Posts tagged with "Facade":

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Just three concrete panel forms created this dramatic facade in Toronto

Often times, precast concrete is synonymous with monotonous architecture, but not in the case of Batay-Csorba Architect’s new 32,000-square-foot boutique office building in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighborhood. Dubbed "(Misfit)fit," the project consists of flexible office spaces spread over four of the building’s six stories, with retail space on the ground floor and a rooftop sculpture garden and event space that frames dramatic views of the Toronto skyline. When choosing the material for (Misfit)fit, the architects wished to add to the presence of precast concrete in the Toronto area without directly replicating previous examples. They chose, instead, to look within the Liberty Village neighborhood and found inspiration in the area's historic factory buildings. The articulation of brick along the openings and roof lines of these historic structures embodied the economy of mass production without the monotony that often plagues precast concrete structures. In order to create similar articulation on this facade, Batay-Csorba utilized modern fabrication techniques to create molds for two unique panels. Both of the larger panels were then divided into six sub-panels, which could be removed to create openings in the facade. With this system of panels and sub-panels, the architects were able to use a minimal number of molds to create maximum variety in a system similar to the historic bricks they studied. The stacked panels shift and rotate to create a definitive pattern that reads as unified but not monolithic. As the architects describe in their press release:
As panels are confronted with one another, their incompatibility is abrupt and glaringly obvious, allowing each element to be read independently against the larger mass. Individual edges and profiles are pronounced, reading not as a singularity but as a rough stacking of objects that have found their equilibrium.
(Misfit)fit stands with the weightiness of concrete and the variety of a brick system, a compilation of misfits working in harmony.
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ETFE and facade engineering in Miami

Federico Balestrazzi, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, is a leader of the facade engineering practice for the mid-Atlantic South region of the firm’s operations. He, along with other associates of the engineering firm, will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference. Thornton Tomasetti’s facade engineering team specializes in the design and construction of complex building enclosures and facades, particularly high-rise curtain wall systems, and provides innovative approaches that are both practical and cost-effective. Balestrazzi will be presenting insights into recently completed arena and stadium work like the Miami Dolphins stadium renovation that carefully integrates structure with facade engineering. The project team designed a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) shade canopy. Inflated pillows of ETFE cover the canopy, blocking rain and direct sun from the seating bowl while letting light in. In a recent blog post about the firm’s research into ETFE, Thornton Tomasetti said, “We believe the high-visibility use of ETFE at the Hard Rock and U.S. Bank stadiums (as well as in other buildings, like ARTIC and The Shed) marks a turning point in its adoption as a viable option for transparent roofs, skylights and building envelopes in the U.S.” The transparent polymer foil is celebrated for its unique properties: It is highly durable, low maintenance, lightweight, and admits the full spectrum of light (including UV, which allows for plant growth). Balestrazzi said roughly half of the projects he works on are sited locally in the Miami area, and that these projects must respond to environmental conditions unique to the region. "Being in a hurricane region completely changes the game when it comes to wall performance. Dealing with the threat of hurricanes on a yearly basis is a very local phenomenon." You can see Balestrazzi’s presentation on facade engineering at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference, on January 26 and/or take part in a Thornton Tomasetti workshop, “Choosing Between the Titans: Glass vs ETFE.” Registration is open now. For further details, visit the Facades+ Miami site.
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This is the best performing all-glass facade system in SOM’s history

