Posts tagged with "perforated panels":

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This New Zealand library beams with luminous aluminum and indigenous motifs

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The 2011 Christchurch earthquake devastated much of New Zealand's capital city, knocking down or severely compromising civic buildings across the metropolitan area. Located within the cordoned off Central City Red Zone, the Christchurch Central Library was closed to the public for three years prior to its ultimate demolition in 2014. Completed in October 2018, the new Central Library, titled Turanga after the Māori word for base or foundation, designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects features a luminous perforated aluminum veil that cloaks a seismically engineered unitized curtain wall assembly.

The 102,000-square-foot library rests atop a rectangular stone-clad podium detailed with expansive representations of Māori artwork. Rising to a height of five stories, the facade fissures to orient itself toward local geographic landmarks, including the mountain ranges of Maungatere, Ka Tiritiri o te Moana, and Horomaka.

 
  • Facade Manufacturer & Installer Alutec (curtain wall), Metal Concept (veil), Southbase Construction
  • Architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Architectus
  • Facade Consultants Mott Macdonald, Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers
  • Location Christ Church, New Zealand
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Unitized glass curtain wall with clip-on cassette metal veil
  • Products Metal Concepts perforated aluminum sheets, Alutec unitized thermally broken aluminum curtain wall

The principal facade element, a wedge-shaped aluminum perforated panel system, was designed as an oversized evocation of the native evergreen species used for traditional Māori textiles. Each panel is approximately a standard height of just under five feet, with widths varying between two, four, and six feet. Similar to the flexibility considerations of the concrete structural system, the design team placed an open joint between each story of perforated panels to allow for differential movement during a seismic event.

For the golden veil that courses across the facade, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects coordinated with local fabricator of architectural metalwork, Metal Concepts. The aluminum sheets were pre-anodized to ensure color consistency and were subsequently cut, perforated, and folded into their respective shapes. To connect the panels to the curtainwall assembly, each is outfitted with a slotted hole at the rear of the frame which is fastened to a series of hooks extending from the story-height mullions of the unitized curtain wall. 

The perforations of the aluminum panels follow an approximately 2.5-square-inch triangular grid, with an indentation located on the corners of each triangle. Measuring just under an inch in diameter, the perforations play two roles; accentuating the depth and texture of the facade–the luminosity of the aluminum panels intensifies at sunset–and filtering light through the glass curtain wall.

For the design team, which worked in collaboration with Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers, one of the crucial considerations for the facade and structural systems was durability during a future seismic event. According to the architects, this seismic force-resisting system is composed of a series of flexible concrete walls that shift during earthquake accelerations. With a system of “high tensile, pre-tensioned steel cables that clamp the wall to the foundations with approximately 1,000 tons of force per wall,” the building is capable of returning to its original position following a sizable earthquake.

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The Shui Cultural Center connects to traditional life through copper and concrete

