Perforated steel and translucent glass balance privacy and pop.For their Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) in Monterrey, Mexico, Metalsa, a global manufacturing firm that specializes in automobile and truck chassis, did not want just another factory. Rather, the laboratory and testing facility, located in a state-sponsored research park adjacent to the Monterrey airport, was to be a "showpiece," explained Brooks + Scarpa Architects principal Lawrence Scarpa, "not just for their clients but from a work environment point of view, and a sustainability point of view." Despite the many challenges inherent to building across the United States-Mexico border, the Los Angeles architects succeeded in delivering a LEED Platinum design wrapped in a striking double skin of translucent glass and perforated steel panels. The facility's uneven sawtooth profile is the product of both historical and contextual references. "They are an industrial company, and I always loved the old warehouses with the north-facing clerestories, designed back when there was no electric lighting," recalled Scarpa. "That was what I was thinking about before I even went to the site." His first visit to Monterrey confirmed his instinct. "The mountains there are really sharp and jagged like that—it was an immediate concept for the building," said Scarpa. Like their 19th-century antecedents, moreover, the clerestories provide daylight and allow hot air to accumulate high above the inhabited spaces, thus reducing reliance on artificial lighting and cooling. The resulting form had one major drawback, however. "The issue we were faced with was that the primary way you enter the building is from the west, so we would have a broad face in the worst possible thermal position," said Scarpa. To solve the problem of solar gain without sacrificing the sawtooth roofline, Brooks + Scarpa implemented a double skin with an outer layer composed of perforated steel panels. With a wraparound sunscreen in place, explained Scarpa, "we could have a translucent skin behind it, but could modulate light and heat gain." Several factors influenced the perforation pattern on the outer skin. It began as an abstraction of Metalsa's corporate identity, said Scarpa, but evolved to respond to programmatic requirements. Perforations of different sizes and densities reflect the need for more or less privacy. Areas related to proprietary research and development are more opaque, while the office spaces cantilevered over the transparent northwest entrance benefit from the additional daylighting allowed by broader perforations. CMI's translucent inner skin of fluted glass refracts light, preventing glare from interfering with computer-based work. To prevent the occupants from feeling trapped in a windowless box, the architects carefully modulated the distance between the envelope's two layers. "When you're on the interior, it doesn't just look like a blank wall," said Scarpa. "When you're on the inside, you can't see through it, but you can see shadows move on the translucent surface." Designing for an out-of-country client is bound to produce hiccups, and the Metalsa project was no exception. For instance, Brooks + Scarpa had initially imagined that the auto giants would fabricate the perforated metal skin in-house, but turned to another supplier when disrupting the company's manufacturing flow proved cost-prohibitive. The architects nevertheless made the best of the situation, streamlining their vision to fit the situation at hand. "The technology that was available to us in Mexico is not overly sophisticated, so from the get-go we decided to take a more simplistic approach, utilizing a multi-layered skin," said Scarpa. "It was easy to construct, and it's not difficult to understand."
Posts tagged with "Brooks + Scarpa":
With its combination of warm temperatures, low humidity, bright sun, and vulnerability to earthquakes and fires, Southern California presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges to facade designers and builders. "It's way more forgiving here than in most places," said Larry Scarpa, principal at Los Angeles-based Brooks + Scarpa. "I've been on design reviews in various parts of the country where you have to do things much differently with the building envelope. In Southern California you have a lot of freedom to explore things that you don't in other parts of the world." Scarpa and other AEC industry movers and shakers will gather in early February at Facades+ LA to discuss possibilities and trends in building envelope design, both in Los Angeles and beyond. Scarpa, who will deliver the afternoon keynote at the Facades+ conference series' Southern California debut, says that Los Angeles' temperate climate allows architects to simplify building envelopes, shifting resources from insulation and humidity control to lighting and materials. "Condensation is a big concern, but it's less of an issue here," he explained. "Generally speaking, we can be a lot less high tech with the actual wall construction. We then tend to spread it out: you still make it perform, but in a way where it's more like a rain screen." Southern California architects need not incorporate large thermal cavities, as at Herzog & de Meuron's Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis. The attendant freedom "becomes a way to deal with light in a much more significant way—how facades harvest light, or shade the building, or how you can make them function as public or private," said Scarpa. Brooks + Scarpa also use the flexibility engendered by their location to experiment with materials. "The materiality is a big thing for us," explained Scarpa. "We tend to use a lot of non-traditional building materials." The firm's Broadway Housing project, for instance, features a building skin partially clad with building blocks made from recycled aluminum cans. Benchmark Builders Showroom similarly incorporates an outer wall constructed from industrial brooms. "Because we have a certain amount of freedom here, we look to use ordinary materials in a way we're not used to seeing them," said Scarpa. Of course, Los Angeles is not all sunshine. Multiple active earthquake faults in the region place constraints on architects and builders. Earthquake codes require particular structural systems, which in turn impact the buildings' facades. "You wind up with large amounts of columns or moment frames. If you have glass or curtain walls, they're going to be exposed—you're going to see it. It's very hard to conceal it in a wall." To learn more about designing and building high performance facades in Southern California and worldwide, register now for Facades+ LA. More information, including a list of speakers and the complete lineup of hands-on dialog and tech workshops, can be found on the conference website.
