Slim profile window and door manufacturer Vitrocsa recently opened the doors to a new showroom and gallery space located within its Los Angeles–area factory and headquarters in Culver City, California. The new showroom features sliding doors, retractable windows, and pivot apertures that utilize the company’s Invisible Wall technology, deploying the Vitrocsa MODULAR and MODULAR+ model window and door system profiles for architects to view and test out in person. The product lines are built from aluminum alloy components in the factory located behind the showroom and offer a higher degree of energy efficiency than previous versions. The system’s horizontally-sliding components come with a 1 ¼-inch or1 ¾-inch thick insulated glass panel design, depending on size and required wind load. The showroom deploys several window options throughout, including a 12-foot-tall flush-mounted, floor-to-ceiling sliding door system with an "invisible sill" that conceals the door's track below the floor. The showroom also contains a mechanically-controlled vertical pocket sliding system, a new model that can be sized up to 200-square-foot panels. The profile systems are the latest available for the 25-year-old company, which was founded in Switzerland in 1992 and has pioneered thin-profile glass assemblies by merging “precision Swiss watch technology” with structural glazing. Vitrocsa windows are used by architects Tadao Ando, Sir Norman Foster, Richard Meier, Herzog & de Meuron, Thom Mayne, and Eduardo Souto de Moura, according to a press release. Vitrocsa custom builds each door and window it sells, so the showroom serves to not only display its latest wares, but also to highlight the firm’s precision-driven manufacturing process. James Tschortner, CEO of Vitrocsa USA, said via press release, “All moving components of this luxury product are manufactured by a Swiss watch component manufacturer with the precision of 1/100 of a millimeter.” The showroom is open to architects and potential clients by appointment. Visit the Vitrocsa website or contact Vitrocsa's Technical Sales Team for more information.
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Los Angeles–based design consultancy THIS X THAT has unveiled their new Store Pop-Up, a temporary installation of design objects created by a collection of emerging designers that includes Besler & Sons, Bureau Spectacular, and Welcome Companions taking place at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles. The pop-up shop features “limited-edition objects for home and garden that offer imaginative solutions for everyday life,” according to a press release. The diverse collection of objects includes decorative lamps, paperweights, and even garden gnomes, among others. The display brings together five practices in total, with New York City–based New Affiliates and Syracuse, New York–based Architecture Office rounding out the group. For the store display, Besler & Sons designed a trio of informal mobile kiosks that hold the various objects. The Wabi-sabi look of the display—which is dubbed “Trusses on Trucks” by the designers—is derived from “an interest in the iconicity of vernacular built forms, particularly residential house frames, trusses, and the sloped roof itself,” according to a press release. Made from stacked and butt-jointed sheets of plywood, the displays are held together with industrial tension straps and are made to be assembled and disassembled quickly. In terms of the objects on display Besler & Sons also contributed a series of oversized paperweights made out of pink, white, and blue terrazzo. Bureau Spectacular made two contributions to the store, with principal Jimenez Lai designing a blue neon lamp drawn to resemble a scribble and principal Joanna Grant creating a flexible, tube-shaped body pillow. Lai’s lamp was recently added to the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Describing the so-called “snuggle,” Grant said, “It can function as a pillow or an outrageously large scarf," adding that she envisioned an object with "inexact tendencies" that could "conform to different orientations of the body and take on different readings.” Welcome Companions designed a series of leather charms designed to be affixed to handbag handles and tote bag straps. The charms are shaped like over-easy eggs, slices of toast, popsicles, and pills, among other shapes and represent part of the office’s efforts to “inject a sense of play, suspense, and narrative” into everyday objects. New Affiliates brings a similar playfulness to their work, here manifested as a series of brightly-colored “garden gnomes,” “quasi-functional ornamental objects” designed by the office as flat-packed objects meant to fit anywhere. For the shop, Architecture Office created runs of bespoke wallpaper “designed, cut, and printed in Upstate New York” and inspired by Los Angeles’s sunrises. The wallpaper comes as a vinyl film that can be applied multiple times over smooth surfaces and is meant to be “put up by anyone anywhere to jazz up a monotonous wall with a graphic sparkle and a splash of color.” The works will be on display—and for sale—at the museum gallery through March 19, 2018.
