Posts tagged with "Aluminum":

Placeholder Alt Text

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

facadeplus_logo1
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

facadeplus_logo1
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

facadeplus_logo1
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

facadeplus_logo1
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.
Placeholder Alt Text

MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY splashes this parking garage with swirling colors

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
The parking garage is a starkly utilitarian typology that has been an unlikely subject for some of the world's highest-profile architects; everyone from Frank Gehry to Herzog and de Meuron has tried their hands at a high-design car park. Now, New York–based computational design and digital fabrication studio MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY has brought a designer parking garage to Charlotte, North Carolina, with Wanderwall, an exterior parkade wall of fluorescent aluminum. The blue-green aluminum screen spans eight stories; its pattern—reminiscent of Van Gogh's Starry Night—takes on a dreamy quality as it courses across the east and south elevations of the structure. According to MARC FORNES / THEVERMANY, the facade's design evokes Charlotte's status as the second largest financial center in the nation; the aluminum sheets are punctuated by a network of nodes strung together by a web of striations passing over waves of diagonal ridges.
  • Architects MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY
  • Engineer LaufsED
  • Location Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Date of Completion March 2019
  • System Unitized aluminum screen wall
  • Products Computationally-designed color treated aluminum screen wall
The thickness of the aluminum screen is 1/8 inch while the depth of the overall surface reaches up to 16 inches at certain moments. Light passing through nodes and striations of the facade, which is reminiscent of an Arabic mashrabiya window oriel with its complex geometrical latticework, casts varied shadow patterns on the otherwise drab interior concrete walls and flooring. Additionally, the folds of the aluminum reflect sunlight to create a glowing fog of light. Although composed of 5,768 individual aluminum pieces, the facade is draped over the structure as a continuous piece without the backing of a secondary structure and is attached directly to the main concrete structure. "There is no discrete secondary structure, but rather, the facade is a unified system which provides both structural depth, enclosure, and a graphic signal at the urban scale" said MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY, "it is composed out of labyrinthine stripes, a continuous diagonal underlayer, and custom brackets—all made out of cut and folded aluminum. No one part works independently—only in collaboration with the other parts." The pattern of the facade emerges from the flow of dramatic colors through a rational grid. "The overall motif is derived from computational flows, captured at one moment in the simulation," said the design team. "Those resulting curves are approximated through sets of non-linear, labyrinthine stripes. Coloration is applied in relation to the 'viscosity' of the initial flows." While this is one of MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY's larger projects, the design team noted that the scaling up of the ultra-thin aluminum system the firm has used in smaller projects was easier than anticipated. Lessons learned from past permanent projects—such as engineering techniques and workflows—serving as an effective guide. Marc Fornes will be presenting a detailed dive into Wanderwall at Facades+ Charlotte on March 19.
Placeholder Alt Text

Mecanoo’s Delft city hall and train station reflects the past with ornamental glass panels

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Constructed in the center of the canal-ringed Dutch city of Delft, Mecanoo Architecten’s new City Hall and Train Station conveys an up-to-date take on the city’s overarching morphology and history with an expressive glass facade and articulated massing. Delft is located approximately 10 miles from the Port of Rotterdam, one of the world’s busiest, historically embedding the city within European and international trade flows. The city’s primary product was a style of tin-glazed ceramic dubbed Delftware, which largely consisted of blue detailing laid over white porcelain. Protected by relatively stringent architectural conservation regulations, the city still largely follows its centuries-old layout of narrow streets, plot lines, and modest building heights. The challenge for the architectural practice was to incorporate these elements into a 305,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art infrastructural hub and seat of government.
  • Facade Manufacturer AKS Bouw Saint Gobain
  • Architects Mecanoo Architecten
  • Facade Installer AKS Bouw
  • Facade Consultants IBS Consultants
  • Location Delft, Netherlands
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Steel-and-concrete with custom facade framing
  • Products AKS Bouw custom facade framing St. Gobain kiln formed glass
The complex rises from a vaulted and mosaic-tiled four-track train station, with the first floor largely serving as a conduit of circulation between the streetscape above and transport embedded below. Floating above the station’s principal concourse are approximately 2,000 425-foot-long curved ribs printed with a historic map of the Delft region in 1877. The glass panels are primarily a single height of approximately 11.5 feet, with varying widths of 1.5 to 3 feet. Each panel was glazed a soft blue in homage to eponymous ceramics formerly produced in Delft. Working with curtain wall fabricator AKS Bouw, the design team utilized a custom-designed aluminum framing system, hanging each facade element from the interior with a specialized hook. For fabrication and glazing of the glass panels, Mecanoo Architecten collaborated with specialist St. Gobain. Kiln forming was used to imprint street-facing panels with their lens-like spheres, a vernacular detail commonly found within the city. According to the design team, this kiln forming process is fairly straightforward: “a regular sheet of float glass is heated and put over a mold containing holes for the heated glass to drop into, the ripple effect is formed by a nose that sits at the center of the hole." From the second story, the structure rises as an irregular glass mass measuring nearly 50,000 square feet in surface area. Mecanoo used two strategies to relate the complex’s volume to the city-at-large: deep incisions punctuate the east and west elevations of the street wall recalling the city’s network of alleyways and courtyards, while the roof gradually slopes downward towards each corner to match surrounding cornice lines.
Placeholder Alt Text

