An 856-page document of a government-led inquiry into London’s Grenfell Tower fire states that the materials used on the building, including those from a 2016 renovation by Studio E Architects, failed to meet regulations and accelerated the fire which killed 72 people in June 2017. The news follows a 2018 report by fire specialists BRE Global which claimed that the fire wouldn’t have spread so readily in the 43-year-old concrete tower block before it was renovated. The latest report released last Wednesday stated that the aluminum composite cladding added in 2016 was the “principal reason” for the blaze rapidly consuming the building, going on to say that it acted as a “source of fuel” and was further assisted by flammable insulation and materials around windows. In addition, Architect’s Journal reported that “the ‘decorative’ architectural crown of the tower also played a ‘significant role in enabling the fire to spread around the building.'” The cladding was made by the U.S. company Arconic and the fire is believed to have been sparked by a faulty Whirlpool refrigerator. The inquiry’s report also criticizes the “gravely inadequate” response by the fire brigade. However, Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, disputed this characterization to the BBC: “The truth is that the fire spread the way it did because it was wrapped in flammable cladding," he said. "The firefighters turned up after that had happened, after the building had already been turned, in reality, into a death trap." Wrack went on to explain that while "nobody is trying to avoid scrutiny...we think that the ordering of the inquiry is completely back to front.” Following last week's report, lawyers suspect the chances of criminal charges being brought in relation to the fire have increased significantly, according to The Guardian. The second phase of the inquiry will investigate how the inadequate design and construction, which was in violation of existing regulations, was allowed to have happened. Former judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick who led the inquiry stated that he will also look into "what was and should have been known" about the particular dangers posed by thermoplastic polymers within the construction industry and those responsible for setting fire safety standards in the central government. Following this initial report, Moore-Bick has issued a series of proposals to shore up fire safety for towers in the U.K.
Posts tagged with "Aluminum Composite Panels":
Brought to you with support fromNew York-based architectural practice CetraRuddy is no stranger to designing residential skyscrapers in Manhattan, with a body of work differing from typical contemporary glass stalagmites thanks to the inclusion of significant swathes of stone and metal. ARO, a slender 62-story tower located in Midtown West that wrapped up this year, continues this trend with a facade of undulating and shifting floorplates clad in a skin of aluminum composite panels and enclosed with tinted float glass. The 540,000-square-foot tower rises from the center of the site to further the distance from the adjacent properties to the east and west, a measure taken to maximize the building's allotted zoning height and overall daylight penetration. DeSimone Consulting Engineers handled the tectonics of the project's structural system. "To adequately support the slender building," said the structural team, "the tower's structural system is comprised of steel columns at the foundational level, reinforced concrete shear walls with flat plate concrete floor slabs, and reinforced concrete columns. Overall, construction utilized 34,000 cubic yards of concrete."
Guardian Glass with a remarkably lower heat coefficient than typical coated clear glass, was custom assembled by systems producer BVG Glazing Systems. John Cetra, Founding Principal of CetraRuddy, is co-chairing The Architect's Newspaper's Facades+ NYC conference on April 2 & 3 and will present the ARO in the afternoon panel "Optimizing the Form."The structure is just one of the visibly outward elements of the overall design and the floorplates protrude as a series of undulating ribs from the narrow vertical form. Across the four elevations, the structure is key to the articulation of the six different curtain wall modules with differing ledge depths corresponding to the placement of the glass modules. Eighteen-inch-deep, white Reynobond aluminum composite "fenders" cap the floorplates, soffits, break up the floors as thin rectangular columns, and act as integrated solar devices. "The sun is a friend of this building; the sky is reflected in its glass and the metal fender protects from undesirable solar gain and glare," said CetraRuddy. "The projecting undulation captures the sunlight, giving the facade pleasing depth and visual interest." As a result of the tower's shifting floor plates and undulations, the glass modules shift in their alignment from being stacked directly atop one another to a quasi-stepped appearance. Each panel is approximately four feet wide and 11 feet tall, and are fastened to the floor plate with steel embeds. The glass, a tinted float glass produced by
Brought to you with support fromIn Israel's Negev Desert, a faceted mass has risen in the shroud of the Eilat Mountains. Designed by Amir Mann / Ami Shinar Architects and Planners, and Moshe Zur Architects, the Ramon International Airport is clad in large aluminum composite panels. Opened in January 2019, the principal terminal building of the airport measures nearly 500,000 square feet and replaces Eilat's preexisting airport located in the center of the city. While the tabula rasa-like setting of the desert allowed for a number of formal possibilities, the bareness of the surrounding landscape visually heightens subtle facade elements. The design team looked to the mushroom-like rock formations found in the adjacent Timna Park when shaping the building's mass, but the final form was driven by more than just aesthetics. The aluminum walls rise and double-over themselves as self-shading devices. "The slanting-out facades of the Terminal shade the building itself, while the cutting-edge aluminum panels, which insulate, help to reflect the UV rays through their pristine white coloring," said Amir Mann.
