Posts tagged with "Payette":

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Amherst's New Science Center outperforms with a facade material quintet

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In October 2018, Amherst College opened the New Science Center on its historic Massachusetts campus. The new academic building, which replaced an aging science center that was failing to keep up with its contemporary academic needs, is a six-story structure offering a home for six different science departments. Designed by the Boston-based architectural practice Payette with aggressive energy targets in mind, the enclosure is wrapped in a quintet of materials; glass, brick, concrete, weathered steel, and metal composite.
  • Facade Manufacturer Vitro Zahner TAKTL Alcotex Petersen
  • Architect Payette
  • Facade Installer Novum Structures R&R Window Zahner Manganaro Costa Brothers Masonry
  • Facade Consultant Studio NYL Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Structural Engineer LeMessurier
  • Location Amherst, MA
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Novum Structures Custom-Fabricated Curtain Wall Schüco FW 60+.SI Kawneer System 2000
  • Products Vitro Solarban 72 & 60 Vitro Starphire TAKTL Rough 1 Finish. Custom Graphite Alcotex 4mm Panel Solanum Preweathered Weathering Steel Petersen Tegl Kolumba K96
During the design process, Payette paid particular focus on how to minimize thermal bridging between the myriad facade components. "The brick masonry angles are held off the face of the building wall to permit insulation to run continuous," said the design team, "and Teflon spacers were utilized in the support of exterior weathering steel screen. The structure of the roof overhang and canopies are thermally broken to minimize heat transfer at those locations as well." The 251,000-square-foot project is located on the eastern border of the Amherst campus, its form primarily consisting of a large rectangular volume running on a north-south axis, with three fingers protruding to the west. This main rectangular volume is home to the structure's primary gathering space, The Commons. From the west, the circulation paths and spaces within The Commons possess near-complete visibility due to a colossal structural triple-glazed silicone curtainwall. To reduce UV exposure, the insulated glass units were treated with two different low-E coatings, Vitro Solarban 60 & 72, to achieve a system U-Value of .25 while maintaining a visible light transmittance of 56 percent. A series of sawtooth skylights is located atop the primary rectangular volume and serves two functions: further illumination of the interior and structural support for the glass curtainwall. The steel roof structure is cantilevered from the concrete core, and in turn, hangs the glass curtain wall. According to the design team, "the columns supporting the glass wall are nearly 40 feet removed from the curtain wall, supporting a load of nearly 10,000 pounds per mullion in addition to the dead, snow, wind and seismic loads." For the eastern elevation of the structure, which faces the campus boundary on East Drive and is visible from town, the envelope switches over to a more traditional brick facade. The bricks produced by Danish-manufacturer Petersen Tegl are long and flat in dimension, approximately measuring 20.8 inches by 4.3 inches by 1.5 inches. Their finish is irregular and resembles grayish rough ashlar. The three protruding wings of the New Science Center are all three stories in height and clad in a screen of weathered steel produced by Zahner. Along the complex's forecourts, the perforated weathered steel panels face narrow side out, while the western elevations are fully shrouded. The weathered steel is backed by narrow glass-and-composite-metal panels. The project, which has received numerous accolades for its environmental performance, will be presented by Payette Principal and Director of Building Science Andrea Love at Facades+ Minneapolis on July 24.  
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Facades+ will spotlight Minneapolis's experts and innovators