This New Zealand library beams with luminous aluminum and indigenous motifs

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from

The 2011 Christchurch earthquake devastated much of New Zealand's capital city, knocking down or severely compromising civic buildings across the metropolitan area. Located within the cordoned off Central City Red Zone, the Christchurch Central Library was closed to the public for three years prior to its ultimate demolition in 2014. Completed in October 2018, the new Central Library, titled Turanga after the Māori word for base or foundation, designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects features a luminous perforated aluminum veil that cloaks a seismically engineered unitized curtain wall assembly.

The 102,000-square-foot library rests atop a rectangular stone-clad podium detailed with expansive representations of Māori artwork. Rising to a height of five stories, the facade fissures to orient itself toward local geographic landmarks, including the mountain ranges of Maungatere, Ka Tiritiri o te Moana, and Horomaka.

 
  • Facade Manufacturer & Installer Alutec (curtain wall), Metal Concept (veil), Southbase Construction
  • Architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Architectus
  • Facade Consultants Mott Macdonald, Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers
  • Location Christ Church, New Zealand
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Unitized glass curtain wall with clip-on cassette metal veil
  • Products Metal Concepts perforated aluminum sheets, Alutec unitized thermally broken aluminum curtain wall

The principal facade element, a wedge-shaped aluminum perforated panel system, was designed as an oversized evocation of the native evergreen species used for traditional Māori textiles. Each panel is approximately a standard height of just under five feet, with widths varying between two, four, and six feet. Similar to the flexibility considerations of the concrete structural system, the design team placed an open joint between each story of perforated panels to allow for differential movement during a seismic event.

For the golden veil that courses across the facade, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects coordinated with local fabricator of architectural metalwork, Metal Concepts. The aluminum sheets were pre-anodized to ensure color consistency and were subsequently cut, perforated, and folded into their respective shapes. To connect the panels to the curtainwall assembly, each is outfitted with a slotted hole at the rear of the frame which is fastened to a series of hooks extending from the story-height mullions of the unitized curtain wall. 

The perforations of the aluminum panels follow an approximately 2.5-square-inch triangular grid, with an indentation located on the corners of each triangle. Measuring just under an inch in diameter, the perforations play two roles; accentuating the depth and texture of the facade–the luminosity of the aluminum panels intensifies at sunset–and filtering light through the glass curtain wall.

For the design team, which worked in collaboration with Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers, one of the crucial considerations for the facade and structural systems was durability during a future seismic event. According to the architects, this seismic force-resisting system is composed of a series of flexible concrete walls that shift during earthquake accelerations. With a system of “high tensile, pre-tensioned steel cables that clamp the wall to the foundations with approximately 1,000 tons of force per wall,” the building is capable of returning to its original position following a sizable earthquake.