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On the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, CEBRA–a multidisciplinary practice based in Denmark and Abu Dhabi–recently designed a 100,000 square-foot primary school embedded in a forested landscape and influenced by the local architectural vernacular. For the firm, the Skovbakke School is an expression of democratic architecture that engages and opens with the surrounding landscape and creates a multitude of experiences for the diverse student body.
Moelven Thermowood. The school's structure is composed of pre-cast concrete walls and slabs. The exterior is largely clad with Alucoil’s prefabricated aluminum composite panels treated with grey, brown, and beige colors. The cladding is mounted on perforated aluminum profiles and fitted to the frames of windows and doors. Segments of color meet at sharp angles, mirroring the panoply of gables above. CEBRA opted for the facade's earthy tones "to reflect how the colors of the sky transform into the colors of the trees, mediating between the two primary elements surrounding the school." The Skovbakke School features physical activity areas in each classroom, fire access routes that double as tracks for exercise, and immediate access to the adjacent public park. Although the roofline possesses a number of peaks and valleys, the plan consists of “four offset fingers.” Circulation across the expansive layout is facilitated by a series of common spaces, notably a natural light-flooded central atrium. The core space is supported by a series of slender grey columns, allowing for a broad range of uses and internal configurations between. Offset stairwells and a wooden amphitheater ring the atrium, providing routes for circulation and a large area for gathering. Playfully arranged windows are scattered across the school’s facade and are paired with the function of individual classrooms and common areas. The seemingly random placement of windows, possible through the use of lightweight facade cladding, also provides lively animation to the complex’s courtyards, allowing multiple view lines between the exterior and interior spaces. Additionally, steel lattice girders allowed the design team to insert skylights across the complex's roofline, naturally illuminating interior classrooms and common areas. CEBRA views “the combination of high-and-low ceilinged, light and dim, small and large spaces,” as a vehicle for “the children to turn to different social situations–large assemblies, smaller groups or alone–depending on their needs and moods.”According to CEBRA, the school ties itself to the town aesthetically through a diverse range of pitched roofs; the staggered gables break up the building's mass and extend to shield balconies from the elements with overhanging eaves. Balcony spaces, entrances, and portions of the interior are paneled with
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ZGF Architects teamed up with Hensel Phelps Construction to deliver a custom 220,000-square-foot design-build cancer center for the University of Arizona at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The facility incorporates an “evidence-based, multidisciplinary model of healthcare” and utilizes the most modern technologies. An exterior shade system, along with chilled beams—the first to be used in an Arizona healthcare setting—greatly contribute to the facility’s sustainability. The east and west facades are clad with a solar shading system composed of repetitive rectangular quarter-inch aluminum composite panels (ACP) perforated with half-inch diameter holes yielding a 40 percent openness factor. The panels are folded once at a calculated angle, bending outward to reveal a shaded view of the surrounding desert context from the interior. This copper-toned assembly takes on the coloration of the landscape, adding a contextual aesthetic to the project. The assembly sits 30 inches off a facade of stucco and curtainwall glazing—a dimension that allows maintenance access to the exterior envelope for cleaning and repairs. The panels are supported directly by a tube steel frame hung from a series of outriggers that cantilever from a hefty 16-inch reinforced concrete roof slab. These “diving boards” establish a dimensional grid that is constructed from the individual 15-foot-6-inch by 5-foot-3-inch panels. Additional outriggers on the same grid provide lateral support, tracking through the facade onto the slab edge. The project delivery was design-build, per University of Arizona’s requirements. Mitra Memari, principal at ZGF, said the process benefitted from a close working relationship between ZGF and Hensel Phelps, which previously teamed up to complete a different project on University of Arizona’s main campus: “Having gone through this process, one of the key factors in making a design-build project successful is the relationship. Hansel Phelps knows ZGF very well and our design aesthetic, and we know Hansel Phelps very well…specifically individuals who worked on the project. This played well for the university and the end product." Memari said the success of the collaboration is evident in the fact that, for the $74-million project, over 90 percent of the 450 RFIs received were “confirming RFIs” to provide clear communications