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On July 24, The Architect's Newspaper is bringing Facades+ to Minneapolis for the first time to discuss facade trends within the city and beyond. Panels for the conference will highlight the recently completed Allianz Field stadium, perspectives on curtainwall systems by leading contractors and manufacturers in the region, and the challenges of high-performance design for northern building enclosures. Architectural practice Alliiance, and structural engineering and facade design firm Studio NYL, are co-chairing the conference. Participants for the conference's symposium include Populous, Mortenson GC, Walter P Moore, Pfeifer-FabriTec, Permasteelisa, Enclos, MG McGrath, Harmon, Morrison Hershfield, Payette, and HGA. In this interview with The Architect's Newspaper, Alliiance Senior Associate Joe Simma and Studio NYL Facade Design Director Will Babbington, the conference co-chairs, discuss the conference's panels and their respective bodies of work. The Architect's Newspaper: Both Alliiance and StudioNYL have completed or are involved in significant civic and or stadium-related projects. What do you perceive to be the most exciting material or technological developments within this typology? Is there a particular detail of the first panel, "Stadium Rising: The Complexities of Allianz Field’s Woven PTFE Facade," that you are interested in? Joe Simma: In terms of technological development I think the design process itself for stadia is very exciting in that it has become an early applications ground for the use of computational design techniques. The stadium typology lends itself nicely to generating a rules-based parametric design process for the general elements, including the facade and it’s (relatively) simpler set of demands. That freedom for experimentation in data and performance-driven form-finding is then able to become a useful reference for the design processes for different building types beyond stadia. From a material standpoint, I'm intrigued by fabric membranes and their continued growth towards becoming an accessible material for facade design. In particular, at the Allianz Field project, I'm excited to hear more about the process of achieving the translucent and metallic quality of the material, which has resulted in a such a dynamic effect across different lighting conditions. Will Babbington: We have worked with a variety of materials in our stadium work. Fabrics such as PTFE and metal meshes are attractive for this building type due to their light weight and potential to be front and back-lit, as well as manipulated geometrically in a variety of compelling manners.

Regardless of materiality, we have had great success—and fun—in our exploration of computational design and digital fabrication methodologies. For the ongoing LA Rams stadium, we worked with Zahner to develop the metal cladding system. Our team was able to optimize the structural performance and detailing of the perforated metal skin by leveraging parametric design tools and fabrication technologies. In the end, the design of a custom perforation pattern was able to be realized by a digital workflow that exported analytical models directly into fabrication files for over 150,000 panels.

AN: Minneapolis is experiencing a period of tremendous growth. A factor in this growth is the concentration of manufacturing and facade management firms. In your opinion, how does this proximity between design practices and manufacturers influence the execution of projects in the area? JS: We are somewhat spoiled by access to world-class glazing, sheet metal, and curtain wall fabricators right in our backyard. In many ways, one of the biggest benefits is easily facilitated collaboration between makers and designers, especially at those early "what if" design stages when fabricator expertise can help give an innovative concept legs. I think one of the biggest areas for untapped collaborative potential is the very unique brain trust that exists in the local region in terms of custom curtain wall engineering. I'm especially looking forward to this panel to see representatives from some of these influential players together in the same room to discuss the current climate and what the future holds for Minneapolis and beyond. WB: The most dynamic and successful designs attain prominence only by close cooperation and understanding between the design, manufacturing, fabrication, and installation teams. This is true in facade design perhaps more so than in any other subset of the building industry. With the importance of the building enclosure being far from lost on a design community in such a climate, combined with the fact that Minneapolis is a national hub for the production of cutting-edge systems; this design and construction community is exceptionally well-positioned to capitalize on this collaborative potential. As the desires and needs for high performance, increased quality, and more formally demanding skins continue to evolve; it’s exciting to see what creativity and innovation, whether in the form of panelization, various fabrication technologies, or other, will permeate into local works and how. AN: Increasing regulation coupled with the growing demand for sustainable design is fueling the proliferation of high-performance enclosure systems. How are Alliiance and StudioNYL addressing this challenge and what lessons can be learned from Minneapolis? JS: To start with, we're trying to set our goals on every project well beyond the minimal baseline of code regulation and treat performance and sustainability as integral components to the design process. Our office is a signatory to the 2030 Commitment which means we're also doing as much measuring as we can so that we can build a living data set to analyze and track trends as we go. The surge in the accessibility of analytical tools is having an impact across the profession, and we're incorporating these tools more frequently and earlier in the process to predict performance and even feedback into the process as a design-driver. Being located in Minneapolis, our frame of reference, of course, is cold climates and all the challenges they bring—so that means we often come to a project with a critical eye towards envelope performance. Marrying these technical demands of thermal performance, durability, and occupant comfort with early design concepts can make for a very rich approach to facade design—an approach that can be a valuable reference outside the region as all buildings become more closely scrutinized for performance. WB: As a firm, we’ve been pursuing sustainable initiatives in our enclosure, as well as in our structural, projects for years. Fortunately, this has become a prevailing sentiment found in not only my ASHRAE committee work where widespread thermal bridging code provisions are near, but also on the job site where the application of thermal break technologies is no longer viewed as a “specialty item."

