Posts tagged with "Aluminum":

Placeholder Alt Text

Cullinan Studio and Toby Paterson shroud the Bunhill 2 Energy Centre with historically-inspired perforated aluminum panels

Brought to you with support from
With its first electrified underground railway constructed in 1890, London can boast the world's oldest metropolitan transport system in the world. Snaking across the capital city, the labyrinthine network, like that of any underground system, relies on massive ventilation systems to extract warm air from below. The Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, designed by Cullinan Studio in collaboration with McGurk Architects and Toby Paterson Studio, which is located in an Underground station abandoned for almost a century, harnesses tunnel exhaust to heat surrounding homes and is shrouded with a dark red perforated aluminum screen and glazed brick. The project is the second phase of the initial 2012 Bunhill Heat and Power Scheme and expands the prior network from approximately 800 to more than 1,350 homes, with a potential capacity of 2,200 homes. The mechanical system designed, by Danish engineering firm Ramboll, consists of a six-and-a-half-foot diameter fan located in a preexisting six-story ventilation shaft that draws warm air from the ventilation and mechanical systems that is then pushed through a heat pump which captures the heat through a closed-loop water circuit. The heated, closed-loop water circuit converts gas into a very hot liquid which subsequently runs through insulated pipes to homes within the district. In the event that the Underground system needs to be cooled down, the ventilation system can pump fresh air downwards.
  • Facade Manufacturer NES Solutions Excelsior House AJ Wells Powderhall Bronze
  • Architect Cullinan Studio McGurk Architects
  • Collaborating Designer Toby Paterson Studio
  • Facade Installer NES Solutions Excelsior Housing Collide Engineering
  • Structural Engineer Ramboll
  • Location London
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System Vertical cladding rail system and exposed painted steel frame
  • Products Anodised Aluminium AnoCopper04 AJ Wells enamel panels
The massing and positioning of the building was informed by the plant requirements and the limitations of a tight construction site, which in turn shaped the facade panel dimensions and perforations. “We aligned the facades to the original building lines along Moreland Street and City Road and looked to increase the scale of the building at the corner by stacking the plant to give it more presence,” said Cullinan Studio partner Alex Abbey. “The corner is separated and differentiated from the flanking facades by “gills” in a different cladding texture—expanding metal mesh.” The energy center rises from a base of glazed black brick and vitreous enamel panels, a material palette chosen for both durability against vandalism and resemblance to stations across London. The austere composition of the base is broken up by 67 interspersed cast aluminum reliefs which form something of an impression of the surrounding urban morphology. The cast aluminum panels execute Paterson’s prior research and experimentation into making visual connections between the private sphere and public realm. “I had already developed the idea of the cast aluminum relief panels being composed from ‘positive’ (formally and, hopefully, metaphorically speaking) representations of the actual plans of domestic spaces within the adjacent King Square estate and pushed this into a series of axonometric versions of these volumes.” The pattern for the aluminum panels was developed following the massing’s configuration and is an abstract syncretism of Islamic lattice geometry and Gothic tracery. Dense at first, the pattern increases in scale and in  perforations as it rises to accommodate the ventilation and airflow requirements of machinery, and, according to the design team, resembles the thermal currents coursing through the energy center. Each of the panels is approximately 18 inches wide and were detailed to be easily and fully demountable to allow for the straightforward maintenance and replacement of components, and they are held in place by a facade system of vertical mullions. “Its form follows function; shrouding an industrial, almost alchemical process where waste hot air is converted into useful hot water for heating homes to eradicate fuel poverty and as a world first, answers the challenge of cooling the London Underground,” continued Abbey. “As a local practice, we are proud that we can contribute to the betterment of our borough and the environment of our city as a whole.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Faulders Studios’ Wynwood Garage enlivens the streetscape with perforated aluminum

