cantilevered forms. Inspired by the town’s Robert Glen sculpture of nine bronze mustangs, and by the copper roofs of nearby Williams Square, the facade reflects sunlight during the day and allows the facility’s lights to shine through at night. The skin’s custom perforations and bumps were fabricated using Zahner’s trademarked ZIRA (Zahner Interpretive Relational Algorithm) process, which the company developed to expedite complex perforation and embossing projects. Here, RMJM envisioned the copper panels overlapping at several points on the facade, so the firm experimented with multiple layers of perforated material to understand how the cladding would layer to form new patterns. Once a digital map had been drawn, Zahner translated the image into bumps, dents, holes, and shapes that were reproduced by machining equipment in its shop. The resulting pattern changes with light and vantage point. From close range, its circular shapes appear to float because the copper bridges of the pattern are so slender. At night, the convention center’s lights penetrate some areas of the skin, making the shapes translucent. The mill-finish copper cladding will also let the building evolve over time as the bare surface undergoes gradual patination. The material has already begun to darken, its bright finish turning to brown umber since crews began installing the panels in 2010. This color will eventually give way to deeper greens and blues, a patina that will protect the surface from further corrosion. Even for those who don’t go inside, there are plenty of reasons to visit the building, but the facade serves its purpose on the interior, too, providing reduced lighting and cooling costs for the facility, which is targeting LEED certification. Having already hosted its first non-civic event—the annual spicy food exhibition, ZestFest—the center is on track to be a new hub for convention-goers far and wide.