Posts tagged with "Glass":

Placeholder Alt Text

Grappling with Glare in High-Performance Facade Design

Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Scott Johnson's Museum Tower in Dallas, and Rafael Viñoly's Vrada Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas have at least one thing in common. All three provoked the ire of their neighbors when glare from their reflective facades raised sidewalk temperatures, blinded drivers, or—as in the Museum Tower case—jeopardized the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center’s collections. Glare is increasingly a problem in facade design, says Curtainwall Design Consulting president Charles Clift, in part because of the tools contemporary architects have at their disposal. "The conclusion I came to is that the digital age of architecture has allowed designers to create anything they can imagine, but with that comes some unintended consequences." Clift and other experts in high-performance envelope design, including George Loisos (Loisos + Ubbelohde) and Luke Smith (Enclos), will dig into the problem of glare in a symposium panel at this month's Facades+ Dallas conference. Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick, David Cossum of the City of Dallas, and the Dallas Morning News' Mark Lamster will join them to discuss the reflectivity challenge within the local context. The conversation will continue on day 2 of the conference at the "Curating Daylight: Effective Control of Interior Illumination & Issues of Exterior Reflectivity" dialog workshop (led by George Loisos and Susan Ubbelohde), which meets at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Advancements in building materials offer one solution to the glare challenge, which exists in tension with the demand to reduce thermal gain. "An easy way for the facade to accomplish sustainability goals is to use highly reflective glass, but obviously that rejected glare goes back into the environment," said Clift. Happily, innovations by today's glass manufacturers, including low-e coatings, boost performance, reduce glare, and allow a decent amount of visible light transmission. External or internal sunshades can also do double duty as thermal barriers and glare blockers. But both specialty glass and shading structures come at a cost, and are often the first to go when the budget gets tight. "A lot of the time, the issue of glare has been taken into account in the design process, but it’s one of the first components that might get value-engineered out," said Smith, who will moderate the panel. Municipal-level regulation is another possible fix for the reflectivity problem. Clift reports that some Dallas builders he’s talked to are confident that the market will sort things out. They say that the Museum Tower/Nasher Sculpture Center debacle "is such a bad situation that a savvy developer won’t do that in the future." Smith is not so sure. "This is an urban problem, but as soon as the city tries to step in, people say, 'No, this has nothing to do with the city,'" he said. "I think the problem is getting worse because density is increasing in cities, and right now glass is predominantly the building material of choice." Dallas, he notes, is the perfect place to explore the glare issue. "The city’s going through a regeneration: the place is coming back. Plus, it’s sunny, and they like glass buildings." To hear more from Smith, Cliff, and the other panelists about the problem of glare, register today for the Dallas Facades+ conference. The complete lineup of symposium speakers, dialog workshops, tech workshops, and networking events can be found on the conference website.
Placeholder Alt Text

GLUCK+ Screens a Modern Great Camp

Custom sliding wood shades maximize privacy and views in Adirondack Mountains retreat.

