Posts tagged with "brise soleils":

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The Shui Cultural Center connects to traditional life through copper and concrete

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Opened to the public in December 2017, West-Line Studio’s Shui Cultural Center is an imposing complex located in a valley within China’s rugged Sandu Shui Autonomous County. The complex, consisting of three single-gabled halls and a monumental tower, is a formidable display of timber-pressed concrete covered in pitched copper plates.
  • Facade Manufacturer Changsha Di Kai Construction Engineering Co., Chongqing Zhongbo Energy Conservation Glass Co.
  • Architects West-Line Studio. Lead Architects—Haobo Wei, Jingsong Xie. Architecture and Landscape Design–Hanmin Dan, Yudan Luo. Interior Design–Martina Muratori
  • Facade Installer Changsha Di Kai Construction Engineering Co., Ltd
  • Facade Consultants Changsha Di Kai Construction Engineering Co., Ltd
  • Location Sandu County, Guizhou, China
  • Date of Completion December 2017
  • System Concrete system clad in copper panels and glass
  • Products Custom made double-sided copper plates, and glass
The Shui people, concentrated in the county and the larger Guizhou province, are a distinct ethnic minority with a unique language and logographic writing system. For West-Line Studio, the project was an ambitious attempt to translate local customs into a cohesive design for a cultural center campus nearing 150,000 square feet. Placed atop an expansive concrete podium, the halls are of varying size, height, and function. They are unified by relatively hidden wall openings and approximately 4,000 perforated copper cladding panels. Each half-inch-thick panel, measuring four by two feet, was subjected to a multi-stepped anodizing process to overcome corrosion in the acid rain–drenched province and to boost iridescence. The perforations, numbering just under 50,000 in total, fulfill three functions. Structurally, gaps in the copper plate significantly reduce the dead load placed on cantilevered concrete trusses and the screen wall fastening system, composed of galvanized steel corners, sheets, and expansion-and-burst bolts. Aesthetically, the perforations create a patterned brise-soleil for the halls’ east and west elevations, filtering light through the narrow, rectangular glass panes that line the hall. Symbolically, the gaps are a nod to the Shui character for rain, which consists of tiered vertical bands. The interiors of the complex, marked by exposed concrete structural systems, are imprinted by the surrounding landscape through the use of pine panel-formed concrete. Sandu, relatively isolated from the country’s principal economic centers, is known for its dense Huashan pine and Chinese fir forests. The concrete detail effectively softens what could be considered an ominous space, transforming them into grey, oversized versions of the region’s traditional timber vernacular forms. The triple-glazed glass panels, produced 350 miles north in the megalopolis of Chongqing, largely insulate and guard the complex from the elements. However, West-Line Studio inserted two details that add color and symbolic depth to the cultural center. In the complex's ritual hall, glass panels are dyed to resemble typical batik tapestry patterns, blanketing the concrete walls and flooring with ever-changing color. Additionally, box-like concrete appendages marked with traditional Shui logographic characters protrude from this same hall. With a glance of sunlight, the characters are beamed downward, further tying the symbolic and material. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the cladding panels as being made of bronze rather than copper.
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The Palace for Mexican Music sings with local stone and dramatic steel ribs

