Architects have long relied on engineers to help execute formally or functionally complex concepts. But, as Belzberg Architects founder Hagy Belzberg points out, "architects usually work out a schematic design" in response to a client's needs, "only later to invite the engineer to help substantiate their idea." Belzberg's own experience collaborating with facade engineers at Arup suggests a different approach—one in which the designers and consultants trade ideas and expertise from the very beginning. With Arup's Matt Williams, Belzberg will outline some of the benefits of a close association among AEC industry professionals through two cutting-edge case studies at next week's Facades+ LA conference. Belzberg and Williams' dialog workshop, "Process Shaping Design: Design, Digital Fabrication, and Delivery" is organized around two projects with distinct origins. The first is the Gores Group Headquarters (9800 Wilshire Boulevard) in Los Angeles. "The building will be a case study in how adaptive facades can help us reappropriate existing buildings so we don't have to knock them down," said Belzberg. Digital fabrication technology, he explained, allowed Belzberg Architects to craft a new envelope that is "highly sculptural and unique, but still performative." The second case study examines a series of commercial buildings in Mexico City. "It's the same digital fabrication on a new building," said Belzberg. In contrast to the more typical approach, Belzberg Architects brought Arup on board before touching pencil to paper (or hand to computer mouse). "What we're trying to promote is a case study in which we brought in the engineers on day one, so it becomes more performative, more efficient, and even more cost-effective," said Belzberg. Besides sharing some of their own work, Belzberg and Williams hope to use the workshop to dig into other examples—cases contributed by the participants themselves. "No one's going to have to do any homework, or any sketches," said Belzberg. "But we want people to come in with case studies of their own that we can work on: Not just questions and answers, but we're hoping that other architects will bring real-life scenarios so that we can brainstorm opportunities. It's not just about our work, but an opportunity to discuss audience case studies." To sign up for "Process Shaping Design" or another lab or dialog workshop, register today for Facades+ LA. Learn more and review the symposium agenda on the conference website.
Posts tagged with "Facades Conference":
Southern California's enviable climate and landscape—sunny skies, balmy temperatures, picturesque mountains, and surfer-friendly beaches—come at a geological cost: proximity to active earthquake faults. Local AEC industry professionals are adept at meeting detailed building code requirements for structural safety. But when it comes to cutting-edge facade systems, said KPFF principals Mark Hershberg and Nathan Ingraffea, designers and builders are left with little to go on. Hershberg and Ingraffea will dig into this and other challenges and opportunities associated with seismic design at this month's Facades+ LA conference in a panel on "Anchors & Approvals: Structure and Skin in Seismic Design." In addition to Ingraffea (Hershberg will moderate), panelists include Dana Nelson (Smith-Emery) and Diana Navarro (California OSHPD). "A tremendous amount of time has been spent to increase the safety of building structures in seismic events through continual updates of the code, but very little work has been done to understand the behavior of facade systems in seismic events," noted Ingraffea. "This is a shame since the value of the facade system could be just as high as the value of the structure itself, and failure of either one could be catastrophic. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to invest the time to modernize the code." In the meantime, designers, engineers, fabricators, and builders are left without "a well thought out design standard for seismic design of facade systems," said Ingraffea. The ASCE 7 contains only half a page on the topic. Worse still, the relevant text is "on one hand, very basic (one equation to check) and on the other hand overly onerous (dynamic racking tests), and they really do not apply to many modern facade systems," he said. As a result, building envelope design teams must tackle the issue of seismic design on a case-by case basis. "'Industry standard' is a term you hear a lot when you do a lot of facade engineering but from what I've seen the [seismic design] 'standard' is all over the board,'" said Ingraffea. In practical terms, a lack of data or guidance on seismic activity and building skins can cost precious time and money. "Most of the challenges we see with facade design in seismic hot spots are due to the amount of movement that can occur in a building system during a seismic event," explained Hershberg. "We service many clients who want to use new facade concepts or products that may have been developed overseas, and many times the products haven't been tested to determine the range of seismic movement that they can accommodate." The design team is thus forced to perform a series of qualification tests. "This introduces an additional set of schedule risks that are sometimes overlooked," said Hershberg. Learn more about the ins and outs of seismic design at Facades+ LA. Check out a full conference agenda and register for lab or dialog workshops today on the conference website.