Yesterday, something remarkable happened. More than a decade after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the walls and fences surrounding a small corner of the site came down and the public was able to glimpse a new stretch of Greenwich Street—which will eventually bisect the site—as well as Fumihiko Maki's completed 72-story tower, Four World Trade. The minimalist tower is the first completed building on the site, though tenants will now begin building out their floors. “Today’s opening of 4 WTC is a truly momentous occasion in New York’s history,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “Twelve years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this building stands tall as a symbol of our nation’s resilience and strength. It will also contribute to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan, connecting mass transit, business, government and tourism all on one site. As we move forward in building a new World Trade Center, the opening of this first tower is a significant milestone and illustrates that, even in the face of great adversity, New York rises.” Progress on the site is becoming more evident on the site, with the ribs of Calatrava's transit hub rising above the fence line, the base of Three World Trade now boasting Richard Rogers–designed trusses, and One World Trade just officially declared the tallest building in the US. The Memorial has attracted millions of visitors and the Memorial Museum will open to the public next spring.
Marlon Blackwell uses ribbed ceiling to evoke craft while mitigating contemporary challenges at Arkansas museum.The setting for the gift shop at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art seems idyllic—a vast glass wall opens onto a entry courtyard that gives way to a placid pond reflecting the Ozarks landscape. But to create a design for the 3,100 square-foot space in Bentonville, Arkansas, architect Marlon Blackwell had to overcome multiple hurdles. The first: a thicket of concrete columns supporting the green roof of the Moshe Safdie-designed building. Next: the west-facing glass wall, which made heat gain an issue. And finally: the very small budget (the total project cost was $644,000). Blackwell’s solution to all three problems was a concept inspired in part by local Arkansas basket weaver Leon Niehues, whose work is now sold in the museum shop. Niehues’ pieces are distinguished by their vertical “ribs.” The wrapper of rib-like forms devised by Blackwell begins at the top of the exterior glass wall, where it acts as a sunscreen, and extends across the ceiling and down the long eastern interior wall where shelving is integrated into the system. Made of locally sourced cherry plywood, the final effect is less wicker-work and more chanterelle—Blackwell’s ribs, which span roughly 30 feet, evoke the gills on the underside of a mushroom cap. But the arc-shaped plan of the building complicated matters. “It was a curved volume, so we couldn’t reference a radius,” said Blackwell. “We used straight lines, which looks great but demanded that each rib had to be slightly different.” Each of the 223 undulating ribs is composed of up to four segments of joined planks 8 inches wide and 3/4-inches thick. Using 3-D modeling and AlphaCAM CAD/CAM software, Blackwell’s team translated the design to CNC routers in the millwork shop of Adam Weaver at UDI Inc, in Rogers, Arkansas. Weaver deployed two routers at once to stay on deadline—an Onsrud CNC and a Northwood CNC—and an optimizer insured that there was as little wasted material as possible. From 480 sheets of plywood emerged the 700 cut pieces for the ribs, each inscribed with a number and with the screw holes and the overlapping joins pre-cut. Once the material was delivered to the site, the contractors used a plum line and a laser to align then suspend components from the ceiling. The ribs gradually took shape one piece at a time. “It was like stacking stone,” said Blackwell, noting that everything snapped into place in under six weeks during construction in 2011. The rib system filters out up to 40 percent of the daylight and not only finesses the existing concrete columns but also conceals sprinklers and the store’s lighting system. Blackwell use of cherry planks for the floor creates a unified and warm space that complements the wares on display for only $200 per square foot.