As a result, “high performance” is being pushed even higher. Our work with Payette on Amherst College’s new Science Center, a 2019 COTE Top Ten award winner, is one shining example of this; while the recladding of the Social Security Administration’s half-century-old HQ we have underway with Snow Kreilich and HGA in Maryland is another.

One of the most compelling byproducts of such works is how quickly these tenets are reaching the mainstream, where I’ve even witnessed firsthand how net-zero and developer-driven goals can align on a mixed-use project. Another collaboration with Pyatt Studio on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation is seeing 21 net zero, low-income homes being built.

More information regarding Facades+ Minneapolis can be found here.
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Leading women working in facade design address industry's challenges

We surveyed the leading women in the facade design and manufacturing industry and asked: What do you find most interesting about facade innovation today? What are you working on now and what do you think we will see in five years? Their responses, organized into six categories, offer an informal cross section of the challenges facing the facade industry—climate change, security—and of a coming multi-material revolution in facade design.
  • Topic Legend

  • Heading toward decarbonization
  • Technological change
  • Inspiration
  • Special Projects
  • Material innovations—laminated glass and stone
  • Trends in facade design
Emilie Hagan Associate Director, Atelier Ten Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and facade innovation presents an exciting way to take action. Over the next 12 years, we need to make big changes to reduce global emissions worldwide and within the built environment. Implementing innovative designs that balance embodied carbon reduction, energy performance, and life cycle is one way to make a difference. We are now testing the global warming potential of facade options by comparing pairings of cladding material and insulation that offer the same thermal performance. We’re looking at materials like polyiso, spray foam, and mineral wool, as well as ceramic tile, terra-cotta tile, and GFRC tile, which all vary greatly in terms of their life span, global warming potential, resource depletion, and acidification. Nicole Dosso Technical Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Beyond materiality, our 35 Hudson Yards project is emblematic of a collective process between the architect, developer, fabricator, and supplier. New Hudson Facades and Franken-Schotter, who quarried, supplied, and fabricated the Jura limestone used in the facade, helped to drive improved energy performance as well as optimize the geometry, manufacturing, and material selection. The return of materiality to the facade is a departure from the monolithic slick glass facades that have dominated the image of the super tall tower for the last two decades. The approach of combining materials pays homage to the historic fabric of New York City facades, which predominantly fancied the use of stone, brick, and terra-cotta. Doriana Mandrelli Fuksas Partner, Studio Fuksas The quality of projects over the last 20 years has grown a lot, and nobody and nothing prevents us from thinking that the creation can continue to expand. I have a positive vision of the future, a future made up of large infrastructures: of museums, of innovative workplaces, of spaces dedicated to new technologies, of spaces where people can meet. The Shenzhen Airport has the skin of a honeycomb-shaped beehive. No one knows where it comes from, but clearly it is variable from every point of view and changes with every change of light, internal or external. Imagining a facade seems too simple, but complicated, too. I let it arrive as the last stage or last section, from the center to the outside. At the end of a path inside the building, of a cinematographic montage that leads to discover what you want to see, the facade arrives. Unexpected, scandalously irreverent. Pam Campbell Partner, COOKFOX Architects One of our projects, One South First in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, uses large-scale, 3-D-printed molds to create pre-cast facade panels. We designed several variations of panels to respond to specific solar orientations; beyond the facade’s shape, the finish and crisp edges were particularly important, creating an interplay of reflection and shadow on the building’s surface. Odile Decq Founder, Odile Decq Studio Glass is a material that can solve in one all the questions an architect faces when designing a facade today: lighting outside and inside, protection from too much solar heating, isolation from the cold, providing a multiplicity of aspects, colors, textures, inclusion, and more. I’ve always said: if steel was the material for building innovation at the end of the 19th century, glass is the material for the end of the 20th century. From the beginning of my career I have been fascinated by glass evolution and the way facades have been modified thanks to this fantastic material. Its various qualities, its treatment, and its plasticity are what I am searching for in terms of innovation today. My research today is oriented toward sensible facades that can be joyful and sensual at the same time. Elena Manferdini Founder, Atelier Manferdini In particular, our office proposes an alternative language for traditional facades, based on vibrant color schemes and geometric patterns, along with augmented reality applications, whose aim is to engage new subjectivities. Passivity is the dominant state of today’s subject, who, conditioned to consume images, confuses them with reality; but our work suggests that a new breed of reactionary subjectivities is now possible. These imaginative facades become a political space for nuance and personal participation. Facades, even when buildings are privately owned, are important for the city at large because they are inevitably the background of our public imagination. Any facade language strategy is by default political because it negotiates how the privacy of human interactions comes to terms with a surrounding social and cultural context. Andrea Love Principal and Director of Building Science, Payette I am working on a tool to look at the impact glazing has on summer comfort to complement the Glazing and Winter Comfort tool we developed a few years ago. We’re also doing life cycle assessment of the typical facade systems we use to understand their embodied environmental impact. We are continuing to explore new ways to leverage simulation tools to understand performance and drive design on several projects across our office. The thing I find most interesting about facades today is the increase in attention paid toward their role in building performance and occupant comfort. Whether it is a high-performance facade for passive survivability for resiliency or consideration of the embodied carbon impact, I find it exciting to see how we as an industry are embracing the important role that facades play.
Jennifer Marchesani Director of Sales and Marketing, Shildan Group When Shildan introduced terra-cotta rainscreen to the United States market 20 years ago, the panels were red, small, and flat. Now our capabilities are amazing. We just completed the Sentry Insurance Building in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, designed by Flad Architects, with the largest terra-cotta rainscreen panels in the world (10 feet long). We are seeing a trend toward complex terra-cotta shapes unitized in curtain walls on high-rise buildings. Custom 3-D shapes and curved terra-cotta elements are gracing more buildings, adding a complexity in production and systems, but resulting in unique, one-of-a-kind facades. Stacey Hooper Principal, NBBJ This is a time of revolutionary technology and digital fabrication, which is propelling imaginative industry partnerships to realize more complex, efficient, and high-performance building facades, built faster than ever before. This sea change will be pushed along by stricter codes, accountable system performance, and reduced market shares for curtain wall systems that don’t pursue meaningful change. Valerie L. Block Architectural Marketing Consultant, Kuraray America, Inc. I have seen more laminated glass used in facades over the past 20 years. There are several reasons for this, including building code requirements for impact protection of openings; blast and security requirements for exterior glazing in certain building types and locations; and a desire to incorporate minimally supported glass systems, where a concern for post-breakage glass retention has led to the specification of laminated glass. I have seen a growing concern over security. Architects working on K-12 and higher education projects are designing facades to resist intrusion, and in some cases, to provide ballistics resistance in the event of an active shooter. Tali Mejicovsky Associate, Facade Engineering and Building Physics, Arup I am most interested in designing for net zero energy and innovations that push for best performance. Some ideas include the use of FRP framing, thin glass in conventional assemblies, and designing for disassembly and recycling.
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AIA announces its 2019 Firm of the Year, Whitney M. Young, Jr., Award

