Posts tagged with "Office Buildings":

Placeholder Alt Text

Stacking glass bars in Chicagoland

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Chicago 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.
  • Facade Manufacturer FacadeTek (Indianapolis) for Ventana
  • Architects Goettsch Partners; Clayco (developer/design-builder)
  • Facade Installer CK2 installer (contracted by Ventana)
  • Facade Consultants Thornton Tomasetti (sustainability consultant / daylighting / façade performance); CDC (unitized curtain wall design for Ventana / FacadeTek); Sentech (engineering of glass fin lobby wall and ventilated double skin façade)
  • Location Schaumburg, IL
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Unitized curtain wall with integrated horizontal aluminum sunshades, structurally glazed ventilated double wall
  • Products Shanghai Pilkington / Carey Glass / PPG-Oldcastle (exterior glazing); Ventana / FacadeTek-CDC/ Active Glass (Curtain wall and storefront systems); Ventana / Sentech (Structural glass systems); Prodema (exterior soffits); Horiso (Double-skin façade cavity shading); Lutron (Interior solar control shading)
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."
Placeholder Alt Text

CetraRuddy designs an 18-story office building in the Meatpacking District

The Meatpacking District will soon to be the home of a new 18-story office building designed by New York–based architecture and interior design firm CetraRuddy. Due to changes in market conditions, the client requested that CetraRuddy transform their initial hotel design into an office building with over 144,000 rentable square feet of space. Located at 412 West 15th Street, the project also features the renovation of two adjacent buildings at 413-435 West 14th Street. These structures add an additional 110,000 rentable square feet of space to the project. Ensuring a connection between the new building and the adjacent 413 West 14th Street was a major goal in the design process, said John Cetra of CetraRuddy. A yard—not visible in the renderings—runs the entire length of the new building and will connect it and the neighboring structure on the ground level. The existing structure, a pre-1910 “rational, no nonsense” building, was built as three stories with a fourth story later added. To build atop it, Cetra found inspiration in the nearby High Line's exposed steel structure. The new construction is similarly designed to create “an elegant structure,” he explained, with metal cladding and open floors exposed by glazing. The new building's steel frame was designed to reveal its cross-bracing. (While the firm thought masonry was more appropriate for a hotel, they switched to steel when it became an office tower.) Decorative metal panels cover the project's elevator and stair shafts. The new structure will have a relatively small floor plate but offers expansive views and plenty of natural light. Cetra said that his team worked “[to design] the superstructure and systems within the space so that it wasn’t necessary to suspend the ceiling within the spaces.” The building has a distinct context: the office tower on West 15th Street falls just outside of the Gansevoort Historic District but the existing building on West 14th Street is within its boundaries. The new building features more contemporary styling while the West 14th Street structure aims to fit into the existing environment.    In regards to sustainability, all of the roofs for this project will be blue roofs, retaining stormwater. The building will also boast rooftop conference rooms and terraces. Cetra noted the open, flexible design for the ground floor retail space will allow customization for whichever tenant rents it. An open lobby with floor-to-ceiling glass and high ceilings aims to create a “gallery-like experience.” Terrazzo floors and black and stainless steel and darker metals fit well with the neighborhood, said Charles Thomson, the project's manager. A luminous canopy outside the new building’s entrance differentiates the office tenant's entrance from the retail storefront. The building is currently under construction with the beginning of tenant fit-out scheduled for some time mid- to late-2017.
Placeholder Alt Text

New details emerge for REX’s sleek office building with a fluted facade

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

REX revamps the facade of Davis Brody (Bond)’s 1970 Five Manhattan West

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.