Brought to you with support from
The revival of cities across the United States is fundamentally reshaping streetscapes across the country, with dense developments sprouting from barren lots and pedestrian-oriented spaces usurping what were vehicular realms. In a semi-paradoxical twist, the transformation of the American city has also delivered a reappraisal of the ubiquitous parking garage. And while the aesthetic treatment of parking garages is a nationwide trend at the moment, Miami has proven to be something of a leader in this area with high-design projects led by WORKac, OMA, and Jean Nouvel. The Wynwood Garage, designed by Oakland-based Faulders Studio and Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners, joins this scene with a facade of vividly perforated aluminum. Wynwood Garage rises to a height of eight stories and holds retail spaces at the ground floor, offices on the top floor, and parking sandwiched in between—all together totaling approximately 250,000 square feet.
  • Facade Manufacturer Zahner
  • Architect Faulders Studio Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners (architect of record)
  • Facade Installer Zahner KVC Construction
  • Developer Goldman Properties
  • Location Miami, FL
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom vertical support mullions
  • Products Custom CNC-milled aluminum panels
For Thom Faulders, founder of Faulders Studio, the challenge and objective of the project was to enmesh a large-scale architectural intervention within a streetscape and have it resonate locally—the neighborhood is embellished with a range of street murals and still populated by scrappy light industry. “For the building skin I wanted to scramble, re-align, and interrogate the perceived scale of this new large block-sized building,” said Faulders. “Instead of ‘ambiguous functionality,’ where use and program can be open-ended, the facade design relies on ‘functional ambiguity’ to achieve its scale-shifting effects.” It comes as little surprise that manufacturer Zahner was the outfit behind the facade’s fabrication: the Kansas City operation has expertise in delivering highly-customized metal building enclosures across the country, and world. The pattern, laid over 1,500 unique panels, is akin to a geographic abstract—raised and curved borders are flanked by rows of cylindrical perforations that give way to islands of circular perforations. Protruding elements extend between three-and-ten inches from the facade, and consist of two plates welded into a T section and riveted into position on site. Backing the entire facade is a system produced by Zahner consisting of integrating hooks which are fastened to vertical support mullions; each mullion is custom-slotted by a CNC mill to accommodate the wide range of panel height and widths. Ultimately, the success of a project comes down to the receptiveness to bold ideas by both the developer and city authorities. “We were given full support by the client, and as well by the city design review board,” continued Faulders. “They foresaw that the visual and urban connections we were fostering with the facade would sync with the integrity of the Wynwood Arts District.”  
Placeholder Alt Text

Rand Elliott completes light-bending Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center

Brought to you with support from
The same vast skies that once inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein to write the classic musical OKLAHOMA! has now guided the design and materiality of the new Rand Elliott-designed Oklahoma Contemporary Art Center. Changing in color with the dramatic weather of the wind-blown Sooner State, Oklahoma City’s newest cultural building gradates from soft golds through rich pinks and navy blues. As the Oklahoma City-based Elliott explained to AN, this is due to its bespoke facade system and angular form. “We created this with individual fins in nine angular variations. The reason for that was to create opportunities for the sun to react differently.” Using parametric modeling and rendering software to iterate countless configurations, Elliot came to a seemingly random pattern of the nine fin profiles. Individually, each reflects light slightly differently, but it is in their combinations that a more complex play of shadow and reflection is realized. This works in conjunction with a “bright-dipped” finish which defuses surface reflections, avoiding the highly specular nature of a mirrored finish. This results in the building softly taking on the color of the sky and its surroundings.
  • Facade Manufacturer Kawneer
  • Architect Rand Elliot Architects
  • Structural Engineer Wallace Engineering
  • Facade Installer Smith and Pickel Construction
  • Location Oklahoma City
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System Blind fastening system backed by unitized curtwainwall
  • Products Custom-treated recycled aluminum fins
These fins, combined with an irregular perimeter, make it difficult to pin down exactly what is the shape, color, and material of the building. In different lighting conditions and from different angles the effects produced by the facade are varied yet subtle. Manufactured from recycled aluminum, the fins utilized a wrapping blind fastening system. The clean lines of the facade are carefully maintained in utilitarian details throughout with drains, exterior light fixtures, and other mechanical systems all hidden or designed directly into the facade. The 1/8th inch aluminum also provides protection from Oklahoma’s brutal storms, which often produce large driving hail. The weather also produces an auditory effect with the building. Many mornings, the building can be heard expanding and contracting with the wide night-to-day temperature shifts of the region, a consideration that was accounted for in the careful spacing of each fin. One of Oklahoma Contemporary’s primary goals in building a new 53,916-square-foot museum was to bring contemporary art closer to the heart of the city. Formerly housed at the Oklahoma State Fair Grounds, the 31-year-old institution will use its new 8,000 square feet of galleries for exhibitions, education in the nine classrooms, and performances in a flexible 200-seat theater with an adjoining dance studio. The building’s angular form also plays a role in these interior spaces. Throughout the entire project, there are few rectangular rooms and few long expanses of wall. Instead, art pieces are often given shorter wall sections all to themselves. The relationship between the art and the building is also being highlighted in the museum’s inaugural show, Bright Golden Haze, a title also inspired by OKLAHOMA!. The show brings together artists working in the medium of light as well as those who make art where light plays a major role. International artist such as James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson will be shown with more local artists such as Yatika Fields. At nearly 10 years in the making, the project is an obsessive look at how light can be manipulated through geometry and surface. Elliott’s name for the building is “Folding Light,” a moniker that references its form, materiality, facade, and overall effect. Speaking of the facade, Elliott’s focus was clear: “It holds the light, it grabs the light, and that’s the intention that the building becomes a part of the atmosphere and the place.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Studio Gang's MIRA Tower twists with alternating window bays

