In Basel, Switzerland, there's a building that, at first glance, appears to be a little, well, off. Focus your attention and you will indeed see a building that has been designed to look like a glitch. https://youtu.be/cIT9Cr_Dn8o One feels as if he or she is walking around in a real life Google Street View world where every now and then buildings and roads aren't quite complete or don't fully line up. However, much to the onlookers' confusion, this is real life. No dodgy photo patching here. The building is the brainchild of !Mediengruppe Bitnik, comprised of London-based, Swiss artists Domagoj Smoljo and Carmen Weisskopf. The pair of cyber legends, famed for their Random Darknet Shopper Bot which trawled the dark web buying items on its own accord, have taken their art into the built environment. Their building will act as a museum showcasing more digital art for the House of Electronic Arts Basel. Meanwhile the items that their bot purchased, some of which is illegal and ended up getting the duo arrested, can be seen at the KunstHalle in St. Gallen. Initially seized by Swiss authorities, all items bar the $48 worth of the drug ecstasy that the bot took a liking to were returned and deemed legal in the name of 'art'. "We were interested in applying something digital, like an error from the software world, and building it out of stone," Domagoj Smoljo said in a recent interview with Vice. "When you see it, you don't really see it at first, you come at it from the sides and think, 'what kind of reality is that? Is it an image or is it real?'" Unlike the items inside, the building shouldn't plunge !Mediengruppe Bitnik into any more forays with the law. Working with the original architect and construction team they were careful to maintain the building's structural integrity. To achieve the illusion piping was broken up and aligned in a staggered format. This process was employed throughout the facade being applied to window and door frames, stone pillars, and metal railings. Not all window frames could be altered though as they were too integral to the buildings structure and design. "We had to make sure it was going to still stay up," Weisskopf told Vice. "The building was finished last year, and now contractors have come back to do the alterations—so you've got them wondering why we're glitching it." The facade is named H3333333K (apparent cyber-slang for HEK - House of Electronic Arts Basel) and the real life glitch doesn't appear as if it's going to be fixed anytime soon. "It should stay for at least 25 years, maybe more," Smoljo said. "It's part of the building now." The exhibit opened September 8, House of Electronic Arts Basel, Switzerland.
Posts tagged with "Facade":
In the wake of a slew of criticisms on numerous glass skyscrapers' over-reflective properties, some architects and critics are asking if it's time to reassess our view on using glass facades in the future. Contemporary architecture today is at a crossroads: Do we continue to enamor the structures that reach up into the sky in a display of corporate might with reflective sheaths of glass? Take advantage of the new technology that is allowing the sun to power these buildings? Or do we take a step back and re-evaluate our position on the all-glass facade altogether? Fred A. Bernstein of the Architectural Record laments that today the "relentless repetition of glass facades leads to a numbing sameness." "Is that a building?" said a designer to Bernstein , "I thought it was a pavilion for a plexiglass convention." It's no surprise that the person, who was passing by Fumihiko Maki's creation at 51 Astor Place, feels disillusioned. At one end of the spectrum, you have cities like Bath in England where such glass behemoths are nowhere to be found. You are surrounded by the Georgian works of John Palmer, who's Lansdown Crescent, despite its scale, is not overwhelming. At the other end, you have cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai, which are filled with an unprecedented amount of glass high-rise structures, their facades lost in the sky with light bouncing off one another. Where then, do we draw the line? With modern skyscrapers being the architectural product of an ever changing, neo-liberalist, globalization obsessed corporate society, such a line may even be impossible to draw. The case for glass—to pardon the pun—is clear. For companies, having floor to ceiling windows helps break down the stratified hierarchy that was once commonplace in such office buildings by giving all employees, not just the boss, a panoramic view. When used effectively, an elegant glass facade can convey honesty and open-mindedness and even perhaps financial transparency. This may be why the style is so popular amongst financial firms, despite the fact this isn't always the case. Developers are also under pressure to maximize space. Having a thin skin such as glass is an easy solution that enables the architect to sell the building's space as good value for money. Plus, the advancement of photovoltaic cells now means that they can be installed as windows, further advocating the facade style as an economically viable asset. PV company SolarWindow, which specializes in PV-based window solutions claims that when installed on four sides of a 50-story building, 1.3 gigawatt-hours of energy can