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Completed in June 2018, the Palace for Mexican Music is a bold intervention in the heart of historic Mérida, Mexico, that establishes a relationship with the surrounding century-old architectural milieu through lightly detailed limestone and dramatic matte-black steel ribs. The design team consisted of four local practices: Alejandro Medina Arquitectura, Reyes Ríos + Larraín arquitectos, Muñoz Arquitectos, and Quesnel Arquitectos.
  • Facade Manufacturer Sistema Masa, WTS Diseño y Construccion SA de CV, PROSER, Mayabtun Marmoles
  • Architects Alejandro Medina Arquitectura, Reyes Ríos + Larraín arquitectos, Muñoz Arquitectos, and Quensel Arquitectos
  • Facade Installer WTS Diseño y Construccion SA de CV,
  • Facade Consultants WTS Diseño y Construccion SA de CV
  • Location Merida, Mexico
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Limestone slabs fastened with aluminum clip and rail system connected to the steel structure
  • Products PF-ALU-5800/60-GR-HPL60-ARTIC by Sistema Masa
The provincial capital of Mérida is located on the northern edge of the Yucatán Peninsula, a region noted for its distinct Mayan culture, and nearly two-thirds of the city’s population is indigenous. Mérida’s Spanish core consists of a broad range of colonial architecture built of locally sourced limestone, much of it ripped from Mayan structures. Seen from above, the nearly 100,000-square-foot Palace for Mexican Music is organized around a U-shaped courtyard, called the “Patio of Strings,” which faces the rear elevation of the four-century-old Church of the Third Order. A series of newly constructed alleyways rhythmically break the solid stone mass to provide routes of entry between the courtyard and the complex’s library, museum, and concert halls. Mayabtun Marmoles, a local stone supplier, harvested local Yucatán limestone, referred to as Crema Maya or Macedonia Limestone, for the project’s cladding and flooring. The panels, measuring 4 feet by 1.5 feet, are embellished with a polished or hammered finish. Each panel is fastened to the complex’s steel frame with aluminum holding brackets produced by Sistema Masa While the use of local building material is a direct visual nod to the physical character of the Centro Historico, the design team went a step further with the facades' stone and fenestration pattern. The vertical bands of stone are meant to serve as notational bars while the glass panels are notes from the popular Yucatan folk song, Esta Tarde Vi Llover. The 444 matte-black steel ribs are the defining element of the north elevation and courtyard. In both areas, the 30-foot hollow-steel ribs are fastened to an exterior rail that is in turn soldered to a series of corbels that protrude from the floor plates. Corridors within the courtyard are semi-open to the elements, wrapped by a glass balcony and sheltered by the stone-clad steel frame. To shield this area from sunlight, the steel ribs break into two planes, one vertical, the other slanted. For the four-firm team, the design of the Palace for Mexican Music is an attempt to "establish a new precedent for a public building to contribute to the revitalization of its surrounding space" through the use of contextual contemporary design and accessible public space. After a rigorous research and design process, their final execution has achieved that goal.  
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Adjaye, BIG and DS+R reveal shortlist designs for Adelaide Contemporary

On May 11, Arts South Australia’s design jury revealed the design proposals from the six shortlisted teams selected in the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition, a planned art gallery and sculpture park in Adelaide, Australia. The 160,000 square-foot Adelaide Contemporary will house a significant portion of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s 42,000 piece collection, which currently only has a fraction on display due to a lack of space. The museum will draw upon its substantial Aboriginal collection to create the Gallery of Time, which will combine indigenous pieces with European and Asian works. This shortlist's designs follow.  Adjaye Associates & BVN’s design draws upon Aboriginal vernacular architecture through the use of a surrounding canopy, providing shade in one of the more arid corners of the country. With the canopy screening significant portions of the four elevations, the design will largely use skylights and balconies to filter natural light into the central atrium and stairwell. With a twisting, serpentine layout, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) & JPE’s proposal is inspired by Aboriginal sand painting, which often embeds abstract natural elements within a landscape. Through the use of rooftop landscaping, the team hopes to integrate their design with the adjacent Botanic Garden. David Chipperfield and SJB Architects’ is the only timber structure proposal. The principal elevations are composed of wooden screens, and the structure is topped by sloped roofs. In a statement, Diller Scofidio+Renfro & Woods Bagot describe their proposal as a “matrix of unique spaces unbound by disciplinary categories range in size, height, infrastructure, and light quality.” The bulk of exhibition space is located on the second story, which is cantilevered over an outdoor gallery and public square. Hassell & SO-IL incorporate a central plaza into their design proposal, which the team describes as an attempt to bring “nature, art, and people together.” The central plaza serves as a circulation node and public square connecting the gallery’s semi-independent spaces, which are further laced together by a draped, metal brise-soleil. Khai Liew, Ryue Nishizawa & Durbach Block Jaggers proposal consists of a sweeping, perforated canopy supported by a series of pilotis. Beneath the canopy, the site is split roughly evenly between park and curatorial space, the latter presenting sweeping views of the adjacent Botanic Garden. Arts South Australia’s design jury will meet again in May, with a winner expected to be announced in June.
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Mecanoo interprets Moorish vernacular architecture for Spain’s Palace of Justice