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Opened to the public in December 2017, West-Line Studio’s Shui Cultural Center is an imposing complex located in a valley within China’s rugged Sandu Shui Autonomous County. The complex, consisting of three single-gabled halls and a monumental tower, is a formidable display of timber-pressed concrete covered in pitched copper plates.
  • Facade Manufacturer Changsha Di Kai Construction Engineering Co., Chongqing Zhongbo Energy Conservation Glass Co.
  • Architects West-Line Studio. Lead Architects—Haobo Wei, Jingsong Xie. Architecture and Landscape Design–Hanmin Dan, Yudan Luo. Interior Design–Martina Muratori
  • Facade Installer Changsha Di Kai Construction Engineering Co., Ltd
  • Facade Consultants Changsha Di Kai Construction Engineering Co., Ltd
  • Location Sandu County, Guizhou, China
  • Date of Completion December 2017
  • System Concrete system clad in copper panels and glass
  • Products Custom made double-sided copper plates, and glass
The Shui people, concentrated in the county and the larger Guizhou province, are a distinct ethnic minority with a unique language and logographic writing system. For West-Line Studio, the project was an ambitious attempt to translate local customs into a cohesive design for a cultural center campus nearing 150,000 square feet. Placed atop an expansive concrete podium, the halls are of varying size, height, and function. They are unified by relatively hidden wall openings and approximately 4,000 perforated copper cladding panels. Each half-inch-thick panel, measuring four by two feet, was subjected to a multi-stepped anodizing process to overcome corrosion in the acid rain–drenched province and to boost iridescence. The perforations, numbering just under 50,000 in total, fulfill three functions. Structurally, gaps in the copper plate significantly reduce the dead load placed on cantilevered concrete trusses and the screen wall fastening system, composed of galvanized steel corners, sheets, and expansion-and-burst bolts. Aesthetically, the perforations create a patterned brise-soleil for the halls’ east and west elevations, filtering light through the narrow, rectangular glass panes that line the hall. Symbolically, the gaps are a nod to the Shui character for rain, which consists of tiered vertical bands. The interiors of the complex, marked by exposed concrete structural systems, are imprinted by the surrounding landscape through the use of pine panel-formed concrete. Sandu, relatively isolated from the country’s principal economic centers, is known for its dense Huashan pine and Chinese fir forests. The concrete detail effectively softens what could be considered an ominous space, transforming them into grey, oversized versions of the region’s traditional timber vernacular forms. The triple-glazed glass panels, produced 350 miles north in the megalopolis of Chongqing, largely insulate and guard the complex from the elements. However, West-Line Studio inserted two details that add color and symbolic depth to the cultural center. In the complex's ritual hall, glass panels are dyed to resemble typical batik tapestry patterns, blanketing the concrete walls and flooring with ever-changing color. Additionally, box-like concrete appendages marked with traditional Shui logographic characters protrude from this same hall. With a glance of sunlight, the characters are beamed downward, further tying the symbolic and material. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the cladding panels as being made of bronze rather than copper.
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This mental health facility creates calm with a perforated green facade

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San Miniato is a small Italian hill town just outside Florence. In medieval times, the town connected northern Europe and Rome, and today its hilltop landscape is dotted with luxury tourist lodgings scattered between landmarked palaces, seminaries, and homes. Arising from this historical context is the town's newest building, Casa Verde, a mental health facility for young women.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Saverio srl and Carmine Pagano srl (perforated metal panels)
  • Architects LDA.iMdA architetti associati
  • Facade Installer Carmine Pagano srl (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants STUDIO TECNO srl (structural engineer)
  • Location San Miniato, Pisa, Italy
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System steel frame w/ cement board and perforated metal sheet cladding
  • Products Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior Wall
The project is inspired by historical and social values of “home” paired with the spirit of the forested surroundings. A loose arrangement of dormitories are arranged around a central courtyard and clad with a perforated green metal skin that is held off of ground level to offer transparency to the surrounding landscape, which is peppered with centuries-old cypress trees. Casa Verde prioritizes social sustainability as well as sustainable land use. Hillside maintenance efforts were supported by reusing existing foundations from vicoli carbonai, or charcoal alleys, which were developed in the Middle Ages as an extension of San Miniato’s defensive system. Lightweight paneling on the facade helped minimize dead loads on the foundation to maintain the slope stability. Art by and about the patients has shaped the facility. Drawings from younger patients were edited, scaled, and applied to the ground floor glazing system, while Italian artist Mercurio-S17S71 created Shamans, a contemporary work that features portraits of Casa Verde’s patients. The extension to the existing orphanage was sensitively planned to protect the formal massing of the original plan, while additions to the complex are articulated through more contemporary expressions of shape and material. Openings on the main elevation connect users of the existing structure to the addition. The facade coloration results from a study of leaf shades in different seasons. Like a full tree canopy, the facade’s perforated screens are perceived as porous from up close, but massive and opaque from afar. Openings in the metal panels filter daylight while ventilating the thermal envelope beyond the screen. Beyond the facade, the architect explained that the interior spaces were purposefully designed in a minimal scheme to “recreate the feeling of being in a carded wool space (in view of neuropsychiatric disorders).” A base light gray color is paired with a color scheme of greens, blues, and oranges that covers furniture and architectural detailing to delineate the facility’s services.  
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Aluminum complements wood in this office building’s woven skin