As Morrison Hershfield's Building Enclosure Commissioning Practice Lead, principal Stevan Vinci hears one question again and again: "The design team has an envelope consultant. What's the point of having a BECx authority on project?" The point, explained Vinci, is to ensure that the owner's expectations are understood and met throughout the design and construction process. "While the presence of a facade consultant on the design team adds value, their role may be limited to certain tasks or technical issues based on their specific project scope," he said. "The BECx authority works independently on behalf of the owner. The objective is to verify that the owner is getting what they are expecting and paying for." With Simpson Gumpertz & Heger's Jud Taylor, Vinci will offer an inside perspective on BECx services at this month's Facades+ LA conference in a dialog workshop on "Building Envelope Commissioning: The Who, What, & Why of BECx." Per Vinci, the BECx workshop targets "people in the design and construction community who want to know more about this service and how it will fit into their future projects, especially projects that will be using LEED v4." Designers, fabricators, clients, builders, and students will come away with a better understanding not just of the BECx process itself, but of how it can enhance a project's value. Architects, said Vinci, will also learn how to "effectively engage themselves in the Building Envelope Commissioning process." Vinci is eager to hear from BECx workshop attendees. "I'm looking forward to getting the audience's feedback concerning their perception and experience with BECx on projects as it stands today and where it can lead in the future," he said. "I not only enjoy being an educator but also learning from my audience's experiences." To register for Vinci and Taylor's BECx workshop or another lab or dialog workshop, visit the Facades+ LA conference website today. Secure your spot now and earn AIA CEUs in a unique, in-depth look at contemporary topics in facade design and fabrication.
Eric Owen Moss, principal and lead designer of Eric Owen Moss Architects, has spent decades in the metaphorical trenches of architectural practice. But when he speaks about truly innovative design, he harkens back to the literal trenches of World War I, where German architect Erich Mendelsohn sketched his Einstein Tower, later built in Potsdam. "Mendelsohn was drawing something that no one else was drawing," explains Moss, who will deliver the afternoon keynote address at the upcoming Facades+ LA conference. "It was unique to him and his time and place." Moss contrasted Mendelsohn's work with the "swoopy Maya stuff" so many architects produce today. "There's a danger that the advent of Maya and Rhino and CATIA and all of this [technology] produces generic kinds of buildings," he said. "The power of the tools is dictating the design content." Instead, said Moss, the architect's tools, whether the Bauhaus-era parallel rule or today's digital modeling systems, should be a means to rather than the end of design. "I want to argue that architecture is still personal—it still has the aspect of Mendelsohn in the trenches—and that it's important that architecture not simply be a manifestation of the tools that are being used," he said. "It's not the plane that's flying the people, but the people are flying the plane." Meanwhile, the advent of digital design has introduced another set of problems—or, as Moss pointed out, opportunities. Today's AEC industry professionals use software "that is, by reputation, extremely precise, and extremely exact," he said. "There's a supposition that with sophisticated technological tools, it's all simple—and it isn't necessarily simple." Why not? The complicating factor is the human one. "I'm interested in talking about pieces that don't turn out the way you expect them too," explained Moss. Whatever the software designers promise, bringing a complex building envelope from concept to completion "is not necessarily easy. It's also contingent on the people." Returning to the distinction between innovative and run-of-the-mill architectural products, Moss recalled a recent public conversation with Frank Gehry. "We were talking about what would constitute a radical architecture," said Moss. In the end, he identified three necessary conditions. First, the work has to be inventive on a conceptual level. "It has to move architecture somewhere," said Moss. Second, the implementation of the project must also be innovative. Finally, he concluded, "the political side of the project has to be imaginative—meaning you have to get the city, the developer, the contractor to participate, to buy into it." Learn more from Moss and other facades experts, including morning keynote presenter and TEN Arquitectos founder Enrique Norten, at Facades+ LA, January 28-29. Register today at the conference website.
For Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, associate dean at Woodbury University School of Architecture, director of WUHO Gallery, and co-founder of [WROAD], architectural practice and education are inextricably intertwined. Wahlroos-Ritter, who joins moderator Alexander Korter (CO Architects) and co-presenters Michael Fox (Cal Poly Pomona), Quinyun Ma (USC), and Neil Denari (UCLA) in a panel on "Facade Education: Preparing Future Practitioners for True Performance" at next month's Facades+ LA conference, first taught at Cornell University after her work as project architect on the Corning Museum of Glass attracted the school's attention. That initial seminar, on the innovative use of glass in building envelopes, helped her carve out a professional niche in the field and also led to an appointment at Yale. At the time, recalled Wahlroos-Ritter, Yale did not offer courses like hers—neither classes on glass, specifically, nor on the intersection of architecture and engineering more generally. "That has changed a lot, [especially] when I think back on when I went to school," she said. The contemporary accreditation process, for one thing, "has elevated the need for systems integration," explained Wahlroos-Ritter. While in the past it had not been unusual for students and faculty from other disciplines to consult on student work, she said, "to rely on engineers to complete a project is new." Her students' relationship to technology like the performance simulation platform Autodesk Ecotect Analysis has also evolved since Wahlroos-Ritter began teaching. "Students are conversant with Ecotect as part of learning BIM," said Wahlroos-Ritter. "That's something I'm seeing more and more in curricula." Meanwhile, students gain hands-on experience in fabrication by building mock-ups of building envelope components. "I think in some ways the academy is leading that part of the conversation," said Wahlroos-Ritter. "Students are learning tools that aren't necessarily part of the trade. Many senior architects don't have the skills these students do." Wahlroos-Ritter relishes her job molding young minds. "For me, one of the exciting moments is the epiphany where students begin to see systems as an intrinsic part of design" rather than something to consider as a postscript, she said. "I talk about Louis Sullivan a lot. He considered the building a living, breathing organism—then everybody forgot about it, of course. I think there's a renewed appreciation for the role building systems can have in the perceptual narrative of a building." Catch up with Wahlroos-Ritter and other facade educators, designers, fabricators, builders, and researchers at Facades+ LA January 28–29. Register today on the conference website.
After a whirlwind round of conferences and forums this year—from New York, to Chicago to Miami—The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos made the last stop of the year in Seattle for Facades+ AM. Over 150 attended our December 4th event at the Motif Seattle hotel. Nine speakers brought in diverse perspectives and engaging ideas, with room for productive Q & A. Here's a recap in case you missed it. After opening remarks by co-chairs Carsten Stinn, designer at Perkins+Will, and Mic Patterson, Enclos' VP of strategic development, the first session united three presenters under the theme of complex digital facade collaborations. Speakers included Jeffrey Vaglio, director of Enclos' Advanced Technology Studio, and Joshua Zabel, vice president of business development at Kreysler & Associates. David Sandinsky, senior associate at NBBJ co-presented with Marne Zahner, design engineer at Magnusson Klemencic Associates. They talked about the Amazon domes—more specifically, the conjoined Catalan spheres and their structural steel modules. Session two focused on models, methods, and materials for optimizing facade performance. Energy strategist and consultant Sangeetha Divakar at Perkins+Will presented workplan models for integrating engineers' and architects' work in energy and envelope modeling. Stéphane Hoffman, building specialist at Morrison Hershfield, discussed parametric visualization tools for mapping building energy performance and why architects and engineers should track thermal bridging. Richard Green, Principal at Front, Inc talked about custom fabrication and digital manufacturing. In the final session, Devin Kleiner, Perkins+Will architect, Peter Alspach, principal of environmental and building physics at Arup, and Daniel Brindisi, associate at ZGF Architects, spoke to the real-world effects of facade technology. Kleiner discussed post occupancy lighting evaluations, Alspach presented data on the cost benefits of the carbon life cycle, and Brindisi talked about his firms efforts to maximize daylighting. In the L.A. area or planning a trip to Southern California at the end of January? Catch the latest building envelope developments at the Facades+ Symposium and Workshops in Los Angeles, January 28th and 29th.