Brooks + Scarpa and KZF Design have designed a swooping, lakefront Interfaith Chapel proposal for the University of North Florida’s campus in Jacksonville. The 7,000-square-foot chapel is intended to serve a diverse array of students, faculty, and the surrounding community representing many religious beliefs. It's unique shape, built with a complex bending wooden lattice, is designed as an allegory of Justice, Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, and Fortitude. At the top of the chapel's spire, the wooden lattice is pinched together to form a figure-eight, symbolizing infinity, and the structure itself shades a large skylight that will wash the richly-textured interior walls with soft light. The structure's white exterior form is built to resemble a flowing wedding gown. Windows are situated to connect the inside with fundamental points of the Chapel’s surroundings such as a nearby lake, garden, and woods and to highlight celestial elements like the Polaris (aka North Star) viewable at nighttime. Two windows are even situated to offer direct views of the rising sun during the winter and summer solstices. The structure’s unique curvature is made possible by an interlaced wood lamella structural system—originally developed for industrial use due to its durability and long life. Laminated pieces of wood will be joined together at diagonal angles, creating the intricate latticework vault. The chapel also features energy efficient qualities. By allowing only filtered sunlight to enter the skylight, the roof helps insulate and protect against Florida’s intolerable heat and humidity. The building also includes more subtle energy efficient elements: operable windows offer daylight and ventilation; the building is situated to collect prevailing winds; and sun studies determined orientation of glazing. And, ultimately, the chapel enforces a deep connection with spiritual, cosmic, and natural life, giving visitors a chance to reflect and wonder about their values and placement in life and on the planet.
Join us for a live Facebook discussion, "What Is Green, Anyway?" Wednesday, April 18 12:00 p.m. PST, 3:00 p.m. EST You're invited to talk about sustainability with AN's West Coast Editor Sam Lubell, Angela Brooks, partner at Brooks + Scarpa, and John Stein, president of Kirei, a green materials company. The open discussion will cover what exactly makes a project green, how effective green standards are, how sustainability is driving design (and whether it should), and where green design is heading. The best part is that the questions will be all yours, answered live by our participants. To participate in "What Is Green, Anyway?," simply visit the AN Blog tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern. We'll publish a post to the AN Blog before the event and you can join the discussion and ask questions of the experts live over Facebook Live Stream. You can even share your comments with your Facebook friends directly. See you Wednesday! Participants: Angela Brooks, principal, Brooks + Scarpa: A recognized leader in sustainable design and construction, Angela is responsible for overall project management and supervision of the firm’s designers and staff. She has served as Project Architect and consultant on buildings which range in scope from public and institutional projects, to mixed-use projects, single- and multifamily housing. John Stein, president, Kirei: After seeing a small sample of a new eco-friendly design material, John decided to take his experience in mainstream marketing to the green building world. His company, Kirei, grew out of that first chance encounter, and has become a leading provider of sustainable design materials to the architecture, design, and fabrication communities.
Five noted teams have been shortlisted from a pool of 18 to renovate and expand the Kimball Art Center (KAC) in Park City, Utah. The firms include BIG/Bjarke Ingels Group; Brooks + Scarpa Architects; Sparano + Mooney Architecture; Will Bruder + Parnets; and Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The center offers exhibitions as well as art classes, workshops, and other educational programs. Plans call for renovating the interior of the existing KAC and constructing a new modern building next door. Each of the proposals will be displayed using augmented reality, photography, and video during the Sundance Film Festival from January 19 through the 29 and a jury will select a winner in February once the public has had a chance to weigh in on their favorites. Construction could begin as soon as mid-2013 with the new wing opening in 2015. "We want visitors to see Park City as an important emerging arts destination, and a new building of architectural importance, with an enhanced facility for the presentation of art, will do just that,” said Robin Marrouche, the Kimball's executive director, in a statement. “In addition to the positive economic effects the project could have on the region in the long term, we want to further enrich our community, allowing us to expand our exhibition and educational offerings and provide a much needed public gathering space in Old Town." BIG's proposal calls for a twisting, stacked timber structure made from reclaimed train tracks, enclosing an interior spiral staircase and topped with an roof terrace. A sculpture garden would be included on top of the original structure. Brooks + Scarpa Architects designed a honeycomb tower called the "Kimball Cloud" that incorporates solar energy and natural ventilation. A rooftop terrace and garden is included in the new building. Sparano + Mooney Architecture also calls for timber construction, this time inspired by the Aspen tree. The new building will be covered with a photovoltaic glass screen allowing the new space to be flooded with light. Will Bruder + Partners designed a building with a colored ceramic facade that references both the adjacent masonry buildings in Park City's historic district as well as the surrounding canyons. The proposal features a rooftop terrace and a central skylight. Todd Williams Billie Tsien's proposal, dubbed a "Box of Sky and Shadow," frames mountain views and includes an exterior scrim for film projects. Check out more images of the five proposals below. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
