Co-working company WeWork has added London’s iconic Number One Poultry to its growing roster of historically significant buildings, and will reportedly convert all 110,000-square feet of the postmodern landmark into creative office space. Clad in alternating bands of pink and yellow limestone and most recognizable for its periscope-shaped tower above the main entrance, One Poultry has been a distinctive part of London’s urban fabric since its completion in 1997. Completed five years after the death of its architect, James Stirling, the building has gone from being an object of public scorn to being designated as a historical structure worthy of preservation. Earlier this year the building became the youngest ever to win Grade II* historical preservation status, even as the Financial Times reports that it was “voted as the fifth-worst building in London by Time Out in 2005.” The site itself has a contentious history, as Stirling’s playful scheme famously beat out a modernist tower proposed by Mies van der Rohe after public opposition scuttled Rohe's 18-story glass and bronze building. One Poultry is currently undergoing an interior and lobby renovation by London-based BuckleyGrayYeoman Architects in an attempt to attract new tenants. The re-situated office space seems like a natural fit for WeWork, as BuckleyGrayYeoman has managed to fit a more conventional design into Stirling’s bulging and unequal volumes by opening up the floors and exposing the concrete columns and trusses. The new plan also calls for an underground bicycle storage center, a new 4,000-square foot double-height lobby, a reception area, and a locker room. A grand staircase that had been closed off will also be reopened as a separate entrance for private members. WeWork has been on an aggressive expansion lately in both the architectural and business worlds. Earlier this month it was revealed that the company had launched WeGrow, an education-based offshoot, and had hired the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design their flagship school. This week alone has seen WeWork readying itself for a foray into retail, as well as a $32 million investment in the women-only co-working group Wing. As the company continues to grow, it will be worth keeping an eye on what other notable buildings it acquires in the future.
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In Portland, Oregon, even the buildings are bespoke and locally-sourced. At least, that’s the case with Lever Architecture’s Albina Yard project, where the developer—Portland-based Reworks—tasked the architects with creating a marquee structure that could be used as a testing site and showroom for emerging mass timber systems built from locally-sourced lumber. The 16,000-square-foot speculative office building is a love letter to mass timber construction that proudly utilizes prefabricated elements as finishing materials, leaving raw Douglas Fir cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels and glulam beams rough and unadorned. Albina Yard is the first building in the U.S. to use domestically produced CLT panels as the primary structural building element. The speculative nature of the four-story office building forced the designers to be “very, very deliberate about architectural moves,” according to Thomas Robinson, founding principal at Lever Architecture. The mindset resulted in a rather straightforward building: A plywood shear wall–wrapped elevator core anchors the rectangular office block along one of its long sides, leaving open spans elsewhere. Besides the elevator, the core contains bathrooms, egress stairs, and an accent stair made entirely of CLT panels. The building’s U-shaped open plan provides large-span offices topped by glulam beams with columns spaced farther apart than would be allowed under less rigid structural systems. Both short ends of the building are studded with windows—The principal facade contains ground floor retail that hugs the street while the back face overlooks a modest courtyard containing a small shipping container that houses a separate office. Custom-fabricated, powder-coated steel connections hold the wood assemblies together, their engineered bolts embedded deep within the mass of each glulam beam. “We wanted to find a way to embed steel in the wood to protect it from fire,” Robinson explained in reference to the buried bolts. He added, “the powder coat finish prevents the connections from rusting and staining the wood, as well.” Like the structural members, the connections were digitally-fabricated to order for the project and designed to “drift” in either direction by as much as 2% in the event of an earthquake, providing just enough flexibility for the building to sway but not shatter. The crisp structural connections and exposed fire suppression and HVAC systems lend the structure the type of elemental clarity usually reserved for utilitarian warehouse spaces, on-brand for creative office–seeking clientele. The building’s main facade is clad in a custom window assembly made up of large floor-to-ceiling spans of plate glass interrupted by narrower expanses containing operable windows. “We were excited to express wood on the exterior of the building,” Robinson said, highlighting the rot-resistant Port Orford Cedar wood mullions and window frames along the gradually cantilevering facade. The window wall is an indication, Robinson said, of the building’s innovative structural system. The face of the building steps out little by little as it climbs, with the second and third floors together projecting four feet out and the fourth floor above cantilevering just a few more feet over the street. The depth of these cantilevers is directly related to the spanning capabilities of the three-ply CLT panels used to structure the building. Ultimately, the project—now fully leased—seems to pull off its intended showroom purpose, showcasing glulam beams that were machined in Portland and CLT panels manufactured in southern Oregon, with everything made from Oregon-harvested lumber.
