Posts tagged with "active facades":

RPBW’s active double skin facade kick starts a “new generation” of campus design at Columbia University

Columbia University’s expansion has been selected by LEED for their Neighborhood Design pilot program, which calls for the integration of smart growth principles and urbanism at a neighborhood scale.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) is designing four buildings to be built over the upcoming years as a first phase of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus expansion. The first of these four projects to break ground is the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, a research facility used by scientists working on mind, brain, and behavior research. The facility is ten stories wrapped in nearly 176,000 square feet of building envelope, consisting of transparent floor-to-ceiling glazing. “Columbia’s existing buildings are sited massively on the ground, and the campus— for many reasons—is gated. However, the new Manhattanville campus will express the values of this century: tolerance, openness, permeability, and transparency. It’s a new generation of campus design,” said Antoine Chaaya, the RPBW partner in charge of the Columbia project.
  • Facade Manufacturer Enclos
  • Architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop; Davis Brody Bond, LLP (Architect of Record)
  • Facade Installer Enclos; Lend Lease (construction manager)
  • Facade Consultants Israel Berger & Associates, A Vidaris Company, NY; WSP Cantor Seinuk, NY (Structural Engineer); Jaros Baum & Bolles (MEP Engineer)
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion Late 2016 (projected)
  • System structural facades, double skin walls, metal and glass canopies
  • Products laminated and insulated low iron glass wall assemblies by Interpane
An elevated subway track along the east facade generated 88 dB of noise, which needed to be significantly reduced for occupant comfort. To achieve this, the architects created a double skin facade system that was sealed from the outside. It represents the fourth double skin facade developed by RPBW, and the first to include active air circulation, according to Chaaya. “What helped us to create this fourth typology of double skin is the constraint: The fact that it cannot be permeable to the outside. It has to be sealed, and at the same time we have to fight against potential condensation. We solve the problem by active air circulation from the bottom to the top of the building.” The resulting facade system provides superior blast resistance and thermal properties, while reducing sound transmission by 45 dB. The cavity of the facade assembly is 18 inches deep, sized just large enough for maintenance access. Highly purified and dehumidified air is filtered three times and slowly cycled up vertically through the cavity at two feet per minute, a rate that ensures quiet operation and no disturbance to shading devices within the cavity. Air in the cavity cycles at a rate of six air changes per minute, managing heat gain and condensation buildup in the cavity. Variations in the facade are generated from functional responses to solar orientation due to orientation, honestly expressing the interior functions of the building. The result is a sophisticated building enclosure, abiding by a rigorously minimal design aesthetic while nimbly adapting to environmental criteria.

Urbana’s Shape-Shifting Parking Garage Facade

Folded aluminum panels deliver the illusion of movement to passersby.

During their recent expansion, Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis approached Urbana Studio with an unusual request. The hospital wanted the Los Angeles-based art and architecture firm to design an interactive facade for a recently completed parking structure. "With Indianapolis' really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that's interactive but won't be broken in a year?" said Urbana principal Rob Ley. "Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare." Urbana's solution was to turn the relationship between movement and the object on its head. Though the aluminum facade, titled May September, is itself static, it appears to morph and change color as the viewer walks or drives by. May September—a semi-transparent rectangular wall comprising 7,000 angled aluminum panels—was inspired in part by Ley's interest in camouflage, and specifically active camouflage. "I wanted to take that on more in a passive way than an active way," he said. The designers set out to create something like a lenticular image, which seems to shift or jump into three dimensions as the angle of view changes. "Could we make something where the pieces themselves don't move, but we recognize that the people in front of it will be moving?" asked Ley. Urbana Studio dedicated six months to the design before sending it to fabrication. The first half of the work was digital, primarily using Rhino and Grasshopper as well as software the designers wrote themselves in Processing. The team spent a lot of time on color. "The idea was to find two colors that would have a good contrast, and that maybe don't exist at all in Indianapolis," said Ley. The final scheme, which pairs deep blue with golden yellow, drew on the work of local landscape artist T.C. Steele. After building renderings and animations on the computer, the firm constructed mockups to check their assumptions. The unique site conditions influenced both the choice of material—aluminum—and the placement of the panels. "It had to be very lightweight, because it was going on a structure that wasn't engineered to have anything like this on it," said Ley. The designers also had to contend with the natural movement of the garage, and wind gusts up to 90 miles per hour. "It doesn't seem that interesting, but when the entire project is basically making sails, the wind issue is counterintuitive to what you're doing," said Ley.
  • Fabricator Indianapolis Fabrications
  • Designers Urbana Studio
  • Location Indianapolis
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • Material aluminum flaps from Ryerson, custom aluminum extrusions from Northern States Metals, stainless steel fasteners
  • Process Rhino, Grasshopper, scripting, cutting, folding, bolting, sliding, lifting, hanging
Indianapolis Fabrications fabricated and installed the facade. "We'd worked to pare the design down to be very modular, so there would be no waste materials," said Ley. "We also worked out a system that would look like there's an infinite number of variations of angles, but in the end there are only three. We're faking a lot of variability with a system that doesn't have that many possibilities." Urbana Studio also designed a custom aluminum extrusion so that the bolts—three per panel, or 21,000 in total—could slide into the facade's vertical structural elements without the use of a drill. "It allowed us to have this very erratic placement of elements without having thousands of holes to verify," explained Ley. Indianapolis Fabrications assembled the facade off site in 10 by 26 foot sections. The size of the pieces was dictated by factors including the width of the street, the overhang on the existing structure, and the wind resistance each component would face as it was lifted into place. Ley was pleasantly surprised by the interest May September generated among other would-be garage designers. "There are a lot of parking garages out there," he said. "Usually they're very much an appliance. As an archetype, the parking structure is not very interesting, but everyone's anticipating that they're not going away." As for his own firm, Ley would welcome another commission for a parking structure—particularly one that allowed him to work from the ground up. "I enjoyed dealing with a window treatment," he said. "But it would be nice to be involved earlier on, to be able to pursue it in a more holistic way."