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Brought to you with support from
Surrounded by parkland and built on a former industrial site, the new JTI Headquarters is located in a Geneva district home to prestigious international organizations. JTI (Japan Tobacco International) is a global tobacco company whose flagship brands include Winston, Camel, Mild Seven, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut. The competition-winning design consolidates four existing JTI premises within a single landmark building. The project—a collaboration between SOM’s architecture, structural engineering, and interior teams—was led by their London office, but involved expertise from SOM offices in New York and Chicago, along with architects on site in Geneva throughout construction. Kent Jackson, design partner at SOM, said the new building demonstrates SOM’s commitment to integrated design, sustainability, and innovative workplace solutions. "Clearly we feel it is a huge benefit to bring all of our disciplines together and bringing different experts from across our offices. This is something we think brings added value to a project."
  • Facade Manufacturer Josef Gertner AG
  • Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Burckhardt+Partner AG (Local Architect)
  • Facade Installer Josef Gartner AG (facade contractor)
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System Closed Cavity Facade (CCF)
  • Products Interpane ipasol bright white coating on low-iron glass (Outer solar control glass); Interpane iplus 3E coatings on low-iron glass (Inner triple insulated glass); Mechoshade Thermoveil 1519 ‘ Silver Birch’ (Shading blinds within cavity); Christian Pohl GmbH (Anodized aluminum perforated soffit panels)
The building’s innovative Closed Cavity Facade (CCF) was designed in collaboration with Josef Gartner GmbH as a unitized curtain wall system that responds to the demands of seasonally changing external climatic conditions while providing exceptional views out and maximizing daylight penetration into the workspace. The facade prioritizes occupant comfort and reduces the energy demand and carbon emissions of the building, helping it to meet the requirements of European energy directives and the Swiss Minergie sustainability rating. The floor-to-ceiling glazed panels measure approximately 10-foot-wide-by-14-feet-tall and consist of triple glazing on the inner layer and single glazing on the outer, forming a cavity with a fabric roller blind in between. One challenge with a typical double skin facade is the risk of condensation and dirt in the cavity. This introduces the need to provide maintenance access to the cavity, either by opening up the interior side or exterior side of the assembly. The closed cavity facade at JTI reduces these requirements, because rather than drawing external air into the cavity, the cavity is pressurized with a very small amount of filtered and dehumidified air from a pipe system that runs around the perimeter of the building. This ensures dirt and moisture from outside don't travel through into the cavity, while also preventing condensation inside the cavity. To achieve this design, SOM relied on facade contractors who have become skilled in the assembly of envelopes that minimize building air leakage. Martin Grinnell, Associate Director at SOM and Technical Lead on the project, attributes this to increasingly stringent air tightness standards in Europe, where many buildings undergo building envelope pressure testing. "We were confident we could achieve this design and get a very careful balance of air tightness with a modest pump in the basement to pressurize all of the facade panels." The German-made closed cavity facade was shop-built in individual unitized panels comprised of both the inner and outer layer of glazing. By producing these units in a controlled factory environment, the fabrication sequence could ensure the cavity remained clean throughout the construction process. The panels were tested in the factory for air tightness, and whilst stored in the yard of the factory they were temporarily tapped into an air supply system which kept the cavity pressurized prior to delivery to site. Once installed on site, the panels were plugged immediately into a network of pressurized air so that the cavity would not draw in dirty air or moisture from construction activity. With just a single glazed pane on the outer layer of the facade, Grinnell says the project team was able to produce a more expressive facade. “We were able to achieve a quilted appearance on the outside; incorporating very delicate mullions, transoms, and diagonal elements because we were using a single outer layer. We were able to facet this layer much more easily than if we were trying to do that with a double or triple glazed layer. I think this lent a real delicacy to the detailing of the outer skin of the facade." Grinnell said the facade represents one of the best performing all-glass facade systems in SOM’s history. "This was a great project, and is a great demonstration of what a closed cavity facade system can do. We're very proud of it. All of the European countries—UK included—are pushing harder and harder on energy efficiency, and clients are quite rightly looking to us to improve the efficiency of our facades. We are going to be developing more and more facades which rely on dynamic performance—having to achieve very good solar control in the summer, while admitting sunlight in the winter—and the closed cavity facade is a really interesting solution to achieve that."
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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.

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2016 Best of Design Award in Facade: Vagelos Education Center by DS+R with Gensler

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 Facade: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center at Columbia University

Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Gensler Location: New York, NY

This state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building at Columbia University embraces how medicine is taught, learned, and practiced in the 21st century. The facility rethinks the conventional stacked floor plate typology of high-rise buildings by complementing traditional classroom and laboratory spaces at the north side of the building with a network of social and collaborative study alcoves that connect via a cascading open staircase on its south side. By combining this with a range of sustainable features, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler have created a forward-looking training ground for future healthcare practitioners.

Facade Consultant BuroHappold

Structural Engineer Leslie E. Roberston Associates Curtain Wall Fabricator/Installer Josef Gartner, Permasteelisa Group Glass BGT Bischoff Glastechnik AG Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) David Kucera, Inc.