Placeholder Alt Text

The Longchamp Racecourse goes for the gold with a metallic facade

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
In 2011, Dominique Perrault Architecture (DPA) was chosen by France Galop, the governing body of horse racing in France, to redesign and modernize Paris’s venerable Longchamp Racecourse. Located in the city’s second largest park, Bois de Boulogne, the design of the 160,000-square-foot project seeks to connect to the surrounding landscape—the racecourse’s most prestigious events occur during the fall—with a luminous gold-yellow aluminum and steel facade. Construction of the project was completed in January 2018.
  • Facade Manufacturer GKD (metal mesh), Saint Gobain (glazing), LCD Pose (mesh frames),          Bysteel
  • Architects Dominique Perrault Architecture
  • Facade Installer Bouygues Bâtiments Ile-de-France Ouvrages Publics, Bysteels (curtain walls)
  • Facade Consultants Terrell Group
  • Location Paris, France
  • Date of Completion January 2018
  • System Metal and glass curtain wall
  • Products GKD AISI Type 316 SS,SGG PLANITHERM XN thermal comfort double glazing on SGG DIAMANT extra-light glass, LCD Pose mesh frames
Opened to the public in 1857 as part of Haussmann’s civic improvement schemes, the Longchamp Racecourse has undergone significant transformations over the course of its century-and-a-half existence, including the destruction of two historic grandstands in favor of mid-century concrete pavilions that dwarfed their surroundings. DPA's update stripped away these bare concrete additions, built a new 10,000-person capacity grandstand, and restored surrounding historic structures, with the goal of boosting year-round use of the facility and its overall cohesion with the surrounding city. The new 525-foot-long grandstand has a polished golden hue, which contrasts with the bright white coloring of adjacent historic structures. Aluminum and steel in a variety of treatments and configurations clad a steel and concrete structural system. For the curtain wall, DPA opted for sliding, 10-foot tall stainless steel mesh panels stretched within a frame by a simple pin and rod mechanism. Produced by metal fabrics manufacturer GKD and framed by LCD Pose, the operable panels are a subtle kinetic element that facilitates natural ventilation and light filtration. An aluminum rainscreen, produced and installed by Bysteel, courses across the complex in flat rectangular panels to create a protruding chevron frieze. Below the cantilevered top balcony, the iridescent cladding serves as a semi-reflective soffit that distorts the scene below. Glass panels, measuring approximately six feet in width and four feet in height, line the grandstand as a semi-translucent balustrade. To ensure visibility of the racetrack for the audience, glass manufacturer and glaze specialist Saint Gobain provided low-iron SGG Diamant panels, facilitating greater light transmittance and minimal green tint. The panels were screen printed with pixelated patterns evoking foliage across the facade. The massing of the grandstand is meant to represent the motion of a galloping horse: the top floor dramatically cantilevers 65 feet over a steel-and-concrete console and inclines toward the adjacent racecourse. With open-ended terraces—referred to as "transparent shelves" by DPA—and a design that faces outward, the crowd is afforded vistas of the stables below and the city beyond.
Placeholder Alt Text

Raw facade hardware gets spotlit in this flagship in New York’s Meatpacking District

  facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Since the construction of the High Line’s first section in 2009, Manhattan’s Meatpacking District has undergone a dramatic transformation from a declining industrial district to a burgeoning site of development attracting leading national and international firms. Now, California’s Backen & Gillam Architects has stamped its presence in the neighborhood with a modern aluminum-and-glass screen wall inserted atop a restored historic reddish-brown brick warehouse.
  • Facade Manufacturer Ahlborn Structural Steel, Inc
  • Architects Backen & Gillam Architects
  • Facade Installer Steadfast Development & Construction
  • Facade Consultants Jacqueline Pue-Duvallon Historic Preservation Consulting
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Pre-fabricated aluminum screen wall
  • Products Custom-designed black aluminum frames
Located on the corner of Little West 12th Street and 9th Avenue, the nearly 100,000-square-foot project for the retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware, now known as RH, is within the stringently-protected Gansevoort Market Historic District. The building itself was constructed over a century ago as a retail warehouse, and ultimately transformed into a garage for the renowned Astor family. For project lead Jim Gillam, the constraints set by the Landmarks Preservation Commission pushed the design team to draw upon the neighborhood’s prevailing historical elements: the bolts, splices, and rivet patterns found on steel and cast-iron awnings, as well as elevated infrastructure. The new black aluminum frames primarily consist of a set of prefabricated components. Each frame is composed of two aluminum cross braces which are fitted to a set of turnbuckles, allowing for the adjustment of tension across the screen wall. T-frames studded with bolts are the primary vertical and horizontal elements of the screen wall. These can be split into two categories: structural members that run the length of the elevation and drive into the building below, and beams supporting the overall rigidity of the frame. This entire system is connected to an array of vertical mullions through existing steel brackets and a new screen wall connector. For the project, Backen & Gillam worked closely with the manufacturer, Ahlborn Structural Steel, to produce a kit of parts that was easy to assemble on site. Every component shipped from Santa Rosa, California, was designed as a three-piece unit set to maximize space on the convoy of flatbed trucks that carted them across the country. Each aspect of the screen wall, down to the bolts, were numbered and classified to ease their installation. In total, the design and construction teams were able to erect the entire addition in approximately two weeks. Gillam's interior spaces maintain the structure's historical bones while providing room to breathe for the new. The central and defining moment of the internal spaces is the light-filled, six-story atrium extending the full height of the complex, with successive rows of fluted Corinthian columns bordering aluminum-and-glass balconies.
Placeholder Alt Text