Apple’s new $5 billion headquarters has been in the works for almost six years now and it recently opened its doors, only to reportedly receive complaints and criticism from some employees. A controversial building from its conception, rumor has it that Apple Park has been met with dissatisfaction from certain workers over its open and collaborative workspaces, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal. The late Steve Jobs imagined the complex as a rethinking of the modern office—“I think we have a shot at the best office building in the world,” he said—and instructed London-based Foster + Partners to design a building that would fit all 12,000 Apple employees under one roof and include access to perks like a wellness center and cafes. Additionally, Apple Park moves away from private offices and cubicles and uses an open floor plan, bench seating, and shared desks. Although this design was intended to encourage collaboration between workers, some employees reportedly want the cubicles and old offices they left behind. Recent rumors of discontent among high-level Apple staff come from the notable Apple podcaster and blogger John Gruber. On his podcast, as reported by Silicon Valley Business Journal, he described how Apple’s Senior Vice President of Technologies Johny Srouji demanded a separate space outside the main building for his team. Reports of similar arrangements for other Apple employees were echoed by Bloomberg. Concerns from Apple workers were also echoed in a recent Wall Street Journal article that stated, “many will be seated in open space, not the small offices they’re used to. Coders are programmers are concerned that their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting.” It is doubtful that Apple anticipated this response from its staff, but this conflict continues the ongoing discussion surrounding collaborative and progressive workspaces.
Los Angeles–based Gehry Partners is moving ahead with a 135-foot-tall office structure slated for L.A.’s Silicon Beach district, the second such creative office project announced in recent months. The firm broke ground earlier this year on an 80,000-square-foot, single-story office complex called Ascend in nearby El Segundo that features spartan formal treatments and exuberant planting arrangements. The subdued creative office complex is designed with 24-foot interior ceilings and is modeled after the ubiquitous wood bowstring truss warehouse structures that populate L.A.’s industrial neighborhoods. With its latest office project—a 200,000-square-foot complex located just next door to the firm’s own offices in Playa Vista—the firm will add another streamlined creative office project to a growing body of tempered, late-career work following in the footsteps of the firm’s headquarters for Facebook from 2015. The purposefully banal projects in question are somewhat of a departure for a firm best-known for exuberant, sculptural works typically made from exquisite materials. Even so, the projects bear a certain resemblance to Gehry’s earliest works, which focused extensively on deploying prototypical materials and building technologies in unexpected ways. The New Beatrice West project, as it is known, expands on this new mode by creating a multi-story office tower complex peppered throughout with terraces and groves of trees. Renderings for the project depict a multi-volume cluster wrapped in alternating expanses of glass curtain walls and solid building masses. The curtain walled areas are delineated by projecting floor plates that create horizontal louvres over the glass expanses while the more solid facades are punctured by punched windows. The building’s 845-stall parking podium at the building’s base is concealed by an expansive arrangement of growing walls, trees, and terraced volumes that will include a restaurant, among other programs. The project is currently undergoing approval by city agencies and will be appearing before the Los Angeles City Planning Commission in coming days. Planning documents submitted in support of the project indicate the complex will take roughly 22 months to build, with final completion expected in 2019.
