Posts tagged with "digital fabrication":

Visiting UAP, the studio fabricating many of the biggest projects in art and architecture

UAP may not be a household name, but the firm is behind the scenes of many of the biggest projects in public art and architecture. With studios in Brisbane, Shanghai, and New York, UAP works with world-renowned artists and architects like Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller, and Frank Gehry on highly complicated sculptures and architectural features. Most recently, it manufactured Phillip K. Smith III’s Open Sky with clothing brand COS for Salone del Mobile in Milan. UAP is also overseeing a number of projects in the Hudson Yards mega-development. Started in 1993 by brothers Daniel and Matthew Tobin in Australia, UAP collaborates with artists, architects, developers, and governments to plan and fabricate large-scale projects. However, at their core the Tobins are committed to protecting artists’ voices and maintaining conceptual integrity—dealing with tight deadlines, engineering challenges, and logistical complexities to deliver the creator’s vision in full. In this way, they function as an extension of the artist’s studio, allowing artists to step back from management and go back to doing what they do best: making art. UAP is organized into three sectors: UAP Studio, which produces site-specific artworks and offers curatorial oversight and public art strategy; UAP Factory, which works alongside architects on building projects; and UAP Supply, which offers limited-edition and custom furnishings. While UAP’s business includes working with artists to make their visions materialize, the firm also works with developers and governments to curate and consult on the how, where, and who behind public art. Recently, it has been going even bigger and helping develop master plans and long-term public art strategy for clients such as the Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane. Although handwork, traditional CNC, and cutting-edge fabrication techniques are integral to the practice, UAP is constantly looking for new ways to utilize technology. The team has been introducing virtual reality into its design process and collaborating with manufacturing researchers at Innovative Manufacturing CRC, Queensland University of Technology, and RMIT University to experiment with new robotic manufacturing systems that present a range of new possibilities. With his artist pedigree, founder Daniel has designed monumental projects, including the 197-foot-tall concrete tower Al Fanar (Beacon) in Saudi Arabia (with bureau^proberts) and a National AIDS Monument with the West Hollywood Foundation, to be completed in 2019. It’s this creative sensibility that’s central to UAP. It can help artists because they themselves are no mere fabricators; they’re partners in the creative process with an intimate knowledge of production and a deep investment in creative expression. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors New York This past winter’s blockbuster five-borough public exhibition from Ai Weiwei, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, showcased the work of UAP in one of its most memorable sculptures: the 40-foot mirrored cage underneath the Washington Square Arch. Made in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, the arch sculpture was one of two that UAP completed for Ai’s project. The subject of many photographs, the sculpture approached serious topics with levity—juxtaposing a passage with a cage, it troubled the constructed notion of borders and highlighted the different ways they restrict, regulate, and permit the movement of differentiated bodies. Nuage, promenade Miami Working with renowned designers (and another fraternal pair) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, UAP oversaw the construction of a series of metal and glass canopies in Miami’s design district. Called Nuage, promenade, the pergola is designed to engage with not only the surrounding built environment of Paseo Ponti, but also the natural environment, as native plants will slowly grow around the blue and green structure. SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico UAP worked on every step of the process, from design to fabrication to installation, for an external cladding system for a SHoP Architects expansion to the New Mexico contemporary art space SITE Santa Fe. The layers of folded and perforated aluminum cladding for the two entrances help to unify the extension as a whole and mesh it with the museum and the public space. UAP also worked with SHoP on the interiors of the American Copper Buildings in Manhattan. Wahat Al Karama Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates In 2016, UAP worked with British artist Idris Khan to realize the massive memorial park Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The central monument comprises 31 leaning tablets made of aluminum plates recycled from decommissioned armored vehicles. The tablets are inscribed with the names of service members and poems and quotes from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At one end of the park is the Pavilion of Honor, completed with bureau^proberts. Made of 2,800 aluminum panels encircling seven glass panels by Khan, the meditative space is a quiet interior pause that complements the monolithic structure outside.

2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325 by DDG

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you. 2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325

Architect: DDG Location: New York, NY

Acting as design architect, developer, and general contractor, DDG developed a custom, cast-aluminum screen using 3-D modeling software and state-of-the-art hardware. A burlap texture was hand-applied to the set of 12 repeating components before the sand-cast molds were made and the finished components cast. The resulting sinewy surface creates dialogue with the cast iron historic buildings of the area.