Placeholder Alt Text

Gensler’s Duncan Lyons shows how today’s facades reflect changing trends in the workplace

As an architectural typology, the contemporary office building sits at the intersection of a number of social, economic, and environmental trends: the changing nature of the workplace; the expanding reach of communications and other technologies; and an increasing focus on sustainability and resilience. Three AEC industry professionals at the forefront of office building design and construction will be on hand at this week's Facades+AM DC symposium to discuss the new materials and technologies (including coatings, fritting, curved, and formed glass) that can be brought to bear on the challenges and opportunities associated with private- and public-sector office projects. Bob Schofield, Senior Vice President of Development and Director of Design and Construction at Akridge; Front Inc. Founding Partner Marc Simmons; and Gensler's Firmwide Commercial Office Building Developers Practice Area Leader, Duncan Lyons together bring years of experience in high performance design and construction to the conversation. Asked about the factors influencing the design of an office building's facade, Gensler's Lyons cited, "How the office building contributes to place-making, energy performance, and user experience; creating a healthy and inspiring workplace; [and] connecting building users to daylight, outside air, and a unique sense of place." That the worker experience is a key consideration in office building design reflects a broader transformation in American work culture, one in which a focus on fostering employee potential has replaced the traditional emphasis on products and processes. Just as employer–employee relationships have changed, so, too, has the technology available to tackle other pressing issues, including environmental performance. Lyons sees a future for dynamic building facades that utilizes new glass technologies, operable facades, and user adaptation—developments that promise to boost both worker satisfaction and sustainability. Hear more from Lyons, Schofield, and Simmons, as well as other movers and shakers in the facades world at Facades+AM DC. Register today and earn CEU credits at the event March 10.
Placeholder Alt Text

REX unveils a fluted glass office building in Washington, D.C.

As the United States capital,Washington, D.C. is a de facto magnet for smart people who want to make an impact on government. The city doesn't often make headlines for its contemporary architecture, though occasionally, a sharp new project breaks into the parade of undistinguished office buildings. One of those is a newly unveiled 11-story structure by Brooklyn-based REX at 2050 M Street, between Washington and Dupont Circles. While the client is Tishman Speyer, CBS will be the 400,000-square-foot building's primary tenant. The project's executive architect is Houston's Kendall/Heaton. The building responds to D.C.'s strict zoning codes and its prevailing office building typologies: the Neoclassical, Beaux Arts, or Brutalist box, and the smooth, soulless glass box. Zoning requires buildings to have similar height and mass, but do not regulate, or encourage, aesthetic harmony. As a result, statement buildings with similar width and height, but widely divergent styles, compete for attention. To reconcile this peculiarity, REX's building combines the mass of a stately Neoclassical building with a transparent, fluted glass facade. According to REX, the facade is comprised of "nine hundred identical, insulated-glass panels—11.5 feet tall by 5 feet wide—are subtly curved to a 9.5 foot radius through a heat roller tempering process." The floor-to-ceiling "mullion-less" windows allow sightlines that extend through the interior. The result is an exterior that catches light at regular but unexpected angles and throws pleasantly distorted images of its neighbors back at the viewer. To offset the rigidity of glass, the lobby is clad in decidedly non-vegan cowhide, and is large enough to accommodate a site-specific sculpture by an as-yet-unnamed artist. When it is complete in 2019, 2050 M Street hopes to achieve LEED Gold certification. See the gallery below for more images of the project. 2015 was a successful year for REX. In September, principal Joshua Prince-Ramus won the Marcus Prize. The biannual honor (and cash prize) is given to an architect "on a trajectory of greatness." As part of his Marcus Prize acceptance, Prince-Ramus will teach a graduate studio on adaptive reuse at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee School of Architecture this Spring.
Placeholder Alt Text

Bjarke Ingels and James Corner give Philadelphia’s 214-year-old Navy Yard a boost into the 21st century