Deborah Berke Partners' first new construction office project, located in downtown Indianapolis, opened earlier this year. Designed for Cummins Inc., the nine-story building includes flexible office space, retail, and a new urban park, all of which support the engine company's business goals and the revitalization of downtown Indianapolis. The building sits on the site of a former arena that the architects say produced an anti-urban “gaping hole in the city.” The transformation of this site was driven by urbanistic motives designed to correct these failures, producing a carefully scaled mid-rise tower that is informed by contextual and environmental criteria. Examples of this design approach can be seen on the prominent south facade where its patterning undulates along the length of the building as opportunities for views outward into the city appear. A gradient pattern of frit glazing gives way to full view glass at the middle of the building facade to demarcate a series of double height “social hubs” centrally located in the building to foster a collaborative work environment. Elsewhere, on the west facade, afternoon shadows cast by a neighboring building allowed large projecting fins on the curtain wall to taper in depth as they track down the facade. Noah Biklen, principal at Deborah Berke Partners, said that having a client who is a technology leader like Cummins inspired a careful “tuning” process in the design of the facade system, involving life-cycle analysis and a global look at project's design approach. “We wanted everything to have quality and precision, and [we] spent a lot of time thinking about the shaping of vertical fins, horizontal shades, and the detailing of connections. We introduced curvature to provide a very machined and engineered presence. Particularly at the corners, where we wanted to evoke a certain fluidity—a line that could be tracked around the building as the massing shifts.” Biklen added, “This feels like a Cummins engine to us.” One of the biggest challenges to the project was the schedule, which was fast-tracked at 28 months from the initial site visit to construction completion. The critical challenge of this schedule was ordering the glass, due to coordination and shipping times. To manage this challenge, a design assist process was introduced to help establish a collaborative project team early. Starting around the middle of the design development phase, a “basis of design” document that combined outline specs with some basic design drawings were used to bid out the project to facade contractors and fabricators. Biklen said, "you can immediately start talking about ordering the glass, tricky details, the corners of the building, and more. We were able to have these conversations four or five months into the design process, and we had a design partner who was ultimately going to be the one fabricating these details." The unitized curtain wall facade features three modular widths and a subgrid of two-panel widths. This allows for some controlled variation to the compositional grid of the facade. The New-York–based architects said having a large site area to work with allowed plenty of room for various sizes of unitized panels to be delivered and stocked on site, which helped to ease the complexity of construction sequencing. Another goal was to limit the amount of tempered glass in the project, which the architects said was not desirable due to known issues with spontaneous breakage, and visual “roller wave rippling” distortion from the manufacturing process. The alternative was to use heat-strengthened glass, which undergoes a manufacturing process that minimizes imperfections in the glass. The end result was a product that maximized visual clarity and reflectivity of the building envelope, which Biklen said supported the urbanistic goals of the project. "You have a sense of the internal workings of the building from the city. The more you can be transparent at what's going on helps to make a strong connection to the city," Biklen said. "Having the building be a little didactic makes it a good urban neighbor."
Architects Gensler and developer Hudson Pacific Properties have revealed a new set of renderings for a 300,000-square-foot creative office tower complex in Hollywood, California. The project, dubbed EPIC, will replace an existing parking lot and be 230 feet tall. The EPIC tower rises highest and most prominently along Sunset Boulevard and contains ground floor retail wrapping its base. The structure steps up from a wide parking podium section until roughly the midway point of the tower’s height. These stepped sections contain a series of elaborate, multi-level planted terraces that overlook the surrounding neighborhood. Higher up, the tower presents a more formal silhouette and is studded with floor-to-ceiling, square-shaped expanses of glass. These sections are offset slightly from one another and contain divided light window assemblies Interior creative office spaces feature spare interiors, with unfinished concrete floors and a spare grid of square-shaped concrete columns spanning the structure’s broad floorplates. The new batch of renderings includes several views of multi-level interior office spaces and of the outdoor terraces, as well. The terrace areas contain a variety of seating configurations, are landscaped with modestly-sized trees, and divided up by variable planted partitions. The tower is being developed as a sister project to the developer’s $150 million expansion of the Sunset Bronson Studios complex directly across the street. That project consists of a 14-story tower containing 400,000-square feet of office spaces, including five-stories of movie, sound, and film production facilities. Both projects join an increasing number of high-rise, mixed-use tower complexes slated for the area, including the recently-completed RCH Studios–designed Columbia Square development and the beleaguered Natoma Architects–designed Hollywood Palladium towers. EPIC is currently in the beginning stages of construction; a final construction schedule has not been completed.