Brought to you with support from
Located just south of San Francisco's Financial District and blocks away from the bay, MIRA Tower is a housing development that grabs your attention with a highly detailed geometric form. The project joins a spate of recently completed and under construction towers in the Transbay Development Zone, including Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects' Salesforce Tower and the Heller Manus Architects' 181 Fremont. Designed by Studio Gang Architects in collaboration with facade consultant Heintges and fabricator Permasteelisa, the tower presents a spiraling aluminum-and-glass facade arranged in a panoply of bay windows and terraces. Developed by Tishman Speyer, the size of the project is formidable and consists of both a tower and a terrace of townhouses—with a footprint of 50,000 square feet and spanning 700,000 gross square feet. To comply with FAR constraints and rules set out by the district zoning guidelines, the initial design reached a height of 300 feet. Following a request to the city government, the allowable height of the tower was raised to 400 feet with the inclusion of 156 below-market-rate apartments, or just under half the total number of units.  
  • Facade Manufacturer AGC Interpane Alucabond Euro Sabbiature Ductal Permasteelisa
  • Architect Studio Gang Architects
  • Facade Installer Permasteelisa
  • Facade Consultant Heintges
  • Location San Francisco, CA
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System Custom aluminum curtainwall system
  • Products AGC Interpane Planibel Clearlite with Ipasol Shine 59/32 & Planibel Clearlite ACM Panels by Alucabond L01 UHPC Ductal Panels
Studio Gang turned towards the architectural vernacular of the San Francisco-area for the overall form and massing of the tower and townhomes, reinterpreting classical bay windows into a contemporary gesture. There are ten different bay geometries: each is an isosceles triangle 14-feet wide and with differing spandrel and glazing dimensions, and with a maximum depth of six-and-a-half feet. Thirty bay window units are found at each level, adding up to, in total, over 1,000 across the tower. Shifting the bay geometries was not the initial direction of the project but a discovery during the design phase that, through offsetting and repeating a set of variations every 10 floors, a profound level of detail could be added to the project without causing undue complications in fabrication and construction. Through the inclusion of bay units across the facade, each residence is afforded daylight from multiple directions and sweeping views of the city at large. Facade consultant Heintges joined the project during the early schematic design phase to both conceptualize the enclosure design and develop a facade system with sufficient waterproofing and compatibility with locational seismic requirements. “In this system, the windows act like a freestanding window wall, loaded at the sill and allowing movement at the header,” said the Studio Gang design team. “The spandrel panels, on the other hand, are rigid enough to take the wind loads and transfer the window loads down to the slab.” The resiliency of the tower is further strengthened by a heavy central core that allows for exterior pieces to move independently of another during seismic events. For the longterm maintenance of the facade (specifically window washing at great heights) Studio Gang and Heintges incorporated a number of intermittent stabilization anchors across the bay units. In collaboration with building maintenance consultant CS Caulkins and cleaning device fabricator Sky Rider, the design team developed a custom platform capable of being lifted between the bays by integrated attachment points. The project broke ground in late 2017 and topped out in mid-2019; Permasteelisa handled the fabrication and installation of the facade panels and typically fitted out each floor in four days, completing the job at the tail end of 2019. The bays were fastened directly to the slab edge from within the building, a measure that, along with the division of spandrel and infill, reduced the use of a crane on-site and in turn lessened energy consumption and neighborhood disruptions stemming from site logistics. “Three-dimensional aluminum spandrels cover the slab edge and are anchored to the post-tensioned slab with steel embeds that extend vertically,” continued the Studio Gang design team. “Behind the aluminum panels are stiffeners that resist wind loads, reduce deflections, and control flatness. In order to realize the steps between bay geometry variations, there is always a horizontal portion of the panel which either faces up as a sill condition or down as a soffit condition.” Studio Gang principal Steve Wiesenthal and Heintges senior principal Karen Brandt will present MIRA Tower at Facades+ San Francisco on January 31 as part of the “Twists and Stacks: Assembly Innovations” panel.  
Placeholder Alt Text

WORKac's RISD Student Center subtly integrates past and present with playful aluminum skins