Architect-led design build firm GLUCK+ designed the Lakeside Retreat in the Adirondack Mountains on an historic blueprint: the Great Camps, sprawling summer compounds built by vacationing families during the second half of the nineteenth century. "The clients wanted to hold events there, and to make a place where their kids—who were in college at the time—would want to spend time," said project manager Kathy Chang. "They wanted to create different ways of occupying the space." GLUCK+ carved the hilly wooded site into a series of semi-subterranean buildings, of which the two principal structures are the family house and the recreation building. These buildings are, in turn, distinguished by massive lake-facing glass facades, camouflaged by wooden screens designed to maximize both privacy and views. The project, explained Chang, "was really about sculpting in and out of the landscape, manipulating the ground plane." By using the existing site as a primary element of construction, the GLUCK+ team was able to accomplish two things. First, "it gave us a new level area for the clients to hang out outside," said Chang. "It provided a new way to occupy the site, because before there was no flat ground." Second, they were able to manipulate the program so that the mechanical spaces were tucked into the underground portions of the houses, making way for a transparent facade along the lakeside. "The fact that so much of the program is buried allowed us to build the glass facade, despite the energy requirements," said Chang. The custom curtain wall is in fact quite simple, said Chang. "What made it custom was sizes and the ability to integrate the screen support: we have various slope conditions, and at the highest point the pieces are really very heavy." GLUCK+ installed Siegenia lift and slide hardware to insure easy operation of even the largest sliding glass doors. "The client was really intrigued with the idea of open sleeping porches," said Chang. "They wanted to be able to open up the house and have the breeze come through."
  • Facade Manufacturer Sanxin Facade Technology Limited (curtain wall, sliding doors), Rio Welding (screen frames), Northern Hardwoods (wood louvers), Precise Painting and Wall Covering, Inc. (wood louvers)
  • Architects GLUCK+
  • Facade Installer Architectural Glass and Mirror (curtain wall, sliding doors), V & H Construction (screens)
  • Location Adirondack Mountains, NY
  • Date of Completion 2010
  • System custom glass curtain wall with sliding glass doors, custom sliding wood screens on Cor-ten frames
  • Products custom sliding doors, custom fixed glass, Siegenia sliding door hardware, custom milled Cambia by NFP thermally modified poplar louvers
The screen system was partly a response to concerns expressed by the local environmental commission. "The commission was very nervous about having a tall glass building facing the lake," recalled Chang. "We set the buildings back from the lake, in the trees. In addition, part of the idea of the screen was to break down reflections from the glass so that it wouldn't be so apparent from the lake." The wood shades are arranged in two layers, both attached at the top to the underside of the roof slab. Stainless steel outriggers placed in the window system between the first and second stories provide an additional point of attachment for the screens above and below. To reduce the gravity load, the outriggers are supported by cables attached to the roof slab. Each screen comprises thermally modified poplar slats from Cambia Wood affixed to a Cor-ten frame with horizontal steel elements for additional strength. "We calculated that there's almost four miles of wood, so we really spent a lot of time looking at different options, at different ways to price it and build it," said Chang. "We looked at doing this in mahogany or other woods typical for outside use, but both the weight and expense were prohibitive." GLUCK+ performed analyses to determine which rooms would require more or less privacy, or open spaces at sitting or standing levels for views. Many of the screens are designed to slide from side to side. In addition, some individual slats can be rotated to enhance privacy. On the top level of the buildings, the (fixed) inner layer of screening doubles as a balcony guardrail. GLUCK+ used the same poplar on the buildings' other exterior walls, some of which are occupied underneath, others serving as filler. "We used the same wood in a more solid condition to try to tie those walls in with the screen, and with the solid earth," said Chang. "It's really hard to tell where the building stops and the landscape begins." Because one building was ahead of the other during construction, Chang and her colleagues had the opportunity to compare the uncovered curtain wall with its shaded neighbor. "The unscreened building just looked naked and cold," she said. "It didn't have this life to it." The clients, reluctant at first to embrace the screens, agreed. "In the beginning of the process, the clients were a little worried about losing the view," recalled Chang. "We needed iterations of the mockups to convince them: no, it's actually adding to it. It ended up being one of their favorite parts of the whole project."
Placeholder Alt Text

Antoine Predock’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights Opens In Winnipeg

The Antoine Predock–designed Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened in Winnipeg last Friday with a ceremony featuring an indigenous blessing, performances by Ginette Reno, The Tenors, Maria Aragon, and Sierra Noble, plus remarks by several Canadian government officials as well as representatives of the museum. With its Tyndall limestone ramparts, layers of curved glass, and projecting Tower of Hope, the museum evokes the wings of a dove—the symbol of peace—enfolding an ancient mountain. The carefully choreographed entry sequence leads visitors from the building's rocky base down into the carved-out Great Hall, through a hidden winter garden, and, finally, up to the Tower of Hope, whose structure frames views of the city and beyond. Geological and astronomical references abound, from the 450-million-year-old limestone itself to the orientation of the stone-clad Roots, whose apertures welcome the solstice and equinox sun. The brainchild of the late philanthropist and entrepreneur Israel Asper, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the world's only museum focused exclusively on human rights. It opens to the public on Saturday, September 27. Antoine Predock will deliver the opening keynote address at next month's Facades+ Dallas conference, during which he will discuss the conceptual and technical drivers of the museum's design. For more information or to register, visit the conference website.    
Placeholder Alt Text