Walk around R/GA's (formerly R/Greenberg Associates) New York office and it's tough not to be wooed by the tech running the show. Despite this, however, the environment is decidedly democratic rather than technocratic. Spread across the 11th and 12th floors of 450 West 33rd Street, R/GA's New York HQ sits within 200,000 square feet of office space. The term "office space" is more appropriate than "offices" because the latter implies a series of segmented workplace zones, typically walled or cordoned. With R/GA, office furniture has wheels to move around the open plan found on the 12th floor, which is also the entry level. "I didn't see any difference between an architecture firm and a law firm," said founder and CEO of R/GA Bob Greenberg, speaking in a Gary Hustwit-made documentary about his firm. He wanted to create an environment "where the digital landscape would integrate with physical space." And now Greenberg has 450 West 33rd Street: a former brutalist block, designed by Davis Brody Bond in 1969 that has been re-skinned by Joshua Prince-Ramus (REX) and gutted on R/GA's two floors by Foster + Partners. On the 12th floor, conference "rooms" have no walls. Instead, they're round tables (with wheels, of course) wired up to hidden power outlets and surrounded by high chairs. Zones are denoted by color, letters, and numbers. It feels a bit like moving around an airport, though Greenberg's collection of art, transit, and technological nostalgia make useful wayfinding devices. Screens display product and marketing information and welcome messages for visitors. Everything is modular—even the floor can be taken up. The system works through a Unistrut canopy from which all manner of devices—such as the aforementioned sensors—hang from. The blockbuster feature, however, is that everything can be controlled by an app. Conference "rooms" can be booked, lights changed, art can be identified (just point your camera at it), and audio of the video being played on screens can be easily accessed. A geolocation service—using sensors dotted around the space—also runs at a granular scale to aid navigation. R/GA's aim is for a fluid, versatile and connected environment. Though still being refined, they developed this beta office model for themselves and deliver it as a tailored product primed for startups. In fact, R/GA supplies a tech-based incubator for blossoming firms looking for guidance, direction and of course, funding. Daniel Diez is R/GA's executive vice president and global chief marketing officer. He works closely with managing directors and senior leadership across all R/GA offices, leading marketing and communications strategies and thus he has a hand in all R/GA's projects. Diez will be speaking about R/GA's work at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Tech+ conference. The event will be at Metropolitan West on 639 West 46th Street in Manhattan on May 23. To register and find out more, visit techplusexpo.com.
Hao Ko, principal and design director at Gensler, will be delivering the keynote presentation at the 2017 Tech+ Expo (May 23, New York City). Like a test rendering of a 3-D model, Gensler’s new headquarters for microchip maker NVIDIA in Santa Clara, California comes haltingly into view across the landscape, a glitchy image slowly gaining resolution. The 550,000-square-foot structure has been in the works since before the Great Recession and after nearly a decade in development, work is quickly progressing on final construction. The structure is on track to open for business in September of 2017—construction photos provided to The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) by Hao Ko, principal and design director at Gensler, indicate that work on the building envelope is almost complete, with the installation of final interior finishes and the landscape underway. Devcon Construction is building the project and Louie International is acting as the structural design engineer. Along the exterior, practically every edge of the wide, triangular structure is canted subtly. A roof profile that appears curved is actually made up of broad, segmented lines. Along two sides, the building bulges at the middle, creating fat, cyclopean bay windows. From above, the building is revealed across the landscape as a microchip-inspired paper airplane—a thin roof structure pierced with triangular skylights heaving over the earth. The building is actually capped by a steel truss roof supported by steel beam walls and columns. The deeply-overhanging and undulating roof creates a cavernous interior volume below. Whenever the roof’s folded planes meet at a peak or a valley, they turn downward as large steel section columns that resolve themselves dutifully and unceremoniously by plunging straight into the concrete slab. [interstitia] The