An Estonian office block receives a splash of color with an aluminum mesh facade

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Estonia-based architectural practice molumba has enlivened a suburban office block with a unique concrete and aluminum screen assembly. The project was commissioned by AS Elering—the nation’s largest transmission systems operator for electricity and natural gas—as a dramatic, three-fold expansion of the preexisting structure in Mustamäe, a southwestern neighborhood in the nation’s capital of Tallinn.
  • Facade Manufacturer Metal-Disain Oü (metal sheets), Talot AS (concrete panels), JU-Metall Oü
  • Architects molumba, Eeoo Stuudio Oü (interior)
  • Facade Installer Oma Ehitaja
  • Facade Consultants Novarc
  • Location Tallinn, Estonia
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Steel frame with prefabricated concrete panels and metal sheets
  • Products Metal-Disain Oü PW keevisrest
Over 140 turquoise mesh piers ring and visually buttress each elevation, a play on historical castellation and Gothic design found throughout Tallinn’s Old Town. The piers are built of full-length aluminum strips measuring 12 to 41 feet, which are in turn welded to a series of connecting bars. Each pier possesses its own steel support structure consisting of two internal, vertical columns fastened to the welded connecting bars. The design of the complex references the spindly and bundled power line, a ubiquitous feature across urban landscapes. AS Elering operates a multi-acre electrical substation next door. According to design lead Karli Luik, molumba envisioned the project as “the brain of the electricity and gas transmission network, monitoring and administrating their vitally important circulation.” As a vitally important aspect of Estonia’s energy infrastructure, the entire 40,000 square-foot complex is ringed by a perimeter wall fashioned of the same turquoise aluminum screen. For molumba, the bigger question was how to give the mesh triangles a truly functional quality outside of their aesthetic elements. The two planes of the piers form an acute isosceles triangle: the two congruent sides measure just under four feet while the base is approximately three feet. This shorter edge is placed atop the building’s 20 by 10 foot black precast concrete panels and wedged between window openings. With a 41-degree circumcenter angle, the piers function as effective passive sun shades for office functions within. Additionally, the mesh frame serves as an industrially-produced lattice screen for future vegetative growth to coil up the facade. The interior, designed by Stuudio Oü, features a design that similarly echoes the building's utilitarian function. Spiraling stairwells, built of concrete and steel, vertically course through the east and west elevations of the headquarters, while exposed pipes, cables, and pendant lamps made of recycled insulators line the ceiling and walls. A central vegetated courtyard and a two-story, wood-paneled stairwell, with steps of varying size, are the office block's principal communal areas. At the core of it all lies the "Brain," where the nation's energy transmission network is surveilled through a hippodrome of monitors.
Placeholder Alt Text

Undulating fins create a monumental entryway at the revamped Miami Beach Convention Center

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
The Miami Beach Convention Center is getting redesigned into a new 1.4-million-square-foot complex that will include an exhibition hall, four new ballrooms, and a range of meeting spaces when complete. Fentress Architects collaborated with Arquitectonica on an undulating exterior envelope inspired by the curves of waves, manta rays, and coral reefs.
 