Bjarke Ingels is giving Philadelphia's antique Navy Yard a jolt into the 21st century. BIG teamed up with James Corner Field Operations to bring a $35 million office building, called 1200 Intrepid, featuring double curves designed to mirror the contours of Corner's surrounding landscape. "Our design for 1200 Intrepid has been shaped by the encounter between Robert Stern’s urban master plan of rectangular city blocks and James Corner’s iconic circular park,” Ingels said in a statement. “The ‘shock wave’ of the public space spreads like rings in the water invading the footprint of our building to create a generous urban canopy at the entrance.” The 94,000-square-foot, four-story structure just broke ground in the Navy Yard. It stands adjacent to the Central Green, a park that boasts circular plots occupied by a variety of trees and plants, pedestrian pathways, and a hammock grove. In addition, it offers a fitness station, a table tennis area, and a running track that 1200 Intrepid's design responds to. The park and building are part of Pennsylvania’s plan to transform this segment of South Philly from an industrialized business campus to a multi-functional industrial space that will accommodate 11,000 employees working for companies ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to Urban Outfitters. The plan to revitalize the Naval Yard began in 2004 when the state commissioned Michael van Valkenburgh Associates, Robert A.M. Stern, and numerous experts to create a master plan that “includes environmentally friendly workplaces, notable architecture, industrial development, great public spaces, waterfront amenities, improved mass transit, and residential development,” according to the Navy Yard website. Ingels’ building will help reach the Yard’s estimated goal of supporting up to $3 billion in private investments, 13.5 million square feet of development, and 30,000 people. Although 1200 Intrepid has yet to secure tenants, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, it is set to open its doors in 2016. The project is being developed by Pennsylvania-based Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gensler and HWKN team up to bring a ziggurat-shaped office building to Williamsburg, Brooklyn

If approved, this terraced building will rise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, bringing the neighborhood new office space for tech and creative companies—and momentarily interrupting its unceasing march of bland and boxy new apartments. The "Williamsburg Generator," as it has been dubbed, would be the neighborhood's first ground-up speculative office building in four decades—but it is not a done deal just yet because the Gensler and HWKN–designed building sits within an area zoned for manufacturing. The Wall Street Journal reported that the project's developer, Toby Moskovits, who heads the women-led Heritage Equity Partners, will seek a special permit to get the project approved. While it would include 20 percent light manufacturing, some are already saying it is not appropriate for the industrial-zoned area. This issue will certainly be hashed out when the project enters ULURP in the next few weeks. As for its design, the Generator's brick and glass exterior is intended to evoke the neighborhood's industrial past while still giving it that glassy, modern feel. According to a press release from the development team, the interior layouts will be flexible and modular to accommodate the startups that will populate its halls. A public passageway will also cut through the building's two main volumes.
Placeholder Alt Text

Video> James Carpenter’s glassy Meatpacking office tower on the High Line gets newly rendered

Last week, AN took a walk along the High Line to check in on all the new development happening right alongside New York City's popular park. One of the structures we saw steadily rising was 860 Washington Street, a 10-story glass office building by James Carpenter Design Associates. The project has been in the works since 2009 but is slated to finally welcome commercial tenants this October. With the upcoming opening, the developer has released new renderings of the project on a glossy website and a video of James Carpenter explaining his very glassy design. According to the building's website, 860 Washington is where "glass meets green."
Placeholder Alt Text

Page Floats a Cedar Sunshade in Albuquerque

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.
  • Fabricator Enterprise Builders
  • Designers Page
  • Location Albuquerque
  • Date of Completion 2012
  • Material 2x6 western red cedar boards from US Lumber Brokers, steel cables, off-the-shelf hardware
  • Process Revit, 3ds Max, daylighting analysis, bolting, grouting, hanging
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."
Placeholder Alt Text

Gensler Goes Hollywood with “Vertical Campus”

Hudson Pacific Properties is banking on the continued appeal of Hollywood office space with its Icon at Sunset Bronson Studios, a 14-story tower designed by Gensler. Targeting creative professionals, Icon reconfigured the suburban campus typology for an urban setting. Gensler associate Amy Pokawatana called the development a "vertical campus," blending "work, relaxation, and recreation." Part of a $150 million studio expansion, the project takes its cue from a six-story building the developer finished on the Sunset Gower Studios lot in 2008.  The building features five rectangular, stacked volumes, offset horizontally to create exterior terraces. The high-performance envelope alternates between glass curtain wall and precast panels to break down the scale and frame views to downtown LA, the Hollywood sign, and the Santa Monica Bay. In addition to providing outdoor green space on multiple floors, the design incorporates flexibility and connectivity. Large floor plates and connections between floors allow for both open and traditional office layouts, said Pokawatana. Icon is located near several historic Hollywood buildings, including its next-door neighbor, the Executive Office Building (EOB), once the headquarters of Warner Bros. The design is set back from Sunset Boulevard to provide views to the EOB, while the height of the tower’s first volume coincides with the older building’s eave-line. In addition, said Pokawatana, “White, precast, freestanding columns that front the tower are a modern nod to the historic colonnade on the EOB facade. Punched windows in the precast facade mimic the simple rhythm of the windows at the EOB.” Pokawatana is confident that her firm’s vertical campus concept answers the needs that once drew creative and tech offices away from the city center, combining the best of urban and campus buildings. “There is a shift in the way companies work today, and we are designing a building that can inspire, promote, and nurture this new paradigm," she said.
Placeholder Alt Text