Honorable Mention, Facade: 371 Broadway

Architect: ODA New York Location: New York, NY

To balance this building’s modern appeal with the old world aesthetics of its environment, ODA New York reinterpreted Tribeca’s cast-iron typology with curving, basket-weave brick that expresses a similar scale to that of its pre-war neighbors.

Honorable Mention, Facade: USTA Grandstand Stadium

Architect: Rossetti Location: Queens, NY

The stadium facade is composed of 486 individual Teflon-coated fiberglass membranes that vary in opacity and translucence, offering glimpses in and out of the stadium as if through foliage.

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SlenderWall: A high-performance architectural cladding system

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BROUGHT TO YOU WITH SUPPORT FROM
Architectural precast panels are durable, factory-made for quality, and offer an unlimited vocabulary for the architect’s expression. However, they can sometimes produce challenges to a construction project due to their weight. SlenderWall is a relatively new product designed to simplify architectural precast construction. It incorporates the design flexibility of precast into a lighter-weight assembly that also includes a vapor barrier, insulation, and interior framing studs.
  • Facade Manufacturer Smith-Midland Corp. (producer); Easi-Set Worldwide (licensor)
  • Architects Kaczmar Architects Inc.
  • Facade Installer Forest City Erectors, Walsh Construction (contractor)
  • Location Cleveland, OH
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System curtain wall
  • Products SlenderWall by Easi-Set® Worldwide (precast concrete in acid washed finish)
Chris Grogan, a representative with Smith-Midland Corp., a licensed manufacturer of SlenderWall panels, said that since the assembly is essentially an architectural finish concrete product, the aesthetics of the panels can be fully customizable just as with typical precast panel construction. "There's an infinite number of mix designs and the forming process is very similar to standard precast. The only difference is the framework which incorporates interior framing studs. The way we finish the panels is the same as well." SlenderWall is technically a lightweight curtain wall assembly that is thermal and fire code compliant. It is an entire envelope system packaged into a monolithic, panelized unit. This equates to fewer trades in the field who deal with the assembly of a building's facade. Grogan refers to SlenderWall as a “turnkey” approach to construction: "The product eliminates a lot of time and effort and potential risk for the contractor in the field. Now he has to worry about one trade, rather than four or five." The system’s two-inch exterior precast panel is composed of architectural concrete and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers with welded-wire reinforcement. Stainless-steel fasteners attach this exterior concrete face to 14- and 16-gauge, G90 galvanized steel studs in a way that creates a thermal air gap filled with factory-applied, closed-cell foam insulation. The product is marketed as a lighter-weight version of traditional six-inch precast—at only a third of the weight—and was initially produced to replace typical precast systems. This is exactly what happened at the Holiday Inn on the Cleveland Clinic campus in Ohio, where a decision was made to convert the designed facade from traditional precast to an integrated wall assembly due to the cost of craning heavier panels eight stories into the area. The decision to adopt SlenderWall into the design resulted in a design-build delivery format for the entire building envelope. The nine-story, 276-room hotel, designed by Kaczmar Architects, Inc. (KAI) integrated Cleveland Clinic's architectural guidelines, which called for a minimal palette with specific wood trim detailing and modern detailing. Traditional precast detailing at the base of the building, also manufactured by Smith-Midland, was able to produce a compatible aesthetic. Typical jobs that use the SlenderWall product involve high levels of coordination among the contractor, the architect, and licensed manufacturers like Smith-Midland, which ultimately lays out the panels to meet project-specific structural and aesthetic requirements. This is the lengthiest part of the process, according to Grogan, but results in a highly efficient factory-controlled fabrication process, and a fast-tracked construction process in the field. Cost savings are maximized when highly repetitive high-rise designs are able to incorporate larger format panels, and a single set of plans and details will take care of the entire building envelope. Contractors eliminate the scheduling and warranty issues that arise when multiple insulation and interior framing crews are required—and, in high-rises, the challenges of bringing in the oversized cranes necessary to lift significantly heavier architectural precast panels into place (as was the case for the Holiday Inn) are eliminated. Aside from the Cleveland Clinic Holiday Inn, other projects include ETS Montreal, a student-housing complex with three-color panels in 32 different window configurations and factory-applied R-21 closed-cell foam and factory-installed windows. And, due to its light weight, SlenderWall is easily installed on job sites with reduced access such as with Hyatt House, a $90-million 13-story hotel on Jersey City's waterfront. The re-cladding of a nine-story building on the Johns Hopkins Medicine Baltimore Campus also benefited from the lightweight SlenderWall system. Its 30 pounds-per-square-foot specification and unique composite construction allowed for re-cladding to take place without the removal of the old fascia. There was also no need for additional superstructure or foundation costs and the facility was able to stay operational during the exterior renovation.
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NYC landlord whose building killed toddler slapped with criminal charges

Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Rick Chandler announced today that the owner of an Upper West Side building where a child was struck and killed by falling debris was charged with violating the city's administrative code. Esplanade Venture Partnership and Alexander Scharf, the managing agent and principal majority shareholder of 305 West End Avenue, were charged with violations of the Administrative Code in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday in relation to a May 2015 incident in which a child was killed by a falling piece of the building's facade. Scharf and his partnership were charged with violating articles of the code that require "all parts of a building, including the exterior walls and appurtenances, to be maintained in a safe condition," a DOB press release explained. The defendant was notified of deficits in the facade that threatened the public's safety yet failed to make needed repairs. Scharf allegedly made minimal repairs to the building's facade but allowed gross deterioration to continue unabated. For his deliberate abdication of appropriate facade maintenance, Scharf faces up to a year in jail and/or a maximum penalty of $25,000. “When you own a building, you have a responsibility to maintain it—you don’t just get to cash the rent checks and call it a day,” said Chandler in a statement. “I hope these criminal charges will send a message that building owners can’t turn a blind eye to maintenance. They have a legal responsibility to their tenants, and to the public, to keep their properties safe.” This particular facade debacle prompted the department, in collaboration with Department of Investigation (DOI), to boost facade rules compliance. The DOB now tracks all Local Law 11 inspection reports, imposes a new timeline on owners who fail to comply, and implements new inspection requirements if owners fail to maintain and inspect their facades appropriately.
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Hear publisher and conference director Diana Darling on a new podcast

Listen to The Architect's Newspaper publisher and Facades+ conference director Diana Darling speak on the latest edition of Everything Building Envelope, a podcast that highlights the latest innovations in the building envelope industry. She discusses the company and its mission changes over the years, which includes the growth of the Facades+ program of conferences and editorial content. You can hear all about the events, who attends, and get up to date on where and when the next big things will be happening. She also gives a sneak peak of our latest project, the Tech+ Expo, a cutting-edge gathering of AEC industry experts and professionals that focuses on how technology is changing how we make and experience our built environment. Check out the latest episode with Diana Darling here.
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SOM completes trapezoid-clad tower in Beijing

The Chicago office of SOM recently completed a 55-story tower—called the Beijing Greenland Center—in the Dawangjing business district of Beijing. The mixed-use project is clad in a trapezoidal facade that's meant to catch and reflect daylight in the often overcast city. The Beijing Greenland Center is comprised of Class A office space and 178 apartments on top of a multi-story retail podium. SOM was also responsible for the masterplanning of the Dawangjing business district. The mixed-use development is located between Beijing's historic core and the Beijing Capital International Airport, northeast of the city. Along with the Beijing Greenland Center, SOM has also designed several other towers for the district. The tower’s trapezoidal skin is part of building’s sustainability systems. The undulating trapezoids provide self-shading on all sides of the building. Other sustainable systems include a Direct Digital Control building automation system, a heat reclaim wheel, and water-side economizer to utilize evaporative cooling. These systems account for an estimated 30% reduction in energy use and water consumption compared to baseline.
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Payette’s Andrea Love on Boston’s high performance skyline