construction images showcase a cavernous, two-level interior volume intersected by a series of opaque, faceted cores that interlock with one another and contain communal functions and meeting rooms. The peripheries of each floor plate are lined with work areas. Here, the formal rows of desks and more open-ended breakout spaces will exist in a broad, sky-lit space, framed by triangular roofing members above. The project is notable for the collaborative effort between client and architect that allowed the design team to embed virtual reality-based (VR) visualization into the design process. NVIDIA worked to develop new uses for the graphics chip manufacturer’s Iray rendering engine: the project's iterative daylight simulations involved modeling up to 5,000 light sources per image. Using the technology and cluster computing to pool GPU-power, designers were able to generate renderings in as little as ten minutes’ time, converting the technology into a rapidly-deployable design tool. The technology was also designed to include physically scanned materials in such a way as to capture light intensity and character—rather than to generate only various intensities of color, as is more common in rendering applications. The resulting “simulations” guided the design of the workspaces, where NVIDIA wanted to maximize quality of light. The scheme, as a result, ended up with fewer skylights than originally intended. Simulations showed that not as many skylights were needed to achieve the correct lighting effect designers were looking for. Ko explained over telephone that virtual reality workflow integration allows for a project to take on more life, saying “previously we only had artists’ renditions of what a space could feel like.” Ko added that with VR, the architects at Gensler wanted to figure out how could get “more reality” into the design experience. Scott DeWoody, Gensler’s creative media manager, said that the use of virtual reality was integral to the NVIDIA project and that the firm had “found a use for it at every spot in the design process.” VR is something that is not only easy to adopt into the traditional office workflow, DeWoody explained, but once rendering times are reduced, the tool can result in better overall design quality, as designers “render everything around them, instead of just (rendering) an open scene.” Ko agreed that the advanced simulation techniques add more to the design process than traditional renders, saying, “I’m old school—I came in the profession back in the day when we were building big physical models, to understand size, scale, and experience. Prior to having VR, it was always a challenge to reconcile how you do that.” Technology is driving rapid changes in architecture and construction industries and the building industry, in turn, is a driver of the U.S. economy. Tech+ Expo brings together, for the first time in NYC, industry and technology leaders that are shaping the future of the built environment.
Los Angeles–based architects Gehry Partners and real estate developer NSB Associates have quietly started construction on an 80,000-square-foot creative office building in Los Angeles’s El Segundo area, establishing a new foothold for the region’s burgeoning Silicon Beach area. The new open-office structure is modeled on the traditional warehouse typologies that are typically being converted to office uses in other parts of the city, including the Arts District downtown. Instead of being organized in a typical manner with a sea of parking lots surrounding the warehouse structure, the project—named Ascend by the development team—is designed to be vertically-stacked, with office uses located above a covered parking structure. The complex is also designed with a large degree of exterior glazing, in contrast to many of the existing, often masonry construction warehouse structures being converted into office spaces. The complex is studded with large, floor-to-ceiling windows and 24-foot tall interior volumes. Sam Gehry—Frank Gehry's son who is also an architect—described the outdoor areas in a promotional video for the project, saying, "We're able to maximize the buildable area of the lot [by stacking the office above parking] to create this large floor plate building. Part of what that allowed us to do architecturally... [is to create] entries at four points on the podium level that [also] become nice outdoor amenities and outdoor space." The building will also contain roughly 16,000 square feet of private outdoor space accessible to the office areas that will double as circulation cores for the parking structure. The complex is to be located a short walk from the Green Line light rail line and is expected to be open for occupation by the fourth quarter of 2017. For more information, see the Ascend website.