Product> Exterior Glass: Eight options with special functions built in

The role of glass continues to expand in architecture as new performance properties and aesthetic qualities come to market in a steady flow. From photovoltaic glazing to printing technologies that address the issue of avian impacts, the material has become an active, dynamic force in buildings. SunGuard SNX 51/23 Guardian For commercial use, this high-performance, low-E glass has a VLT above 50 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient below .25. Solarban z75 PPG Featuring a neutral, cool-gray tint, this low-emissivity glass offers an intelligent combination of visible light transmittance, solar control, and light control. View Dynamic Glass View As the sun intensifies, a nanotech interlayer regulates an electric current that shifts ions in the glass, automatically darkening them. Offered in panels up to 5 feet by 10 feet. Ornilux Mikado Arnold Glas  This bird-protection glass features a patterned UV coating that is visible to birds, but virtually transparent to the human eye. i-Glass Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope  This screenless technology can print multiple colors and complex designs on exterior and interior glass. LightZone SageGlass  Variable tint zones within a single pane of electrochromic glass allows great flexibility for managing solar heat gain and glare. CLASS Sapphire Saint Gobain In sheets up to 9 inches by 26 inches and 12 inches by 24 inches, this transparent ballistic-resistant material achieves a 40 percent lighter and 40 percent thinner system than a glass-only design. DigitalDistinctions Etch Ink Viracon This ink simulates the look of acid-etched or colored-etched glass without high-pressure sand blasting or dangerous acids.
Placeholder Alt Text

Marlon Blackwell Puts on a Clinic with Vol Walker Hall

University of Arkansas  addition celebrates the future with a contemporary rewrite of Neoclassicism.

