Parabola cantilever walkway delivers park visitors to the brink.Concerned that visitors to Canada's national parks were becoming increasingly disengaged from both the experience of the outdoors and the reality of climate change, Parks Canada launched a search for private-sector initiatives to reverse the trend toward drive-through tourism. Brewster Travel Canada answered the call with a limited design competition for a walkable structure in Jasper National Park's Sunwapta Valley. "One of the bus drivers suggested that we do something over this particular gorge, Trickle Creek Canyon—something that could be suspended off the side of the mountain that brought visitors into a more intimate relationship with the Athabasca Glacier and its melting," explained Sturgess Architecture principal Jeremy Sturgess. With design-build team lead PCL Construction Management and structural engineer Read Jones Christoffersen (RJC), Sturgess' firm crafted a cantilevered walkway that, clad in weathering steel and glass, defers to its natural surroundings while providing breathtaking views of the glacier and valley floor. Though not a facade itself, Glacier Skywalk warrants discussion within the context of high-performance building envelopes for its innovative structure and streamlined approach to materials—the "+" in Facades+. Though the expected solution to the competition brief was a suspension bridge or other high-masted element, "we thought as a team that this approach would not be appropriate to the site," recalled Sturgess. "As much as we were going to make something courageous and heroic, we also wanted it to be subtle." RJC's Simon Brown came up with the idea of a parabola cantilever that draws visitors 35 meters beyond the face of the cliff. Sturgess Architecture focused on minimizing the material palette, relying primarily on Corten and glass, plus gabion mats filled with local rocks and concrete on the adjoining interpretive walk. "The idea was that the Corten would emulate the ferric oxide outcropping that you see on the existing mountainside," said Sturgess. "We wanted the whole element to feel fractal and extruded from the mountainside. As much as it was clearly manmade, it was to be as sensitive to the local environment as possible." Glacier Skywalk's signature design element is its glass floor, constructed in three layers—two structural, the third designed to be easily replaced if broken or otherwise damaged. "I'm a little nervous about walking on glass floors," admitted Sturgess. Several times he suggested replacing the glass with an opaque material to save money, but the rest of the team refused to let go. "Normally when I've worked in design-build, the gun is to our head and the finger's on the trigger," said Sturgess. "In this case, every time we suggested, 'We can save money here,' everyone on the design team was so in love with the concept, we couldn't lose anything lightly." Sturgess Architecture swapped Rhino models with PCL, RJC, and Heavy Industries, who formed all of the Corten work, throughout the design development phase. "I've never gone through such an extraordinary hands-on design process working with the actual craftsman of the solution," said Sturgess. "This iterative process of working with the team as we crafted every piece kind of by hand—though on the computer—is what led to the success of the project." In combination with its geologically inspired cladding, Glacier Skywalk's minimal structure delivers an illusion of weightlessness that only adds to the sense of exposure. The curvature of the walkway allowed RJC to install a nearly invisible cable suspension system to counterbalance its outward propulsion. "It expresses the thrust from the mountainside, and it does it in a way that makes it feel like a really integral fit with the [landscape]," said Sturgess. "The success is that it's not too much."
Posts tagged with "Cantilevers":
It's impossible to look at renderings of Herzog & de Meuron’s 56 Leonard and not immediately think of Jenga, the game guaranteed to shame one unlucky partygoer for pulling the wrong piece and ruining everyone's fun. Good times! Anyway, back to 56 Leonard in New York City—the 60-story, glassy version of that nerve-wracking game. The project was first unveiled back in September 2008, at almost the exact moment the global economy started to nosedive. So, needless to say, 56 Leonard got off to a slow start. But now the tower is rising quickly and slated to open next year. Construction watcher Field Condition recently photographed the building which has passed its 40th floor and is starting to get its glassy exterior. On the building's first few floors, erratic, cantilevering balconies create that aforementioned Jenga-like effect. But on higher floors, the Jenga-ness of the building quickly fades as the balconies fall into a more conventional pattern, appearing less like bricks from the game and more like, well, balconies. This should change, though, as the building continues to rise as its most dramatic cantilevering theatrics are reserved for its tapering top.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] The Milwaukee Art Museum revamp's previous design and current iteration. (Courtesy HGA Architects & Engineers) The Milwaukee Art Museum’s long-planned expansion and renovation has become somewhat of a saga. Plans for a new addition with an entrance along Lake Michigan were announced in 2012, but hit a snag when HGA Architects and Engineers’ Jim Shields walked off the job in February. In April Urban Milwaukee first broke news that Shields, somewhat of a local design celebrity, had left the project amid quibbling over the design. That spurred conversation around town, with Journal-Sentinel critic Mary Louise Schumacher suggesting the museum consider not building an addition at all. In a surprise twist, Shields returned to the project, having apparently reconciled a dispute over the design direction. The project’s future, however, is still uncertain. As Schumacher pointed out in a column Friday, the new design replaces the 1975 Kahler addition’s eastern face with a glassy atrium. That building originally featured elegantly recessed windows that were later pushed flush with the façade, contributing to the eastern entrance’s deactivation. The museum would eventually close it completely after opening the Santiago Calatrava addition in 2001. The dark zinc or copper patina HGA is considering for the addition’s exterior would recall some of the original design’s drama, while engaging the lakefront with a glassy atrium in a way that Kahler’s building could not. But Schumacher wonders if the museum might be able to accomplish its goals without adding to the mishmash of architectural styles that sparked this continuing saga. Repairs to Eero Saarinen’s adjacent War Memorial building are also part of the plan. The total project will cost at least $25 million. The County of Milwaukee will contribute $10 million toward repairs, and the museum has already raised $14 million. While the architectural legacies of Shields, Kahler, Calatrava and Saarinen are all at stake to varying degrees, not to mention the city’s lakefront urban context, Milwaukeeans have plenty to consider.