Executive Architect HTO Architect

Structural Engineer Severud Associates Fabricator Walla Walla Foundry RenShape Foundry Pattern & Tooling Board Freeman Manufacturing & Supply Company Aluma Black Birchwood Casey

Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

Architect: Payette Location: Boston, MA

The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at Northeastern University is a high-performance research building with a triple-glazed curtain wall and solar veil to help the building exceed 2030 energy savings goals.

Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: FilzFelt LINK

Architect: Gensler Location: Los Angeles, CA

Originally created as a one-time solution for Gensler’s Los Angeles office, the company recognized its wider possibilities and partnered with FilzFelt to produce a flexible modular panel system that adds texture and color to an environment while serving as a privacy screen, shade system, room divider, and acoustical element.

The brother and sister architectural duo aiming to create the ultimate customizable, eco-friendly home

With a new project in the woods 30 miles outside of Helsinki, California and Finland–based brother and sister duo Ateljé Sotamaa is drawing on the longstanding tradition of shaping space outside the home through the home itself. The Atelier Houses are a planned community of 40 dwellings, but they are a far cry from beige clapboard subdivisions. Through digital fabrication and construction technology that leaves a light footprint on the land, the structures are infinitely customizable. Ateljé Sotamaa intends to create a new social space that is communal and ecological without sacrificing the comfort and conveniences of urban life.

The concept updates New Urbanism—a decades-old town plan based on walkable, green cities—with 21st-century technological optimism and individualistic zeal. Kivi Sotamaa, who cofounded the studio with his sister Tuuli, explained that the basic unit of an Atelier House is a single plank of wood. From there, clients can design almost infinitely customizable homes that draw on both the traditional Finnish fishing village and the camping lean-to, two typologies that embrace nature as a prerequisite of their functions.

“The house is radically open to the world around it,” Kivi said. “That’s a quality that comes with the design. Beyond that, each individual and each site is different, which will actually result in a community that’s quite nuanced and varied.” The Atelier Houses are single-family dwellings and two-story row houses that must have a large exposure to visually dispel the idea of home-as-fortress. Materials include local timber for visual unity and ecological soundness, as well as for an homage to the vernacular. The studio designed both the built-ins and the furniture, which residents have the option to customize.

Kivi worked with architect Greg Lynn, a professor and pioneer of mass customization, at the University of California, Los Angeles, but he takes Lynn’s ideas further. “I’m interested in whether you could use digital design and manufacturing tools that would come at the same price as a prefab house but with a strong architectural idea,” Sotamaa said. He would like to see the digital meld with the architectural more seamlessly; the houses are designed to facilitate this transition and anticipate future synergies. The assembly process is structured so that little machinery is needed on-site for construction and assembly, which cuts costs and reduces damage to the surrounding landscape. The community will be networked via fiber-optic cables to enhance connectivity to neighboring dwellings and the world outside.

The prototype home was completed in 2015, while construction on the first of the Atelier Houses is expected to begin this fall. Ateljé Sotamaa anticipates that developments in digital design and manufacturing will parallel hypercustomization trends in the music industry. “Technology will allow architects to offer bespoke solutions much more easily. More people will be able to participate in the design in a meaningful way.”

Australian infrastructure project receives digitally sourced facade cladding system

Complementing the transit nature of the tunnel environment, the façade design generates a sense of visual movement and energy for vehicular traffic and passers-by.