Barbara Bestor, a SCI-Arc graduate and founder of Bestor Architecture, has spent decades immersed in Los Angeles' design culture—and it shows. Her firm's work, which ranges from installations (Bestor co-curated Deborah Sussman Loves LA! at Woodbury University's WUHO Gallery) to corporate headquarters, retail and restaurants, and historic adaptations, celebrates the city's bold character while bridging the oft-overlooked gap between the bungalow vernacular and Hollywood huge. Bestor will speak to her experience as an urban mediator—between interior and exterior, low- and high-design, small and large—at next month's Facades+ LA conference. Bestor Architecture has wrestled with the question of scale on an operational level, too, as it recently began to tackle bigger commissions. One of the challenges that comes with growth is establishing a brand identity, explained Bestor, acknowledging the status of "architecture as a consumer project." "It's different from trying to be the slickest, most global" firm. Rather, Bestor Architecture's strengths lie in its characteristic approaches to design problems. One common technique—based on the firms origins "doing high design on a shoestring," said Bestor—is to "create atmospheric environments using two-dimensional themes," including graphics and materials, rather than focusing solely on formal expression. When it comes to development work, meanwhile, "there it's more form," she said. "We're trying to create new forms that aren't necessarily the developer's envelope, without screwing up their lines. The stuff we've done, the developer has to take a little leap of faith—but we wind up with much higher returns." Take, for example, the firm's 2015 Blackbirds, a group of 18 homes in the Echo Park neighborhood. The project answers the call for dense, high-quality housing that retains a connection to nature. Inspired by the disposition of early-20th-century Craftsman cabins, the community collects groups of houses into larger volumes, avoiding the repetitive strain associated with so many suburban tracts. Wrapped in sleek paneled exteriors that nod to board and batten construction, the homes retain a sense of Los Angeles' historic residential fabric without losing sight of contemporary spatial and environmental needs. Hear more from Bestor and meet other movers and shakers in the facades world, including Emilie Hagan, associate director at Atelier Ten, and Woodbury University associate professor and dean Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, at January's Facades+ LA conference. Learn more and register for symposium and workshop events today at the conference website.
Facades+ Los Angeles co-chairs Kevin Kavanagh and Alexander Korter hope to shake things up when the acclaimed conference series returns to Southern California in January. Senior associate and associate principal, respectively, at CO Architects, Kavanagh and Korter have rethought the event in terms of architecture as process—a theme that also captures their personal approach to design. "Architecture is about managing and manipulating various drivers and influencers in order to enhance and inform design inspiration," explained Kavanagh. "It's a creative discipline, but a lot of the external drivers—cost, quality, owners' preferences—are as much a part of the design process. They shouldn't be looked at as restrictions, but are ultimately things to work off, that will make [the design] better." In other words, said Korter, Facades+ LA's content will revolve around "bringing process into [architecture], bringing performance into it as an equal partner in designing good, long-term sustainable buildings." The structure of the event reflects this approach. For the day-long symposium, Kavanagh and Korter worked to balance keynote presentations—which Korter characterizes as "more inspirational, design-driven in traditional terms"—with panels—to be "much more discussion-based, topic-based, and maybe less about case studies." Questions posed to and by the panelists may include, for instance, how owners view high-performance facades, and how best to make full and good use of available data streams. "The presentations look backwards, because they're about work that's been accomplished," added Kavanagh. "With the panels, we're asking, 'What's next?' We're taking it out of design and asking, 'What should facades do?'" "If the presentations are an inspiration and the panels are about areas of interest—very specific points of view—then the workshops are all about implementation," explained Kavanagh. "The ideal is that the attendees get something very concrete that they can take right into their day-to-day practice." The workshop offerings on day 2 of Facades+ LA will include deep dives into subjects including commissioning; what role facades play in boosting environmental performance; narratives of project execution; and the development of low-cost, high-performance curtain wall systems. Kavanagh and Korter quip that their relaxed yet dynamic approach to architecture (and conference planning) may not immediately appeal to Type-A AEC industry professionals. But in the end, they remain convinced that a fresh take will benefit all Facades+ LA participants, from architects to fabricators, builders, engineers, building owners, and academics. "Hopefully there is a little bit of chaos that will make it more fun, a little looser," said Kavanagh. For more information on Facades+ LA, visit the conference website. Check back often for up-to-date information on the symposium agenda and workshop offerings.