A folded canopy reinvents a former loading dock in the city’s historic Depot DistrictRaleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum chose its new home in the city’s Depot District carefully. Located in a former produce warehouse, the project calls attention to the city’s history of railroad transportation and red brick architecture while emphasizing its commitment to sustainability and adaptive reuse. Led by Brooks + Scarpa Architects, the project included renovation of the existing 21,000-square-foot structure and the addition of a 900-square-foot entry pavilion. The glass-enclosed lobby reinterprets the location of the original building’s loading dock with an expanded and folded canopy that announces the building’s new purpose and balances the effect of daylight on its interiors. The architects saw an opportunity to treat the new museum entrance as a modern loading dock, a front porch that would deliver visitors into the galleries within. They began to experiment with the form of the rectilinear metal roof that originally sheltered the truck bay, expanding it and imposing a series of three folds to bend the shape skyward. The team developed a perforation pattern that shades the museum’s outdoor sculpture garden and the floor-to-ceiling glass lobby enclosure, then grows more dense to hide ductwork and sprinkler pipes indoors. Derived from the shape of flower petals, the pattern consists of three half-oval shapes with radii of 2, 4, and 6 inches. Each petal was combined with one other shape with the same radii, creating a total of 18 ovals in the pattern. These were laid out to create areas of greater or lesser density depending on the desired shading effect. While the perforated petals have 35 percent transparency, gaps between the ovals create an overall effect of 50 percent transparency indoors and 65 percent outdoors. The design team delivered shop drawings and sketches based on screen shots of Rhino files to architectural metal fabricators at Chicago-based Accurate Perforating and North Carolina-based Alumiworks. (The canopy’s top surface is composed of Polygal polycarbonate panels fabricated by North Carolina-based Jacob’s Glass.) Because the canopy’s interior slope does not match the exterior slope, transferring the complex geometry of the canopy into both top steel elevations at the intersections and into the bottom of the hollow structural section (HSS) steel substructure supporting the petal panels proved challenging. The canopy is built with steel wide flange beams, some of which are tapered and supported by the unreinforced masonry building and by three structural columns. Outdoors, perforated panels are attached to the underside of the frame and protected by polycarbonate panels installed overhead. Indoors, the perforated panels are installed beneath metal decking, insulation, and PVC roofing material. An HSS substructure suspended from the steel beams supports each assembly. While the canopy has become a symbol of the historic district’s renewal, not all visitors are welcome to its modern-day front porch. One-quarter-inch mesh between each petal shape keeps birds from roosting on flanges and steel beam supports. While the mesh allows pleasant North Carolina sunlight to filter into the museum’s courtyard, the glimpses of blue sky are also a nod to another bit of Southern porch culture—natives traditionally paint porch ceilings blue to mimic the sky, deterring mud dauber wasps from settling in.
Is there a better place to see contemporary homes than Venice? This weekend's Venice Art Walk and Auctions is offering a tour of one of this architecture hub's most impressive blocks: Appleton Way, where several ambitious residences have sprouted up in the last five years. The tour includes gems like the Walnut Residence by Modal Design; Our House, by du Architects; the Yin-Yang House by Brooks + Scarpa; Ortiz Mexia's Ortiz & Wheeler Residence; Sylvia Aroth & Jeff Cook's Sylvia's Duplex; and Thomas Carson's Carson/Bettauer Residence. The block, points out Art Walk Steering Committee member (and local architect) Victoria Yust, is in an area with the largest lots in Venice; providing enough space to start from scratch (being near a nice public park doesn't hurt either). The Art Walk is also offering a tour of homes in West LA by the likes of A. Quincy Jones, Barton Myers, and William Hefner; as well as a tour of Venice homes along canals and tree-lined streets. The event, which supports the Venice Family Clinic, also includes artists' studio tours, art auctions, and lots of yummy food.
[ Updated 02.08.2011: Added the interview video, a gallery of Scarpa's 502 Colorado project, and more. ] You know you've hit the big time when you're not only invited to appear on Oprah, but you're interviewed by Leonard DiCaprio on Oprah. Such is the case with Larry Scarpa, of Santa Monica firm Brooks + Scarpa, who talked to Leo about his former firm Pugh + Scarpa's 502 Colorado in Santa Monica, which DiCaprio calls the “first green affordable housing project in the country.” Whether or not that’s true, the building does include 200 solar panels on its rooftop, providing much of the building’s energy. DiCaprio doesn’t ask Scarpa about any of the 44-unit building’s other green elements (including strategic orientation, natural ventilation, co-generation, and recycled materials), but that’s okay, he'll dream about it later. At least Scarpa gets to remind stubborn developers that building green can be cheaper than conventional building. By the way, we think Scarpa, who’s already a dead ringer for Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio, has earned himself a spot on DiCaprio’s next film, Devil in the White City, about the architects of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Wake up and get that architect an agent NOW.