RPS Group has designed a facade cladding system to Brisbane Australia’s Legacy Way project – a $1.5 billion tunneling project that included the urban and architectural landscape design as well as tunnel portals, ventilation facilities, noise barriers, and roadside landscapes. The project was recently named Australia’s top project at the 2015 National Infrastructure Awards. One key aspect of the design is a facade cladding system developed in collaboration with UAP Factory. The metal bar assembly attaches to the concrete walls and an open facade of the ventilation facility to provide a patterned effect for high-speed vehicular traffic. The digitally sourced pattern is fabricated by twisting steel bars arrayed perpendicular to the viewer. They are selectively twisted to produce momentary thin nodes. These nodes, spread throughout the field of the system, produce a pattern legible at a large scale to high-speed traffic. The assembly is noteworthy for its ability to produce image-like effects with factory-controlled fabrication techniques and conventional installation details. Prefabrication of the panels further added to the economy of the system.
  • Facade Manufacturer UAP Factory
  • Architects RPS Group
  • Facade Installer UAP Factory
  • Location Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System custom metal screen wall cladding
  • Products powder coated aluminum by UAP Factory
“Our aim was to balance Legacy Way’s design and infrastructure components to create an attractive, safe and seamless connection that integrates with local communities,” RPS Landscape Architecture Principal Philip Kleinschmidt explained in a press release. The design team tracked their movements around Australia for one year via GPS, and translated the resulting patterns into a layered graphic patterning system. A base layer of flatbars on edge is fixed back to the building on two horizontal rails. A secondary layer was established by mechanically twisting the flatbar ninety degrees to create undulating fields of solid and void. A tertiary system introduces a ridge detail via triangular fins to create depth change across the facade. These visual effects were then tested through an iterative digital modeling phase. “3d visualization and modeling was used to test pattern applications and understand the overall aesthetic once the system was rolled out en masse,” Amanda Harris, UAP’s Senior Associate and Design Manager, told AN. Harris said that this was a project concerning material properties: “The major constraint was ensuring efficiency of material, investigating and proving up the density (and therefore overall linear meterage) of material required to create the desired visual impact.” Digital models, scale physical models, and eventually larger mockups were produced to allow physical testing of the assembly and to confirm its desired visual effects. Harris said the mockups provided an essential feedback loop: “The twisting process itself was limited by the material, and it was important to understand and avoid twisting radiuses becoming too tight, to avoid causing stress and tearing of the aluminum.”

DaeWha Kang Design integrates aesthetics and building performance with workplace retrofit

"Every time we build or renovate a building, we make a public act." - DaeWha Kang

By combining contemporary material processes with organic principles, DaeWha Kang Design has transformed a 1980’s-era office building into a new dynamic headquarters for Communique, a public relations firm in Seoul Korea. With a very limited budget, the project team focused on four key points throughout the design process: the production of a human-oriented design, an environmentally responsive facade, a collaborative working environment, and evaluation of design through simulation and measurement. The renovation scope includes retrofitting a ground level parking area into an indoor/outdoor café, re-programming of the office area to maximize daylight for employee desk locations, and a rooftop terrace inspired by traditional Korean hoerang, or circumambulatory walkways. One of the most eyecatching elements of the project is an existing column, on the ground level, clad with a tessellation of silver leaves. The mirror finish stainless steel panels reflect the activity of the street while also visually doubling the height of a relatively low existing space (less than 9 feet). A curved surface between the column and the soffit is realized with singly folded diamond shaped panels, producing a triangulated effect. The pattern expands beyond the intensity of the column, into larger flat shaped panels. This geometry wraps up the facade, producing a primary grid which further warps in response to sightlines of the building from the surrounding urban context. The architects incorporated new high-performance double-glazed units and provided insulation at the exterior walls to combat significant thermal and condensation issues in the existing building. MaCheon grey granite panels regionally sourced provide a strong gray coloration to the facade. DaeWha Kang, Principal of DaeWha Kang Design, says the panels are attached to the facade with a simple bracket and pin anchoring detail allowing for future removal for maintenance if necessary: “That means that even if the building facade needs to be maintained in thirty or forty years time, it will be possible to remove each of the panels from the brackets without damaging them.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Chowon Partners (Kim Deuk Yong)
  • Architects DaeWha Kang Design (design architect); Chowon Partners (local architect)
  • Facade Installer Chowon Partners (Kim Deuk Yong)
  • Facade Consultants Michal Wojtkiewicz (innovation benchmarking); Younha Rhee (sustainability consultant)
  • Location Seoul, Korea
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System sealed granite panels on subframe over reinforced concrete structure; stainless steel panels on ground level
  • Products fully custom MaCheon grey granite and stainless steel panel assembly, window assembly from custom profiles
Digital analysis tools were employed during the design process to correct existing glare and daylighting issues in the existing space. Solar radiation analysis helped to determine the optimum quantity and location of windows in the office floors, while various window opening directions were tested in a fluid dynamics simulation. The team ended up with a series of casement windows that produce gill-like openings in the building envelope. These openings are paired with louvered blinds on the interior for further glare reduction without blocking air circulation. One of the significant findings from the analysis was that the lower floors required larger openings than the upper floors. Establishing an optimum window opening size allowed the panelization of the facade to geometrically integrate with the openings, creating what Kang calls “a completely organic integration of aesthetics and building performance.” The patterning of the facade was further influenced by standard block lengths from the quarry where the stone was sourced, constructability factors such as the maximum weight for a one-person installation, and the reduction in quantity of more costly curved panel geometry. These constraints produced secondary panelization geometry. A hierarchy between the two grids was visually reinforced by a chamfered corner cut all at primary grid lines, producing a shadow gap along the panel edge. Kang says this architectural process has produced a project that “has content and character, not just branding and image,” and is aligned with broader community ideals: “Projects like this are crucial in Seoul. We must move beyond the city as an accumulation of isolated buildings that do nothing for their surrounding neighborhood, and instead support clients who have a vision to do something more with their ambitions.”