Everyone’s been talking about Richard Rogers’s big win as the 2019 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal recipient, but he isn’t the only visionary being honored at next year’s AIA National Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas. Four other firms and leading architects will be recognized by the AIA for their career-long contributions to the fields of architecture, engineering, and design. Check out the boundary-breaking winners below: 2019 AIA Architecture Firm of the Year: Payette This 86-year-old, Boston-based firm paved the way for some of the industry’s biggest technical advancements. Founded in 1932 by industrial engineers Fred Markus and Paul Nocka, the interdisciplinary organization is home to over 160 employees that specialize not only in architecture, but visualization technology, building science, landscape design, interior architecture, fabrication, and data science. Its massive portfolio features large-scale health, science, and academic facilities for global institutions such as Grainger Hall for the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Biosciences Research Building at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland. 2019 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion: Toshiko Mori Toshiko Mori, founder and principal of her namesake firm, has an extensive background teaching architecture. The AIA and the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) will recognize Mori next year for excellence in architectural education. She’s taught at the Cooper Union, Columbia University, Yale University, as well as the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she’d worked for 23 years. She was the first female faculty member there to get tenure, and became chair of the architecture department in 2002, leading the program for six years. Through her New York–based firm, which she established in 1981, Mori most recently designed the Thread Artist Residency & Cultural Centre in Sinthian, Senegal, as well as the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, Maine. 2019 AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award: Karen Braitmayer As founder of the Seattle-based consulting firm Studio Pacifica, Karen Braitmayer advises architects, developers, government and state agencies, as well as schools on accessible design. After starting her organization in 1993, she’s become widely recognized for her leadership in promoting equality, inclusivity, and social sustainability for people living with disabilities. The AIA’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Award will be given to Braitmayer for her work in advancing human rights. She’s served on the boards of the Northwest ADA Center, the Northwest Center for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the United States Access Board, which President Barack Obama appointed her to in 2010. Her firm works regularly with Olson Kundig, the city of Seattle, and Starbucks. She’s consulted on projects with Kiernan Timberlake, Oregon State University, REI, Kaiser Permanente, Nike, and Amazon. 2019 Edward C. Kemper Award: Robert Traynham Coles Robert Traynham Coles’s eponymous firm, opened in 1963, is the oldest African-American–owned architecture studio in the Northeast U.S. His work has widely influenced the city of Buffalo, where he was born, raised, and spent most of his 50-year career. Coles will receive the Edward C. Kemper Award for his legacy within the AIA. From 1974-1976, he served as the organization’s Deputy Vice President for Minority Affairs and was appointed to the College of Fellows in 1981. That same year he received the Whitney M. Young, Jr., Award for his commitment to social justice and equality in the industry. In 2016, Coles published his memoir Architecture + Advocacy in which he detailed his career-long effort to design architecture with a social conscience. He has taught at various institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Buffalo, and the University of Kansas.
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A quick and user-friendly glazing comfort tool