Kreysler & Associates' Joshua Zabel knows more than a thing or two about collaborating with architects to produce complex facades. "On the design side, increasingly complex projects call for earlier and earlier involvement from us for material and fabrication input," said Zabel. "With increasing frequency we're being called on by architects to contribute during SD and DD phases." Zabel will share the fabricator's perspective on teamwork in high performance envelope design and construction later this week at Facades+AM Seattle. His co-presenters on "Digital Collaborations: Applications, Realities and Opportunities in the Delivery of Complex Facades" include Jeffrey Vaglio (Enclos), David Sandinsky (NBBJ) and Marne Zahner (Magnusson Klemencic Associates). Digital design tools play a critical role in enabling an ongoing dialogue between designers and fabricators, said Zabel. "There's obviously a lot to be said for the ability to pass a 3D model back and forth or share drawings on a screen in real time with someone thousands of miles away," he explained. "It seems easy to forget it wasn't anywhere near as fluid, say, 15 years ago." More specifically, said Zabel, "It's interesting to me when we're able to communicate with architects at the level of programming the toolpath strategy for making molds with our CNC machine. Everything about that notion is enhanced by the collaborative use of technology." Zabel compares contemporary developments in design and fabrication technology to the introduction of another collaborative tool: the telephone. "CAD and digital fabrication processes are such useful tools for construction and collaboration, I imagine one day, like the telephone, we won't marvel at how useful it is, we'll just take it for granted," he said. At the same time, there remains room for improvement. Construction documentation standards, for instance, often necessitate creating traditional 2D models that are "simply impractical" in particularly complex cases such as SFMOMA rainscreen or Bing Concert Hall, said Zabel. The ease of communication "can also lead to overload and an environment where it can be difficult to find a foothold or pinpoint the important thing to focus on where everybody has access to all of the information all the time." Join Zabel and other movers and shakers in the facades world December 4 at Facades+AM Seattle. Register today on the symposium website.
Digital techniques including parametrization play an increasingly important role in the work of many architects, engineers, and builders, especially those involved in the design and fabrication of high performance facades. "Parametrization is a critical path for facade design," observed Perkins+Will energy strategist Sangeetha Divakar. "A choice set of digital tools are being used to achieve this, especially when design options are optimized in response to several end goal parameters." Divakar will share lessons learned from her work in Seattle and elsewhere next week at Facades+AM Seattle. Her co-presenters on "Combined Modeling Efforts for the Optimized Facade: Models, Methods, Materials" include Morrison Hershfield principal Stéphane Hoffman and Richard Green, of Front, Inc. As someone particularly attuned to environmental performance, said Divakar, "What excites me the most in facade systems optimization now is that the line demarcating design parametrization and energy analysis parametrization is fast disappearing." But while the worlds of aesthetics and energy analysis are more integrated than ever, gaps remain elsewhere. In particular, Divakar pinpointed a need for "a direct integration of facade parametrization with engineering parametrization." Hear more about cutting-edge digital design tools including parametrization from Divakar, Hoffman, and Green on December 4 at Facades+AM Seattle. The symposium, a half-day version of the popular Facades+ conference series, features three sessions on hot topics in facade design and construction, with a special focus on designing and building for the Pacific Northwest. Learn more and register today at the Facades+AM website.