Brought to you with support from
Providence, Rhode Island's, College Hill is home to one of the finest collections of historic structures in the country, ranging from formal Federal to the ostentatious English Baroque. Both the campuses of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are based in the historic district and have over time absorbed numerous buildings in the area—the former Providence Washington Insurance Company (PWIC) was built in 1949 and acquired by RISD in 1988. In August 2019, WORK Architecture Company (WORKac) completed a substantial internal renovation of the property as well as an addition clad in curved anodized and perforated aluminum panels. The single-story addition is located in the forecourt of the PWIC, which was most recently used as a surface parking lot. Facing west, the Steeple Street elevation is the public face of the addition and principally functions as a loading dock for the mailing facility found within. This utilitarian purpose does not, however, dampen the playful qualities of the primary elevation. The project is not WORKac's first use of perforated aluminum and past lessons were applied here. "We had been working with perforated metal for our Miami Museum Garage project and had noticed that since we back-painted the material (bright pink in that case), it created an effect where the facade looked white from the front and gradually more pink as you moved to the side. The light grey of the perforated metal is taken from the color of the granite pilasters and accents of the building, and it is back-painted a dark red to match the color of the brick," said the studio. "From the side, the facade becomes redder, and it has an interesting mottled effect that in a way mimics the roughness of the brick surface."
  • Facade Manufacturer Carritec Vitro Kawneer
  • Architect WORKac
  • Facade Installer Shawmut Design and Construction
  • Structural Engineer Odeh Engineers, Inc.
  • Location Providence, RI
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Kawneer 1600 System 1 Curtain Wall
  • Products Vitro Solar Ban 60 & Starphire HS Carritec anodized and perforated aluminum panels
Coloration was not the only tool used by WORKac to blend the extension with the PWIC. Individual panels on each facade layer are clearly defined by joints and seams, which, coupled with an oversized caricature of an eyebrow dormer found at the auditorium, are a lighthearted nod to contextual historic detailing. The aluminum panels are 45-inches wide—keeping the width under 48 inches limited the waste associated with fabrication—and rely on two systems. The solid anodized panels are clipped to a system of three-inch-by-three-inch HSS steel tubes that are bolted to the primary structure. One-inch gaps between the anodized aluminum panels were utilized to accommodate a series of steel-plate trusts, which in turn support the perforated aluminum panels. Although the PWIC is a comparatively young building, WORKac conducted an extensive replacement of the outdated mechanical system and renovated the interiors, all under the purview of local preservation authorities. "Since everything also had to be reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office and by the downtown Providence historic district review—and we were dealing with many different clients for the incredibly diverse program of spaces—we had to manage a very diverse range of interests and requirements for the design," continued the studio. "Like many architectural challenges—from budgets to building codes—the net result of having to really think through the various intersections and potential roadblocks in the end ensured that the approach had a solid concept and well-researched solutions that enabled us to argue its merits for all the stakeholders, which made the project that much stronger."
Placeholder Alt Text

Bonetti/Kozerski's Pace Gallery rises over the Chelsea scene with volcanic stone and foamed aluminum

Brought to you with support from
New York's leading art galleries are in a figurative arms race; buildings upwards and outwards to accommodate museum-sized curatorial ambitions. In September, the Pace Gallery, led by Marc and Arne Glimcher, joined the fray with the opening of its new 75,000-square-foot gallery in West Chelsea. The project, designed by Bonetti/Kozerksi Architecture with facade consultancy by Studio NYL, is clad in volcanic stone mega panels, foamed aluminum, and topped with an aluminum-and-glass crown. The project rises to eight stories on the site of the gallery's former one-story location, with a boxy massing in keeping with the turn-of-the-century warehouses and former industrial sites found adjacent to the High Line. To this end, the street-facing northern elevation is broken up by rhythmically placed floor-to-ceiling rectangular windows flanked by masonry. At the cornice, the structure steps back to facilitate space for a 4,800-square-foot sculpture court located beneath a suspended two-story gallery space clad with 17-foot-tall glass windows.
  • Facade Manufacturer Island Exterior Fabricators Guardian Press Glass SA Nerosicilia Alusion
  • Architect Bonetti / Kozerksi Architecture
  • Facade Installer Island Exterior Fabricators
  • Facade Consultant Studio NYL
  • Structural Engineer WSP
  • Location Manhattan, New York
  • Date of Completion October 2019
  • System Prefabricated megapanel system
  • Products Guardian Crystal Grey SN68 Nerosicilia N3 Volcanic Stone Alusion aluminum foam panels
According to the design team, the initial material choice for the facade was concrete panels. However, concern regarding the quality of local concrete companies shifted the palette to volcanic stone sourced from Mount Etna in Sicily. The stone panels are 1-1/4" thick and were delivered with a preassembled frame of black powder-coated aluminum with a volcanic stone trim. "The volcanic stone we chose is dense and very durable and by using an oven to re-melt the surface we were able to achieve a consistent black color but with some desired textural variations," said Enrico Bonetti and Dominic Kozerski. "One of the things we like best about this palette is that it's enigmatic—it is not immediately clear to people exactly what it is." From a distance, the side elevations appear to have a passing resemblance to the porous surface of the north side's volcanic stone, in the form of deep-textured concrete. The panels, which number over 250 and were also assembled by Island Exterior Fabricators, are in fact composed of foamed aluminum and required extensive research and testing to gauge their suitability as rainscreen cladding. The use of foamed aluminum was also informed by West Chelsea's ongoing construction boom and upzoning. According to Studio NYL facade design director Will Babbington, "aluminum foam proved to be an effective material for the side elevations; lightweight and aesthetically pleasing, and an economic choice considering the elevations will be covered up by inevitable adjacent development." The glass panels that define the crown of the new gallery are, for lack of a better word, gigantic. Each IGU panel measures roughly 5'6"-by-17'10" and weighs just over 1,000 pounds. Four threaded stainless steel handle the dead load of the assembly while structural silicone provides a significant degree of bite to hold the panels in place.
Placeholder Alt Text