REX’s Joshua Prince-Ramus Unwraps His Approach to Facade Design

Joshua Prince-Ramus, principal at REX, has a bone to pick with modernism and its legacy. “For the last 100 years, architecture’s been involved in a silly tension between form and function,” he said. While high modernism privileged function over form, some of today’s top designers argue that architecture is about aesthetics and not much else. REX has a different take: architecture, the firm claims, is both function and form. “We really believe that architecture can do things. It’s not just a representational art form,” said Prince-Ramus. “We talk about performance. Aesthetics are part of performance [as is function.]” Prince-Ramus, who will deliver the afternoon keynote address at next week’s facades+PERFORMANCE New York conference, approaches facade design as an integral part of the design process as a whole. That process, in turn, revolves around a concept he calls agenda. “We set out in our projects to figure out what the project’s agenda should be, then we set out to delimit the constraints,” he said. “Then we try to find the embodiment of the agenda that will fit seamlessly within those constraints.” REX’s current projects include a pair of headquarters buildings for sister media companies in the Middle East. The stone-clad towers are covered in retractable sunshades that reference a traditional Arab Mashrabiya pattern. As an example of how constraints can influence facade design, Prince-Ramus cited the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas. REX (with OMA) slashed the project’s envelope budget in order to build a theater that changes shape to suit different arts events. The money they were left with, said Prince-Ramus, was about what standard aluminum siding would cost—so they started there. “We made a dummy design where we spent a lot of effort trying to not design something aesthetically, but that we’d put it out to the market and uncover what in the market drove costs,” he said. In Dallas that turned out to be weight, since frequent hail storms require thick siding. REX/OMA developed a facade system of extruded tubes that would protect against hailstones while minimizing the amount of aluminum required. “We made something that was very beautiful and very unique,” said Prince-Ramus. “Certainly if we’d come back to the client with flat aluminum siding they would have said, ‘Put the money back into the facade.'...The success of the facade is why we were able to build a building that’s renowned for its ability to transform.” While the Wyly Theatre facade was shaped by financial constraints, the client’s particular vision informed the envelope for the Mercedes Benz Future Center in Stuttgart. “Part of the collective agenda was that the building should be very transparent, as opposed to museums, which tend to be very cloistered,” said Prince-Ramus. But the automaker also wanted the Future Center, which will display its vision for the future of automobile technology, to be “a beacon for sustainability.” REX’s current solution (which may change as the design develops) is to create a curtain-like sunshade that wraps around the all-glass building. The shade is opaque on one side of the building and nearly transparent on the other, and rotates with the sun’s movements. The curtain is a metaphor for the unknowability of the future: Prince-Ramus recalled the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics, which says that it is impossible to simultaneously determine the value of certain variables. “The more you know of one, the less you know of others,” he said. “In discussions about the future, that idea seemed really inherent in what they’re doing [at Mercedes Benz].” Whatever the origin of a particular facade design, for Prince-Ramus it always comes back to performance, the standard that for him encapsulates both function and aesthetics. “The more we’ve used the word performance, the more I’m convinced it does have that dual meaning,” he said. “When [they] talk about a high-performance auto, they don’t just mean it goes from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds. They mean it’s sexy, too.” To hear Joshua Prince-Ramus speak next week, visit the facades+PERFORMANCE New York conference website.