Facades+NYC lab workshops offer hands-on exposure to new technology

It is hard to imagine a better introduction to new digital design and fabrication software than the "Advanced Parametric Modeling: Design to Fabrication" lab workshop at next month's Facades+NYC  conference. Dassault's Jonathan Asher and Zahner's Kyle Watson will co-lead a tutorial in the application of Dassault's 3DEXPERIENCE to building envelopes, combining the perspectives of software developer (Asher) and early adopter (Watson). "First we'll be giving a walkthrough of how to use the software," explained Watson. "Then we'll demonstrate some new features available in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, as well as how it's different" from other automation programs. Rather than passive observers, workshop attendees will be active participants, working through a full facade Asher and Watson will create especially for Facades+NYC. "Our intention is to develop this workshop facade system so it includes everything a typical engineer would be creating for a real facade: fully unfoldable panels, documentation created automatically," said Watson. By the end of the session, attendees will better understand how to leverage automation to generate complex systems. "Since it's our speciality, the focus will be on automation—creating complicated forms and then automating the creation and visualization of multiple panels going into this form." In addition, Asher and Watson will highlight the collaborative potential of Dassault's new platform. "Given that 3DEXPERIENCE is a relatively new software, and we [at Zahner] are among the early adopters, we're getting a lot of chances to experience the collaborative side of the software," said Watson, pointing out that his cooperation with Asher (Asher works from France; Watson, Missouri) exemplifies the easy back-and-forth facilitated by 3DEXPERIENCE. Other lab workshops on offer at Facades+NYC include "Curtain Wall Systems: From Sketch to Completion," taught by Bart Harrington and Richard Braunstein, both of YKK-AP America; "Advanced Facade Analysis, Rationalization, and Production (Grasshopper + Dynamo)," with Thornton Tomasetti CORE Studio's Daniel Segraves; and "Seamless Exchange of Geometry and Data (Grasshopper, Revit, Excel)." For more information and to reserve your space in a lab or dialog workshop, visit the Facades+NYC website.

With a Knight Foundation grant, the Better Block Foundation aims to make your city even better

In over 100 projects, Team Better Block (TBB), the organization that works directly with cities to realize large-scale placemaking initiatives, helps make your great city even better. Now, thanks to a $775,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Dallas-based organization will be better able to serve cities and the people who make them. The January grant, meted out in installments, allowed TBB to create the Better Block Foundation (BBF), a nonprofit arm of for-profit TBB. Founder Jason Roberts explained that the grant will help both entities grow and support each other mutually. Roberts clarified that, while Better Block solutions like bike lane, plaza, and pop-up business recipes are "an open-source operating system, like Linux," free and open for all to use, TBB installs Better Block solutions for a fee. He and co-founder Andrew Howard realized a need for the foundation when TBB went worldwide. "We didn't have the bandwidth, so we needed the non-profit model. The nonprofit will help other folks do these things," he told AN. Things like transforming underutilized spaces, building workforce capacity, and cultivating vacant land. The program is expanding its staff to include a managing director, architect, project manager, and creating an internship program. Howard will manage TBB, while Roberts, who enjoys research and development, is directing the foundation. The BBF includes a human capacity-building component, as well. Civic leaders, elected officials, developers, and others "passionate about the built environment" will be able to meet architects, planners, and designers to discuss solutions for their cities' public spaces. Additionally, the foundation will build capacity to collect data and performance metrics before and after a Better Block project is installed. "We haven't had a chance to document that piece," Roberts reflected. "The foundation can focus on impact." This year, the BBF and TBB are planning the WikiBlocks project for the city of St. Paul. In collaboration with neighborhood groups, they'll install parklets, flowerbeds, and cafe seating from cutout designs whose plans are free to download and assemble. TBB is teaming up with the digital fabrication studio at Kent State University to create the prototypes for the project: In about three months, the early models will be developed. TBB knows how local culture manifests itself in and through the built environment, and that drawing on that ethos is key to building strong neighborhoods. Right now, TBB is using one site to turn around a struggling neighborhood in Akron, Ohio, and posing the question in reverse: how could culture express itself in an individual house? Working with refugees from Bhutan, in collaboration with the International Institute, the Bhutan Cultural Association, and a Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Akron, the team is transforming a dilapidated house in the North Hill neighborhood into The Exchange House, an Airbnb youth hostel managed by the émigrés. Refugees sponsored by the State Department are indebted to the government: refugees have to pay back their plane ticket. Consequently, they're expected to find work, but language and cultural barriers can make that difficult. Running the hostel will provide an opportunity for cultural exchange, help refugees earn money, and build English language skills, as well as revitalize a neighborhood that has excess housing and infrastructural capacity. The partners hope to "stamp North Hill as an international neighborhood." There's 11 months left on the project, and demolition on the interior is progressing apace. Sai Sinbondit (of Cleveland-based Bialosky + Partners Architects) is the lead architect. A market, garden, and community resource center will round out the hostel's program.

