Posts tagged with "Facades+ AM":

Facades+AM Returns to Kansas City

The program includes three sessions covering issues unique to the region, including innovative building skins, high performance facades, and how Kansas City Designers are shaping buildings worldwide. These well-rounded, expert dialogues will inform and inspire.

The Facades+ conference series is a robust dialogue encompassing all things building skin—bridging the profession, industry, academia, operations, and ownership. We’ve distilled the best of the Facades+ 2-day event into a quick-take morning forum with a strong local flair. Facades+AM is returning to KC on July 19th, 2018.

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Spotlight on Kansas City, home to world-class architects and designers

Located squarely in the middle of the U.S., Kansas City is about as far from an international border as a place can get, yet the architectural output of this little city punches above its weight. Kansas City has sprouted a number of notable architecture firms that work on local, national, and international stages. Consider glass and metal specialists, Zahner, for example. The firm, which has been based in Kansas City for more than a century, has produced intricate facades and custom fabrications in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. These include the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and its own headquarters in Kansas City, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Grace Farms in Connecticut, the Miu Miu Aoyama luxury retail store in Tokyo, a Maggie's Center in Dundee, Scotland, and a soccer stadium in Basra, Iraq. Zahner has now become the industry's go-to for bespoke, complex facades. The latter was a collaboration with another Kansas City-based firm, stadium specialists 360 Architecture (now HOK). Known as the Basra Sports City Stadium and completed in 2013, the development's landmark 65,000-seat stadium is draped in perforated and pre-weathered Solanum Steel panels that fall between an undulating concrete surface. "People wouldn't usually recognize a Kansas City firm for such a project," said Travis Bailey, a Senior Project Architect at HOK. "There's a lot going on here, locally and internationally, various project types and scales, and numerous types of innovation." Design excellence is being practiced in Kansas City, too, as local firms Helix Architecture + Design, SFS Architecture, Walter P Moore, Populous, STRATA Architecture + Preservation, BNIM, and Gould Evans are demonstrating with a mix of new and adaptive reuse projects, all varying in typology. Helix Architecture + Design's James C. Olson Performing Arts Center for the University of Missouri is a renovation and 4,000-square-foot expansion, completed in 2016, to address the functional deficiencies of the inherited 1970’s building. The renovation brought in more light and updated internal spaces. A new, bigger lobby has been encased by an added exterior glass curtainwall facade to enhance the building’s presence on campus, while improvements to the Spencer Theater have been made and a patron lounge expanded. Representatives of all these firms will be on hand to delve deeper into the growing architectural resources Kansas City has to offer at Facades+ AM next week on July 19. There, Travis Bailey will be joined by Gus Drosos, Technical Principal at HOK, as conference co-chair, overseeing three panels. These will look at how firms offer facade solutions in Kansas City, the U.S., and beyond, addressing the climate, client, and cultural challenges these bring. For more information click here. Seating is limited.
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Ian Ritchie advocates for subtlety and organic geometries in glass architecture

On April 19, for the afternoon keynote of The Architects Newspapers Facades+ conference in New York, architect Ian Ritchie discussed his decades-long involvement in forward-looking glass architecture. Beginning with the tongue-in-cheek statement, “Glass is the answer; what was the question? the British architect detailed the technological specifications and design considerations behind his projects. Ranging in size from personal residences to convention centers, the projects convey his expertise with manufactured materials.

As head of his own practice, Ian Ritchie Architects, Ritchie’s process is influenced by a range of fields, from neuroscience to poetry.

Ritchie began with one of his earliest projects, the self-constructed Fluy House (1976). Composed of a prefabricated set of materials, including a lightweight steel frame and pre-cast concrete floor slabs, Ritchie described his early curtain wall as glass acting as a windbreaker, a thin protective barrier between shelter and the sites surrounding countryside.

Ritchie also described projects he worked on as a founding partner of the engineering firm, RFR Engineers. For example, he talked about unique projects such as engineering I.M Peis Louvre Pyramids, which entailed the creation of a full-scale Kevlar mockup and the use of "phantom fixing to insure the transparency of the glass structures final design.