As head of the architecture department and distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture, Marlon Blackwell was uniquely qualified to oversee the renovation and expansion of the school's home, Vol Walker Hall. To unite the school's landscape architecture, architecture, and interior design departments under one roof for the first time, Blackwell's eponymous firm designed a contemporary west wing to mirror the east bar on the existing Beaux-Arts style building, constructed in the 1930s as the university library. But the Steven L. Anderson Design Center—which tied for Building of the Year in AN's 2014 Best of Design Awards—is more than a container for 37,000 square feet of new studio, seminar, and office space. It is also a teaching tool, a lesson in the evolution of architectural technology writ in concrete, limestone, glass, steel, and zinc.
  • Facade Manufacturer Stone Panels (limestone), Tulsa Dynapan (architectural concrete), Rheinzink (zinc panels), L&L Metal Fabrication (metal/glass curtain wall), Kawneer (other curtain wall)
  • Architects Marlon Blackwell Architect, Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects (associate architect)
  • Facade Installer ACE Glass Construction Corp. (glazing), Baldwin & Shell Construction Company (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultant Heitmann & Associates, Inc. (curtain wall), Clarkson Consulting (concrete)
  • Location Fayetteville, AR
  • Date of Completion 2013
  • System custom curtain wall with frit glass fins, limestone rain screen, zinc panels, architectural precast concrete
  • Products Stone Panels StoneLite limestone rain screen, architectural precast concrete from Tulsa Dynaspan, Rheinzink zinc panels, Viracon frit glass, Kawneer curtain wall, Viracon insulated glass
"Our strategy was to create a counterweight to the existing building," explained Blackwell. Rather than a layered steel-frame construction, Marlon Blackwell Architect opted for a post-tensioned concrete structure to convey a sense of mass and volume. "We also wanted to demonstrate what you can do with new technology like post-tensioned concrete, such as introducing a cantilever and introducing a profile that has minimal columns in the spaces," he said. "All of that is a didactic tool for our students to contrast and compare with the load-bearing technology of the existing structure." The exterior of the Steven L. Anderson Design Center also reflects on changes to architectural practice during the last 80 years. "We really wanted to develop a strong profile of the building, in contrast to Vol Walker Hall," said Blackwell. He describes the effect as a figure-ground reversal: where in the older structure the mass of the building is the ground and the windows and ornament act as figure, in the new wing the mass is the figure and the fenestration the ground. To create what Blackwell terms a "condition of resonance" between the Design Center and Vol Walker Hall, the architects engaged Clarkson Consulting to develop an architectural concrete to match the color of a local Arkansas limestone no longer available. They echoed the Indiana limestone on the older wing with panels sourced from a quarry only 50 miles from the original. But instead of grouting the limestone cladding on the new wing, Blackwell chose a limestone rain screen system from Stone Panels. "That allows us to go much thinner but much larger," he said. "Again, we're using the same materials but showing how the advancement of technology allows for a different expression of architecture." The defining feature of the Design Center is the more than 200-foot-long glass and steel curtain wall on the western facade. Knowing that the western exposure would provide the only source of natural light for the new wing, the architects worked to balance the need for light against the threat of solar gain. To complement the existing building, they chose a fascia steel curtain wall custom-fabricated by local company L&L Metal Fabrication. With curtain wall consultants Heitmann & Associates, Blackwell developed a brise soleil comprising 3/4-inch by 18-inch frit glass fins, angled to filter sunlight into the Design Center's 43-foot-deep studios. "What we like about it, too, is that it's one big window," said Blackwell. "It allows it to feel as if we've cut a section right through the building. At night the entire facade becomes a beacon, allowing for a nice interface between the school of architecture and the rest of the community." Other details, including the monolithic concrete pours designed to lighten the Design Center's connection to the ground, and zinc cladding used on the top floor to sharpen the profile of the main body, continue the dialogue between the new structure and its Neoclassical neighbor. "There are a lot of little things that give a tautness to the expression of the new addition, and give it its own identity," said Blackwell. "But at the same time, one of the things we were faithful to was trying to analyze and uncover units of measure and proportion on the old building, and apply that to ours." Perhaps more importantly, the building works as a design school—and Blackwell would know. "There's certainly contrast on the outside," he said. "But there's an almost resonant seamlessness on the inside."
Placeholder Alt Text

Vintage Glass Blocks For Sale For a Good Cause

AN recently got word of 1,500 vintage glass art blocks that are up for sale over on Etsy. These slabs won’t just add color to your home or garden, they will represent a donation to a great cause as the seller, the Unearthed Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin, is donating 15 percent of its proceeds to Heifer International. According to Unearthed, “these inch-thick, molded glass forms in a number of vivid colors make luscious eye candy when backlit in a window or light box.” The tiles, according to the gallery, date back to a 1980s-era stain glass-making company in the Midwest. You can check out the listing here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Product> Transparent Thinking: Five New Glazing Options

The dual role glass plays in architectural design—a material integral to both a building's appearance and its performance—makes selecting a specific product a tricky process. From energy-efficient glazing to decorative dichroic panels, here are a few new items to spur the imagination. Liquidkrystal Lasvit  Designed by Ross Lovegrove, these glass panels can be fixed into construction profiles or into building construction-assembly grooves. Specialty colors and finishes are available; panels range in size from 80 by 8 centimeters to 270 by 370 centimeters. Koda XT 3Form Refined design meets extreme durability in this translucent polycarbonate panel material. Specially formulated for exterior applications, it is a cost-effective alternative to glass. 8250 STX Wausau Factory-fabricated as an aluminum knocked-down system, this curtain wall offers glazing contractors an easy-to-install, non-thermal system for low- to mid-rise buildings. It features tubular vertical framing members in lieu of I-beams, to withstand wind loads without twisting at anchor points or buckling. VUE-30 Viracon This high-performance glass coating allows designers to maximize window-to-wall ratios, while exceeding industry and current domestic energy code requirements for sustainable design. The coating is available on any Viracon glass substrate, and can also be combined with silkscreen patterns or digital printing. Optichroic Dichroic Glass Bendheim This laminated glass is available in an assortment of surface combinations, including clear, etched, and etched patterns. It can be produced in sheets as large as 54 by 120 inches, without the long lead-times typically associated with specialty products.
Placeholder Alt Text