Fabricator Bill Kreysler on digital craftsmanship and collaboration

When Kreysler & Associates's Bill Kreysler signed on to participate in the "Emerging Craftsmanship in Digital Fabrication" panel at April's Facades+ NYC conference, he immediately zeroed in on the second word in the title. "I don't think of craftsmanship the way most people do," he said. "When I say 'craftsmanship,' I think that applies as much to someone sitting in front of a computer with a 3D Rhino model as it does to a guy in a wood shop in Renaissance Italy." But just as a room full of woodworking tools does not, in and of itself, guarantee the quality of a carpenter's output, explained Kreysler, "just because you have a 3D computer program doesn't mean that somehow everything you do is going to be perfect—in fact, it's frequently not the case." Other fabrication specialists participating in the not-to-be missed discussion include moderator Hauke Jungjohann (Thornton Tomasetti) and co-panelists L. William Zahner (A. Zahner Company), James Carpenter (James Carpenter Design Associates), and Mic Patterson (Enclos). The gap between the potential offered by digital tools and the reality of building a high performance facade is exactly where things get interesting, said Kreysler. "Designers are becoming much more entangled in the manufacturing process," he observed. Once upon a time, a designer's involvement in every stage of a project's development, from concept through construction, was par for the course. But mass production techniques and concerns over liability eventually encouraged AEC industry professionals to retreat to separate camps. With the introduction of digital design tools, the pendulum began its swing back. "All of a sudden architects are designing buildings that nobody knows how to build," said Kreysler. Armed with 3D design documents, computer cutting tools, and other technology, designers are once again equipped to help brainstorm solutions to construction quandaries. As much as digital design software has enhanced the architect's skill set, specialized fabrication knowledge and experience remains relevant. Recent technological developments "are good for architects who are skilled, but that's where craftsmanship comes into it," said Kreysler. "If you don't know your tools, you can design something that turns out not to be possible to build." A practiced fabricator, meanwhile, spends his or her working days discerning the line between the buildable and folly. "The architect is discovering that in certain circumstances their best friend is the fabricator, the guy who says you can [manipulate a given material] this much—that's the kind of embedded knowledge that general contractors don't have, that architects don't have," said Kreysler. "It's a hive of bees rather than a lone operator. That's antithetical to the traditional mode in the construction industry. We're in a state of transition; the industry is changing, which is good." Hear more from Kreysler and co-panelists at Facades+ NYC. Register today to secure a space at the symposium on Day 1 and your preferred lab or dialog workshop on Day 2.