Next, in talking about the design of Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Arts circulation towers and the Messe-Leipzig Glass Hall, Ritchie described how unique engineering devices such as externally suspended and grid-worked glass panels bring the tectonics of design and engineering into public view while creating open and accessible spaces.

In line with his firm’s straightforward forms, Ritchie was critical of the contemporary trend of hyper-engineered glass facades with multiple curves and contortions, asking, "Is architecture intelligence or indulgence?" Instead, he emphasized the natural, biological forms that influence his creative process and, ultimately, his firms output.

Ritchies drive to bridge the highly technical, manufactured character of glass with natural objects and processes was also highlighted by his presentation of the firms recently completed, 150,000-square-foot Sainsbury Wellcome Center.

Located in Londons Fitzrovia, a central city district surrounded by architectural conservation areas predominantly comprised of Georgian architecture, Ritchie saw the Sainsbury Wellcome Center as a melting ice block spilling into the surrounding neighborhood." To fulfill this analogy, the firm opted for translucent cast glass with vertical, corduroy-like detailing that imitated the stone rustication and brick-and-mortar facades of the surrounding area.

Ritchie concluded with a call for architects to recognize that current glass design and architecture may be surpassing contemporary engineering capabilities. In his view, too many architects are acting as sculptors, an approach that will fail to make glass warm and haptically friendly to the public.

Facades+AM Dallas

Facades+AM Dallas is a morning forum which includes three sessions covering issues unique to building in Texas and the region These well-rounded, expert dialogues will inform and inspire. Learn and Earn 4 AIA Credits. The Facades+ conference series is a robust dialogue encompassing all things building skin—bridging the profession, industry, academia, operations, and ownership. We’ve distilled the best of the Facades+ 2-day event into quick-take morning forums with a strong local flair. Facades+AM is returning to Dallas February 20th, 2018 with the help of Perkins+Will & Corgan.

Facades+ AM Atlanta

The program includes three sessions covering issues unique to the region, including innovative building skins, high performance facades, and the future face of Atlanta. These well-rounded, expert dialogues will inform and inspire. The Facades+ conference series is a robust dialogue encompassing all things building skin—bridging the profession, industry, academia, operations, and ownership. We’ve distilled the best of the Facades+ 2-day event into a quick-take morning forum with a strong local flair. Facades+AM is coming to Atlanta for the first time this January.
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Through its midtown hub, Georgia Tech is priming Atlanta for an influx of technology jobs

Since the earliest days of the technology industry, home has been Silicon Valley. However, there are some signs the tide is turning and heading towards the east. Attempting to capitalize on an impending Atlanta tech boom is The Georgia Institute of Technology, which is due to move into Coda, a mixed-use development in Midtown Atlanta’s Tech Square, in 2019. Designing a building fit for such a brief is John Portman & Associates. The Atlanta-based firm has integrated a 645,000 square feet of office space, a high-performance data center, retail and collaboration space within the development, all while accommodating a former Crum & Forster insurance house that dates back  1927. Pierluca Maffey, a principal at the architecture firm, said the project was "all about" the Italian Renaissance Revival structure that, upon close inspection, is more than just a rudimentary brick building. Atlanta firm Ivey & Crook worked with New York-based Helmle, Corbett & Harrison to design limestone flourishes, notably three arches topped by owls and a lion, which serve as keystones. "It was immediately considered as a jewel," noted Maffey. Though two-thirds of the historic building was lost in 2012, its iconic features remain. Now the former insurance house is being repurposed as a restaurant. Adjacent will be a slightly taller data center which employs chilled beams along with captured greywater deployed in cooling towers to aid temperature control. Furthermore, the center retains some proportions of its older neighbor and also serves as a stepping stone to the larger massing behind it. This glass-clad part of the project is where most of the program is housed. Across 21 floors will be mostly offices, half of which will be for the university, which owns the whole complex, while the rest of the office space is currently being leased out. Retail and conference areas are located on the first two levels. Connecting all these areas will be what Maffey described as a "collaborative core," intended to drive fast-tracked connections through intentional cross-tenant “neighborhoods,” supplemented by "collaborative lounges" on each floor of the building. For the levels occupied by Georgia Tech, a staircase atrium, intersected at every third level, will indicate the university's presence as the building's hub and connect it visually and physically to other tenants. Externally, a glass curtain wall makes up most of the facade. However, this is divided by a band of glass panes that are each individually calibrated, in lieu of lighting studies, to varying levels of translucency and reflectivity to produce a gradient effect that wraps around the building. Pierluca Maffey will be speaking about Coda in greater detail at the upcoming Facades+AM Conference in Atlanta this January 26. He will be on a panel discussing innovations in mixed-use and residential projects in Midtown Atlanta. To find out more, please visit Seating is limited.
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Matthew Krissel of KieranTimberlake Architects on the coming Facades+ AM Philadelphia