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Laval, a town in western France town historically known for the manufacturing of fine linens, has received a new 24,000-square-foot, three-story office building featuring unique ornate screening systems. Designed by Paris-based Périphériques on a small parcel of land, the project supports a growing culture of startup companies by bringing together multiple organizations with large shared collective spaces. The relatively straightforward massing of the building comprises a subtly shaped box defined by required setbacks and two subtractive cuts for daylight penetration, punctuated by a central wood-clad courtyard and roof terrace.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer WICONA
  • Architects Périphériques
  • Facade Installer ISORE; MIRO (construction)
  • Facade Consultants Egis Bâtiments Centre Ouest (technical engineer)
  • Location Laval, France
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Reinforced concrete frame with timber and aluminum screens
  • Products Perforated metal corners, mirrored stainless steel siding by ISORE
The courtyard massing scheme sets up two primary facade responses: an external perforated aluminum screen and an internal, diagonally installed wood screen. The architects said the main goal for these two assemblies was to create different atmospheres, a device to mediate the surrounding landscape, and an intimate courtyard patio. “The perforated metal offers a way to observe the landscape from inside the office and creates a kinetic effect from the outside,” said Emmanuelle Marin, principal at Périphériques. The primary external facades are organized into approximately 18-inch modules defined by vertical floor-to-ceiling bands of glazing interspersed with insulated metal panels. Perforated bronze and silver–colored aluminum angles were set at contrasting angles to produce what the architects call a “kinetic screen.” This solar shading device is attached back to the primary facade slab edge. The spacing and overlap of the two layers of aluminum are responsive to solar orientation and internal program. The courtyard is lined with a timber sunscreen composed of four-inch thick horizontal members set at a slight inclination set along a 4-foot grid. A continuous pathway framed by the building envelope wraps the courtyard on the inside, and an interior glass wall buffers noise and filters daylight. HVAC and plumbing systems are organized along this pathway for efficient, centralized distribution.    Marin said one of the successes of the project is the softening of the urban environment, achieved by the courtyard massing and wood cladding. “The acoustics within the courtyard patios are very interesting, producing an effect that makes the outdoors feel more like an interior space.”  
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Sculpture studio at University of Arkansas celebrates the pre-engineered metal building

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The sculpture studio facility for the University of Arkansas, a design collaboration between Modus Studio and El Dorado Inc., is the first completed building for a new remote arts and design district for their campus. The project expands an existing pre-engineered metal building warehouse, through selective renovation and addition, into a simple, refined form. It provides natural daylight for studios inside and draws a connection to the context through the interplay of translucent and opaque materials.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer ATAS International (metal panels), Crystal Structures (polycarbonate windows)
  • Architects Modus Studio, El Dorado Inc.
  • Facade Installer Alliance Steel Incorporated (pre-engineered metal building, short-ribbed metal panels), Crystal Structures (polycarbonate windows)
  • Facade Consultants Bernhard TME (mechanical engineers), Entegrity (sustainability consultant)
  • Location Fayetteville, AR
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Pre-engineered metal building, short-ribbed aluminum panels, polycarbonate windows with aluminum frame
  • Products ATAS International Belvedere short-rib panel with Kynar white finish (opaque and perforated), Gallina USA polycarbonate panels
The design teams at Modus Studio and El Dorado decided to keep the existing building structure and continue the original detailing. The building was stripped down to the bones and the same pre-engineered metal building profile was used to create the new addition. The project more than doubles the existing footprint of the pre-engineered warehouse on the east and, with exterior porches of structural steel on either side that allowed for a layer of customization within the otherwise standardized facade system. The material palette consists primarily of the same short-ribbed aluminum panel with variations in color and opacity. The majority of the structure is clad in solid aluminum panels with a white Kynar finish. The same panel, with a twenty-three-percent perforation, is applied at either end of the building to denote the two exterior porches. These open-air bays needed to be shaded while allowing light in the flexible spaces on the perimeter of the building. They provide a visual connection with the surrounding context and allow people to see in while passing on the street or nearby trail. Additionally, flat aluminum panels are used as a backdrop for the perforated facade at the exterior porches. The building continues the conversation of opacity and translucency into the design and detailing of the windows. Constructed with an aluminum frame, the windows use a translucent polycarbonate to filter light. The purpose of the polycarbonate is to wash the interior spaces with consistent daylight during the day and project interior light towards the exterior at night. The windows are not a part of the pre-engineered assembly and had to be detailed in a different way. The project team saw this as an opportunity to celebrate this connection and positioned the windows at the columns of the main structural frames. From the interior, this exposes the detailing of the pre-engineered system rather than hiding it. The moments where the materials meet each other were of particular significance to the design teams at Modus Studio and El Dorado. This can be seen in the way that the trim is treated around the entire building. The architects wanted the trim to always be made of the adjacent material, so that the wrapping of material continued on all surfaces without interruption. Additionally, the downspouts were located at panel joints to hide the small shadow line and continue the wrapping of the facade. Jody Verser, the project manager at Modus Studio, told AN in an interview, “In one particular area, on the northwest side of the building in the foundry, we had a concrete wall, an elevated concrete floor, a concrete slab on grade, structural steel, pre-engineered metal building frame, perforated panel, opaque panel, and a corner downspout, everything coming together at one spot.” It was a game of coordination between both project teams and the contractors to arrive at the right solution and continue that logic throughout the project.
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Sculptural infrastructure and carefully crafted facade strengthen an Australian campus community