Cummins Inc., the Columbus, Indiana–based diesel motor company has completed a new office tower in downtown Indianapolis. The nine-story building was designed by New York-based Deborah Berke Partners. The building will be home to distribution and select corporate offices. The slender profile of the new Cummins office, along with its orientation, are optimized to maximize environmental performance. Along with reducing heating and cooling loads, the shape allows for every worker to have direct access to natural light. The facade of the project is made up of a varied grid of glass and metal fins that are calibrated for the particular shading and daylight needs of each face of the building. J. Irwin Miller, Cummins’s former Chairman and CEO, had an intense interest in architecture and was a major architectural patron. The foundation which he founded helped fund many civic and cultural buildings by famous modernist architects in the small town of Columbus, Indiana. Cummins itself has facilities designed by architects such as Kevin Roche, Eero Saarinen, and Harry Weese. “Over the decades, Cummins has demonstrated a commitment to great design that benefits its employees, its customers, and the community,” said Deborah Berke in a press release. “This building carries that legacy forward with an environmentally sustainable design that dignifies the work going on inside while enhancing the urban realm. The building’s articulated facades and distinctive form serve a purpose—to create a comfortable, light-filled work environment for employees that adds to the vitality on Market Street. Adding some muscle to the great bones of downtown Indianapolis, the park is a public amenity that does double duty as a robust piece of green infrastructure.” The base of the tower includes a lobby and retail. Employee common spaces fills the second floor, including a space called the Square for large gatherings of employees and guests. The second floor also includes a conference center for employee development. Throughout the building flexible work spaces and connective common spaces allow for workers to collaborate and work in multiple configurations. Throughout the building, an art program will fill the workspaces with over 60 individual works of art. Three pieces by artists Kendall Buster, Odili Donald Odita, and the collaborative of Jennifer Riley and Emily Kennerk were commissioned specifically for the building. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
Brought to you with support fromChicago architects Goettsch Partners, along with Clayco and Thornton Tomasetti, among others, have achieved U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum certification on a new North American headquarters for Zurich Insurance. The campus, located in suburban Chicago is the largest LEED Platinum Core and Shell v2009 project in the U.S. and the only LEED Platinum CS v2009 project in Illinois. The building achieves a 62.7 percent whole-building energy cost savings, making use of multiple green roofs, energy efficient technologies, rainwater harvest and re-use, accommodations for electric and low-emitting vehicles, and native landscaping with more than 600 trees on 40 acres. The building is composed of three primary “bars” stacked and arranged to maximize views of the surrounding landscape and optimize solar orientation. The composition is benchmarked off the top volume, which was rotated 22-degrees. Paul De Santis, principal of Goettsch Partners, said this calculated move aligns the building with downtown Chicago, over 30 miles away. "The idea that you are in the suburbs but have a visual connection to the city resonated with Zurich's leaders." The lower bar on the east side of the campus is set 90-degrees off of the top bar, which helps to deflect northern winds and buffers sound from a nearby highway. Its rotation allows for direct sun in the courtyard near midday, promoting outdoor campus usage during the lunch hour. The curtain wall facade wraps outboard of three super scale trusses that are set 60 feet on center, achieving an 180-foot span over the middle of the campus, and a 30-foot cantilever at the perimeter. Michael Pulaski, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, said that their team fine-tuned the glazing characteristics on the building, and custom designed a shading system that reduces peak gains and optimized daylighting. Detailed daylighting studies, using parametric software like Honeybee, were used to evaluate the effects of automated interior blinds and fine-tune the depth of the exterior shading devices for each orientation. The analysis optimized the depth of the shades for energy performance, which reduced peak solar gain for better thermal comfort and the size of the mechanical systems. De Santis said that in addition to this significant work to manage electricity usage, the management of water on site helped the project achieve its LEED Platinum rating. To push the project from a gold to platinum rating, De Santis said, "it comes down to two things: energy and water." The project team also incorporated features such as 1 acre of green roofs, native planting strategies, and large water retention areas for landscaping irrigation. The most advanced facade assembly occurs along the glazed south-facing wall of a three-story cafeteria where a ventilated double-wall facade was specified. Here, to verify performance and optimize the façade for reduced energy consumption, Thornton Tomasetti provided computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. The 4.5-foot-wide double wall with integrated shades is designed to reduce solar gains in summer, while increasing the gains in the winter, as well as to improve daylighting, resulting in an estimated 33 percent energy savings in the adjacent space. Elsewhere, a single low-e coating on the number two surface (inner side of the exterior layer) continues through the insulated spandrel panels to produce a more uniform aesthetic while helping to minimize solar heat gain. The ground floor features a more transparent recessed glass, which De Santis said was an aesthetic and compositional move to help the upper floors read as "floating" volumes. With approximately 2,400 employees moved into the facility, the campus was designed to accommodate up to 2,800 employees. De Santis said the two lower bars are designed to extend an additional 100-linear-feet if and when more space is needed in the future: "It's very rare to work on a 26-acre site. We're used to working in very urban conditions. So the idea that the land allows for some of these growth strategies is very natural for the project. The longer these bars get, the more elegant the architectural expression will be."