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Boston-based Payette recently unveiled a publicly available web-based tool that allows designers to evaluate glazing design and performance with respect to occupant thermal comfort. This Glazing and Winter Comfort Tool, developed by an in-house team of building scientists and designers, received an honorable mention at AIA's recent TAP/CAA (Technology in Practice) Innovation Awards.
  • Architects Payette
  • Team Involved Alejandra Menchaca, PhD, LEED AP – Senior Building Scientist / Associate; Lynn Petermann, AIA, LEED AP – Associate; Vera Baranova – Designer; Christopher Mackey – Building Scientist
  • Awards 2016 AIA TAP (Technology in Architectural Practice) Innovation
  • Location web-based
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Envelope performance tool
  • Topics Practice-based Research;  Academic; Applied Technology Development
The project comes at a time of increased interest in facade transparency, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort. Alejandra Menchaca, senior building scientist / associate at Payette and lead researcher on the project, said the project was initiated as a response to the challenges of quantifying how glazing performance and geometry will affect the need for supplemental perimeter heating early in the design process. "What if the design team could understand, as early as schematics, which facade properties negatively or positively impact occupant comfort? What if there was a way to avoid the use of perimeter heat by selecting the right glazing geometry and performance?" To achieve this goal, the project team modeled the tool after existing scientific research, and the firm's experience with high-performance building design. The result is a simple interface that educates the design community on thermal discomfort during wintertime. The tool produces graphic charts and diagrams based on user-controlled variables such as facade geometry, glazing performance, target interior conditions. It also allows design concepts to be further optimized through advanced options that take into account specific details such as R-value of the facade walls, exterior air speed, and even the insulating value of occupants clothing. This array of variables can be saved as a “case” option and compared with two other configurations for analysis. Beyond this level of interactive design analysis, the tool educates designers on types of thermal discomfort among building occupants and provides links to further reference information. The tool was released in coordination with a firm-wide R&D showcase, which Payette described as a “behind-the-scenes” look at research and development processes and outcomes of our findings. In addition to their Winter Glazing and Comfort tool, the office shared models produced through their fabrication lab, advances in virtual reality, and additional building science research. Payette's office shared testimonials from design professionals testing out the tool during their showcase. "This helps me understand the trade-offs with fenestration quantity, configuration, glass lay-up (and ultimately, cost of the fenestration) with comfort for the occupants of the building," an engineer testing the tool said. "The graphic output is quickly understandable and conveys the important results to decision makers who may be unfamiliar with much of the conceptual underpinning but recognize that comfort is key to occupant satisfaction. Having this tool available imposes quantitative rigor on comfort, which combined with quantitative daylighting analysis leads to a rational basis for fenestration design.” The publicly accessible tool can be accessed on Payette's website here.
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Designs revealed for Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut

Boston-based firm Payette has unveiled its design for the National Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut. The proposal put forward sees four stories rise up along the water's edge next to the historic H.H. Richardson–designed Union Station. Initial proposals (for which there are no renderings available) had the museum located over the water. Instead, the building will rest on piles and feature a glass curtain wall that comprises the whole waterfront facade, facilitating views across the harbor. According to The Day, interactive exhibits would also be available as part of the building's frontage to establish a connection between the museum and shoreline area. Ideas for a "bridge simulator" and way of listening to dialogue between ferry captains over radio traffic were discussed at a meeting on Monday where the design was revealed. "These are design concepts that are likely to change dramatically over the course of the next year, year-and-half, two years as we design this building," said Principal at Payette, Charles Klee. Klee also said that much work had been done to ensure the Federal Emergency Management, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Army Corps of Engineers were happy with the plans. The museum is due to rest on a plot of land designated as a "100-year flood zone" (due to having a one percent chance of flooding every year). Most of the site is also located in an area where land is susceptible to high-velocity wave impact. Thanks to the historic and significant artifacts set to be housed in the building, the museum is reportedly working on ensuring that the approximately 80,000 square foot building inhabits a 500-year flood zone. The museum also faces funding issues. $9 million of the $100 million target has so far been raised with private funds.
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2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325 by DDG

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you. 2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325

Architect: DDG Location: New York, NY

Acting as design architect, developer, and general contractor, DDG developed a custom, cast-aluminum screen using 3-D modeling software and state-of-the-art hardware. A burlap texture was hand-applied to the set of 12 repeating components before the sand-cast molds were made and the finished components cast. The resulting sinewy surface creates dialogue with the cast iron historic buildings of the area.

Executive Architect HTO Architect

Structural Engineer Severud Associates Fabricator Walla Walla Foundry RenShape Foundry Pattern & Tooling Board Freeman Manufacturing & Supply Company Aluma Black Birchwood Casey

Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

Architect: Payette Location: Boston, MA

The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at Northeastern University is a high-performance research building with a triple-glazed curtain wall and solar veil to help the building exceed 2030 energy savings goals.

Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: FilzFelt LINK

Architect: Gensler Location: Los Angeles, CA

Originally created as a one-time solution for Gensler’s Los Angeles office, the company recognized its wider possibilities and partnered with FilzFelt to produce a flexible modular panel system that adds texture and color to an environment while serving as a privacy screen, shade system, room divider, and acoustical element.

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This Boston research facility is one of the first U.S. projects to employ large format GFRC fins and panels

