Architect Gordon Gill has one simple rule for facade design: seek performance first, and beauty will follow. Gill, who will give the opening keynote address at next month’s facades+PERFORMANCE conference in New York, is a founding partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, a firm known for pushing the boundaries of what architecture is and does. Gill and his team start by “establishing a language of architecture that’s based in the performance of a building,” he said. “We’re trying to understand the role of the building in the environment it’s being built in, then shape the building in order to benefit it the best way. Once we take that approach, the facades play a pretty rich role in either absorbing or reflecting the environment.” Gill titled his keynote talk “Skin Deep” as a tongue-in-cheek reference to what facade design ought not to be. “A lot of times facades are treated that way, as just a wrapper to make the building look good, when in fact we find their roles to be much deeper,” said Gill. “The role of the facade is really an amazing opportunity to change perceptions of space, to change thermal compositions of space, to change experiences of space on either side of that fence.” Gill has plenty of experience designing high-performance facades for challenging climates, from the heat of Dubai to the cold of Kazakhstan, where, he said, the air was so frigid and dry that he saw ice on the floor of the car that picked him up from the airport. “It’s amazing the environments that we have decided to occupy, and in doing so then we turn to these envelopes to protect us, everything from our coat to our building,” he observed. Gill embraces technology as a means to the end of high performance. “I’m a big fan of trying to get the most out of everything, and the technology plays a pretty big role in that for me,” he said. “When you’re dealing with a whole host of factors, including massive wind loads, movements of buildings, safety and protection in something that’s one kilometer tall, you’ve stretched the boundaries of conventionalism, you’ve gone beyond the normal expectations of materials. So now it becomes this combination of things you have to do to solve the problems.” Balancing performance and sensitivity in a facade, said Gill, is “like conflict resolution at the threshold of the built environment”—and technology can be an important mediator. “I would just put out a little call to arms for everyone who’s out there in this business, because we do have a responsibility to improve the environments that we design and work in,” concluded Gill. “I think beauty [has] a pivotal role and [is] a quality we all want to pursue, however, it shouldn’t be at the cost of intelligence, performance, and all the other things that make our environments valuable to us. I look forward to seeing more of that in the architecture that’s being produced—from us, too.”
Posts tagged with "Facades Conference":
San Francisco shone for the two days during the Facades+ conference on July 11th and 12th. Following the 2012 series dedicated to innovation, this year’s series focused on a variety of topics regarding sustainability. The conference not only addressed energy in building facades, but also the synergy of perspectives from architecture, engineering, and the construction industry that expand our understanding of high-performance building. The first day’s session dealt with performance as a key in the planning, development, and post occupancy stages. It detailed building system fabrication, materials, and optimization methods and tools. Energy simulations, laboratory tests and on-site measurements after one year of operation were shown for The New York Times building façade. Cases such as the window replacement in the UCLA CHS building and the Stanford Outpatient facility revealed the complexities imposed by working deep retrofit in existing building stock. The general session of the first day followed by in-depth workshops the second day. Dialog meetings covered materiality, technology, and new tools in the assessment of high-performance systems. Specialists from LBLN demonstrated how COMFEN, Therm, and Windows are capable tools for measuring performance in terms of energy transfer, daylighting, and costs. Technical sessions allowed useful software instruction and deep exploration of composite materials. Hands-on tools such as Rhino, Grasshopper, Firefly and other platforms showed the capabilities of current software packages. The session regarding responsive facades also included exploration of code-writing in Arduino micro-controller. Many thanks to The Architect's Newspaper and Enclos for providing us the opportunity to learn from cutting-edge firms such as BuroHappold, ARUP, SOM, Autodesk, YKK, Gensler, Morphosis, SGH, KPFF, Thornton Tomasetti, Perking+Will and others. Be sure to catch the next Façades+ in Chicago on October 24 and 25!
Registration for AN's Facades+PERFORMANCE conference is now open with a limited-time Early Bird pricing offer that expires on March 1. The conference is taking place in New York City on April 11 and 12 and will feature presentations and workshops from leaders in the industry who will analyze, discuss, and dispute the development, implementation, and maintenance of high-performance building enclosures. Noted architect Christoph Ingenhoven will be delivering the keynote address. Make sure to reserve your spot today before Facades+PERFORMANCE sells out!