High performance building envelopes have the potential to play a crucial role in reshaping Boston's architectural identity, explained Andrea Love, Director of Building Science at Payette. "A number of buildings of the past were all glass boxes that could be located in any climate anywhere. I think we have an opportunity to create climate responsive facades that reflect the location they are in." Love will expand on the theme at this month's Facades+AM Boston symposium, where she joins NADAAA Principal Nader Tehrani and Studio NYL Founding Principal Christopher O'Hara in a presentation block on "Boston's High Performance Skyline." Happily, Boston's AEC industry professionals have a head start when it comes to designing and building environmentally-efficient facades. "I think that because of the Stretch Code and current energy code in Massachusetts, Boston leads much of the country in terms of high performance envelopes," said Love. Aggressive code requirements encourage rigorous evaluation and creative problem-solving. At the same time, she explained, "many local clients in the Boston area also have environmental and climate commitments which further reinforces the need for high performance facades."
This is not to say that there is no room for improvement. Even Boston lags behind much of Europe, for instance. Love points to triple glazing as an example of a facade component that, while more or less standard in Europe, has only recently become more common in New England. In addition, she said, architects, engineers, and contractors must work to further their understanding in issues including thermal bridging and the relationship between facades and occupant comfort. "As an industry, I don't think we focus enough on how our building envelopes impact visual and thermal comfort in the spaces that are being created," explained Love. Love is excited about the multiplicative effect an increase in energy literacy has had on designers and builders. "It's a ripple effect—we are becoming more sophisticated in our understanding of how facades influence building performance," she said. "We're also improving how we incorporate analysis tools that allow us to make more informed decisions [during] our design process. And we continue to optimize the performance of our facades with strategies like increasing insulation, high performing glazing and sunshades that actually impact building performance." Learn more from Love and other movers and shakers in the facades world at Facades+AM Boston. Sign up today for one of the limited remaining seats.
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REX revamps the facade of Davis Brody (Bond)’s 1970 Five Manhattan West

Original Architect: Davis Brody Architect: REX Steel manufacturer and installer: Permasteelisa Date of Completion: 1970 Date of retrofit completion: expected 2016

Before BIG built its pyramid on New York’s west side, there was the concrete ziggurat at 450 West 33rd Street, designed by Davis Brody (now Davis Brody Bond) and completed in 1970. The 16-story office building lost whatever Brutalist charm it possessed when, in the 1980s, its precast concrete facade was painted beige and covered with brown metal panels and it gained the dubious honor of being one of the ugliest structures in New York. Now known as Five Manhattan West, the building is undergoing another makeover, spearheaded by REX, to update its facade with the latest in form-fitting fenestration.

The client, Brookfield Office Properties, was committed to transforming its ugly duckling into a swan. “If anything, our initial design sketches weren’t ambitious enough,” said REX founding principal Joshua Prince-Ramus. “We were trying to do something innovative and exciting thinking that we were pushing the envelope, and then they said ‘it’s a bigger envelope.’” REX ultimately devised a “pleated” glass facade that ripples down the building to flood the large, open interiors with light. These pleats are composed of panels angling out toward each other from the floor and ceiling, a design driven by the need to mitigate the structure’s slope, which limited the leasable space along the interior perimeter. But the unique form is more than just window dressing. According to Prince-Ramus, “What’s interesting about the geometry is that the sun doesn’t hit the lower piece of glass, so we can have a building that is transparent and simultaneously energy efficient.”

Every adaptive reuse project presents unique and unexpected challenges. To compensate for weakness or irregularity in the nearly 50-year-old concrete slabs, REX devised an unobtrusive steel substructure to support their new facade. Beyond re-cladding the building, the architects dramatically reconfigured its lobby and improved its core and mechanical systems. Impressively, this was all done while tenants continued to occupy the building.

The glistening glass pyramid will anchor Brookfield’s adjacent Manhattan West development and its investment and ambition seem to be paying off. The massive floor slabs and floor-to-ceiling windows are attracting tech companies and other businesses looking for nontraditional office space. The anything-but-retro retrofit will be completed by the end of this year but the transformation is already profound. At street level, Five Manhattan West feels brighter and less imposing. Though its edges may have softened, the once-Brutalist building still cuts a distinct figure among the increasingly anonymous glass towers of Manhattan.