AN’s 2016 Facades+ conference series kicks off in Los Angeles

“We don’t need walls anymore.  We need living, breathing systems that provide so much more to the urban realm than keeping in conditioned air and keeping out noise and pollutants.” - Will Wright, AIA|LA

Los Angeles’ 2016 Facades+ Conference, presented by The Architect’s Newspaper, is the 18th event in an ongoing series of conferences and forums that have unfolded in cities across the nation, including New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, D.C., and Chicago. Held at the L.A. Hotel Downtown, the conference incorporated architects, engineers, fabricators, and innovative material manufacturers into a multidisciplinary two-day event covering the state of building envelope design thinking today. The daylong symposium kicked off with spirited remarks by Will Wright, Director of Government & Public Affairs at AIA L.A., where he set forth a plea for stronger emphasis on localism and craftsmanship. Co-chaired by Kevin Kavanagh and Alex Korter of CO Architects, the event included AIA LA, four local architecture schools – UCLA, USC, Woodbury, and Cal Poly Pomona – and a robust collection of Los Angeles-based architecture firms. Four panel discussions throughout the day covered the influence of building envelopes on business, education, structural design, and data analysis. The conversations engaged audience participation through an interactive, web-based tool called Sli.do. In a morning panel discussion titled “Money Well Spent? An Owner’s Perspective on the Value of Facades,” moderator Kevin Kavanagh spoke with representatives from Kaiser Permanente, Kitchell, and The Ratkovich Company on finding the right balance between aesthetics, energy performance, fiscal responsibility, and efficient project scheduling. During breaks, conference attendees attended a “Methods+Materials” gallery that highlighted innovative building envelope materials such as electrochromic glass, metal mesh fabric with integrated media display, and ultra-compact surfacing products. The symposium was highlighted by keynote addresses from Enrique Norten and Eric Owen Moss.
  • Presented by The Architect's Newspaper
  • 2016 Conference Chair YKK AP America
  • Gold Sponsors GKD Metal Fabrics View Dynamic Glass
  • Methods+Materials Gallery 3M, Agnora, Akzo Nobel, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Cambridge Architectural, CE|Strong, Consolidated Glass Holdings, Cosentino, CRL-U.S. Aluminum, Elward, Giroux Glass, Glasswerks, Guardian, Kawneer, Nichiha, Ollin Stone, POHL Group, Porcelanosa, PPG IdeaScapes, Prodema, Rigidized Metals, Roxul, Sapa, Schüco, Sedak, Sika, STI, Terracore, Tremco, UL, UltraGlas, Vitrocsa, and Walter P Moore
Norten’s opening keynote set forth an argument for a socially responsible architecture integrated into the city via infrastructural, landscape, and public space projects. He cited works of his firm, TEN Arquitectos, which incorporate topographical manipulations of the landscape to establish social spaces of public engagement. His work intentionally camouflages the building envelope into a contextual landscape—be it an adjacent park or cityscape—to dissolve the separation between public and private. Eric Owen Moss spoke in the afternoon, questioning at what point the conceptual content of a project becomes lost amidst constructional realities. Through recent work of his firm, Eric Owen Moss Architects, he focused on building envelope details that strayed from original design intent, transforming in concept and tectonics as engineers, fabricators, and contractors participated in the process. In a panel discussion titled “Bytes, Dollars, EUI: Data Streams and Envelopes,” Moderator William Menking, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, spoke with Atelier 10, Gehry Technologies, and CPG regarding tools and processes facilitating facade analysis and optimization. Sameer Kashyap (Gehry Technologies) shared perhaps the most bewildering stat of the day—that GT was able to script processes which allowed two people to produce over 1200 shop drawings per day for 33 weeks in the coordination of a highly complex facade system. Paul Zajfen of CO Architects rounded out the day with a presentation titled “Facades: A Manifestation of Client, Culture, Climate,” where he argued for contextually specific design producing a facade that “would not be possible at any other time—and in no other place.” The symposium was followed on day two with a series of “dialog” and “lab” workshops covering net-zero facade systems, digital fabrication processes, curtain wall design, and advanced facade analysis. A full roster of organizers and sponsors can be found on the conference website. The Los Angeles event was the first in 2016 of a seven-city lineup, and will be followed by a Facades+AM morning forum in Washington, D.C., on March 10th. The next two-day conference will take place in New York City April 21st and 22nd.

