Posts tagged with "Office Buildings":
Brooklyn-based architecture firm REX, led by Marcus Prize winner Joshua Prince-Ramus, has announced plans for a new 450,000 square foot "premium" office complex for real estate company Tishman Speyer.
The building—which AN first reported on last year—will be located on 2050 M Street in Washington D.C. and aims to "set the new standard of trophy office buildings" in the district's "golden triangle," a renowned business hub.
The project will feel light given its surrounding buildings—which range from Beaux Arts, Neoclassicism to Art Deco and Brutalism—feature heavy masonry exteriors. 2050 M Street's distinction will be further accentuated by its lack of ornamentation.
In this respect, REX's office building could be considered a contemporary take on Mies van der Rohe's high modernist style. While 2050 M Street avoids Mies's trademark use of steel structure, the principles of openness, proportionality, and legibility (in renderings, at least, the floors remain clearly visible) remain. As REX described in a press release, the project employs "hyper-transparent, floor-to-ceiling glass" that hide the view of "impending mullions."To achieve this, the glass will use "subtly-reflective pyrolytic" coating on the exterior. A relatively new advancement in glass technology, the process involves applying the coating while the glass is in a semi-molten state, allowing the chemical composition to form a bond and become part of the glass surface. The coating provides enhanced durability against scratches and other forms of degradation. In addition, a low-e coating will be applied within the glass’s insulating cavity to improve thermal performance by reducing solar heat gains. Both coatings will be applied to the curving panels that repeat 900 times along the building's facade to create a shimmering, kaleidoscopic effect, thus hiding the mullions. The panels' curvature also has a structural purpose: the "curve’s inherent rigidity in compression" means "only the top and bottom edges of the panels are supported from the floor slabs." Meanwhile, the "‘mullion-less’ vertical edges are flush-glazed for a minimalist aesthetic that improves sight lines, while gaining useable floor area." The lobby will also house site-specific art that has not yet been commissioned. The project has not broke ground but REX, in press release, stated that completion is due for 2019.
Original Architect: Davis Brody Architect: REX Steel manufacturer and installer: Permasteelisa Date of Completion: 1970 Date of retrofit completion: expected 2016
Before BIG built its pyramid on New York’s west side, there was the concrete ziggurat at 450 West 33rd Street, designed by Davis Brody (now Davis Brody Bond) and completed in 1970. The 16-story office building lost whatever Brutalist charm it possessed when, in the 1980s, its precast concrete facade was painted beige and covered with brown metal panels and it gained the dubious honor of being one of the ugliest structures in New York. Now known as Five Manhattan West, the building is undergoing another makeover, spearheaded by REX, to update its facade with the latest in form-fitting fenestration.
The client, Brookfield Office Properties, was committed to transforming its ugly duckling into a swan. “If anything, our initial design sketches weren’t ambitious enough,” said REX founding principal Joshua Prince-Ramus. “We were trying to do something innovative and exciting thinking that we were pushing the envelope, and then they said ‘it’s a bigger envelope.’” REX ultimately devised a “pleated” glass facade that ripples down the building to flood the large, open interiors with light. These pleats are composed of panels angling out toward each other from the floor and ceiling, a design driven by the need to mitigate the structure’s slope, which limited the leasable space along the interior perimeter. But the unique form is more than just window dressing. According to Prince-Ramus, “What’s interesting about the geometry is that the sun doesn’t hit the lower piece of glass, so we can have a building that is transparent and simultaneously energy efficient.”
Every adaptive reuse project presents unique and unexpected challenges. To compensate for weakness or irregularity in the nearly 50-year-old concrete slabs, REX devised an unobtrusive steel substructure to support their new facade. Beyond re-cladding the building, the architects dramatically reconfigured its lobby and improved its core and mechanical systems. Impressively, this was all done while tenants continued to occupy the building.
The glistening glass pyramid will anchor Brookfield’s adjacent Manhattan West development and its investment and ambition seem to be paying off. The massive floor slabs and floor-to-ceiling windows are attracting tech companies and other businesses looking for nontraditional office space. The anything-but-retro retrofit will be completed by the end of this year but the transformation is already profound. At street level, Five Manhattan West feels brighter and less imposing. Though its edges may have softened, the once-Brutalist building still cuts a distinct figure among the increasingly anonymous glass towers of Manhattan.
Bjarke Ingels and James Corner give Philadelphia’s 214-year-old Navy Yard a boost into the 21st century
Minimalist catenary canopy lends warmth and lightness to office courtyard.When Page design principal Larry Speck suggested a catenary sunshade for the courtyard of the new GSA building in Albuquerque, his colleagues set about identifying precedents. "There were some really great devices that we looked at, but a lot were done in the 1960s out of heavy, monumental materials," said principal Talmadge Smith. "We wondered if there was a way to do it in a lighter, more delicate way that would also introduce some warmth to the space." The architects elected to build the structure out of western red cedar, which performs particularly well in arid climates. Comprising 4-, 8-, and 12-foot boards suspended on steel cables, the sunshade appears as a wave of blonde wood floating in mid-air, casting slatted shadows on the glass walls of the courtyard. The courtyard is an important amenity in the two-story, 80,000-square-foot building, currently occupied by a combination of federal employees, including immigration and customs enforcement staff, and state and local law enforcement. "We said, 'This is a pretty big floor plate, it needs a great courtyard,'" said Smith. "For one thing, in this climate that's just what you build. You get free shading and can create a cooler microclimate." The courtyard also helps bring light into the communal spaces that surround it, which include training areas, circulation, and conference rooms. "It remains a democratic insertion into the floor plan," observed Smith. Finally, the courtyard allowed the architects to compensate for a lack of glazing on the exterior walls, the result of security requirements. Working in Revit and 3ds Max, Page experimented with various patterns for the sunshade. They first tried a regular arrangement of identical slats. "The result wasn't very pleasing," said Smith. "It made a drooping, uninviting shape. It also closed the courtyard, as if you had pulled a big venetian blind across it." They decided to break up the pattern and use three different modules of wood, placing them only where daylighting analysis dictated. They also worked with the cables themselves to identify the appropriate amount of slack. "We tested what it would be if you pulled the cables tight," said Smith. "It negated the effect of the catenary, and led to a courtyard with a little bit of a ceiling, a rigidity that we didn't want." The final design incorporates 18 inches worth of slack per cable. Enterprise Builders used off-the-shelf hardware to assemble and install the sunshade. The cedar boards are attached to the cables via steel clips bolted to one face of each board. Deciding against integrating hardware directly into the curtain walls, Page designed opaque concrete headers for the two short sides of the courtyard, then grouted the anchors into the masonry units. A turnbuckle attached to a pivot near each anchor allowed the builders to make adjustments to the length of the cables once they had been hung. A second, perpendicular, system of cables prevents the shading structure from swaying. "The hardest part was getting it level," said Smith. "There was a little art to that because some strands are more heavily loaded than the others." Fabricated out of standard lumber and mass-produced hardware, the sunshade might have felt bulky or crude. Instead, it provides relief from the New Mexico sun while seeming almost to dissolve into the sky. "When you're standing there, you only ever see half of the shading members at a time," said Smith. "You see a lot of sky, but you feel a lot of shade. It performs, but it feels light."