and exact resolution records. The primary purpose of the screen system is to reduce peak mechanical loads in the building. More than 10 variations of the assembly were studied by the architects, who were looking for a configuration that maximizes view and reduces glare, while properly shading the building. The project team was able to work with the fabricator from a very early point in the project, which allowed it to quickly optimize panel material, size, and configuration. A full size mock-up of a corner condition further helped to inform detailing decisions. Two types of shading panels—one per orientation— were developed in response to solar angles. The repetitive geometry also contributed to a quick construction schedule. The north and south facades feature a curtainwall system from KT Fabrication with three types of custom louver designs integrated in it. The most impressive is a series of canted glass fins incorporating a custom gray 60 percent frit patterning. The glass louvers denote the central area and the main lobby of the cancer center, providing a low-glare interior environment. Chilled beams play a major role in the energy efficiency of the building, reducing energy usage by 23 percent. The system was a first for healthcare projects in both the state and the university. Chilled beams utilize piped water located in the ceiling to naturally (and quietly) heat and cool the air using convection. ZGF incorporates chilled beams into nearly every project it takes on, and has introduced the system into many projects around the country. Beyond the facade, Memari said that one of the greatest successes of the project is an interior “communicating stair” that promotes walkability for staff and visitors through a carefully detailed, highly visible positioning within the building. The stair reads as a folded sculptural element to connect the facility’s tall 16- to 18-foot floor plates. The project opened in August 2015 and recently received a 2016 AIA Healthcare Design Award.
Inspired by lenticular effects and moire patterns, Synthesis Design has produced an engaging facade installation on a large commercial shopping center at Central Plaza Rayong. The system incorporates CNC-milled aluminum composite “fins,” with custom attachment details to produce two “fields” of surfaces that ripple along a precast concrete facade. Color applied to one side of the fins differentiates the to fields from one another. “This is something we’ve been interested in awhile: lenticular effects – visual effects dependent upon view orientation. We are interested in trying to increase the level of visual interactivity through the way people engage the project.” says Alvin Huang, founder of Synthesis Design. To achieve this, Huang and his team leveraged geometry from iterative digital study models. Utilizing scripts built in Grasshopper for Rhino, the team developed a series of surfaces defined by attractor curves that create ripples. Then, through a strategy of mirroring, a secondary field is created, utilizing off-cuts of the first field. The process results in two sets of seemingly unique undulating profiles that nest into one another. The surfaces start fixed against the building facade. As the surface peels away from the precast facade, steel framework springs from a primary structural tube to cantilever the fin panels. Where the surface attaches to the precast facade, the team incorporated undulations into the profile geometry, allowing for specifically designed points of attachment to the building envelope. This reduces weight of the assembly, but more importantly helps mitigate wind loads on the fins, reducing design loads on the attachment points. “That was a significant issue in the design, because we were essentially creating a series of flags, so anything that can be done to reduce the amount of lateral force on the system helps.” In parallel to the design process, the architects worked with physical models in the office, while the fabricator developed 1:1 scale mockups testing installation details and structural performance of the cantilevered fins. The depth of the fins was optimized to be greatest in the middle where there is continuous support from a primary steel structure, and taper as they extend outward. Huang’s team produced design development drawings, and provided raw geometry for the fabrication team to develop cut sheets representing each individual fin profile. The process is evolutionary to other work being done in the office, says Huang: “We are interested in the Rayong project as an extension of other projects in the office that are three-dimensional products made from flat CNC-milled sheets, assembled to produce form.” What’s next from here? Huang says the office will continue to explore nesting and the attitude of trying to get more from less. “Through these projects, we are getting really interested in this notion of nesting – of trying to significantly reduce or even eliminate waste. Huang calls this “performative patterning” – a focus on how pattern, repetition, and variation promote a visual language of adaptive and varied geometry. “How can we get variation with a finite number of parts, rather than, as in Ryong – all of the profiles are unique – how can we achieve a similar effect with 6 or 7 profiles?”