How are computational devices changing the way we approach design? Why is it essential to look at building envelopes as more than just an environmentally-focused skin? These are some of the questions that will be raised at the coming Facades+ AM conference in Philadelphia on September 25. Matthew Krissel, a partner at KieranTimberlake Architects, will be acting as co-chair throughout the conference. Krissel worked with The Architect's Newspaper (AN) on the program for each of the three panels due to take place. "There is a rich history of design here as well as a growing group of young and emerging design practices doing innovative work," Krissel told AN. "At KieranTimberlake Architects, we are seeking continuous improvement of not just what we design and make but also how and why." The first panel will look at how technology is changing the way architects work with facades. From both a performance and poetic perspective, computational design has meant that contemporary designers approach building skins differently. Krissel talked about "augmenting a rich tradition of design processes" and exploring new methods of design. "Beyond simply using computation for expedient production, we see it as a means to expanding the creative potential of the design team." "In panel two, we take on the WHY, expanding the definition of performance to include desire, poetics, and cultural identity [which] elevate the human experience in meaningful ways," said Krissel. The panel will also look at how facades can be both environmentally responsive (and responsible) but also contribute to the phenomenological experience of a building.  The final panel will address, in relation to the previous discussions, what is being done in Philadelphia, the city where KieranTimberlake Architects is based. Surveying Philly buildings of various scales, this discussion will touch on why the design community must see their individual projects as part of a larger urban collective where buildings give back more than they take from society.  "I wanted the conference to take on a similar trajectory and create a larger narrative about the transformative capacity of design and the built environment," Krissel added. "This conference is an opportunity to build that narrative that extends from process to outcomes and do it with a mix of established practices and emerging voices in design." Facades+AM Philadelphia is at the National Museum of American Jewish History September 25th. Information at
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Kory Bieg of Austin’s OTA+ on how parametric design can shape structures