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Constructed adjacent to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the new Palace of Justice in Córdoba, Spain delivers a contemporary take on the traditional courtyard typology and Moorish screening techniques found throughout the city. Led by Dutch firm Mecanoo and Spain's AYESA, the 51,000-square-foot super dense project was initially awarded after a competition in 2006, and after a long delay, it was designed and built from 2014–2017.
  • Facade Manufacturer Prehorquisa (GRC); Riventi (aluminum); Schüco (windows)
  • Architects Mecanoo Architecten; Ayesa
  • Facade Installer Ute Isolux Corsán-Copcisa (contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Ayesa Seville (Structural, mechanical and electrical engineer; fire safety, sustainability, lighting, acoustics; and roofs and facade consultation)
  • Location Córdoba, Spain
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System GRC panels; anodized aluminum screen
  • Products GRC sandwich panel by Prehorquisa, composed of approx. 3-1/2" expanded polystyrene insulation between 3/8" GRC sheets; custom bronze anodized aluminum screen system by Riventi
The exterior cladding is responsive to large massing blocks that accommodate deep courtyard recesses for daylight admittance. These voids in an otherwise imposing monolithic block doubly function as spatial dividers for various internal zones serving civic, judicial, administrative, and institutional spaces. The resulting semi-public patio spaces offer up an opportunity for admittance of natural light and ventilation deep into the core of the block, where a central circulation “spine” runs. The cladding strategy is precisely coordinated with the massing of the building, relying on 33 versions of white glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFC) panels, articulated with a loose grid of punched window openings and recesses in the facade for texture. The depth of this system offers solar shading at glazed openings to help buffer the building’s occupants from southern Spain’s subtropical climate. A large cantilevered entry, and numerous courtyards, assist in the self-shading strategies of the building massing. A bronze-anodized aluminum lattice composed of vertical plates and horizontal tie rods clads the courtyard walls. These screens sit outboard of various window configurations to accommodate the office program beyond. While the Córdoba city center is located south-east from the site, the building volume was condensed to create a generous ramping entrance square to the north which connects the Palace of Justice with the existing Huerta del Sordillo gardens. The building contains a courthouse with 26 courtrooms, a wedding room, a Forensic Institute, offices, a cafe, an archive, a prison, and a parking garage.
"One can say that the sustainability of the building is not achieved by expensive technological mechanisms but by an intelligent interpretation of the vernacular architecture," said Mecanoo, referring to the unique shaping of their building, in a press release. "The massing strategy creates urban integration through fragmentation. It follows a similar strategy to the spontaneous growth process of medieval cities resulting in a volume which is carefully sculpted to adapt to the surrounding context. This results in a puzzle-like structure which hints its process of formation and emulates the experience of the dense historical center of Córdoba." Francine Houben, a founder of Mecanoo, will be delivering a keynote presentation at The Architect's Newspaper's (AN) upcoming Facades+ New York conference, a two-day event in mid-April focused on the design and performance of the next generation of facades. More information on the conference, along with registration details, can be found at facadesplus.com.
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This facade is made entirely of plastic baskets