Glass Coating Cracks At Willis Tower’s 103rd Floor Observation Deck

At first glance, the glass-observation boxes that jut out of the Willis Tower’s 103rd floor don’t look all that safe—and that is exactly the point. The SOM-designed attraction, known as the Ledge, opened in 2009 and offers “thrill seekers,” “death defiers,” and “people who can wait in  a really long line” the chance to step outside of the iconic skyscraper and look straight down at the streets of Chicago, 1,353-feet below. The floor of the suspended structure is comprised of 1.5-inch laminated glass panels, which can hold 10,000 pounds and withstand four tons of pressure. So, the danger is all imagined, right? Well, it certainly didn't feel that way for a California family who visited last night. When Alejandro Garibay and some of his family members stepped onto one of the boxes, they noticed cracks on the glass floor, which, remember, is  suspended 1,353 feet above ground. Garibay, told NBC 5 Chicago that it was a "crazy feeling and experience." You don't say! According to Bill Utter, a spokesperson for the Willis Tower, there was nothing to fear. He told the Chicago Sun Times that it was only the coating that cracked and that the structural integrity of the Ledge was not impacted. “Occasionally this happens, but that’s because we designed it this way,” he told the paper. “Whatever happened last night is a result of the protective coating doing what it’s designed to.” NBC 5 Chicago reports that the Ledge is closed today for what an official calls a "routine inspection."
Placeholder Alt Text

Product> Hardware for Doors, Drawers, and More

Whether concealed or out in the open, hinges, handles, and railings enhance both the safety and aesthetics of the well-considered interior. Here's a selective survey of hardware culled from the AN files. GKD Metal Fabrics Futura 3110 This stainless steel metal mesh is ideal for interior and exterior applications, such as balustrades, screens, and space dividers. Woven for flexibility in one direction, the product weighs just less than 2 pounds-per-square-foot and is 0.37 inches thick. Its 65 percent open area makes it ideal for sun shading applications. CARVART Railings Hardware A unique system of concealed fasteners for various applications—from top mounted to countersunk point fittings—is designed to support CARVART’s glass offerings. Rigid and durable stainless steel, bronze, and aluminum elements can be customized with satin or brushed finishes, powder coatings, or oil rubs. Assa Abloy IN120 Wi-Fi Lock Corbin Russwin and SARGENT brands’ wireless electronic lock can interface with existing IT systems and a range of access control systems. Customizable from a kit of parts, the lock includes features to facilitate operation regardless of network status, and privacy and lockdown modes for both cylindrical and mortise lock designs. Sun Valley Bronze Novus Collection Sun Valley Bronze’s Novus Collection of mortise-lock entry sets features a slim, 2-inch faceplate with no visible hub, a square key cover, and the company’s modern Elle lever. Its white bronze construction boasts 93 percent pre-consumer recycled copper, manganese, nickel, and zinc elements for a nickel hue. Dorma Tensor Hinge Tensor features a self closing, double acting hinge that is suitable for a variety of door designs and sizes up to 143 pounds. When doors open to 90 degrees, Tensor’s inlay is engineered to protect the technical core and function as a mechanical stop. Hawa Concepta 25/30/50 A uniquely engineered pivot-slide hardware system facilitates bi-folding glass and wood pocket doors as wide as 9 feet. Guiding tracks produce gaps of 20 mm from floor to door, and 40 mm from door to ceiling. Doors are flush with the wall when closed. An aluminum fascia conceals hinges when open doors are tucked into the cabinet. Omnia 721 Modern Door Pull A solid, brushed stainless steel 20-mm rod (above) is the defining component of Omnia’s 721 Modern Door Pull. Two lengths—15¾ inches and 31½ inches—affix seamlessly to notched supports that attach directly to the door. It can be installed as a single door pull or doubled up back-to-back. Krown Lab Ring Pull Constructed from solid stainless steel with a radial brushed finish, the Ring Pull is suitable for wood and glass doors. Measuring up to 3 ¼-inches in diameter, open and closed variations can be specified in natural brushed metal and black stainless. The open style features an interior rubber lining for user comfort.
Placeholder Alt Text