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Glass breaks, shines, and shares spotlight at Facades+

The 18th conference in the Facades+ series was presented by The Architect's Newspaper (AN) at Metropolitan West on April 21. With YKK AP as 2016 conference chair, a record-breaking attendance of over 500 design professionals, 60 other sponsoring organizations, and additional workshops held at New York Law School on April 22, Facades+ explored the potentials of new materials, fabrication processes, and design strategies on scales from single windows to urban districts. Facades+, a mobile event offered several times a year since 2012 (hitting seven U.S. cities during 2016), offers regular updates on high-performance enclosures. Contemporary technologies and materials, participants noted, allow increasing control of light and heat as well as expanding design options; at the same time, specialists argued for tempering expectations about parametric design and renewable power generation. “Glass is really the material of the 21st century,” asserted morning keynote speaker and 2016 Jane Drew Prize winner Odile Decq, discussing innovative combinations of laminated glass with external sunscreens, embedded textiles, and other elements. Decq led the audience through a series of projects employing transparency, color, and stylistic contrasts, including the Banque Popular de l’Ouest in Rennes (with Peter Rice), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, the Garnier Opera House restaurant in Paris, and the Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark Museum in Nanjing. Architecture can look to the auto industry, she added, for advances in safety, self-cleaning, and energy management that are adaptable to buildings. In contrast, rising energy concerns mean that “glass is no longer king,” said Buro Happold's Jonathan Sakula; it is part of a broader material repertoire. Stringent codes often make triple glazing difficult to avoid, he noted, despite disadvantages in weight, acoustics, and cost. Responding to an audience question about curtain walls as media for power generation, NY conference co-chair KPF's Shawn Duffy suggested that building-integrated photovoltaics are not yet realizing their potential. Among featured buildings with concrete or masonry façades, standouts included DDG's 12 Warren Street condo clad in Catskill bluestone, discussed by Peter Guthrie, and S9 Architects' 205 Water Street, a gritty neo-brutalist grid of board-formed concrete and exposed steel where, in engineer Stephen DeSimone's pithy phrase, “the structure is the façade.” Technical briefings covered distinctions between fire-resistive and fire-protective glazing (Tim Nass of Saftifirst), woven-metal shading (Tom Powley of GKD-USA), and a dramatic breakage test by Kuraray's Mark Jacobson comparing polyvinyl butyral and SentryGlas ionoplast interlayers (hammer blows to the edge shattered both panes, but only the latter resisted crumpling). YKK's Bang Ting Tan described a top-down curtain-wall retrofitting method that outperforms conventional procedures in safety, weathertightness, and work-cycle efficiency. Tension between design ideals and constraints of economics, zoning, context, and client input was a recurrent theme. In a panel on Related's 17-million-square-foot Hudson Yards, William Pedersen commented that “the ability to achieve structural purity in a speculative office building is almost impossible” because dimensional requirements guide formal gestures. Yet the Yards hardly shortchange aesthetics: KPF's chamfered-cornered north and south towers will “perform a choreographed dance” near the High Line and the ETFE cushions of the Culture Shed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Rockwell Group, and Tower D by the latter team plus Ismael Leyva Architects will morph from a rectangular base to a quatrefoil as it rises. Neil Thelen (Thelen Design Group) hailed the subtleties in this tower's residential entrance of CNC-milled stone and the curtain-wall panels' complex geometries. Another high point was Thomas Phifer's afternoon keynote presenting designs from the Salt Lake City U.S. courthouse to the Corning Museum of Glass, augmented by a Q&A with AN's Matt Shaw considering local variations in light quality. “The light is the one thing that always surprises you when you build,” noted Phifer. Enclos's Mic Patterson provided a sobering note in the concluding panel on digital fabrication. Despite impressive recent projects—Hoeweler Yoon's Sean Collier Memorial of milled granite, James Carpenter's Fulton Center Sky Reflector-Net, and Kreysler & Associates/Enclos's fiber-reinforced plastic rainscreens for Snøhetta's San Francisco Museum of Modern Art—the gap between “those buzzwords we have in our industry” and seamy real-world transitions between programs or contractors can be alarming. “The obvious trend is accelerating complexity of the building skin.... How much complexity is sustainable?” Patterson asked. “All you have to do is visit a university architecture program: kids go nuts with Rhino, but nobody's talking craftsmanship.” The precise woodwork in Kahn's Escherick House, he added, “screams, 'Digitize this, sucker!'”—a challenge for everyone to take home.