PAU's JFK Towers will stagger over Philadelphia's Schuylkill Yards

Brought to you with support from
Philadelphia's Schuylkill Yards is undergoing a massive redevelopment by Brandywine Realty Estate that will bring half-a-dozen new buildings, totaling approximately six million square feet, into the center of the city. Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), is joining the fray with JFK Towers; a duo of cantilevering, offset mixed-use buildings clad in terra-cotta and aluminum. The project, which broke ground in November 2017 and is master-planned by SHoP Architects, follows a spate of railyard redevelopments around the country; ranging from the ongoing construction at Hudson Yards to the 244-acre revamp of Sacramento's former Union Pacific Railyards. In this instance, the redevelopment is located atop the former parking facilities at the adjacent 30th Street Station, rather than decking over the yards that neighbor the Schuylkill River.
  • Architect PAU HDR (Architect-of-Record)
  • Developer Brandywine Realty Trust
  • Structural Engineer LERA Consulting Structural Engineers
  • Location Philadelphia, PA
  • Date of Completion TBA
  • System Glass and aluminum curtainwall with terra-cotta base
As a tabula rasa, the architects enjoyed the opportunity of shaping an entirely new district that will be visibly prominent from most vantage points within Philadelphia—the east tower will reach a height of 512 feet and the west tower will stand at 360 feet—and will effectively bridge Center City to University City across the Schuykill River. "We generated the forms through the site geometry. Rail is adjacent on three sides which bifurcate the buildable area at different angles and heights informing the cantilevers and stacking," said PAU associate partner Mark Faulkner. "The breaking of our massing into low, mid, and high-rise blocks yields a playful stacking of volumes, efficiency for the complex mixed-used program, and a unique addition to the skyline that announces this important new neighborhood in the city." Although the planned towers of Schuykill Yards will dwarf surrounding structures in this corner of West Philadelphia, the design team has included several material choices that will tie the JFK towers to the city-at-large. Outside of Center City, Philadelphia is comprised of residences and small businesses rendered in often brownish-red low-rise brick and masonry. An additional influence can be found in the historic red metal coaches used by the defunct Pennslyvania Railroad headquartered in Philadelphia. The east tower of PAU's duo will appropriate this heritage with a red terra-cotta base for the vaulted arcade and a similarly-colored polychromatic paint coating over the aluminum cladding. The west tower will be subject to a similar material treatment but in a brownish-gray hue. The fenestration pattern that will rise from the arcaded base of the two towers will be a clear nod to commercial high modernism, with ribbons of windows divided by protruding vertically-oriented fins, and is a significant diversion from the predominantly all-glass towers otherwise rising throughout the city. PAU associate partner Mark Faulkner and Brandywine Realty Trust vice president Joseph Ritchie will be joining the panel "Schuylkill Yards First Facades: Architects’ and Developers’ POV" at the Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Philadelphia conference on October 18.
Placeholder Alt Text