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In a district slated for redevelopment in Naju City, five miles south of Gwangju in southern South Korea, a vacant building scheduled for demolition is the site of a temporary architectural facade installation that minimizes the separation between interior and exterior. German and Korean–based architecture firm Hyunje Joo_Baukunst designed a cladding system that tiles 1,500 semi-transparent plastic baskets covering over 4,000 square feet of building envelope. The resulting effect is a translucent hazy skin that allows diffuse sunlight and silhouettes to seep into the interior.
  • Facade Manufacturer Dongam E&C
  • Architects Hyunje Joo_Baukunst
  • Facade Installer Munhyung Lee, with Lee Seok-hee, Sang Ho Lee, and Yoon Sangbo
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location Naju-si, South Korea
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System brise-soleil screen attached to existing structure
  • Products UV-coated HDPE baskets, steel cable wire, steel frame
The baskets, relatively standard commercially-sold products, were manufactured by a Korean factory from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). For this project, the baskets were UV coated to ensure durability throughout the installation. HDPE is a common plastic material used in everything from rigid containers and hard hats to flexible bags and house wraps. It is a widely recycled material, and the architects intend to reuse the individual baskets upon dismantling the installation. Hyunje Joo, the artist-architect responsible for the project, installed a steel subframe to the existing building facade and connected individual baskets to this frame using steel cable ties. Joo said the intent was to create an economical, flexible, light, and recyclable architectural element. “The surface minimizes the separation between the inside and outside, as light and silhouettes beyond the space show through. Over the course of the day, changes show on the surface of the wall due to the diffusion and reflection of the material. The passage of time is more actively sensed from both inside and outside, as these light effects stimulate our senses.” Naju City, the site of the project, was designated an “Innovative City” in 2007, and since has seen ecologically sensitive development attracting several public offices from Seoul. Despite the temporariness of the installation, the visual and spatial effects achieved with a three-dimensional semi-transparent perforated material are noteworthy and the architects say the success of this project will be carried on through future projects. “We intend to reinterpret the possibility for the boundary of the wall using new materials,” they said.
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Extension to Gaudí-designed school showcases ceramic fabric sunshade

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The expansion of the Teresian School—an historic, late 19th-century Barcelona school designed by Antoni Gaudí—raised a formidable architectural challenge: how to create a modern academic space without undermining or distracting from original masterwork. To meet this challenge, PICH Architects designed an extension that reflects the massing of adjacent buildings while protecting views and access to the historic building. The siting of the new building allowed for an overall restructuring of programmatic space within the existing facility to provide for expanded academic and extracurricular schedules and performances. The new facade showcases an innovative architectural "textile" product that is composed of ceramic panels integrated into a flexible stainless steel mesh or grid. This emerging construction technology offers variable color and compositional options in a lightweight, flexible assembly. Felipe Pich-Aguilera, owner of PICH Architects, saw this product as capable of creating a dialogue between Gaudí's original structural brick and terra-cotta ornamentation, and contemporary construction techniques. "The building had to speak about its time without turning its back on the very texture of the existing building, so we’ve opted for a woven ceramic facade—which makes a large lattice—toward the street and light and bright elements for the interior of the school. This double skin, which shades the interior thermally, allows freedom and flexibility in the distribution of windows and functionally necessary opaque elements."
  • Facade Manufacturer Shildan Group
  • Architects PICH Architects
  • Facade Installer TEYCO Construction Company
  • Facade Consultants Cátedra de Cerámica UIC (Vicente Sarrablo)
  • Location Barcelona
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System flexible ceramic sheets over steel frame
  • Products Fabrik (ceramic pieces and flexible steel mesh)
The system consists of salmon-colored ceramic pieces, which are cooked with biogas (clean fuel whose use in ceramics production reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 16,700 tons per year) and combined in a lattice grid through a metal mesh. The assembly of the facade, which has an area of over 3,200-square-feet, was accomplished within five days, substantially reducing construction time versus traditional, piece-by-piece application, and resulting in significant savings in costs. The product celebrates a versatility in the construction of large surfaces, providing high accuracy since the metal mesh allows joints between the pieces to always remain aligned. The facade is "hung" by fastening stainless steel anchors, which counter the effects of wind, to adjacent metallic meshes. The system is designed to absorb lateral forces from wind and earthquakes and has been detailed to incorporate "anti-fall" backup measures to ensure loose tiles have multiple degrees of attachment to the steel lattice grid. The new ceramic textile was based on the principles of textile architecture. It is a flexible and adaptable material that combines two very different components: steel and ceramic. Serving as a successful example of corporate and academic collaboration, the material was originally created by Vicente Sarrablo, Doctor of Architecture and Director of the Ceramics Department at the International University of Catalonia, and was later developed by leading companies in the Spanish construction industry, Piera Ecocerámica and Cerámica Malpesa. After popularity in European markets, the product has recently made it's U.S. debut at the AIA Convention earlier this year, and is being manufactured by Shildan under the name "Fabrik."
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Small town receives new high-tech science facility dressed in a dynamic crystalline metal mesh veil

A total of 149 custom panels cover nearly 11,000 sq. ft. of the facade, providing a passive approach to daylighting, glare reduction, shading, and solar heat gain reduction.