© Peter Bennetts © Peter Bennetts

"It has never looked the same on any two times I have been to site."

JCY Architects and Urban Designers have created a student services building on the Australian campus of Edith Cowan University that acknowledges the cultural identity of local Aboriginal community while providing sculptural infrastructure linking the campus community through a series of landscaped environments. The major elements of the building are an elevated concrete podium helping to negotiate a steep grade change, and a perforated aluminum solar shade. The project acts as a web with a central internal vertical spine atrium linked to various programs with a set of interconnected timber clad stairways. An elevated concrete podium navigating a significant grade change is formally derived from fluid dynamics studies of the flow of water through Australian billabong waterways. The podium's folded and sculpted white concrete soffit and faceted columns create their own seductive landscape, 'eroded' and opened up as would be found in nature when stone is sculpted by water. The architects designed the building in a way that makes future conversion to classroom space possible. This was achieved by incorporating “bubbledeck” concrete floor plates. This voided-slab forming system reduces the weight of the slab, increasing efficiency and reducing overall cost. The long span system allows for more slender columns, a generous structural grid spacing of around 30 feet by 30 feet, and a reduction of the shear walls required within the open plan layout. The architects also accounted for the maximum future utility spaces that would be required with a future change of use, which they say required over 30 percent redundant floor area.
  • Facade Manufacturer Penguin International Pty Ltd
  • Architects JCY Architects and Urban Designers
  • Facade Installer PACT Constructions (Contractor); Penguin International (Sub-Contractor); CR Steel (Structural Steel)
  • Facade Consultants ARUP (Facades); BG&E (Structural Steel)
  • Location Joondalup, Western Australia
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System faceted concrete podium and a gold perforated aluminum sun-shading skin, ceramic frit glazing
  • Products Alucobond Spectra; gold anodized perforated aluminum by Penguin International, Fielders TL-5 (roofing); Darley Skywall 150mm Unitized Curtain Wall Double Glazed System (Supplied/Installed by Penguin International)
Embedded within the fabric of the interior and exterior skins are a number of themes which were developed through a collaboration between the architects and ECU’s Cultural Liason Officer from Kurrongkurl Katitjin and the local Noongar community.  One outcome is a gold anodized perforated aluminum screen that folds around three upper levels of the building. Patterning is derived from curved, overlapping patterns of the chest feathers of a Carnarby Cockatoo, and creates a layered undulating effect. The perforation of the panels derived from manipulations to photographs of chest feathers from a black cockatoo. Hole diameters correspond to light values on the photograph – the darker the pixels, the larger the openings. Data from the open percentage of each panel was used in shading calculations to comply with Building Code Glazing Performance Criteria. Will Thomson, Principal at JCY, says the major constraints with this shading system were related to costs: “We could have no more than 8 different hole punch diameters to fit the project budget, and once these had been determined they were carefully set-out at 1:1 shop drawing over the panel drawings. They varied between 20-40% open area to meet the ESD requirements.” This aesthetic is introduced to the interior glazing system through a custom ceramic frit pattern and textile design of the carpeting. The fabrication and assembly process included several full size prototypes, which helped to resolve panel geometry. Thomson says the mockups resulted in many fabrication changes to allow for tolerance, movement of dissimilar metals, panel assembly details, material selections, and structural connection details. The anodized finish of the aluminum skin is inspired by the shimmering scales of a butterfly wing. Thomson says the anodized finish consists of a range of colors: “This has created an amazing patina of differing gold panels across large swatches of elevation and added a texture to the facade that would otherwise be lacking. The way the building changes color during the day, across the seasons is always a welcome delight. It has never looked the same on any two times I have been to site since the cladding works have been completed.”
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Stealthy Parisian development blends city life with garden courtyards

VIB Architecture has constructed a mixed-use program of student housing and a nursery along a narrow site in a busy neighborhood in Paris.

In a Parisian neighborhood known for its pedestrian-scale passages and small alleys, VIB Architecture has constructed a mixed-use project skillfully incorporating student housing and a nursery program into a complex of several new construction and renovated properties. The project is located in Belleville, a historically working class neighborhood with strong arts community and a heterogeneous mix of architectural scales arranged along a hilly topography. This latest addition to the neighborhood adds to the mix by combining contextual strategies with a bold contemporary material palette and massing scheme. The project is generally organized around two 8-story buildings that are bisected by an exterior passageway that leads to a courtyard space. Apartments are located along the active street front, protecting a rear sunny courtyard, lined with smaller scale buildings, for use by the nursery. An existing building links the two programs.
  • Facade Manufacturer Tolartois (panel fabrication); Francano (anodized finish)
  • Architects VIB Architecture (Franck Vialet and Bettina Ballus)
  • Facade Installer BECS (engineering consultants) / Lainé Delau (facade installation)
  • Facade Consultants Igrec Ingénierie (engineering)
  • Location Paris 20e
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System rainscreen (perforated, stamped, arched, boards over a galvanized steel framing)
  • Products 2mm aluminum panels (Tolartois); bronze anodizing (Francano); marble granulate coated facades (Zolgranit); Lacquered aluminum frames with integrated acoustic ventilation slits (Kawneer), Laminated and coated flat glass & metal mesh (Jakob)
The most recognizable building is wrapped in a custom-designed perforated aluminum skin, with a massing composed of slightly staggered floor plates with rounded corners. The skin of the building becomes panelized into operable shutters at window locations, allowing for users to control desired levels of shading, privacy and ventilation. The horizontal patterning of the perforations tracks downward into the courtyard, aesthetically integrating the housing and nursery programs, says Franck Vialet, Partner of VIB Architecture. “The perforations give depth and the horizontal stripes vibrate and link the street to the inner gardens.” The building interestingly was originally designed with a wooden rainscreen system, but was dropped early in the design process due to strict fire regulations. Vialet says the resulting aluminum facade became a natural choice due to its material qualities and design flexibility with fabrication processes. “We looked for a skin that could be unique and could be textured or machined into both large scale and smaller pieces. Anodized aluminum was the ideal solution because of its great ability to reflect light and to be perforated easily.” Positioned next to an historic garden, the bronze anodized building acts as a landmark, providing a sense of depth to the urban fabric of Belleville. Immediately adjacent to this building sits a second which is designed to be compatible with existing context, clad in a white plastic coating, the massing of the building is more ubiquitous than the first, while strategically stepping down at the rear facade to gently meet the courtyard. By altering the tectonics of the two buildings, the overall impact of the scale of the project is reduced while reinforcing a central circulation “spine” through the length of the plot, linking two successive courtyards. Vialet says the most successful part of the project is the urbanism it fosters: “its ability to naturally blend into the city and to bring together people from the street, the park, and the courtyards.”
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Koning Eizenberg blends old and new

In 2006, the 28th St. YMCA was added to the City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments List, and in 2009 it was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

In 1926, just three years after becoming the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Paul R. Williams designed a landmark YMCA building on 28th Street in Los Angeles. Nearly ninety years later, the building has been restored, and transformed, into a modern multi-family housing complex. Koning Eizenberg Architects (KEA) worked on the project for Jim Bonner, FAIA, architect and executive director of the nonprofit affordable housing organization Clifford Beers Housing. The architects restored the historic 52-unit building, reorganizing the layout into 24 studio apartments, and constructed a new 5-story, 25 studio apartment building next door.  The project features a perforated metal screen scrim wall, an integrated photovoltaic panel wall, restored historic stone work. and a shared roof deck that programmatically connects the historic building with it’s modern neighbor. There were two very different projects involved: a substantial restoration and a 5-story new infill construction building. Brian Lane, Managing Principal at KEA says these two projects were “married at the hip”: “We were digitally analyzing Paul Williams’ work on top of crafting our own work.” The architects carefully looked at shadow lines to understand the restored, cast-stone balcony and other components, generating drawings from a careful analysis from historic photographs, looking at shadow lines to understand profiled depths of the historic work. This commitment to digital analysis is most noticeably exploited on a new perforated metal scrim wall, visually buffering the apartment buildings’ circulation system from the sidewalk. The patterning and tabbing of the aluminum metal panels are derived from digitally-controlled abstractions of historic ornamentation found on Williams’ building. In addition to the two-dimensional surface treatment of the aluminum, the panels are assembled on a sub-frame that incrementally rotates outward to provide views of nearby downtown Los Angeles. Julie Eizenberg, Founding Principal of KEA, says that this move creates an effect that is “less rigid,” and “loosens where things begin and end.”
  • Facade Manufacturer C.R. Laurence
  • Architects Koning Eizenberg Architecture
  • Facade Installer Alpha Construction Co., Inc.
  • Facade Consultants C.R. Laurence, Parker Resnick Structural Engineers
  • Location Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System lightweight perforated metal screens with aluminum substructure framing, wall-mounted photovoltaic array, stucco cladding
  • Products Tinco Sheet Metal (metal panels), Sunpower (photovoltaic system), Sun Earth (solar hotwater), Series DPS200C Deluxe Perforated Panel System, Shamrock Stucco applied by Ken Harges Plastering Co.
The wall system is the result of a collaborative and iterative design process with LA-based C.R. Laurence who, among other things, fabricated the panels.  KEA exploited design opportunities of die-cut metal fabrication after discovering a significant cost savings over newer water jet-cutting technology.  This included experimentation with the perforation process: various radii were tested, and they developed a “hanging chad” perforation style that cuts and bends the metal at a controlled 37.5 degree angle.  The architect’s iterative process during the design phase of the metal screen wall included studies of numerous digitally abstracted patterns, laser-cut study models in chipboard, and mock-ups of the panels. By selectively controlling which perforations remain connected to the panel, a secondary pattern becomes visible in the panel. Lane says there was significant value brought to the project through this low cost fabrication method: “We got a real richness and depth to the panel in a very affordable way.” One of the successes of the screen is the dynamic visual quality of the screen through various lighting conditions. Sunlight is reflected off of the perforated screen during the day, while a soft backlit glow is emitted through perforations during the evenings. On the south facade of the building, a “rainscreen” made of jet black photovoltaic panels is set one foot off of the stark white stucco building facade. While some efficiency was lost by orienting the panels in a vertical array, locating the panels on the facade was done out of necessity. With the rooftop area taken up by various building systems, the south facade became an opportunity to integrate renewable energy features. In the spirit of this “low-tech/high-value” type of project, the PV array helps to block direct gain, while promoting air circulation behind the assembly. Architecturally, the project has been celebrated for it’s novel organization of building systems, its “low-tech” approach to adding value to standard building components, and its dialog between old and new (namely its registering of a digitally manipulated image of historic architectural ornamentation prominently on a primary facade). Outweighing the architectural innovations are the social and cultural benefits to the design, which re-establishes this building’s role as an important cultural community resource by bringing living quarters in compliance with contemporary standards and offers a sense of dignity to low income housing residents and staff.
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Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Transbay Center Glass Facade Could Become Perforated Metal