MVRDV’s Glassy Approach: Dutch Firm to Craft an Office Building From Hong Kong Warehouse

Dutch firm MVRDV is creating a new office building in Hong Kong, and by the looks of the renderings, people will be really happy to work there. The project actually entails the transformation of the Cheung Fai Warehouse, a 14-story industrial building that currently sits on a busy corner in the city's designated business area of East Kowloon. MVRDV will be stripping the structure to its concrete infrastructural core before filling the frame with glass and stainless steel in order to define the new office spaces. Glass dominates the exterior as well, as large sheets are inserted into the white concrete frame of the structure. The largely clear facade is punctuated by small explosions of greenery, which spills out of select rectangular sections. The rooftop has been set aside for a terrace meant to serve as a communal gathering space. The glass spills over into the interior, bringing with it large amounts of light and also meaning that the building's concrete skeleton is readily visible throughout the offices and circulation areas. The Cheung Fai building is MVRDV's first foray into Hong Kong. In addition to 37 office units, the structure is also slated to house retail space and restaurants. At its rear the site faces a disused service alley that the firm hopes to one day convert into usable public space in keeping with the development of the surrounding area. The transformation is scheduled to be completed by 2015.
Placeholder Alt Text

A Transparent Cathedral Addition by architectsAlliance

A renovation and addition bring an historic church complex into the 21st century.

The Diocese of Toronto approached architectsAlliance (aA) about renovating the St. James Cathedral Centre with two objectives in mind. On a practical level, they wanted more space for the cathedral’s outreach program and the Diocesan archives, as well as quarters for the Dean of the Cathedral and visitors. At the same time, the Anglican leadership wanted to make a statement about the Church’s relevance to contemporary Canadian society. “The idea of the addition was to convey an image of the Church itself as a kind of more open institution, much more transparent and contemporary,” said aA’s Rob Cadeau. “[It was] really driven by the dean, who wanted to refresh the image of the Church.”The architects designed the addition to the Parish Hall as a glass cube. “There’s a lot of use of glass, both as a contemporary material, but also to convey that idea of transparency, for the symbolism of the project,” said Cadeau. At the same time, the see-through extension “defers to the old building. It doesn’t take away from the presence of the old building as opposed to solid masonry construction.” The upper stories of the stick system curtain wall are wrapped in a floating sunscreen comprising repeating bands of laminated glass. “It was very important to the church that there be a sort of green aspect to the design in the way it’s conceived and constructed,” said Cadeau. “So the sunscreen was designed as a passive means of providing shading.” To maximize shading during the summer and solar gain during the winter, aA ran the sunscreen design through shadow analysis testing in ArchiCAD. They worked with Stouffville Glass to engineer both the sunscreen and the curtain wall. The sunscreen hangs on a vertical system of stainless steel brackets anchored to the HSS beams surrounding the slab edge of the second and third floors. The glass panels’ interlayer is printed with a linear pattern recalling the original building’s narrow button bars. “The idea of the lines within the sunscreen was to create a finer grain of detail on the glass,” explained Cadeau. The curtain wall itself is built of Solarban 60 glass. “It still provides the U value we wanted, but we didn’t want too much reflectivity because it’s a fairly small building,” said Cadeau.
  • Facade Manufacturer Stouffville Glass
  • Architects architectsAlliance
  • Location Toronto
  • Date of Completion 2011
  • System stick system glass curtain wall with laminated glass sunscreen
The firm also improved the thermal performance of the original Parish Hall building, which opened in 1910. With help from a building envelope consultant, they ran a thermal analysis of the structure to determine how much spray foam insulation to insert between the masonry wall and a new stud wall. The goal was to boost insulation while allowing some heat transfer. “That’s very important in heritage upgrades,” said Cadeau. “[T]he mistake you can make is over-insulating. Masonry walls rely in some sense of heat loss so that the water [trapped inside] never freezes. If the water absorbed in the brick freezes it will start to crack the brick.” The new St. James Cathedral Centre unites a previously disconnected cluster of buildings across an enclosed courtyard. In that way, aA suggests, the glass addition functions as a contemporary cloister. “In a larger, urban planning sense [the objective] was to complete the ensemble of buildings, create more of a connection between the buildings as a whole,” said Cadeau.
Placeholder Alt Text