The facade consists of more than 500 angled “fins” constructed out of aluminum plates. Each fin is braced back structure-side and stainless steel struts tie them together to combat lateral loads from hurricanes as well as to account for acoustical vibrations. Behind the rolling facade, the building is clad in a high performance unitized curtain wall with a .23 solar heat gain coefficient. A structural steel backup with an aluminum enclosure supports the cantilevered fins every 15 feet along the curtain wall. Fentress and Arquitectonica worked closely with the fabricator to guarantee the undulating facade they had designed would be constructible. Using a combination of spline-based modeling, BIM, and careful construction drawings, the team made the fabrication and installation process seamless, architect to manufacturer. The fins act as a brise soleil and shade the glazing and interior spaces behind them at both the east and west entryways. At one particular moment on the east facade, they cantilever out an impressive 38 feet to create an exterior cover at the entry. The underside of each gap between the fins is glazed with a five-foot by ten-foot sheet of glass that slopes back towards a gutter for drainage. Each piece of glass was cold bent into place on site due to the double-curved surface it needed to achieve. While the project team embraced the shade that the fins provide as an added benefit, they did not design the facade for energy efficiency. After the team ran models to analyze the building’s performance, it became clear that the design was conceived more intuitively rather than for the sake of optimization. This allowed the decisions on fin spacing and geometry to be primarily aesthetics-driven while still providing natural shading.
Placeholder Alt Text

SHoP Architects adds aluminum luster to Nassau Coliseum

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from ->
  • Facade Manufacturer Alucobond; Sobotec Ltd.
  • Architects SHoP, Gensler
  • Facade Installer Crown Corr; Hunt Construction Group (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants SHoP Architects
  • Location Uniondale, NY
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Aluminum screen
  • Products Alucobond® PLUS naturAL Brushed
Originally opened in 1972, the old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on New York's Long Island was given a facelift and interior renovation by SHoP and Gensler respectively in 2015.  SHoP’s team relied on the concrete massing of the 1970s structure to shape a new facade composed of over 4,700 brushed aluminum fins that wrap the building in broad sweeping curves. The project, which benefitted from a rigorous digitally-conceived workflow, delivered the new undulating facade geometry by precisely varying each of the fins in profile and dimension. Two primary fin shapes are designed from one sheet of aluminum composite material (ACM), minimizing waste while highlighting SHoP’s commitment to a design process that is tightly integrated with fabrication and assembly processes. John Cerone, associate principal at SHoP, told AN that one of the successes of the project is the new facade's reflective effects that pick up on colors of the surrounding landscape. This is especially evident during sporting events where crowds wearing the home team’s colors reflect onto the facade. The project in many ways mirrors SHoP's success with Barclays Center over five years ago—same client, same building type, similar design process. When asked what, in this project, arose as a surprise or a challenge to the design team working on Nassau, Cerone candidly said, "Nothing!" He elaborated, "As we continue these projects, it's a continuous iteration: We recycle process. I don't think this industry does enough of that." "Don't ignore fabrication constraints and input from contractors," Cerone said. The fins are planar and negotiate a ruled digital surface, which was informed by early feedback from fabricators and contractors. "An intelligence builds from doing other projects like this. While the componentry and hardware differ, the actual process of how you structure the model and develop methods of automation improves with experience." The architects cite simple definitions which they adopted and advanced from prior projects which help to automate the generation of parts for geometrically complex assemblies. "This to us was a proof. It's a great testament to not being surprised by the process," Cerone said. The design process for SHoP was initiated with a laser scan of the existing arena, resulting in a highly detailed topographic mesh surface that became the base geometry for forthcoming design and fabrication models. The framework of the new skin was designed as a long-span space frame, springing off massive existing concrete piers that were, in the words of Cerone, impressively over-structured. The resulting structural subframe was assembled on the plaza level of the stadium and craned into place. Only 32 “mega-panels” were required. "Facades are the closest you can get to manufacturing in architecture," Cerone said, "but we are looking towards using this process throughout the building. How can it inform the superstructure and the interior? We are working to scale this process up."