Facades pro Hagy Belzberg to architects: bring engineers on board sooner

Architects have long relied on engineers to help execute formally or functionally complex concepts. But, as Belzberg Architects founder Hagy Belzberg points out, "architects usually work out a schematic design" in response to a client's needs, "only later to invite the engineer to help substantiate their idea." Belzberg's own experience collaborating with facade engineers at Arup suggests a different approach—one in which the designers and consultants trade ideas and expertise from the very beginning. With Arup's Matt Williams, Belzberg will outline some of the benefits of a close association among AEC industry professionals through two cutting-edge case studies at next week's Facades+ LA conference. Belzberg and Williams' dialog workshop, "Process Shaping Design: Design, Digital Fabrication, and Delivery" is organized around two projects with distinct origins. The first is the Gores Group Headquarters (9800 Wilshire Boulevard) in Los Angeles. "The building will be a case study in how adaptive facades can help us reappropriate existing buildings so we don't have to knock them down," said Belzberg. Digital fabrication technology, he explained, allowed Belzberg Architects to craft a new envelope that is "highly sculptural and unique, but still performative." The second case study examines a series of commercial buildings in Mexico City. "It's the same digital fabrication on a new building," said Belzberg. In contrast to the more typical approach, Belzberg Architects brought Arup on board before touching pencil to paper (or hand to computer mouse). "What we're trying to promote is a case study in which we brought in the engineers on day one, so it becomes more performative, more efficient, and even more cost-effective," said Belzberg. Besides sharing some of their own work, Belzberg and Williams hope to use the workshop to dig into other examples—cases contributed by the participants themselves. "No one's going to have to do any homework, or any sketches," said Belzberg. "But we want people to come in with case studies of their own that we can work on: Not just questions and answers, but we're hoping that other architects will bring real-life scenarios so that we can brainstorm opportunities. It's not just about our work, but an opportunity to discuss audience case studies." To sign up for "Process Shaping Design" or another lab or dialog workshop, register today for Facades+ LA. Learn more and review the symposium agenda on the conference website.

High-Design Parking Garage by IwamotoScott

Digitally-fabricated folded aluminum screen animates a utilitarian structure.

In the Miami Design District, even the parking garages are works of art. The recently completed City View Garage is no exception, thanks in part to a folded aluminum facade designed by IwamotoScott. Part of a design team that included developers Dacra and LVMH/L Real Estate, architect of record TimHaahs Engineers & Architects, architects Leong Leong, and artist John Baldessari, IwamotoScott crafted a three-dimensional metal screen for the southeast corner of the garage. Digitally fabricated by Zahner, the skin's gradient apertures and color pattern transform a utilitarian structure into an animated advertisement for South Florida's hottest creative neighborhood. IwamotoScott submitted multiple concept designs to the developers. "We had three really different schemes—they ranged in their complexity," said founding partner Lisa Iwamoto. "The one they came back with was the most complex, the most articulated facade. We were really happy with the choice." The final design was influenced by a series of external constraints, beginning with the desire to conceal parked cars from view. "It's a Miami thing; they don't really want to see the cars in the garage," explained Iwamoto. She pointed to the car park at 1111 Lincoln Road, where architects Herzog and de Meuron solved the visibility problem by consolidating the parking spaces at the center of each floor, away from the periphery. "For us that wasn't possible," she said. "The cars come right up to the edge so we had to find other ways of screening them." Another factor was the location of the property line—a mere eight inches out from the floor plate. This left IwamotoScott with less than a foot for both the skin and its supporting structure. "The strategy was how to create some optical three dimensionality, a facade that wouldn't feel static, visually," said Iwamoto. "That was our starting point. Then it was a lot of tweaking and geometric studies for how we could achieve those effects and make it buildable." The metal panels' geometric folds contribute to the feeling of depth, and add the stiffness necessary to meet Miami's heavy wind load requirements. In addition, the folds create a moving display of light and color under the city's ever-shifting skies, observed founding partner Craig Scott. "The faceting of the facade was a double payoff."
  • Facade Manufacturer A. Zahner Company
  • Architects IwamotoScott Architecture
  • Facade Installer A. Zahner Company (metal screen), KVC Constructors (office storefront)
  • Location Miami, FL
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System digitally-fabricated aluminum panels on custom cantilevered aluminum structure, glass storefront
  • Products aluminum, glass
The aluminum screen comprises five panel types. All have the same border shape, but the dimensions of the apertures change from type to type. In early computer drawings, IwamotoScott modeled each panel type in a different color to keep track of the pattern. Over time, explained Iwamoto, "the colors became important to us, so that's how we rendered it." The client liked it, too, so the screen was ultimately painted in a custom spectrum reinforcing the aperture gradient. But while the facade is in reality a panel system, "we were interested in having it feel more like a mural than panels—almost like a piece of fabric draped over the garage," said Iwamoto. "For us it was important that the seams did not follow a more conventional pattern of vertical lines." The apertures are arranged in an offset grid, and the architects avoided a simple system of vertical supports. Instead, the skin hangs from a collection of staggered aluminum fins affixed to the garage's concrete slabs. Zahner fabricated the metal facade in their Kansas City factory. Because they were working on a design-assist basis, the architects were able to make multiple trips to the production facility. "It was cool, because they would make a panel, and we'd say, 'that's almost right'" before adjusting the angle of the fold by a fraction of a degree, said Iwamoto. "It's amazing how many ways there are to skin a cat." Happily for the architects, Zahner's in-house analysis resulted in a panel system remarkably close to what IwamotoScott had envisioned. "I'm delighted with how we ended up," said Iwamoto. "We did our due diligence [in terms of exploring alternative fabrication schemes], but it wound up that the best way to build it was the way we had conceived it." IwamotoScott also took control of an adjacent section of the garage envelope: an open entry stair, elevator bay, and multistory office block. "That was a bonus for us," said Iwamoto. "Rather than someone else designing it, it just made sense for us to do it—it was really part of our elevation." Because so much of the project budget went to the garage skin, the architects stuck with a basic storefront system. "We wanted to make something simple that still had a design character sympathetic to the garage facade." To create a similar sense of animation, they slightly cantilevered each floor and utilized glass panes of different widths and opacities. IwamotoScott completed work on the office tower through design development; TimHaahs took the reigns when it came to detailing and beyond. Part of why IwamotoScott was particularly eager to design the southeast corner of City View Garage was that it is the portion of the structure directly facing the heart of the Miami Design District. The developers' vision for the neighborhood is "such an ambitious plan overall," said Iwamoto. It is a vision that is rapidly coming to fruition, as she herself has witnessed first-hand. "From the time we started work on the project to when it wasn't even 100 percent complete, the area was transformed," she said. "That's really exciting."