For Seattle's AEC professionals, the city's thriving high-tech industry is both a blessing and a challenge. "The architecture scene in Seattle is red hot and exciting," said Mic Patterson, vice president of Strategic Development for Enclos. "The migration of tech and related companies into the area is driving a new wave of architectural expression in which the building skin is playing a role." Next month, Patterson co-chairs Facades+AM Seattle, a half-day version of the acclaimed Facades+ conference series, with Perkins+Will senior project designer Carsten Stinn. But while the influx of capital and design-minded entrepreneurs presents an unparalleled opportunity for architectural experimentation, Seattle-area architects, engineers, fabricators, and builders, may have some catching up to do when it comes to the technical side of the building envelope. "There is a long history of great architecture in Seattle, yet the advanced facade systems are relatively new to the area, and there are many in the local design and construction scene unfamiliar with the technology," observed Patterson. "In fact, the pace of development of facade technology has accelerated to the point that keeping up takes a deliberate effort, even by the experts, or they won't be experts for long." "Our Facades+AM event will throw some of this up for a quick but deep dialogue that will provide equal parts information and inspiration," promised Patterson. The morning's agenda is divided into three case study-based presentations punctuated by networking breaks. Jeffrey Vaglio (Enclos) and Joshua Zabel (Kreysler & Associates) will follow Patterson and Stinn's opening remarks with "Digital Collaborations: Applications, Realities, and Opportunities in the Delivery of Complex Facades." The second presentation, by energy strategist consultant Sangeetha Divakar and Morrison Hershfield's Stéphane Hoffman, is "Combined Modeling Efforts for the Optimized Facade: Models, Methods, Materials." The final offering, from Devin Kleiner (Perkins+Will) and Peter Alspach (Arup), is "Aspirations vs. Reality: Analysis of Built Projects." Additional speakers are being added to the program. To learn more or join the Seattle dialogue, visit the Facades+AM Seattle website today.
Among the Windy City's most well-known assets are its universities, from DePaul in Lincoln Park and the Loop to the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. Many of these campuses, in turn, are characterized by heavy brick and stone architecture in the Neo-Gothic style. The dominance of a single architectural style—a feature of many institutions of higher learning, not just Chicago's—presents a challenge to contemporary architects, who must combine a sensitivity to the existing campus fabric with the imperatives of contemporary college life. Perkins+Will's Temple Hoyne Buell Hall, University of Illinois, Champaign. (Eric Fredericks / Flickr) "Context is very important in our design," affirmed Perkins+Will design principal Bryan Schabel, who works on a variety of projects including educational buildings. "We pay particular attention to the massing of our buildings and their relationship to the existing conditions—whether it is an adjacent building, a path or road, or a court or quadrangle that we either want to enhance or create with our designs. Additionally, we try to take cues from the scale and materiality of the existing campus when we design." Next week, Schabel will participate in a panel on campus design at the Facades+ Chicago conference. His co-panelists include moderator William Menking (AN), Valerio Dewalt Train Associates' Joe Valerio, and Patrick Loughran of Goettsch Partners. As for cases where the existing architectural language and modern mandates come into conflict, an open mind is key. "Often times, some literal aspects of the context may be counter to the goals of the project," said Schabel. "The solidity of some historical campuses' contexts, for instance, may not achieve the daylighting goals we have in our contemporary buildings, so we may use the context in a more abstract way to relate the new and old." School administrators tend to support such an approach, he explained. "While we have had clients that wanted a more literal interpretation of their historic campuses, most of them have fortunately been in line with our ideas of modernity, as long as they still relate in scale with the overall experience of the campus," said Schabel. Hear more from Schabel, his co-panelists, and other movers and shakers in the world of facade design and fabrication at Facades+ Chicago November 5-6. Register today on the conference website.