DS+R's Olympic Museum rises and twists with anodized aluminum

Brought to you with support from
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum, located in the southwest corner of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, is being constructed as a 60,000-square-foot curatorial and event facility celebrating American Olympians. The project, designed by New York's Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), with architect-of-record Anderson Mason Dale, was inspired by the movement of athletes; the massing propels upward with shingled anodized aluminum panels and visually rests on a podium of glass curtainwall. DS+R first unveiled their design concept for the project in 2015, broke ground in 2017, and is on track for completion in 2020.
  • Facade Manufacturer MG McGrath Alucoil Oldcastle Building Envelope Viracon
  • Architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro Anderson Mason Dale (Architect-of-Record)
  • Facade Installer MG McGrath GE Johnson (General Contractor)
  • Facade Consultant Arup
  • Structural Engineer KL & A Inc.
  • Location Colorado Springs, CO
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System OBE Reliance Casette system MG McGrath D-Set Panel System
  • Products Lorin anodized aluminum Viracon VE1-85 Insulating Glass
The massing of the project consists of four petal-like volumes that overlap one another and sprout from the center of the structure. Across each elevation, the facade breaks into distinct planes, bending and contorting as soffit, wall, and roof. "These petals are ruled surfaces, spiraling and twisting up from the ground and aspirationally gesturing toward taking flight," said DS+R Associate Yushiro Okamoto. "The outer skin wraps over the galleries and folds itself to form the walls in the atrium, just like origami. Where surfaces overlap, daylight enters the building and that orients the visitor and marks their trajectory through the museum." From the onset of the design process, the team envisioned a metallic skin and primarily weighed the two options: stainless steel or anodized aluminum. Ultimately, the project called for the latter due to its flexibility, cost, and relatively straightforward maintenance. Although no two of the project's 9,000 panels are the same, the average length ranges between 4-feet-8-inches for the long diagonal sections and 2-feet-8-inches for the short ones, and all are .63 inches thick. Minnesota's MG McGrath both fabricated and installed the museum's facade, and relied on 3D model-based fabrication methods facilitated by Dassault Systemes and Autodesk. Considering the unique qualities of the project, multiple mockups were constructed for the more complex moments of the facade such as the corners where multiple systems meet. Once on-site, each panel was tracked within the digital building model from delivery to installation. To conform with the twisting geometry of the museum, the design and installation teams collaborated with RadiusTrack to develop a curved sheathing, with cold-formed metal framing, which is attached to the primary steel structure with an axial connection. Each panel is fastened to the metal framing with 2-3/8-inch Z-girts that run through to the sheathing. Collaboration between the fabricators and design team has proved crucial to the successful execution of the project. "We met weekly. On one end we were discussing the larger design ideas of geometry and expression represented in the layout of panels, on the other end, we were discussing the smallest details and installation tolerances," continued Okamoto. "It was, and still is, an exciting and collaborative learning process for both of us." DS+R associate Yushiro Okamoto and MG McGrath president Mike McGrath will be joining the panel “Facade Strategies for Curatorial Institutions” at The Architect’s Newspaper’s upcoming Facades+ Denver conference on September 12.
Placeholder Alt Text

Hong Kong's newest opera house makes waves with an aluminum fin facade

Brought to you with support from
The Xiqu Cultural Center, located in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district, was developed as a regional hub for traditional Chinese opera. The project, designed by Vancouver and Hong Kong–based architecture firm Revery Architecture, was inspired by the diaphanous theater curtains. About 13,000 curved aluminum fins, arranged as a series of waves, clad all of the structure's elevations. The project rises as a box-like volume enclosing a multi-story entrance atrium and performance spaces. The flowing character of the facade, paired with subtle openings at each corner, produces a dynamic enclosure that floods the interior with natural light. Costing over $300 million, the project is the first of dozens of cultural centers planned for the area surrounding the newly opened West Kowloon railway station.
  • Facade Manufacturer & Installer SINGYES/MRW
  • Architects Revery Architcture
  • Facade Consultants Front Inc.
  • Location Hong Kong
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Custom-unitized curtainwall and rainscreen aluminum panel system
  • Products Marine-grade aluminum alloy 5754
Every panel is of a similar dimension, approximately 8-feet wide and 20-feet tall, and is composed of CNC-cut marine-grade aluminum. Because of the marine-grade aluminum, the facade is capable of withstanding the intensely humid environment of Hong Kong, which naturally corrodes weaker aluminum products. Venelin Kokalov, principal-in-charge of Revery Architecture, said the goal of projecting a natural appearance was crucial to the design team. “The original design was based on copper, which proved to be too expensive. This propelled the search for ways to use a more common material like aluminum and a means to bring out its natural qualities.” To this point, the aluminum was glass-bead blasted rather than painted or glazed with a coating. The facade's fins are structurally glazed to a steel-reinforced aluminum frame and are further supported by intermittent welded studs. The aluminum frame is, in turn, hung off the primary structure with three-way adjustable unitized curtain wall brackets. Working with facade consultant Front Inc. and manufacturer SINGYES/MRW, the design team developed a parametric model to ensure the utmost cost-effective design, fabrication, and installation methods for the facade. The aluminum half-pipes are essentially cut in two to create two identical pieces, each installed with their flat ends facing each other.  Following the fabrication and bead-blasting of the fins, Revery constructed a full-scale mock-up of a facade section for review. "It was only after viewing the full-scale mock-up that we, together with the client, were convinced that this was the right material, and the stainless steel brackets were further modified to reduce the scale of the bracket," continued Kokalov. "We were pleasantly surprised at how much the fins’ appearance varies in different light conditions, seeming to change from grey to pink to gold depending on the ambient light."
Placeholder Alt Text