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Situated along Boston's Commonwealth Avenue, the Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering (CILSE) promises to bring a state-of-the-art research facility to the front door of Boston University's campus. The 170,000-square-foot nine-story building will serve faculty from schools and departments throughout BU's expansive neuroscience community, along with other universities in the Boston area. In a press release, BU issued the statement: "For decades, some of the most exciting research at Boston University has been unfolding in a row of buildings hidden on Cummington Mall, designed originally for making carriages instead of studying the life sciences." The university anticipates this new prominent location will "encourage the kind of collaborative, interdisciplinary research that will be the hallmark of 21st-century science." When complete, CILSE will be one of the first projects in the U.S. to employ large-format, glass-fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) fins and panels. Under the design leadership of Boston-based architecture firm Payette, these products are being manufactured by Rieder Smart Elements GmbH, under their FibreC product line, and are being erected by Ipswich Bay Glass. Peter Vieira, associate principal at Payette, says there are two types of architecture on BU's campus: Perimeter buildings are influenced by a "red brick" style derived from the neighborhood character of Back Bay's Victorian brownstone homes. Meanwhile, the campus core follows a tradition established by early designers on the university's campus, namely Ralph Cram, who introduced a heavy limestone-clad deco-gothic aesthetic in the 1940s. Others followed Cram's lead: The Josep Lluis Sert School of Law—a 265-foot exposed concrete tower —was constructed in 1965 and recently renovated by Bruner/Cott. CILSE cleverly follows this "buff limestone" tradition by integrating a lightweight concrete materiality into a curtain wall system, nodding to history while maintaining the benefits of transparent glass. The mid-rise block features a half-inch-thick GFRC material installed in two applications. Fins to the north and west—where the building overlooks campus and public space—and panels to the south and east in coordination with internal programmatic spaces that are more specialized and private.
  • Facade Manufacturer Rieder Smart Elements GmbH (GFRC fins & panels)
  • Architects Payette
  • Facade Installer Ipswich Bay Glass
  • Facade Consultants Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Location Boston, MA
  • Date of Completion 2017 (projected)
  • System curtain wall on structural steel
  • Products Rieder ‘fibreC’ GFRC panels
The fins are four inches wide and set along a vertical spacing that varies across the facade, especially where the system approaches and rounds the corner. The fins project 14 inches from the curtain wall facade; their continuously formed U-shaped channels are pre-supported from a custom pre-assembled knife plate anchor developed by Ipswich Bay Glass. "The material became very interesting... because it is only a half-inch thick it can be bent, formed, and folded. It can be both a fin and a panel. One material used in two very different ways," Vieira said. Despite a minimal thickness, the GFRC panels can be worked when wet, prior to fully curing, enabling them to be folded into complex forms. At CILSE, the fins were manufactured from a precast panel, which was folded by hand (by three to four people at Rieder) to obtain a unique radiused profile. "While the technology exists to create sharp right-angle bends in the concrete (the favored approach for European applications), these channels were deliberately formed around a pronounced eight-millimeter radius, a detail selected to highlight the material’s thinness and plasticity." Furthermore, the material was available in a range of standard colors and textures, producing an aesthetic that is highly compatible to BU's buff limestone context. Notching of the fins occurs at the floor plates (14 feet floor-to-floor). These 16-inch reveals are a compositional strategy producing what Vieira calls a "deliberate effect." The cuts form shifting patterns, where "the play of the vertical rhythm of the fins, coupled with a periodic subtractive massing, produces a surface pattern that changes quite dramatically." As an added bonus, the notches reveal the GFRC's material thickness, especially at ground level where the length of the cut is exaggerated. “The building has a particular size and a particular massing. Devising a way to use this material that feels very much like a BU building—a Boston building— and produced in a way that engages the public. Not in an overt way, but in a very subtle nuanced way over and over again. This material can be formed and bent and expressed in a way creates a very contemporary building. It ties the building back to a tradition of building on campus that is going to be very unexpected and refreshing," Vieira said. CILSE broke ground in May 2015, with an expected completion date of spring 2017. The facility will house the Center for Systems Neuroscience, the Biological Design Center, the Center for Sensory Communication and Neuroengineering Technology, and a Cognitive Neuroimaging Center with a 3 Tesla fMRI—a fundamental tool for studying the brain’s trillions of neural connections and how they relate to human behavior.
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Payette integrates building physics research with design at Northeastern University

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Scheduled to open later this year, the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) on Northeastern’s campus is a 220,000-square-foot research complex that provides state-of-the-art infrastructure, fosters collaboration across disciplines, and increases the university’s capacity to hire top faculty and academic leaders. Prominently sited along an axial pedestrian approach within the private Boston-based research university, the design features a curvilinear translucent facade. The project is a showcase for Payette’s Building Science group, which integrates building physics thinking into the design process. The program was initiated over 5 years ago by Andrea Love, Associate Principal at Payette, and has grown to a specialized three-person team. In addition to overseeing all projects produced by the 140-person firm, the group takes on research initiatives. In 2012, Love, who recently spoke at Facades+ Boston, was awarded the AIA Upjohn Grant on “Thermal Performance of Facades,” a research project studying the effects of thermal bridging in 15 recently completed in-house projects. Love told AN that developing an “energy literacy” in the firm is their goal: the outset of all projects begin with “an intelligent starting point, derived from previous research and studies that have been performed.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Permasteelisa
  • Architects Payette
  • Facade Installer Permasteelisa
  • Facade Consultants Arup
  • Location Boston, MA
  • Date of Completion 2016 (projected)
  • System curtainwall with custom extruded aluminum fins
  • Products custom Permasteelisa system
For ISEC, the role of Love’s Building Science group was to first inform what kind of facade system was appropriate for the complex: Both performatively and aesthetically to maintain the design vision that had won them the project. The team initially thought a double-skin facade would perform best in the cold New England climate, but quickly determined that solar gain from the southwest facing glass facades would need to be managed. A high performance sun shading system was developed through an iterative process between the Building Science group and Payette’s project team, optimizing fin geometry to balance construction and budget constraints with digital analysis tools like Ladybug + Honeybee for Grasshopper. This method of working translated from the formal composition of the fins—their various curvatures, dimensional limits, and on-center spacing—to construction details which acknowledged a desire to simplify the installation process with a high performance agenda that resulted in minimal thermal breaks and the introduction of rubber pads to minimize thermal transfer. Love said the aluminum fins saved cost on multiple fronts, reducing energy usage by over half of what it would have been without the shading devices, and allowing for a more standard building envelope. “This allowed us to have a traditional curtain wall that is straight in the back, then produce curvature with the fin assembly, achieving a complex doubly curved geometry at a relatively affordable cost.” During value engineering, half of the aluminum fins were proposed to be eliminated to save cost. Through energy model analysis, the Building Science group determined proposed fin reductions would actually increase the cost of the project by requiring greater cooling loads. Love says an integrated design process is critical to proving the value of the firm’s work: “If you don't have that integrated design from the beginning, essential design components often get removed because you cannot prove their impact. this was very helpful to maintain the performative aspects of the design, but also the design vision throughout the design process.” Payette worked closely with ARUP and Permasteelisa Group on the development of the custom aluminum fin system. While a few key sections were produced for construction documents, the construction of facade components was largely referenced digitally by sharing Rhino geometry with fabricators who produced construction model geometry. With shell construction complete, the project is scheduled to open in November.
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Payette Designs a Curvy Research Building, Parks for Boston's Northeastern University