be generated. Architect Ken Shuttleworth however, has different ideas. Despite being part of the team behind the glass clad Swiss Rae building in London, he has since done a U-turn by stating that he is "rethinking" everything he as done in the last 40 years. Shuttleworth's voice is echoed by many in what is an emerging discourse on the glass structures that run the risk of becoming the scourge of the skyline. "We need to be much more responsible in terms of the way we shade our buildings and the way we thermally think about our buildings," he told the BBC last year. The only thing that appears to be halting the perpetual rise of the glass facade in the United States is a shortage in the material. Failure of the market to produce however, has not stopped developers, who according to WSJ’s Robbie Whelan, have now delved into the glass manufacturing industry. Developer, Related Cos has even gone so far as to take production methods into its own hands—building its own glass factory to create the largest private development in American history. Bruce Beal Jr., Related’s president chose to embark on the endeavor for a handful of skyscrapers and apartments on Manhattan’s West Side as part of the Hudson Yards scheme. Across the Atlantic, the trade association "Glass for Europe" is understandably keen to dismiss the growing concern about the once ubiquitous glass facade and advocate the fact that glass is fully recyclable. Pressure from trade unions isn't enough it seems to sway architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff who, like Shuttleworth, isn't a fan of the glass skyscraper. Speaking to the BBC he said, "as someone who spends their entire life staring at buildings, I am a bit bored by the glass box. They were radical in the 1920s and now they are just cliches, expensive ones at that," he said. "Now we are having to be more thoughtful about how and where we use glass. Maybe architects will become more inventive in how they use windows, instead of plastering them across whole facades." Technological advancements may be the only way this question will truly be answered, but for now, money talks and that appears to be what governs the modern architectural style today.
This robotic arm by a Swiss architecture firm stacks bricks into lightweight helixes for complex building facades
Research-intensive Swiss architecture firm Gramazio & Kohler has created a robotic arm capable of stacking bricks into a sculptural, helix-like facade that would appear to defy gravity. The facade zigzags across the front of the offices of Swiss brick manufacturer Keller AG Ziegeleien. By stacking bricks at angles to one another in a gentle curvature, the robotic arm makes the bricks appear light and airy. The repetitive-though-intricate task, which would be inordinately difficult though still possible without the robot, is guided by algorithms, without the need for optical reference or measurement. Hence, no extra effort is expended in creating more complex structures, unlike with a human bricklayer. Furthermore, the arm can rotate bricks in multiple directions to create space between each brick, effectively producing curvatures and other complicated shapes. Named ROBmade, the robotic arm assembles and glues the bricks into facade patterns, such as the eye-popping Programmed Wall in Zurich, in which a brick wall was made to visibly billow in and out. Each brick has a hollowed-out honeycomb structure at its center in adherence to a tenet of aerospace design, in which the bulkiest materials in a plane must be kept lightweight. The bricks can be stacked high when connected with adhesive joints. According to Gizmodo, robot-stacked architecture could work on a larger scale by turning the floors of buildings into building blocks – given, especially, the robot’s ability to carry out repetitive complex functions with enormous precision. The firm has experimented extensively with robotic arms for on-site construction and design, touting ROB itself as a mobile fabrication unit that can be transported via container. In 2009, the brick-laying robot made its debut in New York City, part of a project by the Storefront for Art & Architecture to create an undulating brick wall called Pike Loop. Watch the robot in action below. https://vimeo.com/6973740
There are few buildings as emblematic of the urban blight in Detroit as Michigan Central Station. That changed slightly this week, when new windows appeared in some of the historic building's vacant frames. FOX 2 reporter Jason Carr spotted the new fenestration earlier this week. Michigan Central Station's neoclassical entryway and mighty Beaux-Arts towers once welcomed rail passengers to Detroit like royalty, but the building has been empty since 1988. Manuel "Matty" Moroun owns the building through his company NBIT. Last year the company got permits for $676,000 of rehabilitation work, from installing new elevators to repairing the roof. Mlive reported that NBIT had invested more than $4 million on "security, preparation and interior improvements" on the building to date. A few new windows may be little solace for those hoping to mount a full restoration, which could cost $300 million. But as FOX 2 observed, some are happy anythings being done at all:
"I love it," said another passerby. "I want good things to happen here."