This Swiss cancer institute keeps out the sun with a continuous aluminum screen

Brought to you with support from
Behnisch Architekten's AGORA Pôle de Recherche Sur le Cancer in Lausanne, Switzerland, overlooks the historic core of the centuries-old city from a prominent ridgeline within the city center, contorting itself into multiple planes of curtain wall shaded by a continuous band of aluminum apertures. As an approximately 240,000-square-foot cancer research institute, the complex's program calls for easily navigable and well-illuminated corridors linking offices and research spaces for hundreds of practitioners. Additionally, the central meeting place of the facility—dubbed "AGORA" in homage to the ancient Greek sphere of public assembly—is topped with a semi-translucent ETFE canopy. "AGORA was our first effort at developing a stationary, responsive solar shading system, which developed out of the original competition design," said Behnisch Partner Robert Matthew Noblett. "The concept is essentially moving the sophisticated technology involved in responding to solar angles that change throughout the day and year and deploying it on the design side in the form of parametric modeling and fabrication, optimizing shading elements according to orientation and season."
  • Facade Manufacturer & Installer Sottas SA, Bulle
  • Architects Behnisch Architekten
  • Facade Consultants Emmer Pfenninger Partner Transsolar KlimaEngineering
  • Location Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Window hinges in plaster facade with folded aluminum panels as sun protection
  • Products Schueco Fenster-Systeme
The second skin of the building consists of a continuous aluminum screen that runs across the underlying glazed facade. Each of the facade's nine distinct planes is shaded with a unique variation of the screen; the skin on the north has relatively large openings while that on the south is more constrained. The panels consist of two folded aluminum pieces joined together to resist bending. For the shading requirements of the building, Behnisch Architekten developed a set of parametric guidelines for Rhino, Grasshopper, and AutoCAD. The length of the "P" line, the protruding-perforated aluminum flap, was determined by the "V" plane perpendicular to the facade, and the "H" plane parallel to the facade. After producing scores of digital simulations for sun and heat protection, light enhancement and glare, the design team built multiple physical models that were tested under artificial lighting. "The optimization of the facade is controlled both by the aperture and its orientation, which respond to the orientation of the glass surface and its type of glass," said the design team. "The same solar performance can be achieved for every given angle of the sun with an array of different geometries that offer all the different view openings and qualities."       The second skin is located approximately 2.6 feet from the inner facade, allowing for the insertion of a maintenance catwalk and over half-a-foot of space for the secondary structure supporting the shading panels. The secondary structure is composed of a series of diagonal steel rails running parallel to each other. Every short end of the panels are connected to the steel rails via simple fastener connections. Armatures extending from the inner facade support both the catwalk and the steel rail system. According to the design team, one of the greatest challenges of the project was the connection of the bands of aluminum apertures across nine unique facade planes. To maintain the visual continuity of the second skin, Behnisch Architekten collaborated with manufacturer and installer Sottas SA to produce a unique seam of aluminum pieces for each corner. In the coming years, Behnisch will monitor the performance of the complex's enclosure system. Lessons learned from the study of the structure will inform the design of similar systems for ongoing projects such as Harvard's School of Engineering an Applied Sciences and the ARENA HQ in Germany. Robert Matthew Noblett will be joining a panel, "Facade Syntax: Changing Context and International Regulations," at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ New York conference, a two-day event at the beginning of April focused on the design and performance of facades.
Placeholder Alt Text

Bernard Tschumi Architects' Exploratorium Museum bulges with cones of perforated aluminum panels