The Georgia BioScience Training Center is a signature building with a dual purpose: a high-tech facility supporting research critical to bio-manufacturing that brings identity to Georgia’s growing biosciences industry. The 40,305 sq. ft. building is sited approximately 45 miles due east of Atlanta in Social Circle, "Georgia's Greatest Little Town,” and houses laboratories, classrooms, meeting rooms, and large gathering spaces. The building is organized around a large elliptical courtyard lined with glass walls. “Building planning centered on the idea of a “10 minute marketing tour” as the state will tour thousands of future 'prospect' companies through the facility,” says Nathan Williamson, Associate Principal at Cooper Carry. Williamson says the exterior courtyard doubly serves as a breakout space for large meetings and events, while drawing daylight into the training spaces. “By centralizing this natural amenity and event space, all spaces are energized by daylight while vistas create an open, highly-collaborative environment. The result is a high performance design that evokes the sophistication of 21st century bio-manufacturing.” The most striking feature of the building envelope is a large angular metal mesh veil, suspended off the building by a steel frame. Williamson notes the versatility of the aesthetic properties of the material combined with the performance of the veil as a passive solar shading device brought a significant value to the project: "We infused stainless steel into the exterior design to capture the performance benefits of shading while expressing the connections of the system which enhance the client’s brand of a decidedly hi-tech facility. The mesh is expressed independently from the orthogonal main façade with facets and plane changes to provide a dynamic, crystalline aesthetic with ever changing shadows and reflections that suggest a sense of movement." The BioScience Center’s high precision metal facade assembly is a familiar aesthetic for the high-tech students and visitors of the facility.
  • Facade Manufacturer Cambridge Architectural
  • Architects Cooper Carry - Atlanta
  • Facade Installer L&S Erectors, Inc. - Litchfield, Ohio
  • Facade Consultants Whiting-Turner – Atlanta (Construction Manager)
  • Location Social Circle, Georgia
  • Date of Completion September, 2015
  • System Rigid metal mesh panels attached to a steel frame with Clevis in tension system
  • Products “Lanier” Metal Mesh pattern, by Cambridge Architectural
The metal mesh product, named “Lanier” after nearby Lake Lanier, was developed by Cambridge Architectural as a custom solution specific to this project which has become a showcase for the architectural metal company. "We always like to be involved early in the process of any project and work with the architect once the initial design has been established,” says Matt O’Connell, Director of Operations at Cambridge Architectural. “After initial review and discussions with Cooper Carry about their vision, we conducted 3-D modeling. But the computer only goes so far, so we went through multiple specifications and mock up processes, both small and full size, to provide the right mesh fabric for the job.”  The rigid panels are fabricated as trapezoidal shapes to account for the faceted panels. When folded into place, the panels assume an orthogonal ribbon-like patterning. Cambridge developed the rigid mesh to allow for a one-directional bend. The product is suspended in tension off a rigid steel frame that allows the dimensions of the panel to be maximized with fewer intermediate supports. The result is a lightweight (1.28psf) panel with a maximum width of 10 feet, and a maximum length of 100 feet. A unique feature of Lanier is the ability to expand and contract the open area of the mesh, by removing fill wires as the pattern repeats. What results is a quality of lightness in the material - the ability to block direct sunlight while maintaining views from within the building. “We know that architects are seeking flexibility and looking for mesh choices that create a more stimulating visual appearance while providing options for varying degrees of light passage,” said Cambridge National Sales Manager David Zeitlin. “In the case of Lanier, they can even choose to expand the openness of the pattern for a single panel. We call this option Transition.” The material has been used for exterior facades, solar shading, parking garages, and interior screen walls.
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Marlon Blackwell Puts on a Clinic with Vol Walker Hall

University of Arkansas  addition celebrates the future with a contemporary rewrite of Neoclassicism.