With Eli Broad hyping his DSR-designed Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, we thought it would be appropriate to share The Broad that never was: OMA's runner up proposal. As featured in this author's book, Never Built Los Angeles, Rem Koolhaas's firm proposed a "floating" box covered in a lacy-patterned metal screen and cantilevered via steel brace frames above Grand Avenue. Lifting the structure would have created much needed civic space in the area, offering a public zone under the museum and complementing two new plazas to the south and the west of the building. Escalators would have travelled diagonally up from street level to the ethereal upper gallery floors, which would have been lit by multiple skylights. There's a lot to like here, and still some questions about the lack of public commentary before the winning scheme was chosen. Check out many more renderings of the scheme below.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) announced last week it would design a new headquarters for Dubai-based Mashreq Bank. The 32-story tower is “a quiet sculptural form within Dubai’s skyline,” SOM Design Director Ross Wimer said in a statement. Its L-shaped floor plate is cantilevered around an empty volume between the building’s eight-story podium and its top levels. The building’s massing shields that courtyard from solar gain, while opening up views to Sheikh Zayed Road and the Burj Khalifa to the east. Executive offices occupy the top two floors, where the square floorplate resumes, with Mashreq’s Board Room suspended from an interior opening at the middle.
Long delayed, Herzog & de Meuron's 830-foot-tall stacked tower planned for Tribeca in Manhattan is set to resume construction imminently after a three-year hiatus, reports the Tribeca Tribune. The 57-story residential building at the corner of Leonard and Church streets has been nicknamed the "Jenga Building" for its distinctive massing that varies on each floor. The tower is expected to be complete in the spring of 2016.
For most architecture students, a model malfunction won't land you in the middle of a river, but one group of Buffalonian risk takers at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, under the direction of Associate Professor Jean La Marche were up for the challenge. Students Troy Barnes, Stephen Olson, Scott Selin, and Adrian Solecki designed and installed half of a bridge—made of cardboard—cantilevered over the Buffalo River, and invited people to step out over the water. The frightening experiment worked, challenging conventional notions of material constraints. The small structure was built from locally-produced cardboard tubes and is held up using rollers, pulleys, and ropes tied back to disused rails on the site. A supporting frame on a boat used to position the structure "lent the whole operation a nautical feel, fitting with the site," a spokesman for the team said in a statement. "With one of us on the raft, one manning the ropes, two were left to do the heavy work of pushing the cantilever out six inches at a time. After forty-five minutes, the structure dropped over the edge into place." The Buffalo Rising blog visited the installation, even venturing out onto the cardboard cantilever, and has more photos and observations.
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Built to withstand extreme weather conditions, the alpine pod explores new frontiers for prefabricated architectureClimbers on the Freboudze glacier can now take refuge from the punishing terrain of the Italian Alps thanks to a new prefabricated shelter commissioned by Italian alpine club CAI Torino. The New Gervasutti Refuge, which cantilevers from the rocky landscape in front of the east face of the Mont Blanc Range’s Grandes Jorasses, was designed and fabricated by LEAPfactory, an Italian firm specializing in modular structures with low environmental impact. LEAPfactory, whose name stands for Living, Ecological, Alpine Pod, began designing the shelter in 2009. Its construction bears little resemblance to that of traditional alpine structures; instead, LEAP used nautical and aeronautical fabrication techniques to create a self-sufficient pod that could withstand extreme high-altitude conditions. The team used finite element analysis to apply wind loads of up to 124 miles/hour and snow loads more than 26 feet deep, while keeping in mind the weight of furnishings and occupants inside. The structure’s primary components were prefabricated by infusing glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) into female molds with PVC cores. These pieces are glued together with methyl methacrylate-based adhesives. Luca Olivari, the project’s structural engineer, applied his expertise in designing boats and high-speed train components to the Gervasutti Refuge project. In a Q&A with Composites and Architecture, a blog by composite fabrication expert Bill Kreysler, Olivari said GFRP is an ideal material for extreme conditions because the fiber’s weight and orientation can be precisely defined in every area of the structure to support high concentrated loads. “The sandwich construction is the best way to absorb and distribute elastically the stresses of the wind gusts and the snow weight,” he said. Additionally, the components were strong and stiff enough to be transported by helicopter to the mountainside site. The shelter is designed for strength outside, but its high-visibility pattern, reminiscent of a classic ski sweater, is meant to welcome mountaineers—as are its interiors. Lit with daylight through a panoramic, anti-scratch acrylic window overlooking the valley below, the 250-square-foot pod has kitchen, dining and living areas, twelve bunks and storage space for gear, as well as a built-in weather monitoring station. Photovoltaic panels integrated into the hut’s outer shell produce 2.5 Kwh of solar energy. The entire structure weighs almost 3 tons and cost the equivalent of nearly $327,000. With individual modules designed for specific functions like eating or sleeping, LEAP’s design allows the pod to be rearranged or expanded over time. The design also allows for replacement of one module should it be seriously damaged. As the LEAPfactory team studies how their first installed shelter withstands conditions in its new home, they will be making plans to deploy similar helicopter-delivered structures in other mountainous locations—a reward for anyone willing to make the trip on foot.