Talking SHoP with facades expert Gregg Pasquarelli

Since its founding in 1996, SHoP Architects has been committed to fostering architectural innovation despite on-the-ground constraints. In New York, those constraints often take the form of municipal regulations. "From day one SHoP was always a firm that was interested in pushing the limits of design, really getting into materials and craftsmanship," said principal Gregg Pasquarelli. "But we were also building in the pressure tank of New York, where a lot of the innovation has to occur in the skins of the buildings, because zoning is so prescriptive." Pasquarelli will outline his firm's approach to cutting-edge facade design in the context of New York's regulatory environment in the afternoon keynote address at next month's Facades+ NYC conference. For SHoP, "innovation" extends not just to the materials and systems the firm uses, but to the way the architects with other members of the AEC industry. "We learned that to build innovative facades, we had to interact with the construction industry in a new way," he said. In 2003, for a 20,000-square-foot addition to the historic Porter House warehouse, the designers collaborated with the fabricator to digitally design a custom zinc skin. "It was 2002 and it was the first facade completely designed and manufactured using 100 percent digital fabrication," said Pasquarelli. "We were way out in front of everyone, but it was our joint venture with the developer and the contractor that allowed innovation." SHoP has carried a similar strategy through to more recent projects, including the 2012 Barclays Center, which Pasquarelli describes as “ the only way to get that facade built was to create a joint venture with the contractor in order to fabricate the 12,000 panels of weathered steel for the facade." SHoP is known for, among other things, its creative use of a varied material palette. The paired towers of 626 First Avenue, currently under construction, are clad in copper; the recently-unveiled 111 West 57th Street high-rise features a terra cotta and bronze envelope. The diversity, said Pasquarelli, "is more about experimentation than anything else. The thing we don't like is working with finished materials. We are interested in raw materials, how they patina and age over time." But while many of SHoP's designs draw inspiration from the colors and textures of Manhattan's historic built environment, the architects never lose sight of their ultimate goal: moving building design forward. "What are the limits of these materials now that we're using CNC equipment to digitally fabricate facades?" asks Pasquarelli. "How can we rethink how traditional materials are used in a very twenty-first-century way?" For more information or to register for Facades+ NYC, visit the conference website.