As head of the architecture department and distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture, Marlon Blackwell was uniquely qualified to oversee the renovation and expansion of the school's home, Vol Walker Hall. To unite the school's landscape architecture, architecture, and interior design departments under one roof for the first time, Blackwell's eponymous firm designed a contemporary west wing to mirror the east bar on the existing Beaux-Arts style building, constructed in the 1930s as the university library. But the Steven L. Anderson Design Center—which tied for Building of the Year in AN's 2014 Best of Design Awards—is more than a container for 37,000 square feet of new studio, seminar, and office space. It is also a teaching tool, a lesson in the evolution of architectural technology writ in concrete, limestone, glass, steel, and zinc.
  • Facade Manufacturer Stone Panels (limestone), Tulsa Dynapan (architectural concrete), Rheinzink (zinc panels), L&L Metal Fabrication (metal/glass curtain wall), Kawneer (other curtain wall)
  • Architects Marlon Blackwell Architect, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects (associate architect)
  • Facade Installer ACE Glass Construction Corp. (glazing), Baldwin & Shell Construction Company (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultant Heitmann & Associates, Inc. (curtain wall), Clarkson Consulting (concrete)
  • Location Fayetteville, AR
  • Date of Completion 2013
  • System custom curtain wall with frit glass fins, limestone rain screen, zinc panels, architectural precast concrete
  • Products Stone Panels StoneLite limestone rain screen, architectural precast concrete from Tulsa Dynaspan, Rheinzink zinc panels, Viracon frit glass, Kawneer curtain wall, Viracon insulated glass
"Our strategy was to create a counterweight to the existing building," explained Blackwell. Rather than a layered steel-frame construction, Marlon Blackwell Architect opted for a post-tensioned concrete structure to convey a sense of mass and volume. "We also wanted to demonstrate what you can do with new technology like post-tensioned concrete, such as introducing a cantilever and introducing a profile that has minimal columns in the spaces," he said. "All of that is a didactic tool for our students to contrast and compare with the load-bearing technology of the existing structure." The exterior of the Steven L. Anderson Design Center also reflects on changes to architectural practice during the last 80 years. "We really wanted to develop a strong profile of the building, in contrast to Vol Walker Hall," said Blackwell. He describes the effect as a figure-ground reversal: where in the older structure the mass of the building is the ground and the windows and ornament act as figure, in the new wing the mass is the figure and the fenestration the ground. To create what Blackwell terms a "condition of resonance" between the Design Center and Vol Walker Hall, the architects engaged Clarkson Consulting to develop an architectural concrete to match the color of a local Arkansas limestone no longer available. They echoed the Indiana limestone on the older wing with panels sourced from a quarry only 50 miles from the original. But instead of grouting the limestone cladding on the new wing, Blackwell chose a limestone rain screen system from Stone Panels. "That allows us to go much thinner but much larger," he said. "Again, we're using the same materials but showing how the advancement of technology allows for a different expression of architecture." The defining feature of the Design Center is the more than 200-foot-long glass and steel curtain wall on the western facade. Knowing that the western exposure would provide the only source of natural light for the new wing, the architects worked to balance the need for light against the threat of solar gain. To complement the existing building, they chose a fascia steel curtain wall custom-fabricated by local company L&L Metal Fabrication. With curtain wall consultants Heitmann & Associates, Blackwell developed a brise soleil comprising 3/4-inch by 18-inch frit glass fins, angled to filter sunlight into the Design Center's 43-foot-deep studios. "What we like about it, too, is that it's one big window," said Blackwell. "It allows it to feel as if we've cut a section right through the building. At night the entire facade becomes a beacon, allowing for a nice interface between the school of architecture and the rest of the community." Other details, including the monolithic concrete pours designed to lighten the Design Center's connection to the ground, and zinc cladding used on the top floor to sharpen the profile of the main body, continue the dialogue between the new structure and its Neoclassical neighbor. "There are a lot of little things that give a tautness to the expression of the new addition, and give it its own identity," said Blackwell. "But at the same time, one of the things we were faithful to was trying to analyze and uncover units of measure and proportion on the old building, and apply that to ours." Perhaps more importantly, the building works as a design school—and Blackwell would know. "There's certainly contrast on the outside," he said. "But there's an almost resonant seamlessness on the inside."
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Behnisch Architekten Greens UB’s School of Law

A high-performance facade weaves a diverse program into a single volume.