An undulating aluminum panels rainscreen features around 9000 individual triangular panels, with 1000 high performance glass units.York University is a research-oriented public university in Toronto known for its arts, humanities & business programs. Nestled into the landscape on the edge of campus and overlooking a pond and arboretum, the Bergeron Center for Engineering Excellence is a 169,000 sq. ft., five-story LEED Gold facility housing classrooms, laboratory spaces, offices, and flexible informal learning and social spaces. Designed with the idea of a scaleless, dynamically changing cloud in mind, ZAS Architects + Interiors designed an ovoid-shaped building wrapped in a custom triangulated aluminum composite panel (ACP) cladding with structural silicone glazed (SSG) type windows. Costas Catsaros, Associate at ZAS, says the building will help to establish the emerging school by establishing a dynamic, ever-changing identity. There are two main generators of the Bergeron Centre’s cloud geometry: the building floor plate shape, and various forces manipulating the topology of the cladding surface. The floor plan is designed around 8 curves: a primary curve establishing north, south, east, and west orientations, along with a radius at each corner. Center points of the radii provide reference points for additional sets of geometry and field surveying benchmarks during the construction phase. The resulting ovoid-shaped floor plate, challenged the architects with developing an effective way to wrap the building. They focused on the work of Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science, whose tessellation patterns inspired an efficient way to generate repetitive patterns using a limited number of shapes. Through an intensive design process, the architects were able to clad 85% of the building using only three triangular shapes, scaled based on industry standard limitations for ACP panel sizes. The other panels were cropped by undulating edge geometry along the soffit and parapet edge curves of the surface. To achieve a dynamic effect, the panels inflect at up to 2” in depth, creating an individualized normal vector per panel. By canting the triangulated panels, subtle variation in color and reflectivity is achieved. Additionally, the architects scattered color-changing dichroic paneling throughout a field of reflective anodized panels, while dark colored panels casually cluster around window openings to blur the perceptual edge between solid and void. The building substrate framing is designed with the complex geometry of the rainscreen system in mind. A modular pre-framed structural unit was developed through a highly coordinated BIM information exchange process which resulted in custom support collar detailing at window openings, a unique two-piece girt system to provide concealed attachment for the ACP panels, and a method to allow for up to 1” of tolerance within the wall assembly through reveal gaps in the cladding. During this process, a design model was passed along from the architects to the structural engineer, who developed a construction model in a 3D CAD Design Software. This model was utilized to generate shop drawings, and shared with the steel fabricator, who shared the model with Flynn, a building envelope consultant, to coordinate the rainscreen panelization with respect to window openings in the building envelope. Catsaros says this was a very successful leverage of BIM technology: "It was a very intense process, but worth it in the end. Laing O’Rourke [general contractor] was able to close in the building a lot faster than if this had been done in a conventional process." Closing in the building early in the construction process was critical on this job, which required an opening date in time for the beginning of the school year in September. This required a peak in construction activity during the middle of winter, which would have presented difficulty on an open job site. The off site production and rapid assembly of the building envelope established a warm dry environment for the installation of sophisticated (and costly) laboratory equipment and building systems, none of which would have been possible with the threat of cold weather and moisture an open building invites.
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