Brought to you with support from
With an imposing set of towers rising from a tabula rasa-like setting, one could at first mistake Bernard Tschumi Architects (BTA)'s Tianjin Binhai Exploratorium as a contemporary take on medieval fortifications. Designed between 2013 and 2014, and completed in the fall of 2019, the museum houses artifacts from Tianjin's heavy industrial past and displays of large-scale contemporary technology. The formidable complex is clad in thousands of perforated copper-colored aluminum panels studded with oculi for interior lighting. The 355,200-square-foot museum is located on the former site of a sprawling industrial park; the towers of the design are intended by the firm to evoke the smokestacks that formerly blanketed that landscape, with the copper-like panels standing in for rusted pipes and machinery.
  • Facade Manufacturer Tianjin Huhui Andersen
  • Architects Bernard Tschumi Architects
  • Facade Installer Tianjin Huhui Andersen
  • Facade Consultants Inhabit Group
  • Location Tianjin, China
  • Date of Completion Fall 2019
  • System Perforated aluminum rainscreen over sealed aluminum surface
  • Products Custom-designed treated and perforated aluminum panels
In total, there are approximately 3,600 panels spread across the museum's four elevations. The panels come in two sizes along flat portions of the facade; approximately 4-feet-by-7-feet and 4-feet-by-11.5-feet. To clad the curved and tapered cones of the museum, the design team developed 52 different sizes of panels with each row of the cones corresponding to a unique width. At the intersections between cones and flat surfaces, as well as the oculi and panels, the team generated over 200 special cuts. The large size of the panels called for a significant degree of reinforcement, with each panel backed by two aluminum U-channels located between the perforations. "The panels are bolted through the one-inch vertical joints to a substructure made of vertical seven-inch by three-inch steel tubes," said BTA co-director, Joel Rutten. "The actual enclosure of the building is made of a sealed aluminum surface in front of the thermal insulation. The vertical steel substructure is anchored to the building from slab to slab through the aluminum/insulation enclosure." The pattern of each cluster of perforations corresponds to an 8-by-8-inch grid; the perforations come in three different diameters, their placement generated by a digital script. Additionally, there is a three-color gradient for the aluminum panels, which was also generated by a custom script. In terms of environmental performance, the oculi-studded cones flood gallery spaces and the principal vertical circulation routes with natural light. As a result of their tapered outline, the towers also effectively collect warm air which is easily ventilated outward at their summits. Additionally, the bulk of the museum's structural components are placed within the cones, minimizing the number of columns within gallery spaces. The project is one of five major attractions within Tianjin's Binhai Cultural Center, which also includes MVRDV's Tianjin Binhai Library.
Placeholder Alt Text

SHoP Architects lands in the Lower East Side with a folded aluminum facade

Brought to you with support from
In October 2018 SHoP Architects completed the first tower of the Essex Crossing mega-development. Located in Manhattan's Lower East Side, the 14-story mixed-use property is clad with anodized aluminum curtainwall modules. Essex Crossing is a sprawling 6-acre mixed-used development project master planned by SHoP. The site has largely lain dormant since the 1967 demolition of the working-class tenements located at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge. In total, the project will deliver approximately two million square feet of development. The podium of 242 Broome is primarily reserved for retail use, with large curtain wall modules and window widths to facilitate greater daylighting. To increase sidewalk width in front of the tower, the modules of the first five stories taper toward the building's base, each floor overhanging the one beneath by nearly one and a half feet. In a bid to blend with the preexisting massing of the neighborhood, the summit of the podium roughly meets the cornice line of surrounding classically-designed tenements.
  • Facade Manufacturer AZA INT KFK Metal Dizayn
  • Architects SHoP Architects SLCE Architects
  • Facade Installer Walsh Glass and Metal
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Unitized aluminum frame system mounted to slab edges
  • Products Custom anodized aluminum curtainwall
In accordance with zoning stipulations, the remainder of the tower steps back, forming a vertical rectangular volume rising from the center of the podium. Each successive floor is angled slightly to the west and set back again by nearly one and a half feet. Interior residential use is marked by tighter mullions, with window sizes reduced significantly until the uppermost floors. Just over 500 aluminum-and-glass curtainwall modules are distributed across the building's elevations. Behind the aluminum rainscreen modules, SHoP was able to insert a continuous waterproofing barrier. The facade was installed at a rate of one floor per week, with the entire enclosure system installed in approximately three months. "Anchors for the curtain wall are embedded in the concrete slabs, and serrated aluminum L-shapes attach to the anchors allowing for adjustability," said the design team. "Hooks are attached to the back of the curtainwall mullions which rest on the L-brackets." According to SHoP Architects, the design team relied on parametric design and digital workflows to develop the continually changing curtain wall panels and interior layouts. The color of the folded panels was achieved by bathing the aluminum panels in a coloration bath. Along Ludlow Street, the western elevation of the project, SHoP Architects is also designing the International Center of Photography's new home. The 40,000-square-foot space will be clad in perforated aluminum, cut, folded, and hung on a series of vertical rails.