The School of Law at the University of Baltimore was founded nearly nine decades ago, but for most of that time its classrooms, offices, library, and clinics were scattered among several downtown buildings. That changed last year, with the opening of the John and Frances Angelos Law Center. Designed by Behnisch Architekten with Ayers Saint Gross, the Angelos Law Center unites a diverse program within a single 12-story structure. Its checkerboard envelope, which won Best Facade in AN’s 2014 Best of Design Awards, weaves the building’s three principal components—a classroom and office wing, the library, and a central atrium—into a single volume. In addition, the facade positions the university on the cutting edge of sustainable design. Its integrated approach to energy efficiency has helped the Angelos Law Center win several green-building prizes, and set it on track to achieve LEED platinum status. Behnisch Architekten took a tripartite approach to the design of the facade. The architects wrapped the portion of the building dedicated to offices and classrooms with an aluminum plate and punched window system. “This is the kind of facade that works very well with the kinds of spaces behind it, because those tend to be a bit more regulated and modular in the way they are allocated,” said partner Matt Noblett. For the library, the uppermost of the building’s two L-shaped volumes, the designers chose a frit glass with a pattern they call a basket weave. “The library, from a program perspective, is kind of a big soup,” said Noblett. There are group study spaces, offices, and, of course, the stacks. “[W]e wanted to find a way in the facade to do [something] more neutral, less specific,” he explained. “The basket weave is less specific in how the articulation of the facade related to the program behind it.” The third segment of the facade, transparent glass enclosing the building’s atrium, draws the two other volumes together.
  • Facade Manufacturer National Enclosure Company
  • Architects Behnisch Architekten, Ayers Saint Gross
  • Facade Installer National Enclosure Company
  • Consultants Transsolar (Climate Engineering), Stutzki Engineering (Facade Consultant)
  • Location Baltimore
  • Date of Completion April 2013
  • System aluminum plate and punched window wall with automated shades and integrated glass rain screen, frit glass curtain wall, fixed brise soleil
  • Products PPG exterior insulating glass, Hunter Douglas Nysan specialty blinds, WindowMaster actuator and control system, Viracon custom frit glass
The architects developed a unique sustainability strategy for each section of the building. For the office block, National Enclosure Company fabricated a unitized curtain system comprising the window surface, exterior blinds, and a glass rain screen. The Hunter Douglas Nysan blinds move up and down according to an automated program that operates the top one-third and bottom two-thirds of the windows separately. “It’s remarkable to look at the specific data, to see how much more of the year you’re able to maintain comfort without excessive amounts of air conditioning when you have an exterior sunshading system,” said Noblett, whose firm worked with Transsolar on the building’s climate engineering. Outside the blinds is a low-iron laminated glass rain screen mounted on aluminum brackets. While the architects initially designed the rain screen to protect the blinds, it also solved an architectural problem. “It had a tendency to reunify all of the facade into one building,” he explained. “The more you perforate, the less you read as one volume. By essentially shrink-wrapping [the offices and classrooms], you start to read it again as a [single] volume.” The library at the Angelos Law Center is faced with frit glass from Viracon. “We did a lot of study with the manufacturer” to determine the gradient pattern, said Noblett. “What we wanted it to read was as purely white as possible. We wanted the ceramic as close to the surface as possible.” The goal was to reduce solar gain to the bare minimum. “If you were designing the building and didn’t care how it looked, you would just build a solid wall,” said Noblett. “The idea to add frit to make the wall essentially solid, [but] from the interior of the library it still feels like it’s open.” Outside the atrium, Behnisch Architekten installed a fixed brise soleil by National Enclosure Company on the south and west sides. The north side they left uncovered. All of the Angelos Law Center’s windows are operable, which, while not unheard of, is still unusual in a non-residential setting. “It’s hard to argue with a building where you can get comfortable by opening windows versus sealing up and running the air,” said Noblett. Noblett describes designing a high-performance facade as “this game you’re constantly playing between how much light comes in and how much solar gain [results].” By that analogy, the Angelos Law Center is a check mark in Behnisch Architekten’s win column.