After Record-Breaking Concrete Pour in Los Angeles, Wilshire Grand Reaches for the Sky

The Wilshire Grand, a 73-story tower under construction in downtown Los Angeles, hasn’t yet risen out of the ground, but it’s already in the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s thanks to a February 15–16 event promoters called the Grand Pour, in which construction crews poured 21,200 cubic yards (82 million pounds) of concrete in 18 hours—the largest continuous concrete pour in history. Why all the fuss? The idea for the event originated with AC Martin's design itself. Unlike most of Los Angeles’ other high rises, the Wilshire Grand will be built around a concrete core rather than a steel frame. “As we worked through all of those things,...[AC Martin CEO Christopher Martin] realized this was going to be an absolutely huge technical event. It involves a lot of coordination and almost theater in terms of getting [the trucks in and out],” said design principal David Martin. “Then everybody really got behind that [and said], ‘let’s get a marching band and have a parade with the concrete.’” “There was really a buzz downtown about the whole thing,” added project manager Tammy Jow. The parade included 100 members of the USC marching band, representatives of the building’s owners, Korean Airlines, and, of course, the concrete trucks. “Whenever you have the Trojan marching band there you can’t go wrong, they’re all about the party,” said Jow. “What was really incredible [was that] as it got dark there were these huge spotlights, and it almost looked like a stage set,” said Martin. “So we were all having this huge party in the plaza next door, and these big trucks would go through the background.” The Grand Pour was only the beginning of the Wilshire Grand story. “I think what comes next is even more exciting,” said Jow. “Now that the mat is successfully in place we’re going to start seeing vertical.” At 1,100 feet in height, the $1.1 billion building is projected to be the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River. Its office and hotel floors will be covered in floor-to-ceiling glass, another feature that sets it apart from its granite-clad neighbors. For the skyscraper’s crowning sail, as well as on portions of the east and west facades, AC Martin will use an ultra-clear, low-reflectivity glass. On the north and south sides, a radiant coating will boost performance and give the facade a more mirror-like aspect. The designers experimented with new coating technologies to ensure that hotel guests will be able to see out at night without glare from interior lights. The building’s other highlights include its unusual roofline, which was made possible by negotiations with the fire department regarding helipad requirements. “That allowed this building to be different, and hopefully will leave a legacy so that buildings can get back to being more interesting,” said Martin. The designers also worked to maximize the connection to the outdoors, and to tailor the mechanical systems to Los Angeles’ hospitable environment. Finally, the Wilshire Grand prioritizes urban design. “The lower parts of the building reach out and really embrace the city,” said Martin. “There’s a lot of ballrooms and big windows and terraces that reach out to the city.” For Jow, one of the best parts of working on the Wilshire Grand has been the people involved. “We were able to create a team in our office of fresh talent out of school, with skills some of us older people couldn’t dream of.” She pointed to the design of the tower podium, which was generated parametrically using Rhino and Grasshopper. The younger architects’ digital prowess meshed well with the older designers’ experience in construction, said Jow. “We’re able to work together and rationalize forms to make it affordable and buildable.”