A research center in Manhattan gets a custom facade solution for energy efficiency and user comfort.Ennead Architects and Heintges & Associates recently completed construction on the 475,000-square-foot Belfer Research Center, Weill Cornell Medical College’s latest expansion to Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The building’s facade includes a unique double skin system on the southern face to define the medical campus’ identity, provide ample natural light without glare to the laboratory spaces, and create a highly efficient envelope. Heintges and Ennead previously worked together on the neighboring Weill Greenberg Center in 2007, said Todd Schliemann, partner in Ennead Architects and designer of both WCMC’s Weill Greenberg Center and new Belfer Research Building. Among the strategies employed in that project was the use of custom ceramic fritting to cut down on sun loading and glare. The team repeated that strategy at Belfer, applying ceramic frit to both sides of the building’s outer curtain wall. The exterior of the outermost layer features a white frit pattern designed to reflect sunlight, while a black frit pattern on the interior surface helps reduce glare and increase visibility through the glass. The double curtain wall produces a chimney effect that reduces cooling loads. For insulation, the inner layer is composed of argon-filled insulated glass units. “We conducted a lot of thermal analysis to minimize bridging through the outriggers,” said John Pachuta, a partner at Heintges. The framing system for the inner wall is thermally broken; a layer of mineral-fiber insulation behind the frame helps improve performance. Permasteelisa manufactured the 5-foot units in its Montreal facility. Glass from BGT was treated with an Interpane coating, and outrigger connections were affixed to the frame every 5 feet. The outriggers also extend to support the outer skin. For the outer wall, unitizing the unique geometries helped maintain the building schedule, despite its complex appearance. “We learned that even with a subtle shift in plane, you can still use standard parts and pieces,” said Schliemann. The team was able to reduce the number of IGUs and achieve a more monolithic appearance by using larger, 10-and-a-half-foot panels, ultimately requiring fewer joints. The grid breaks into 21-foot repetitions, in order to accommodate window washing balconies that also provide faceted cavities in the exterior curtain wall. The cavity between the two skins measures between 18 and 25 inches to accommodate an aluminum catwalk, which is supported by the inner wall’s outriggers. Access points to the catwalk can be reached from the interior for cleaning and maintenance. With increasingly erratic environmental conditions in the Northeast corridor, the entire system had to be secure yet resilient. “We considered having support members starting from the base building structure—from the perimeter beams or columns to extend through the inner curtain wall—but to reduce thermal bridging it was more effective to have outriggers extend through the weather enclosure,” said Pachuta. “Instead, steel outriggers support the catwalk and outer screen wall that are directly attached to the mullions of the inner curtain wall.” Mullions of the inner curtain wall are reinforced with steel, and are anchored to the outer wall at the edge of each unit. The faceted cavities produce good ventilation, but also leave the protected areas open for pigeons to nest. En lieu of standard bird wire, the team developed a custom steel frame with tensioned, horizontal stainless steel rods ¾ inches apart. Though the system keeps the sky rats at bay, the wire is no wider than a bicycle spoke and does not impede views from inside.
Posts tagged with "Fritted Glass":
The Benjamin Franklin Museum at Independence National Historical Park (INHP) in Philadelphia has bid adieu to the 1970s. Closed by the National Park Service (NPS) for a $23 million, two-year renovation, the historic site has re-opened as an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility to learn about the “relevant revolutionary.” Quinn Evans Architects (QEA) was tasked with renovating the original 1976 underground museum designed by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (VSBA). The museum now involves interactive displays, personal artifacts, and a glass pavilion, also known as the ghost house, operating as the main entrance from Franklin Court. While VSBA’s "ghost house" pavilion remains largely untouched, one major change consists of the new entry building, which replaces heavy brick walls with a ground floor facade of “fritted glass,” a pattern created from photographs of the original pavilion’s brick wall. Slate floors replace burnt orange-tiled passageways. The firm has also designed a large “View Window” to engage visitors with the ghost house, a steel structure outlining Franklin’s vanished residence and print shop. While recognizing that the museum could benefit from an update and the expanded entry pavilion might be needed to accommodate roughly 250,000 annual visitors, Scott Brown was not thrilled that VSBA was not asked to carry out the project. When the project began, AN reported that Doris Fanelli, chief of INHP’s Division of Cultural Resources Management, contended that the NPS selected QEA from a pre-approved list because the venture was progressing quickly. Although confronted with reluctance from architectural scholars to alter the postmodern icon, NPS did not approach VSBA, who was not on the list. In a letter, VSBA wrote that more offensive is how the alterations rework the museum entry experience, which resembled former urban planner Edmund Bacon’s greenway plan for Society Hill.
IAC Headquarters 550 West 18th Street New York, NY The IAC Headquarters is Frank Gehry’s first building in New York. Neither a symphony hall nor an art gallery clad in riveting titanium that creates its own economic system, it is rather a diminutive swell of faceted glass with a graded white frit. Compared to most big-name office buildings, the IAC is built at a much more personal scale. Built as-of-right and opened to little in the way of the usual starchitect fanfare, some might notice it’s hard to find the front door. What you may not know, however, is how bird friendly the building is. Glass buildings are responsible for 100 million to 1 billion bird deaths every year in the United States. New York City is on a major migratory route, and our tall glass buildings kill millions every migration season. The New York City Audubon Society has created a handbook for architects to help them avoid design decisions that prove deadly to our avian companions. One such design tactic is to include a frit pattern on a buildings windows so birds don't confuse the glass with the open sky. With a highly-fritted facade, the IAC is just fine for our feathered friends. (But with that hidden front door, you might see more humans walking into the glass building than birds!) Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.