Brought to you with support fromSurrounded by parkland and built on a former industrial site, the new JTI Headquarters is located in a Geneva district home to prestigious international organizations. JTI (Japan Tobacco International) is a global tobacco company whose flagship brands include Winston, Camel, Mild Seven, Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut. The competition-winning design consolidates four existing JTI premises within a single landmark building. The project—a collaboration between SOM’s architecture, structural engineering, and interior teams—was led by their London office, but involved expertise from SOM offices in New York and Chicago, along with architects on site in Geneva throughout construction. Kent Jackson, design partner at SOM, said the new building demonstrates SOM’s commitment to integrated design, sustainability, and innovative workplace solutions. "Clearly we feel it is a huge benefit to bring all of our disciplines together and bringing different experts from across our offices. This is something we think brings added value to a project." The building’s innovative Closed Cavity Facade (CCF) was designed in collaboration with Josef Gartner GmbH as a unitized curtain wall system that responds to the demands of seasonally changing external climatic conditions while providing exceptional views out and maximizing daylight penetration into the workspace. The facade prioritizes occupant comfort and reduces the energy demand and carbon emissions of the building, helping it to meet the requirements of European energy directives and the Swiss Minergie sustainability rating. The floor-to-ceiling glazed panels measure approximately 10-foot-wide-by-14-feet-tall and consist of triple glazing on the inner layer and single glazing on the outer, forming a cavity with a fabric roller blind in between. One challenge with a typical double skin facade is the risk of condensation and dirt in the cavity. This introduces the need to provide maintenance access to the cavity, either by opening up the interior side or exterior side of the assembly. The closed cavity facade at JTI reduces these requirements, because rather than drawing external air into the cavity, the cavity is pressurized with a very small amount of filtered and dehumidified air from a pipe system that runs around the perimeter of the building. This ensures dirt and moisture from outside don't travel through into the cavity, while also preventing condensation inside the cavity. To achieve this design, SOM relied on facade contractors who have become skilled in the assembly of envelopes that minimize building air leakage. Martin Grinnell, Associate Director at SOM and Technical Lead on the project, attributes this to increasingly stringent air tightness standards in Europe, where many buildings undergo building envelope pressure testing. "We were confident we could achieve this design and get a very careful balance of air tightness with a modest pump in the basement to pressurize all of the facade panels." The German-made closed cavity facade was shop-built in individual unitized panels comprised of both the inner and outer layer of glazing. By producing these units in a controlled factory environment, the fabrication sequence could ensure the cavity remained clean throughout the construction process. The panels were tested in the factory for air tightness, and whilst stored in the yard of the factory they were temporarily tapped into an air supply system which kept the cavity pressurized prior to delivery to site. Once installed on site, the panels were plugged immediately into a network of pressurized air so that the cavity would not draw in dirty air or moisture from construction activity. With just a single glazed pane on the outer layer of the facade, Grinnell says the project team was able to produce a more expressive facade. “We were able to achieve a quilted appearance on the outside; incorporating very delicate mullions, transoms, and diagonal elements because we were using a single outer layer. We were able to facet this layer much more easily than if we were trying to do that with a double or triple glazed layer. I think this lent a real delicacy to the detailing of the outer skin of the facade." Grinnell said the facade represents one of the best performing all-glass facade systems in SOM’s history. "This was a great project, and is a great demonstration of what a closed cavity facade system can do. We're very proud of it. All of the European countries—UK included—are pushing harder and harder on energy efficiency, and clients are quite rightly looking to us to improve the efficiency of our facades. We are going to be developing more and more facades which rely on dynamic performance—having to achieve very good solar control in the summer, while admitting sunlight in the winter—and the closed cavity facade is a really interesting solution to achieve that."