Aluminum composite panels have been making headlines of late for all the wrong reasons. The subject of scourge was at the heart—or rather, outer edges—of the Grenfell Tower disaster in the U.K. that saw a fire take the lives of an estimated 80 people as flames traveled via the building's aluminum composite cladding. However, at Facades+ AM conference in Austin yesterday morning, the material was shown in a new light. As part of the opening discussion panel, titled Digital Design and Fabrication Frontiers, principal at OTA+, Kory Bieg demonstrated how aluminum composite panels can be used to make three-dimensional structures such as arches and vaults. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), Bieg described how he used parametric design tools such as the Kangaroo plugin for Grasshopper to design Caret 6. The vaulting structure, designed and fabricated by his Design V Studio at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, was part of an exhibition on metal structures in 2013. Caret 6 is comprised of large folded panels and responds to a brief that called for a structure using aggregation, weaving, and stacking techniques to create an assembly that could transition from a flat surface to a volumetric enclosure.
"To enable a smooth transition from a flat, two-dimensional ground surface into a volumetric, three-dimensional vault, the studio used a diamond pattern that could work as both an aggregate and woven rib-system. Though the diamond pattern appears to be series of stacked cells, the structure is actually three layers of overlapping ribs," said OTA+ on its website. "Large, continuous primary ribs form the seams from vault to vault, while secondary ribs span between each seam. Tertiary ribs complete the web and enclose each cell to create a rigid structure."
"A core goal of the studio was to introduce asymmetry into what would otherwise be a symmetrical form. The vault is roughly eleven foot at its highest point, enclosing a space small enough for occupants to engage directly with the surface, a condition atypical for most vaults which often frame larger and much taller spaces. "Caret 6 was designed to fill an already existing space," said Bieg, "so it was necessary to design a geometry that responded to the existing room, especially at the edges, where the vaulting forms project toward the walls."
Bieg benefitted from using Robot Structural Analysis which enabled him to model and test different Aluminum Composite Panel configurations to find the optimum structural solution. "Ultimately, we added a layer of attachment details that included thousands of O-rings and binder rings to ensure stability in the event a lateral force or unexpected point load is applied (ie. someone hanging on the edge of the cantilever), but in its resting state, Caret 6 does not require any fasteners," the firm said. Bieg was joined by Anthony Birchler of fabrication firm Zahner. "Digital manufacturing plays an enormous role in not only what we do, but the changing landscape of architecture and design fields," he said speaking to AN. "Designers want to understand how they can interface with a firm like Zahner—and here's the big part—they need to know how to establish this kind of precedent with their clients in our industry. Our presentation shows how firms are accomplishing unique architectural works. This isn't theoretical. This is our practice, and we want to show you how you can do this kind of work"
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Arthur Andersson on his approach to Austin high-rises

Austin, Texas is a hot place to be. In fact, according to Arthur Andersson, it's "hotter than the hinges of hell." The Austin-based architect is a principal at Andersson-Wise Architects and will be speaking at this month's Facades+ AM conference in the city. He spoke to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) about a recent Austin project, Block 21, and how he combated the city's climate.

Though its official name doesn't give much away, Block 21 incorporates a W Hotel, residences, retail, offices, and a recording studio for KLRU where the show Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater is filmed. The building was Andersson's first ever high-rise (Block 21 climbs to 37 stories) but the architect was committed to producing a "useful" rather than a "pure" building.

"Many architects would have put protruding balconies on both sides of the building," claimed Andersson, who instead, opted to recess some on one side. "I posed a question to the Mayor, 'do you ever see people on those north balconies?'" Mayor Will Wynn's response was predictably a "no." Subsequently, Block 21's balconies provide shade in the summer and let the sun in and heat condos in the winter. "None of the four are sides doing the same thing, they're all different and based on the sun’s position," Andersson added. "Recessing balconies is like giving the building sunglasses."

Another method of tackling Austin's climate was through color. "Here, for some reason, a lot of the taller buildings are either beige or brown—or at least they were," said Andersson. "All these colors made you feel hotter than you already are! In Austin the sky gets super blue, so we wound up with a color scheme that almost disappears into the sky."

"The second thing that we did, and we the first building in Austin to do this, was to use a curtain wall so the structure was all inside and you couldn't see any mullions. As a result, the glass can have a very minimal connection, you just see [a] sheer face." As for the rest of the facade, particularly at the base of the building where the recording studio is located, compressed cement panels from Swisspearl acted as a rainscreen and provided a matte finish—a contrast the reflective glass. 

Staying with the lower portion of the building, Andersson explained how Bill Zahner, president and CEO of A. Zahner Company, helped with the sheet metal work to create pre-finish weathered steel look for the car park, lobby, and base, which came across to Andersson as being like "ruins" when twinned with concrete.

Andersson will be speaking at Facades+ AM this July 18 in Austin. There he will discuss Block 21 in greater detail and joining him (albeit on a different panel) will be Anthony Birchler, vice president of engineering at A. Zahner Company.

