Posts tagged with "Facades Plus":
"When we designed Eden over twenty years ago, this was the largest installation of ETFE, which had principally been used for small sports buildings," said Andrew Whalley, Partner & Deputy Chairman at Grimshaw Architects. Whalley was, of course, referring to the Eden Project in the U.K.'s southwest, the project that put ETFE and its use for buildings on the map. Previously, the material had been used mostly in the aerospace industry, with the odd agricultural project thrown in. Now it was being used for huge, bulbous "biomes" that drew inspiration from Buckminster Fuller.
"I think the Eden project certainly gave it a much higher profile, which led quickly to its use on several high-profile buildings. This rise in popularity has lead to a continual refinement in the product, and with secondary applications," added Whalley.Grimshaw has since gone on to be a pioneer of the polymer in architecture. Their U.K. National Space Center in Leicester was another landmark project, and, more recently, the firm has stepped it up a level, with the dazzling Disney resort, "Tomorrowland," in Shanghai. Whalley continued, "Current ETFE is much more transparent than its earlier version, is available in a range of color tints. It can be fritted, and combining this with variable air pressures can change the amount of light passing through the envelope." Light and colour certainly abound at Tomorrowland. David Dennis, Associate Principal at Grimshaw explained how this was achieved through a double-layered ETFE cushion that spans 164 feet across a complicated twin-gridshell canopy. This is then held in place by custom-formed aluminum clamps that respond to the tight bending and twisting of the structure. "ETFE’s inherent flexibility permitted spanning these complex forms. Meanwhile, advancements in imbedded color and custom-applied ‘frit’ patterns enabled a backdrop suitable for both daytime and nighttime light shows," elaborated Dennis. "The canopy structure required a lightweight cladding that could keep guests dry and comfortable in Shanghai’s wet summers. At the same time, it also needed to be an expressive and iconic canvas for lighting effects and projections that celebrate Disney’s stories and capture the Tomorrowland theme of an optimistic future," he added. "ETFE met these needs, providing flexibility of form and advanced capacity for showcase." But how is ETFE being used on U.S. shores? Alloy Kemp, a Senior Project Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti's New York office, was on hand. The engineering firm has already worked on numerous ETFE facades, including Banc of California Stadium (for the Los Angeles Football Club, MLS), the U.S. Bank Stadium (for the Minnesota Vikings) and the Hard Rock Stadium (for the Miami Dolphins) in Florida. Right now, Thornton Tomasetti is working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and the Rockwell Group on The Shed at Hudson Yards which, yes, you guessed it, has an ETFE facade. According to Kemp, The Shed uses a pneumatic system, whereby three foils made into a panel are inflated with air. "The air is not structural; it serves to stabilize the foils," said Kemp. "The outer foil is fritted (printed with silver ink in a dot pattern) to reduce the light transmission of the panel into the space." The middle foil, meanwhile, is clear, and the inner foil is white, with 20 percent opacity. Kemp remarked that the "overall effect is to diffuse and scatter the direct sunlight into the space." ETFE is also representing the U.S. on foreign soil, too. Back in the U.K., Philly-based studio KieranTimberlake Architects recently used the material to clad the U.S. Embassy in London. Partner at studio Matthew Krissell told AN how the "single layer tensioned membrane," arranged in an array of sails on three sides of the building, optimized natural daylighting with a high level of transparency. Meanwhile, the scrim also provided a second air gap to give further resistance to thermal transfer.
"Our approach was that we wanted to be open, but this doesn't mean sprawling out with unnecessary surface parking," Manfredi added. "That way of thinking is in the past. Collaborating has changed, we achieve progress when connected, not in private. This is also a place for the next generation. Because of technology, we share everything online now—even my kids do it! My children and others won’t change when they get in the work workplace, they will expect to work in this environment of open innovation."
For this to happen, Manfredi argued that he had to "treat as much as the environment as publicly accessible, not trying to privatize, but instead to be democratic, so that spaces stay active past common hours of usage." An example of this can be seen with the Boston Warrior Ice Arena, where transparency facilitates a legible typological reading of the building. "How often to see an ice arena that has 40 feet of glass?" asked Manfredi.
David Manfredi will be speaking at the upcoming Facades+ conference this June. There, he will discuss this project and others in greater detail. To find out more about the Facades+ Boston conference and register, visit facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.
Technology and big data go hand-in-hand and Boston-based firm Sasaki is one of the firms leading the way. Sasaki's work touches on economic activity, master planning, urban regeneration, and resiliency. Big data is crucial for such work.
Brad Barnett is a director of strategies at Sasaki. Within this position, his role includes city planning, designing, and data visualization as well as engaging designers with people that he described to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) as being "from the pure technology side."
"Cities so far have been inert objects," said Barnett. "They are built to be offices and dwellings. We are looking at them being multi-layered." Barnett continued to explain how society is evolving to cater to technology at varying levels. Sensors can help you park your car, but they can also be used to monitor pedestrian flow within the built environment. The latter is being looked into by Sasaki with traffic signals that can analyze car traffic in Boston.
An example of big data in use can be seen with Sasaki's work in the city of Houston where Sasaki is using data from Yelp! to aid the city's understanding the downtown districts. "This can help them understand which areas are in demand during the day and night and why: for shopping, eating, being entertained etc. This can help us look at what time of day people need access to certain amenities."
Another incidence of this approach being used is evident in Sasaki's plan for New Bedford, a New England town with a working waterfront. By analyzing pedestrian circulation, Sasaki was able to pinpoint areas for potential economic development using data visualization cartographically in the process. Further coverage by AN of that scheme can be seen here.
Technology integration, meanwhile, can be found at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Miller Nichols Library, another project on which the Boston-based firm worked. Here, a dense central core of book stacks was moved to a new wing that housed an Automatic Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS). Subsequently, the reduction in square footage (usually required by traditional book stacks) minimized site disturbance and preserved green space. Energy loads for lighting, temperature, and humidity are all reduced in the ASRS compared to the requirements of spaces that integrate shelving with populated study space.
Sasaki described the original Miller Nichols Library as a "fortress-like structure typical of the Brutalist architectural style of the 1960s." Retrofitting is an emerging topic in architecture discourse as typologies become redundant in certain respects and new technology comes around.
At AN's upcoming Facades+ conference in Boston, this topic will be addressed in a panel on modernist performance retrofitting. Another panel, meanwhile, will look at how urban data is informing facade design. Barnett will be on hand at the event to act as a panel moderator.
The event's co-chair is Senior Associate at Sasaki, Brad Prestbo. Prestbo is also a co-founder of MakeTank!, an upcoming program at the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) that looks how technology is changing the way architects make and build. MakeTank! aims to engage makers throughout New England and aims to serve architecture studios that do not have access to such [technological] facilities. "It is a group devoted to exploring the frontiers of fabrication and design," Prestbo told AN.
To find out more about the Facades+ Boston conference and register, visit facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.