South Korea’s Expo 2012 Pavilion: Active Facade Design

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A 34,000-square-foot kinetic media facade represents the themes of Korea’s international exhibition

Opened last month in the coastal city of Yeosu, South Korea, the 2012 International Exhibition's theme, “The Living Ocean and Coast,” is a way for attendees to examine challenges and solutions to development on oceans and coastlines. As the architect of the expo’s thematic pavilion, Vienna-based Soma Architecture designed a kinetic media facade to act as a counterpart to the show’s location by the water and to its multimedia presentations. Working with Stuttgart- and New York-based structural engineering firm Knippers Helbig as facade consultant, the team developed a constructible solution for building one of the largest adaptive structures in the world.
  • Fabricator Local fabrication with Soma Architecture, DMP Architects, and Knippers Helbig
  • Architect Soma Architecture with local partner DMP Architects
  • Location Yeosu, South Korea
  • Status Complete
  • Materials Glass-fiber reinforced plastic
  • Process Biomimetic design exploration
Soma drew its inspiration for the facade by studying the natural sway of various types of vegetation. Because of its high tensile strength and low bending stiffness, glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GRP) was an ideal choice for construction of 108 twisting fins that would give movement to the facade. Architects refer to the fins as lamellas, the name for the ribs on the underside of a mushroom cap. Fabrication of the lamellas was done locally using traditional GRP molding techniques. Their media components—LEDs—are embedded in a 4-inch grid, with additional LED strips lining the edge of each fin to emphasize its movement. The way the facade moves, however, is far from traditional. It explores new possibilities for active facade design with an analog approach to movement. The lamellas occupy more than 34,000 square feet, each one with a free span of 10 to 50 feet. The spears move when actuators apply compressive stress to the top and bottom of each one. The pressure creates a complex elastic deformation in each segment, causing the facade to open. The wall’s 216 actuators, each of which consists of a servomotor that drives a ball screw spindle, are activated by a coordinating control unit. Sensors continually check each lamella’s position, relaying information back to a server. Because upper and lower motors often have opposite power requirements (as with driving a car versus breaking it), the system can feed energy back into the local system to operate more efficiently. Typhoon-strength wind loads were one of the design’s greatest concerns, so the facade must be able to close completely if necessary. When the facade closes, the lamellas are stabilized as the actuators stretch the fins and allow each to press against its neighbor. The applied pre-tension can be adjusted according to wind load; the adaptability will increase the fins’ durability by allowing the minimum amount of stress to be placed on each segment. The facade's energy consumption is also reduced during the pre-tensioning process, allowing up to 13 fins to move at once. According to the project team, the facade’s final technical solution was inspired by a research project at ITKE University in Stuttgart that investigated how biological moving mechanisms can be applied to architecture. The Expo will run through August, but its pavilion may influence new biomimetic approaches to facade design well into the future.