[beforeafter] transbay_facade_01a transbay_facade_01b [/beforeafter]   The perforated aluminum skin would replace the previously proposed glass facade. (Courtesy TJPA) It looks like Pelli Clarke Pelli's Transbay Transit Center, which stretches about three blocks through the city's Rincon Hill neighborhood, might go ahead with its first major piece of value engineering. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the architects have suggested that the building's undulating glass skin become perforated aluminum. The move would meet federal safety guidelines and chop $17 million from the estimated $1.59 billion budget for the center's first phase. The Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) board will be  asked to approve the change at its March 25 meeting. The structure is not expected to be complete before 2017. [beforeafter] transbay_facade_03a transbay_facade_03b [/beforeafter]   "This is a dramatic change in material, but the philosophical change is not enormous," said Fred Clarke of the firm Pelli Clarke Pelli, who said the terminal would still feel light, not heavy. Chronicle critic John King warned that the move "could make the transit center less of a sinuous, snaking form—and more of a drab block—as it spans First and Fremont streets." On Pelli's side, Clarke argued that the wrapping would still be transparent. Of course he admitted: "Architects who do this kind of building must be very, very pragmatic."
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Hunter S. Thompson-Inspired Gonzo Balcony

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A traditional brick condo gets unconventional in Chicago

If such a thing as Gonzo Architecture exists, Kujawa Architecture has made a small contribution to the genre on Oakdale Avenue in Chicago. Their client, Ed Hoban, was a longtime confidant of journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and conventional proposals had fallen short of his desire for a balcony that would project from the second-story bedroom of his brick condo, allowing him to enjoy a blossoming crabapple tree in the garden below. The firm’s principal, Casimir Kujawa, took matters into his own hands after looking at unsatisfactory plans from a contractor Hoban had initially hired. The team, including firm members Mason Pritchett and Patrick Johnson, started calling the project the Gonzo Balcony. “The title seemed apt because of Ed’s friendship with Hunter, but primarily in the sense that the building itself as well as the balcony are a bit unconventional. For us the entire experience of working closely with Ed, and with Bill Tellmann and Collin Smith, of the metal fabricator Active Alloys, allowed for a more experimental approach which also seemed to resonate with the ‘gonzo’ term.”
  • Fabricator Active Alloys
  • Architect Kujawa Architecture
  • Structural Engineer Louis Shell
  • Location Chicago, Illinois
  • Status Complete
  • Materials Steel, ipe wood
  • Process Steel fabrication, brake forming
Rather than spanning between the condo’s existing brick walls with a single beam, Kujawa’s design mimics the shape of the angled building facade with a cantilevered truss-like element that supports a beam spanning back to anchor points set back 9 inches from the edge of the masonry wall. The resulting shape—with a long arm of 8 feet and a shorter arm of 5 feet—projects under the canopy of the adjacent tree and has enough room for a small table and chairs. “We arrived at those dimensions by trying to derive the geometry from the site conditions,” said Kujawa. “But they also happen to be the Fibonacci sequence, the golden mean.” Because the balcony is visible from the street and from the home’s courtyard, it was important that it not appear too bulky. To enhance the appearance of lightness, Kujawa specified 2-by-2 ½-inch steel angles as floor joists, over which a deck of ipe was installed. Kujawa’s collaboration with Active Alloys led to the design’s biggest refinement. Initially the architects had specified a low-cost expanded metal balcony material, but the fabrication team steered them toward perforated steel instead. Though more expensive, the perforated panel acts as a tension frame, eliminating the need for an exterior frame. Made with 11-gauge steel with 3/16-inch holes at ¼-inch centers, the balcony structure also lets more natural light into the master bedroom. The railing is one 14-foot-long perforated panel that was brake-formed at a 120-degree angle. The structure, which weighs about 500 pounds, was lifted into place by hand. Though the project was a small one for Kujawa’s firm, “it was a labor of love,” he said. It was also a good collaboration with the fabricators, whose shop was just down the road. “Working with materials like this at this scale you can get immediate feedback as opposed to always working with something as a facsimile or model,” he said. “Any time there was a question we’d just hop in the car and go over there. It was a luxury.”