Seating is limited. To find out more, please visit

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Austin is changing, but where’s it headed to next?

Anyone who keeps tabs on Austin, Texas's built environment on Twitter will be familiar with "#ATXrising." If its presence and frequency tell us anything, it's that Austin is on the up—literally. Is this a good thing? Tall buildings mean more density, which potentially means a more pedestrian-friendly city. In the 1970s, however, one man had other ideas about how to achieve this. Lauded as "Austin’s grandfather of New Urbanism," Sinclair Black envisioned a dense city populated by buildings no taller than six stories. Sinclair didn't like cars then, and he doesn't today. Interstate-35, which still carves up Austin's Downtown, is something Sinclair wants re-routed in order to reconnect the city. This is yet to happen and, likewise, his mid-rise dream has not been realized, as Arthur Andersson, principal at Austin-based Andersson-Wise Architects (the firm behind the 37-story mixed use hotel known as Block 21) can attest. Another Austin architect, Brett Rhode, principal at Austin-based Rhode Partners (the firm behind The Independent, a 58-story high-rise that will be Austin's tallest) also concurs. That said, density, or rather, faux-density, has emerged. Zoning requirements at Main Street, for example, stipulate that buildings wider than 150 feet should be made to appear like multiple buildings, each no wider than 100 feet. Often, this appearance is achieved through the building's massing or the facade. Black, Andersson, and Rhode will be talking in depth about Austin's changing skyline and touching on topics such as density and pedestrianization at Facades+AM Austin on July 18th. Also on hand at Facades+ will be Heath May, director of HKS LINE; Kory Bieg, principal at OTA+; and Anthony Birchler, vice president of engineering at Zahner. They will be engaging in a panel discussion on new techniques for facade fabrication. And because all the best things come in threes, a final panel will look at the constantly evolving relationship between engineers and architects. On hand to weigh in on the subject will be Chuck Naeve, founding principal of Architectural Engineers Collaborative, Gordon B. Bingaman, an associate principal at Antenora Architects, and Ken Jones, principal at Miró Rivera Architects. Seating is limited. To find out more, please visit
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Miró Rivera talks about the symbiotic relationship between architects and engineers

Engineers and architects. It can be a fickle relationship at times, stemming back to university where the typical back and forth between students arguing for their own self-importance. But, in the adult world, the relationship is seldom so tumultuous. Ken Jones, principal at Austin studio Miró Rivera Architects, was on hand to explain. Jones said how he had been working with engineer Chuck Naeve and his firm Architectural Engineers Collaborative, since the late 1990s, not long after the architecture firm had formed. "We have been working with him almost as long as we have been a firm," Jones noted. "It's hard for us not to think about structure when doing a project and Naeve has the same approach—he understands the role of the architect; it's not just about us designing the shape." This relationship came in handy when the pair worked on the Chinmaya Mission Hindu temple in Austin. Naeve worked with the architects to strategize the impact of budget constraints and how to integrate non-structural materials. For the building's elaborate skylight, galvanized piping (like what you would see on a chain link fence) was employed. "On the face of it, this is very mundane material, but we looked to see how it could be used structurally," said Jones. Below the skylight, a canopy of metal panels alternating in color (though of a similar tone) comprise the roofscape. In addition to this, a stone precinct wall of limestone slabs (each was individually sponsored as part of the fundraising effort) combined, as The Architect's Newspaper's Ben Koush put, "pragmatism and poetry." For another project in Austin, Life Works, Jones echoed Koush, pointing out how the "structural columns had a very poetic role" within the building. Jones also referenced a third project, the Vista Residence, and another dwelling involving a boat dock, which is currently under construction, due for completion this Fall. The Austin residence looks onto a river and is dominated by a boat dock, which, according to Jones, allows the "structure to be the architecture of the project and let every detail shine through." He and Naeve will be speaking about this and the other two projects on a panel at the upcoming Facades+AM conference in Austin this July. "The Vista Residence is a really good place to demonstrate how these architect-engineer projects pan out on the field," Jones explained, adding that the panel will look at the architect-engineer relationship in greater detail. To find out more about the Facades+ AM Austin conference and register, visit Seating is limited.
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Colin Touhey of Pvilion on the future of facades and flexible solar panels