“I think contemporary work environments are about communication. We tried to make interior space a community, “ said architect Christoph Ingenhoven of 1 Bligh Street, a sustainable office tower completed a little over a year ago in Sydney. Ingenhoven translated his idea of community into a building defined by a spectacular 28-story interior atrium capped by a skylight. With interior walls and elevators of glass, every view is a living, bustling cross-section. The atrium acts as natural cooling system while other green features include vacuum tube solar collectors for power and an onsite wastewater recycling system, adding up to a structure that is off the charts for its energy efficiency and low environmental impact. Ingenhoven, recognized for his groundbreaking integration of progressive sustainability and modernist design, will deliver the keynote lecture on April 11 at Facades + PERFORMANCE, an upcoming conference on high-performance building enclosures sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper. At the two-day event including a symposium and workshops, experts in the industry will analyze, discuss, and dispute the development, implementation, and maintenance of facades. Registration information available here. Ingenhoven opened his own office in Düsseldorf in 1985, and his most high-profile project to date may be the Stuttgart train station, a winning competition entry over fifteen years in the making that moves the station underground. Now under construction, the station will be carbon free and net-zero energy, already garnering the project a Holcim Gold Award for sustainable design. To Ingenhoven, sustainability is part and parcel of modernism. “Modernism is not a style but, rather, an attitude we commit ourselves to because it makes progressive insight, emancipation, authenticity and many other things possible,“ he said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. “It allows us to feel like we are part of this world in the here and now—and not like people who are permanently nostalgic.” Registration for Facades + PERFORMANCE is now open! Click here to see a line-up of speakers and workshops.
AN's Facades + Innovation Conference wrapped up last Friday in Chicago, rounding out the event’s inaugural run from New York to San Francisco and ending at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Architects, engineers, builders, and designers at today’s symposium plumbed the conceptual depths of form as well as the materials, programs and trends that could guide the future of design. Fernando Romero, founder of architecture firm FREE, kicked off the morning with a tour of his facade work, from the hexagonal network of mirrored steel tiles enclosing the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, to IIT’s McCormick Tribune Campus Center just two blocks from the conference hall. Romero worked on the McCormick Center while at OMA, but had never before visited the completed structure. Walking through the building after his talk, delivered on his 41st birthday, the architect said it was a gift to finally visit. Digital tools are part and parcel with contemporary building design, but speakers with the digital technologies panel focused in on some important advances in the field. Thornton Tomasetti, who are working with Morphosis on Cornell University’s new computing and information science building and the first phase of the Cornell-Technion Tech Campus on Manhattan's Roosevelt Island, spoke of Grasshopper tools that calculate column sizes, beam sizes and the like to determine a building’s embodied carbon. This data links with EnergyPlus programs to accurately model environmental performance over a building’s lifetime. Will Laufs directed our attention to adaptive glazings on high-performance mold-generated facades. Open-molded modern concrete allowed for elegantly detailed ductile facades, but it was the high-tech aspirations of the technology that proved most interesting. By weaving electronics into the facade, windows could become dynamic “screen prints” that shift solar heat gain coefficients, say, as occupants pass by certain areas. We also heard about current trends in the industry, including the prevalence of “design build” in the loosest sense: Architects are joining builders in the design process earlier, and vice versa. “Executive architects,” meanwhile are bringing a comprehensive approach to permitting, mediating conflicts between a difficult projects many trades and disciplines. Given the collegiate setting, we fittingly turned to academic experts for the day’s final panel. From Cal Poly to Milwaukee, we heard a chorus of professors encouraging collaboration and freethinking in design studios. Stepping out of the ivory tower was a common theme as well, with teachers touting practical design projects and funded faculty research that engages graduate and post-graduate students directly in creative work. We hope to see you next year: Our 2013 conference will come to New York City first, on April 11 and 12. We’ll take the show to San Francisco in July and see you in Chicago next fall.