JAHN (the firm formerly known as Murphy/Jahn) has projects all over the world, but a tower project announced Thursday by Crain's Chicago Business' Dennis Rodkin is on a site in the Chicago-based firm's backyard. Though not confirmed by the architects, news of a possible JAHN project at 1000 South Michigan Avenue (now a surface parking lot) has some local design and real estate observers abuzz. Principal Helmut Jahn is known around the world for highly engineered, structurally expressive towers and complexes that prize performance over prettiness. The 75-year-old German-American has earned numerous lifetime achievement awards and other accolades, and his high profile would likely lend some “starchitect” factor to any building that his firm might deliver on the South Loop site. His protege Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, with whom he co-runs the firm, is also sought-after for designs like Las Vegas' Veer Towers, which boast bright yellow, fritted glass facades and an unusual leaning profile. An area plan currently has a height limit of 35 stories, but Rodkin quotes Dennis McLendon, development and planning director of community group South Loop Neighbors, who thinks that won't apply in the event that the new project is confirmed:
"I don't have a lot of confidence that the current plan commission would observe a plan that was adopted back in 2004," he said. Now a surface parking lot, the site is one of only two gaps in the continuous 1.3-mile cliff wall along the west side of Michigan Avenue between Randolph Street and Roosevelt Road. In the early-2000s condo boom, it was the proposed site of a 40-story condominium tower, but developer Warren Barr was hit with a foreclosure suit and lost the property to First American Bank, which still owns it. First American representatives did not respond to requests for comment.If it happens, the project would hardly be the firm's first in their hometown. JAHN (mostly under their prior moniker, Murphy/Jahn) designed the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare and the Ogilvie Metra station downtown, as well as the State of Illinois Center (the Thompson Center), 600 N. Fairbanks, 1 S. Wacker Dr., and others. Yet lately most of the firm's high-profile work has been abroad.
Last year, AN explored REX's strategy to revamp a brutalist, ziggurat-shaped tower on Manhattan's west side with a modern, pleated-glass facade. Since the Davis Brody Bond–designed structure was originally a warehouse, developer Brookfield Properties thought it made sense to give the building a glassy facelift before the tech companies moved in. As AN reported:
REX’s new facade is a formal response to pragmatic challenges at the site. Originally built as a warehouse over the rail yard, the pyramid-shaped structure boasts 14-foot-tall ceilings, but day lighting was not a concern. New building codes dictating accessibility required ample headroom at the slanting walls. [REX Principal] Prince-Ramus said his system of floor-to-ceiling tapering glass pleats maximizes interior space while addressing energy efficiency issues. The curtain wall’s under-slung surfaces are self-shaded from the sun, reducing solar glare and heat gain while creating a more transparent, lively façade from street level.Now, the $200 million project is taking shape. Construction watch blog Field Condition recently spotted REX's curtain wall rising at the building, now known as 5 Manhattan West. The entire project is expected to be completed next year. Take a look at the gallery below, courtesy of Field Condition, and read our coverage about the project here.
Thanks in large part to advances in protective coatings and insulation products, buildings big and small can be clad in a variety of materials; when creatively sheathed, even a basic box can achieve an anything-but-ordinary appearance. Thermocromex (at top) Thermocromex This limestone plaster ultra-high-performance cladding is a technically innovative reformulation that can be applied to virtually any substrate, including CMU, frame/sheathing, tilt wall, poured-in-place concrete, and lightweight blocks/cement. Available in custom colors, Thermocromex delivers a vibrant and permanent finish that requires no other coloring or topcoat. The alkali- and UV-resistant pigments will not fade over time, and the finish is both weatherproof and breathable. Almost no maintenance is required to enjoy the original appearance, year after year. Features a 20-year material performance warranty. Koda XT 3form A product line developed specifically for exterior projects, Koda XT offers color, durability, and design freedom for the most extreme environments and applications. These panels exhibit the highest performance of any engineered resin panels. The material has the added benefits of being constructed from polycarbonate, which is both environmentally responsible and high-performing. ProdEX Prodema With an outer film of PVDF, ProdEX wood panels have no need for regular maintenance. The PVDF film is also anti-graffiti and non-stick, preventing organic matter from accumulating on the panel's surface and reducing the build-up of dust and dirt caused by pollution. ProdEX is a suitable cladding material for ventilated façades, offering protection from rain, sunlight, and external temperature changes. Insulated Metal Panels Metl-Span These state-of-the-art insulated metal panels perform reliably, are aesthetically pleasing, and come with a proven sustainability track record. Cost-effective and energy-efficient, they are easy to install, ensuring a schedule-satisfying build-speed. TerraPreCast Boston Valley Terra Cotta For decades, architectural designs have involved embedding a facing material in precast concrete panels. TerraPreCast is now available as a finishing material for precast concrete. A minimum 30mm solid terra cotta veneer as well as units with custom profiles can be embedded in large precast units. The dovetail profile on the backside of the veneer provides additional surface area for the concrete to adhere to the terra cotta, ensuring a high-strength bond between the two products. This system is ideal for conditions requiring the strength and durability of precast concrete construction, but desiring the myriad of options available in both profile and finish offered by terra cotta. TerraPreCast panels are available in 2-inch height increments from 6 inches to 24 inches. The maximum length for the panel is 60 inches. Custom product available. Metalwërks Arcwall DBV Rainscreen Metalwërks This drained, back-ventilated (DBV) design provides an interesting exterior appearance while protecting the building’s primary air/water seals from the elements. The wall system incorporates exterior moisture resistant applied insulation, engineered furring, and perimeter flashings all outboard of the primary building air barrier. A unique fabrication capability includes a back-scored technique to V-groove the 0.125-inch-thick aluminum plate material down to .040-inch-thick at the fold lines. This method allows the designer to incorporate tighter bend lines, which increases the crispness of the joints and panel edges. The open vertical reveals joint are gasketed to minimize water penetration between the custom panel end-caps and open horizontal joints. The rainscreen system, with its variable patterns, casts numerous shade and light patterns as light changes throughout the day, and the anodized finish creates additional reflections to enhance the effect.
The defining aspect of every building—the facade—is where the artistic aspiration is most visible and where the performance factor is most vulnerable. These new cladding and construction products prove beauty is certainly more than skin deep. Reveal Panel System James Hardie Developed specifically for multi-family, mixed-use, senior living, and light commercial facilities, these panels can be cut on-site to deliver an expressed joint look with deep shadow lines. Trims and fasteners can be field painted, or their metal finishes left exposed. The ventilated rainscreen assembly incorporates best practices for moisture management. SolarTrac Reflectance Module MechoSystems When added to SolarTrac software, the Reflectance Module calculates first-order reflections, and enables roller shades to be positioned accordingly on a zone-by-zone basis across a facade. GreenScreen Wall Grid GreenScreen Fabricated of recycled steel, this wall-mounted grid of powder-coated, welded wire forms a three-dimensional trellising system that creates a captive growing space for plants to flourish and intertwine. Standard panels measure 48-inches by 96-inches. Optimo Smooth Kingspan This single-component insulated metal panel product offers faster on-site installation compared to built-up wall systems. It also delivers high-energy efficiency through superior air tightness, low thermal bridging, and a high R-value. Made with recaptured metals, the panels weigh three pounds per square foot. Available in multiple profiles, trim-less ends, finishes, and color options. Outsulation Plus MD Dryvit This EIF cladding system provides a single source solution for air- and water-resistive barriers, exterior continuous insulation, and finish of the exterior wall. It can be applied to almost any kind of sheathing. Reveal-Girt Knight Wall Systems This new rain-screen framing system, designed for open-joint, exposed-fastener facades, creates the aesthetic illusion of depth in the joint itself. Designed with two wide anchoring surfaces, Reveal-Girt can accommodate two adjoining panel edges on one rail, which delivers both savings and efficiencies in labor and materials.
Studio Gang's Wanda Tower may climb even higher than originally planned. New renderings revealed Monday night show the tower topping out at 93 stories instead of the previous 88. At 1,144 feet, the tower, whose development is being bankrolled by Beijing-based Wanda Group, would be the third-tallest tower in Chicago (provided it fits the standards of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, who arbitrate such matters.) Formally dubbed Wanda Vista, the $950 million tower will seek LEED Silver certification and is anticipated to open in 2019. The new renderings reveal a continuum of blue-green glass along the building's vertical profile. Gang said Monday the design is meant to mimic the reflection of light off Lake Michigan. The new design retains the massing of three tall, thin towers stepping toward the East, but gone are the balconies along the north and south facades. With more than 1.8 million square feet of real estate, the development will include 405 luxury condominiums and 169 hotel rooms. The Chinese real estate giants announced their plans last year without listing an architect; the design team was soon revealed to be local firms Studio Gang Architects and bKL Architecture. Chicago-based Lakeshore East, which has worked with bKL and Gang to develop the Lakeshore East neighborhood, owns a 10 percent stake in the project.
Whether it's a unitized wall panel to facilitate faster build-speed or a cladding material that promises unlimited creative expression, new products for facades elevate both the art and science of design. Formawall Graphix Series Centria This single component wall system facilitates the design of complex patterns that combine horizontal, vertical, and diagonal reveals within a single panel. The panels have a steel face and liner, along with factory foamed-in-place insulation that fills the voids in the panel joinery and prevents a reduction in thermal values. They also features pressure-equalized horizontal joinery that provides long term protection with minimal maintenance. Linearis Swisspearl For installing with open joints, these rectangular panels are available in four sizes. Rot resistant, incombustible, and low in maintenance, the LEED-eligible planks are offered in more than 50 colors. Build-A-Pattern Cambridge Architectural To enhance solar shading and facade appearance, this new design program allows architects to combine multiple patterns of varying densities within a single panel of metal mesh. StrongFix TheSize Created for architects looking to design sleek, sturdy facades with minimal hassle, StrongFix from TheSize Surfaces is a new all-in-one ventilated façade and installation system featuring slim, large-format Neolith tiles pre-fitted with metal brackets. The first system of its kind, StrongFix is also slated to be ICC certified this summer. Meteon Trespa In a new palette of six grey colors that complement other facade elements like windows and doors, these matte-finish panels have a grained effect that perfectly mimics the source pattern of the wood. Weather- and UV-resistant, the panels have a closed-surface structure, which keeps the product smooth and easy to clean. Column Covers Moz Designs These column covers are fabricated from heavy gauge, solid-core aluminum in round, square, oval, and racetrack configurations. Pre-formed and pre-engineered for easy on-site installation, the covers are available in more than 500 combinations of color, grain, and pattern.
From door assemblies and curtainwalls to specialty glazing, these innovative new products combine aesthetic appeal with high performance. Entice Entrance System CRL-U.S. Aluminum This is the first premium storefront of its kind that meets and exceeds the industry's ever-evolving building codes and energy conservation requirements while maintaining an air of contemporary elegance. Designed with minimal vertical lines, and able to support door handle hardware on 1" insulating glass panels via specialized thru-glass fittings, the system is also available in a hybrid configuration with fully integrated, prewired and serviceable LED lights that accent the top and bottom of the door. 35HL/50HL Impact Resistant Entrances YKK AP America A new addition to the Protek product line, the 35HL/50HL impact resistant entrances were tested to meet large and small missile impact up to 50 PSF. With low maintenance, single-point hook locks, the doors also meet the stringent standards for Florida’s High Velocity Hurricane Zone, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties. Each door features a reinforced tubular frame that allows for side-lite glazing without shear clips, while maintaining the structural integrity of transom frames. The 35HL/50HL entrances with standard low-e insulating glass meet 2012 IECC for all climate zones. Pilkington Spacia Pilkington North America Pilkington Spacia vacuum glazing consists of an outer pane of low-e glass and an inner pane of clear glass, separated by a microspacer grid of tiny pillars, that offers the same thermal performance as conventional double glazing in one-quarter of the thickness and two-thirds of the weight. Can be retrofit into existing window frames designed for single glazing. MetroView FG 501T Window Wall Kawneer Offering a slab-to-slab aluminum frame design with an integrated edge to replicate the sophisticated appearance of a true curtain wall, this sleek, efficient, and versatile unit is ideal for mid-rise commercial and multi-family housing projects. Corner members for either 90° or 135° applications increase design flexibility. Optional expansion vertical mullions make it is simple and economical to achieve a customized appearance. ExtremEdge Viracon ExtremEdge decreases thermal heat loss of windows and so satisfies ever-more stringent energy codes and standards of sustainable design. To meet these requirements, the spacer is constructed with a lower conductivity biopolymer material and encapsulated in stainless steel. These materials reduce the edge’s conductivity and heat transfer into the building. All Ultrex PTAC Integrity An Integrity All Ultrex Swinging Picture window that is mulled to a Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner (PTAC) unit opening is popular solution for commercial projects because of the convenience it offers for AC installation. The interior and exterior of the window is pultruded fiberglass, making the unit virtually no-maintenance.
The first-ever Los Angeles Facades + conference, organized by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos, held in the shadow of Bunker Hill’s glassy towers, showcased the city’s technical and creative talent while introducing participants to the building envelope field’s latest technologies and trends. Keynote speaker James Carpenter set a sophisticated tone, showing off richly complex work that explores both the “cinematic” and “volumetric qualities of light.” His World Trade Center 7 base, he pointed out, uses a subtle shift in plane to create an ethereal glow, while another project for Gucci in Tokyo uses prismatic light to recreate the qualities of a Japanese lantern. Other highlights included his louvered Israel Museum and his new exploration of optical aluminum, thin glasses, and computer etched glass. This look toward the future continued in the next panel, discussing “Net Zero and the Future Facade.” Panelist Russell Fortmeyer, from Arup, pointed out that by 2030 every building in California will have to be Net Zero, putting pressure on upcoming research. One way to achieve this, said fellow panelist Stephane Hoffman, of Morrison Hershfield, is through better use of computer performance models. Facades will also need to have the ability to change over time, noted Alex Korter of CO Architects. This ability to change was discussed in detail by the next presenter, Ilaria Mazzoleni, whose talk on “Biomimetic Principles for Innovative Design” stressed natural systems’ ability to be both beautiful and extremely functional. Learning from natural skins, and their regulation of heat, humidity, and communication will help facade manufacturers reap dividends. One example: natural phase change materials, which are already using natural elements to store heat and cold inside building envelopes. The Preservation and Performance Panel, while focused on historical structures, did not look backwards. Instead panelists discussed updating Modernist facades for present day conditions (including sustainability), while maintaining historic integrity. Historic properties like Minoru Yamasaki’s Century Plaza and William Pereira’s Metropolitan Water District building are being updated using sustainable materials and systems that bring the buildings into the 21st century. Afternoon keynote speaker Larry Scarpa, of Brooks + Scarpa, acknowledged the need for high tech consultants, but stressed his role in combining simplicity and beauty. His firm has employed unusual, basic materials like crushed soda cans, wood shipping crates, and metal mesh to create fascinating patterns of surface subtlety and diffuse light. On the other end of the spectrum, an excellent example of the future façade—Cornell’s Architecture hall by Morphosis— was discussed in the symposium’s technical panel. And an architect at Morphosis, Kerenza Harris, noted how on that project, and on their Emerson College in Los Angeles, computer technology allows them to keep every panel, every module, in exactly the right place. That means thousands of components; a feat of fabrication and organization that would never be possible without current technologies. Fellow panelist Bill Kreysler espoused the benefits of composite facades, which he said will one day revolutionize construction, without the burdens of studs, metal frames, or other commonplace fabrication components. The look toward revolutionary technology reached its pinnacle with fabricator Andreas Froech’s panel on “Site Deployed Collaborative Bots.” Some day, he argued, programmable machinery and automated tooling, along with composite materials, will replace laborers and traditional materials. He pointed to the building of automobiles, which is already largely automated. In order to move into this automated future, pointed out Walter P. Moore’s Sanjeev Tankha, in his discussion of engineering risk, data flow needs to become more seamless between programs like Rhino, Revit, and ultimately into live models. With all these systems of software, hardware, and knowledge in perfect position, and with standards like Net Zero enforced by local officials, the future of the façade looks to be exciting, and remarkably different. Some day, as Gerding Edlen’s Jill Sherman pointed out, Net Zero sustainably and effective performance modeling will be standard, not out of the ordinary. And futuristic facades will not be what participant Alvin Huang of Synthesis called “techno-fetish,” but smart and obligatory.