Colin Touhey is the founder of Pvilion, a New York-based company that designs and manufactures flexible photovoltaic (PV) solar structures and products. He is also wrapping up a fall semester fabrication studio at Columbia University GSAPP titled “Wired Skin.” Touhey will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+AM San Francisco conference on the concluding panel, titled Facades: The Next Generation. The Architect's Newspaper (AN): What’s your office like? Half of our office is a design office, and the other half is a workshop where we get our hands dirty. We are also building what we're designing. We're not a contractor, we're not an engineer, and we're not an architect—we're a little bit of all of those things. We come into a project as scrappy experts. We're talking about how to hoist up a building component early on in the design process. When we sign a contract with someone, we don't know how we're going to solve a problem, but we know that we will be able to figure out a solution. More conservative firms would say, ‘Oh we'll sell this when we know exactly how it's going to get done.’ If we knew exactly how to do a project before we started it, we wouldn't be in business. How does Pvilion balance futuristic tech with commercial work? We see what's 10-years out, and are working on that. But we also have [a] real product today. The two feed off each other. While we [have] a futuristic technology, we're not futurists. We're not sitting around speculating about what's going to happen in 50 years. What are some issues you are working through at Pvilion? We're trying to create building skins that both increase energy performance and reduce fossil fuel consumption. We're also providing a platform in which an architect can create. Rather than working with glass or steel, if you're wrapping a building in a flexible material, you can create interesting forms, and with those forms you can produce electricity. Also, we are thinking a lot about the installation process. Like Christmas lights, 30 to 50 solar panels can arrive on site folded up and pre-wired. When you're paying union labor to hang off the side of a facade with a tower crane, you want an efficient installation process. Due to the modularity of the system, you can replace components as needed without taking the entire system down. What’s next for facades? We're not only coming up with some rendering and saying, ‘Wouldn't this be the city of the future!?’ This is real now. We're not a research lab with kooky ideas about stuff that will never be built. We have real projects, we're really building things, and we have experience. Our work is UL certified, grid-tied, and warranty-able for 25 years. One of the really interesting things we're looking at now is dynamic facade elements. [With] these pieces, you have...south, east, and west facades [that] may all be moving throughout the course of the day, like a solar tracker. When you add the fourth dimension into a building, which is time, you end up with a moving system—your building is changing over the course of a day, and over the course of its lifetime. That's an entirely new concept that is really exciting for us. When your goal is to maximize energy production, dynamic facade elements are very intriguing. For example, consider a fabric membrane that's twisting over the course of the day, so it's opening up the facade when there isn't much light, and it's closing it up where there's more light, and it's simultaneously producing more energy. Can you give us a preview of what we can expect from your studio at Columbia? We are looking at the building facade as an opportunity to provide shade, increase building performance, and provide electricity. The idea of a wired skin—a living breathing organism—is electrical and mechanical and serves many purposes. The skin should protect you from the environment. It is a porous envelope, but also an enclosure. How do you balance the openness of the facade? Do you cut holes in it? Do you open it up? Do you fully enclose it? Do you create heat chimneys so that air flows between the glazing and your skin? Also, what are its thermal properties, and how can you take advantage of shading the building. Those are all the things we're exploring. Since we are not academic professors, we're grounding this course in reality—which is important to us. It's a fabrication studio class, so we're building facade elements. The deliverable at the end of the semester is to build a facade element that moves and works, and then provide a scale model of the building that has hundreds of facade elements on it. We're saying if you can't build it, you shouldn't be designing it.
Touhey takes the stage with Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab and Sanjeev Tankha of Walter P. Moore to discuss the next generation of facades. Go to Facades+ AM San Francisco to learn more about the event and the other sessions taking place.