Boston is well known for both its thriving biotech industry and for its high concentration of universities, and now the city's two largest economic sectors are overlapping with several academic institutions shrewdly expanding their science departments. Northeastern University is one of several schools to hop on this bandwagon. The school just announced that it will build a 180,000-square-foot academic facility, called the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building (ISEB). Boston-based firm Payette won the commission to design the six-story building along with adjoining green spaces after participating in a six week design competition. The site of the building sits on the opposite side of Northeastern's main campus, severed by several rail lines. Payette has proposed constructing what they've dubbed "The Arc," a curved pedestrian bridge, that provides access between the new building and Huntington Avenue, which will also serve as a direct connection between Fenway and Roxbury. A number of landscaped paths and open "tributaries" will link the two separate neighborhoods. The ISEB will house four academic research departments: engineering, health sciences, basic sciences, and computer sciences. According to the firm, the "building massing has been organized in two main volumes; an east facing laboratory bar and a west facing office form wrapped around a central open atrium."  The facility will be divided into offices, staff workstations, conference rooms, cafes, and laboratories dedicated to each academic research study. The building features a glazed curtain wall that will "be wrapped with an outer skin of fixed solar shading responding to the building orientation." This $225 million project is the first component of Northeastern's larger plan to create 600,000 square feet of space for academic research and to accommodate the university's plan to add 300 faculty positions.
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Northwestern University Picks Perkins + Will for Prentice Tower Replacement

Perkins + Will’s beveled, glassy facade looks likely to replace to a modernist icon whose long battle for preservation ended earlier this year. Last month Northwestern Memorial Hospital released three finalist designs for its new biomedical research center, the successor to Bertrand Goldberg’s partially demolished Old Prentice Women's Hospital. Northwestern spokesperson Alan Cubbage told the Tribune, “the combination of the elegant design and the functionality of the floor plans were key.” Construction on the $370 million project could start as soon as 2015, finishing by late 2018 or early 2019. Eventually reaching 1.2 million square feet, the medical research facilities would be built over two phases of construction, culminating in a 45-story tower. The cost of phase two has not been determined and would be in addition to the $370 million first phase. Community group Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) last month laid out their hopes for a more "iconic" building than those proposed in an open letter to those involved with the project. The other finalists were Goettsch Partners, working with Philadelphia-based Ballinger; and Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture, working with Boston’s Payette Architects.
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Northwestern University unveils finalists' designs for Prentice replacement

Northwestern University released images of the building that could replace old Prentice Women's Hospital Thursday. The three finalists vying to design a successor to Bertrand Goldberg's curvilinear icon are: Goettsch Partners and Ballinger; Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill and Payette; and Perkins & Will. After a long and high-profile struggle to save Prentice, preservationists were discouraged by what they saw as a raw deal. A short documentary released in October is the latest in a series of post-mortems on that contentious process. Northwestern plans to begin construction on the Feinberg School of Medicine Medical Research Center at 333 E. Superior St. in 2015. The University’s board of trustees will pick the final design. Review the submissions here: