Posts tagged with "Office Buildings":

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Renzo Piano completes offices for Kum & Go in Des Moines, Iowa

Renzo Piano Building Workshop has officially completed the much-anticipated Krause Gateway Center in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. As the new headquarters for Midwestern convenience store chain Kum & Go, the six-story building features an open and transparent design that resembles a glass pagoda.  RPBW designed the 160,000-square-foot structure in collaboration with Iowa-based firm OPN Architects. Construction wrapped up late last year on the project site, situated on the north end of the city’s famous Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Thanks to its floor-to-ceiling glass facade, the Krause Gateway Center provides 360-degree views of the city and the art garden below, while housing offices for 800 Kum & Go and Krause Group employees. It also includes a two-story underground parking garage, a fitness center, large meeting rooms, and a dedicated art space. The focal point of the modern design is its sun-soaked interior lobby, created with a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors and workers alike. Sustainability, accessibility, and engagement with art are key elements of the Krause Gateway Center's overall design. The curtain wall exterior allows ample daylight into the office space while the elongated overhangs that divide the floors shade the interior and control temperature. An outdoor terrace and a green roof populated with sculptures offer breathing spaces for employees to access during the day. In addition to the unique, people-centric design, the building takes up just 25 percent of the project site, where over 100 trees and various landscape furniture dot the landscape for further public use. In the near future, RPBW will build out a café for the building’s Grand Avenue lobby entrance along with exterior seating.
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Roche Dinkeloo's Ford Foundation Building reopens for the 21st century

Upon stepping inside the new, light-filled Ford Foundation for Social Justice, you’d never know the crisp and clean, 415,000-square-foot building felt darker and smaller just four years ago. The landmark headquarters of the formerly-named Ford Foundation was designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates in 1967 and has long been considered one of New York’s greatest architectural treasures. Its 12-story, corten steel structure featuring textured granite walls and floor-to-ceiling glass windows were emblematic of groundbreaking mid-century modern design, but in recent years the prized building has fallen behind the times. This month, Gensler’s New York office completed an extensive renovation effort to redesign and rebrand the organization’s Midtown East facility as a sustainable hub for social justice–oriented groups to commune and collaborate. The 51-year-old building was reconstructed in compliance with updated city safety codes with an increased attention to energy efficiency and accessibility. Where rays of daylight used to only trickle into the structure’s iconic, glass-clad atrium, they now sweep through the office areas and out the other side of the building. It’s arguably one of the sunniest spaces in the neighborhood and now boasts near-complete transparency. “People used to walk by here and have no idea what was going on inside,” said Darren Walker, the Foundation’s current president. “It sat here like a mammoth, making a statement of discretion and tranquility. But now, while you can see so much of the original vocabulary of the building in things like its 6-foot planning grid and innovative use of brass, it’s much more transparent and energetic.” Central to Gensler’s revamp was expanding the amount of public and meeting spaces for outside organizations from 53,600 square feet to a whopping 81,000 square feet. With more room to host global groups committed to human equity and achievement, the Foundation aims to bolster its outreach efforts while also promoting its own themes of transparency, fairness, and dignity through an inviting design. Gensler also added extra lifts, subtle wheelchair ramps, gender-inclusive signage, and updated workplace furniture to meet ADA standards—all in order to encourage diversity within the Foundation’s four walls. This idea of displaying human value through design also translates to the new open office plan that nurtures collaboration and gives employees access to coveted daylight and ample views of the lush Dan Kiley­–designed garden atrium. Jungles Studio, in collaboration with SiteWorks, rehabilitated the space to align with Kiley’s simple original vision. To combat years of overgrowth and erosion, they deepened the tree holes, improved irrigation, and restored the garden’s reflecting pool as well as the brick pavers throughout. This indoor greenhouse is visible from the workspace above now that the closed-door private offices that once lined the atrium walls have been opened up as laneways on each floor. Ed Wood, design director and principal at Gensler, said the overall design intent for the project was to create a feeling of the “new, but familiar.” Perhaps the most impressive part of the Foundation’s renovation signifies just that. During the project, over 1,500 pieces of furniture were meticulously restored while over half of the original Warren Platnerdesigned wood pieces were refinished to match their original stain. Each legacy lighting fixture, bronze accent, leather-laid item, piece of millwork, as well as the carpet and wood flooring was either refurbished or reimagined using extremely similar materials or pieces salvaged from the Foundation’s storage. The updated interior successfully transports visitors back to a time when Mad Men era-design dominated New York’s office towers without making it look cheesy and out of date. It’s actually refreshing. When the Ford Foundation first opened, it was a design marvel and a nod to the Foundation’s claim to be the wealthiest organization of its kind in the world. With this update, Gensler brought the building back to life and advanced its architectural status by not only making it a prime example of a 21st-century renovation project but by intelligently piecing back together all the iconic elements that made the interior so irresistible decades ago. The public spaces inside the Ford Foundation for Social Justice will officially open to the public in January. Its grantees and affiliate organizations will be welcomed into the new convening spaces starting then as well. The project is pursuing LEED Platinum certification. In addition to the staff, the building permanently houses Philanthropy New York, the United Nations Foundation, and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York.
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New inventions hit the mute button in open offices

The hum of innovation and collaboration at work these days is reaching a fever pitch, and a lot of us are having a hard time concentrating. New incubation spaces are producing a myriad of novel solutions to world problems and for many the buzz of that activity is becoming a distraction. Our open-plan office spaces, the hallowed halls of design thinking, potentially threaten our most cherished commodity: privacy. Recently, innovative companies like Hushme, Panasonic design studio Future Life Factory, and others have developed novel solutions to the cubicle quietness conundrum. The invention of the “Hushme” ushers in a new era of voice privacy. The Bluetooth-connected headphone device is hailed as the first voice mask for mobile phones. The sophisticated microphone-enabled mask links with your smartphone and provides a firewall against eavesdropping coworkers. An added benefit is that it makes one think twice before opening one’s mouth. According to a recent article on techcrunch, “Open offices have driven Panasonic to make horse blinders for humans.” The product, known as “Wear Space” blocks out a worker’s peripheral vision while incorporating noise-cancelling technology. It also curbs risky impulses like making unnecessary eye contact with coworkers. Panasonic, however, is not the first to enter the work noise–reduction space. Cross collaboration has produced some exciting results from some unexpected places including the tattoo and the camping industries. Pause Pod developed a lightweight pop-up tent that fits easily in a good-looking shoulder bag. Whether you are reading, napping, meditating, or simply recharging, Pause Pod provides the ultimate privacy and relaxation while taking up minimal real estate at the office. The tattoo industry produced a more drastic and controversial proposal: the eyelid tattoo. The clever device provides cover from nosey co-workers and allows one to take quick in-office naps during a presumably exhausting day of collaboration.
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Google fills a historic timber hangar with its sleek new Los Angeles office

The Spruce Goose, a derogatory nickname for the Hughes H-4 Hercules, only flew once, but the largest plane ever built (entirely out of wood, to boot) continues to live on in pop culture ephemera. The plane has found a permanent home in Oregon’s Evergreen Aviation Museum, but the Los Angeles hangar where the Spruce Goose was built is getting a second shot at life. Under the timber hangar’s four-story-tall roof, ZGF Architects has completed a voluminous open office for Google that celebrates the building’s aeronautical heritage. Inside the 450,000-square-foot Playa Vista space, ZGF has restored the building’s historic Douglas fir “spine,” a series of curved ribs that support the ceiling, using wood salvaged from the hangar. Any leftover wood was used for furniture throughout the office. The Spruce Goose hangar was the largest timber building in the world when it was completed, and ZGF and engineers Arup mostly kept true to that legacy by scattering wooden finishes throughout and leaving the ceiling exposed. An enormous ship-like structure at the office’s core anchors the circulation routes and staircases to each floor, and according to ZGF, creates a “unique building-within-a-building design.” The hangar had largely laid dormant until Google took it over as a tenant, though in the past it’s served as a soundstage for films like Titanic and Avatar. In renovating such a cavernous space, ZGF punched skylights throughout the 750-foot-long building’s roof to maximize the amount of incoming daylight. The office space also features plenty of aviation-themed conference rooms, a fitness center, cafes, a 250-person event space, and aerial boardwalks that connect the first, second, and third floors. A “perception sculpture” made up of 2,800 hanging steel balls has been installed in the central atrium, that, when viewed from a specific angle, reveals the airy shape of the Spruce Goose plane. The references to Howard Hughes’s and the site’s place in aviation history is also celebrated throughout with placards and stories about the building, the Spruce Goose, Google, and L.A. Although Google has approximately 1,000 employees in the city, it’s unclear how many will work out of the Spruce Goose office. ZGF is no stranger to designing for tech giants and is currently part of the team renovating Microsoft's Redmond campus. “Los Angeles is an ideal home for Google’s newest office,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was on hand for a tour of the building over the weekend. “Our city is a hub of innovation, creativity, and homegrown talent that shaped the aerospace industry in the past and that’s redefining the tech sector today. “Expanding Google’s presence in Playa Vista connects an historic building with our dynamic future, a site that will serve as a hotbed of scientific excellence and economic success for years to come.”
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viaARCHITECTURE brings joy to a small office in Lower Manhattan

There are good clients and then there are good clients with great projects. They don’t always go together, but when they do, the result can be inspiring architecture and design. viaARCHITECTURE, the New York City firm led by Frederick Biehle and Erika Hinrichs, found both when they were commissioned to design the New York offices for Creative Capital. The nonprofit began as a project to “reinvent cultural philanthropy and to support innovative artists pursuing adventurous projects in all disciplines.” It was founded in response to the National Endowment for the Arts' abandonment of support for individual artists, and the nonprofit is proud to claim “a fierce commitment to freedom of expression.” In the last few years, they have supported artists as diverse as Meredith Monk, Laura Poitras, and Rebecca Solnit, among many others. Biehle was excited to design the group's office space and produced a working environment that is a thrill for its 20 daily inhabitants and any additional visitors. The organization's office is in a typical cramped New York site on Maiden Lane near Wall Street on the 18th-floor. But the architects were able to open up the space and emphasize the view out through a number of tall windows. The 5,000-square-foot space is further enhanced by exposed concrete floors and ceilings with stripped-down beams and columns all focused on the view out to the street and sky. In addition, the office design, which emphasizes communal, co-working spaces instead of individual work rooms, have space-saving pocket doors and multiple openings to increase spatial adaptability and visual access. The space feels open and light-filled despite its less than desirable dimensions. Visitors to Creative Capital exit a small elevator and turn into a narrow hallway, where they are greeted by a colorful double-wide sliding metal door that pulls one into the space. It is hard to convey how the architects' color palette has created an entirely joyful work environment for its employees, something that is not always the case in narrow Lower Manhattan work spaces. It should be noted that the architects worked with their clients to produce not only a desirable work environment but also one that was affordable for the nonprofit. The construction fees for the office were integrated into the ten-year lease plan, and the architects produced efficient built-in furniture and the rest is discounted Herman Miller task furniture for the remainder of the space. This commission was a special one for the architects and produced a project that improved the daily work experience for its users. It’s a case study in what architects can do to improve everyone’s lives.
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An Estonian office block receives a splash of color with an aluminum mesh facade

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Estonia-based architectural practice molumba has enlivened a suburban office block with a unique concrete and aluminum screen assembly. The project was commissioned by AS Elering—the nation’s largest transmission systems operator for electricity and natural gas—as a dramatic, three-fold expansion of the preexisting structure in Mustamäe, a southwestern neighborhood in the nation’s capital of Tallinn.
  • Facade Manufacturer Metal-Disain Oü (metal sheets), Talot AS (concrete panels), JU-Metall Oü
  • Architects molumba, Eeoo Stuudio Oü (interior)
  • Facade Installer Oma Ehitaja
  • Facade Consultants Novarc
  • Location Tallinn, Estonia
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Steel frame with prefabricated concrete panels and metal sheets
  • Products Metal-Disain Oü PW keevisrest
Over 140 turquoise mesh piers ring and visually buttress each elevation, a play on historical castellation and Gothic design found throughout Tallinn’s Old Town. The piers are built of full-length aluminum strips measuring 12 to 41 feet, which are in turn welded to a series of connecting bars. Each pier possesses its own steel support structure consisting of two internal, vertical columns fastened to the welded connecting bars. The design of the complex references the spindly and bundled power line, a ubiquitous feature across urban landscapes. AS Elering operates a multi-acre electrical substation next door. According to design lead Karli Luik, molumba envisioned the project as “the brain of the electricity and gas transmission network, monitoring and administrating their vitally important circulation.” As a vitally important aspect of Estonia’s energy infrastructure, the entire 40,000 square-foot complex is ringed by a perimeter wall fashioned of the same turquoise aluminum screen. For molumba, the bigger question was how to give the mesh triangles a truly functional quality outside of their aesthetic elements. The two planes of the piers form an acute isosceles triangle: the two congruent sides measure just under four feet while the base is approximately three feet. This shorter edge is placed atop the building’s 20 by 10 foot black precast concrete panels and wedged between window openings. With a 41-degree circumcenter angle, the piers function as effective passive sun shades for office functions within. Additionally, the mesh frame serves as an industrially-produced lattice screen for future vegetative growth to coil up the facade. The interior, designed by Stuudio Oü, features a design that similarly echoes the building's utilitarian function. Spiraling stairwells, built of concrete and steel, vertically course through the east and west elevations of the headquarters, while exposed pipes, cables, and pendant lamps made of recycled insulators line the ceiling and walls. A central vegetated courtyard and a two-story, wood-paneled stairwell, with steps of varying size, are the office block's principal communal areas. At the core of it all lies the "Brain," where the nation's energy transmission network is surveilled through a hippodrome of monitors.
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Neil M. Denari Architects unveils a sculptural rooftop office space in El Paso

Los Angeles–based Neil M. Denari Architects (NDMA) has unveiled plans for a 10,000-square-foot office and gallery addition slated for the Sotoak Realty company in the Union Plaza District of El Paso, Texas.

The adaptive-reuse project aims to add a sculptural rooftop pavilion to an existing three-story red brick warehouse. The proposed addition cantilevers 18 feet over an adjacent street and features a red aluminum panel soffit designed in homage to the region’s clay-rich soils.

For the project, the designers have created a north-facing window wall that will capture daylight, a feature that compliments an interior light well connecting a rooftop terrace with the building’s main stairs and a lower level gallery. Renderings for the project depict a bright open office area flanking a cluster of executive suites, with perforated metal panel window walls lining the eastern-facing portions of the space. The project is currently entering the construction documents phase, according to the Texas-born Neil M. Denari, principal at NMDA.

The project is expected to be completed in 2020.

Architect: Neil M. Denari Architects Client/Developer: Sotoak Realty Location: El Paso, Texas Expected completion: 2020

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Aluminum complements wood in this office building's woven skin

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Laval, a town in western France town historically known for the manufacturing of fine linens, has received a new 24,000-square-foot, three-story office building featuring unique ornate screening systems. Designed by Paris-based Périphériques on a small parcel of land, the project supports a growing culture of startup companies by bringing together multiple organizations with large shared collective spaces. The relatively straightforward massing of the building comprises a subtly shaped box defined by required setbacks and two subtractive cuts for daylight penetration, punctuated by a central wood-clad courtyard and roof terrace.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer WICONA
  • Architects Périphériques
  • Facade Installer ISORE; MIRO (construction)
  • Facade Consultants Egis Bâtiments Centre Ouest (technical engineer)
  • Location Laval, France
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Reinforced concrete frame with timber and aluminum screens
  • Products Perforated metal corners, mirrored stainless steel siding by ISORE
The courtyard massing scheme sets up two primary facade responses: an external perforated aluminum screen and an internal, diagonally installed wood screen. The architects said the main goal for these two assemblies was to create different atmospheres, a device to mediate the surrounding landscape, and an intimate courtyard patio. “The perforated metal offers a way to observe the landscape from inside the office and creates a kinetic effect from the outside,” said Emmanuelle Marin, principal at Périphériques. The primary external facades are organized into approximately 18-inch modules defined by vertical floor-to-ceiling bands of glazing interspersed with insulated metal panels. Perforated bronze and silver–colored aluminum angles were set at contrasting angles to produce what the architects call a “kinetic screen.” This solar shading device is attached back to the primary facade slab edge. The spacing and overlap of the two layers of aluminum are responsive to solar orientation and internal program. The courtyard is lined with a timber sunscreen composed of four-inch thick horizontal members set at a slight inclination set along a 4-foot grid. A continuous pathway framed by the building envelope wraps the courtyard on the inside, and an interior glass wall buffers noise and filters daylight. HVAC and plumbing systems are organized along this pathway for efficient, centralized distribution.    Marin said one of the successes of the project is the softening of the urban environment, achieved by the courtyard massing and wood cladding. “The acoustics within the courtyard patios are very interesting, producing an effect that makes the outdoors feel more like an interior space.”  
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Gensler's NVIDIA headquarters opens, with a super-roof that lets the outside in

NVIDIA’s cavernous, Gensler-designed 500,000-square-foot headquarters opened for business late 2017, capping off a seven-year effort to create a new state-of-the-art office complex for the technology company. Located in Santa Clara, California, the triangular complex takes a decidedly inward approach to the open, creative office type. Unlike Facebook’s park-topped headquarters or Apple’s ring-in-the-forest complex, which feature expansive connections to the outdoors and commingle quasi-public access with offices, NVIDIA’s new home base is self-contained and mono-functional, more high-tech tent than big-nature oasis. Instead of bringing the outside in, Gensler’s designs utilize a soaring internal volume and 245 perfectly calibrated triangular skylights set into a modular, undulating roof that turns the inside out. Workers are expected to arrive by car, entering the building’s underbelly via two basement parking levels containing 1,500 stalls. A glass-enclosed elevator core welcomes arrivals before whisking them to the cavernous offices above, where they are greeted by a faceted, black metal panel cocoon wrapping the all-white elevator core. This angular, two-story volume creates a sheltered area at the heart of the building underneath an orderly grid of skylights that was laid out using virtual reality software to determine each skylight’s final placement. Hao Ko, principal and managing director at Gensler, said, “We worked hard to get the right specifications of glass makeup to allow us the right quality of diffused and soft sunlight in the space. The final result—where the daylighting is evenly dispersed throughout and evenly experienced by everyone—is a testament to the upfront work we did in design.” Because of Santa Clara’s zoning laws, the structure could only rise two stories and ultimately topped out at 50 feet tall. In response, Ko’s team created two soaring levels within the arched envelope of the building, taking the opportunity to transform the office’s many staircases into broad, socially vibrant areas while also creating an upper level that functions more like a mezzanine than a fully-enclosed floor. Along the ground, squat cubicles, an institutional-seeming dining hall, and multifunctional lab spaces orbit the opaque core, which itself contains lounges, meeting rooms, coding nooks, and research areas. The level above, meanwhile, is populated by parallel rows of cubicles interrupted by acoustically-sealed meeting pods that extend every which way. The end result is a workplace envisioned and constructed to look good—and work well—in any light.
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Take a first look at BIG's Manhattan-bound "tower-in-the-park"

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released the first batch of renderings for its latest Manhattan project, a 60-story office tower set to touch down in NoMad. As first reported by New York YIMBY, “29th & 5th” will rise from the site of the former historic Bancroft Bank Building, replacing an 800-foot-tall luxury condo tower designed by Moshe Safdie. As seen in the renderings, the building at 3 West 29th Street will consist of two slender, linked rectangular masses with a glass curtain wall. Differentiating each volume will be the width of the windows, with the curtain wall of the eastern half holding much wider windows than its western counterpart. One of the project’s more interesting features is the “spine” of cantilevering concrete terraces running up the tower’s eastern side, which will give each floor access to outdoor space. According to the project’s EB-5 materials–a program designed to lure foreign investment in the building in exchange for a potential green card–the tower is being designed with a heavy emphasis on wellness. “The building will incorporate a LEED-Certified design and highly amenitized offering package promoting employee connectivity, communal workspaces, and fitness options that will pioneer a new frontier of wellness and sustainability within the workplace. The building is designed with smaller 13,400-square-foot floor plates that will attract an underserved market while leaving ample lot area to design a vibrant park surrounding the building.” While permits filed with NYC’s Department of Buildings show that the project was submitted as a 34-story, 300,000-square-foot tower, YIMBY is reporting that the original application was used to begin foundation work ahead of a final plan reveal. This set of new renderings paints a picture of a tower that’s at least 60 stories tall, with a possible height of 800-to-850 feet and up to 600,000 square feet of floor space. The skyscraper’s massive heft has been made possible by developer HFZ Capital’s agglomeration of air rights from throughout the neighborhood. No completion date has been given for 29th & 5th at the time of writing.
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405 Park Avenue buys St. Patrick's air rights for a glassy upgrade

Only two days after AN reported that the owners of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in East Midtown, Manhattan, were planning on selling a portion of the venerable church’s air rights to an undisclosed buyer, Crain’s New York has reported that the transfer will go towards enlarging 405 Park Avenue. The 17-story, currently unassuming brick-and-glass office tower will grow another four stories and have its facade replaced with an all-glass curtainwall courtesy of global architecture firm Gensler. The office building was purchased by co-owners MRP Realty and Deutsche Bank Asset Management, an arm of the German bank, in early 2016, and will become the second building (after 270 Park Avenue) to expand under the East Midtown rezoning. MRP and Deutsche bank will be buying 30,000 square feet of the cathedral’s air rights–out of a total one million–which is expected to earn St Patrick’s around $7.2 million to use for maintaining the area around the church. As a result of the sale, 405 Park Ave. will undergo a gut renovation as well as the enlargement, bringing the total floor space up to 205,000 square feet. Crains also reports that the two owners will be charging a premium after the transformation, with prices north of $100 per square foot. The news comes on the heels of the highly contested announcement that the Union Carbide building down the street would be demolished, as owners JPMorgan Chase are seeking to replace the tower with an upgraded supertall. It seems unlikely that the same forces will mobilize to protest the changes at 405 Park Ave.; though the building was originallu designed by New York mainstays Cross & Cross as a neo-classical 12-story apartment building in 1915, a total renovation in 1957 left the location unrecognizable from its original incarnation. Now it seems that history will repeat itself as the office building builds even taller.
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Irish retrofit rediscovers golden rectangle proportioning systems

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Located in Dublin’s historic D4 district, Eaton House serves as Eaton Corporation’s new global headquarters. It is located in an early 19th-century Georgian neighborhood containing a mix of residences, small businesses, parks, and embassies. The project occupies the site of five original terrace houses dating to 1830. A new building replaced these houses in 1970 following their demolition.
  • Facade Manufacturer Poesia (glass brick); Savema S.P.A. (stone fabricator)
  • Architects Pickard Chilton (Design Architect); MCA Architects (Executive Architect); KA Architecture (Interior Design Architect)
  • Facade Installer Duggan Systems (window wall and glass brick); Eiregramco Ltd. (stone installer); John Sisk & Son Ltd. (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Barrett Mahony Consulting Engineers (structural); Meehan Associates (sustainability)
  • Location Dublin, Ireland
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System adaptive reuse of 1970’s reinforced concrete frame structure
  • Products Arandis granite stone sourced in Namibia; custom hand-cast glass block, PPG Kynar finish on custom aluminum “portal” frames
This project, led by Pickard Chilton, was an extensive reuse of the existing 33,000-square-foot concrete frame structure. The architects designed the building retrofit to be of its time while respectful of its historical context, re-envisioning the exterior enclosure in linear coursed stone, clear vision glass, and handmade cast glass bricks. "One of the most important aspects of the facade design process was that this did not replicate the historical context,” said William Chilton, principal at Pickard Chilton. “The city was a great partner in this effort." The architects worked with the neighborhood community and city regulatory agencies throughout the design process to deliver the project. This involved meeting with historic oversight committees very early on in the process before a design was ever proposed. In parallel to this effort, and continuing through the design phases, the architects set regular meetings with residents in the neighborhood. Chilton said these conversations produced a healthy dialogue with the community which helped to inform the design process. "This was a very intense regulatory process, but ultimately very satisfying. The embrace of this project by the community has been particularly gratifying."
Once the overall design strategy was confirmed, the design process was executed very quickly over the course of a few months. An analysis of the original terrace houses revealed the facades were organized based on the golden rectangle.  The composition of the new facade works within the constraints of the existing 1970’s concrete frame while reflecting the original 19th-century terrace houses in its organization, with clear glass openings recognizing the original golden rectangle proportions. The architects realized these openings would actually decrease the amount of daylight that had been admitted into the building. To maintain their specific proportional composition, but introduce more daylight, the architects introduced cast glass into the facade composition after discovering the durable material was historically integrated into sidewalks in the neighborhood to admit daylight into basement spaces. The glass blocks were handmade to specific dimensions which coordinated with the proportions of the stone coursing dimensions so that mortar lines in the masonry facade would translate uninterrupted into the window composition. The effort led to a more open, productive work environment, improving daylight by 38 percent and helping the project to achieve a LEED-NC Gold rating. The cast glass bricks sit recessed within a secondary frame. Insulated glazing installed to the interior side of the cast glass to ensure thermal continuity without disrupting the unique hand-crafted aesthetic. The glass blocks are supported every few courses with horizontal metal rods. When looking from the interior, this tectonic assembly disappears. "An enormous amount of energy spent around the detailing to make this work,” said Ben Simmons, an associate at Pickard Chilton. “There wasn't a precedent we could look towards." MCA Architects collaborated closely with Pickard Chilton from the onset of the project to execute key exterior enclosure and glazing details like this. The materiality of the primary facade challenged conventional thinking about "historic" materials. After a mock-up comparing brick with a granite stone material, the architects convinced regulatory agencies and the owners to proceed with stone. In the spirit of the historically sensitive project, the installer worked closely with the architects on installation details focused on traditional hand-laid masonry construction craft. Metallic-coated aluminum "portal" frames offer a subtle luster to daylight reflecting off windows, adding a dynamic quality to the facade. This, paired with the sheen of a stone that resembles an iron spot brick, offers a facade that more dynamically responds throughout variable daylighting conditions. Eaton House has been recognized with four AIA awards, including an inaugural award from AIA Europe. "The project was diminutive in size, but quite significant in terms of its impact," said Chilton. "By doing this project, it really opened our eyes to the potential for this type of re-envisioning work. This was the smallest project we've ever done. It underscored our interest and commitment to seeking out projects of quality no matter the scale. If it's an interesting design problem, and the client has aspirations of quality, then we are all in."