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.
Technological advancements allow glass to mimic and outperform other surfaces. Plus, the latest curtain wall and storefront systems offer more design flexibility while keeping costs low.
Solarban 90 Vitro Architectural Glass
Solarban 90 glass uses a proprietary coating technology that offers exceptional solar control as well as high-visible light transmittance. The low-E glass is now available in a large assortment of tints, including blue, bronze, gray, and green.
A moisture-free, sustainable closed-cavity facade system that is cost-efficient and designed so that no dust or condensation can permeate the internal cavity of its double skin. This system can be integrated with automated solar-shading systems as well.
SatinDeco on ExtraClear Guardian Glass
This velvety finish can be used in both vision and spandrel applications, and offers a translucent appearance. SatinDeco can be combined with many of Guardian’s SunGuard products and allows for maximum daylighting while offering privacy.
StormWall XL Hurricane-Resistant Curtain Wall CRL-U.S. Aluminum
The new hurricane-resistant curtain wall from CRL-U.S. Aluminum offers protection against severe weather, is NFRC-rated, and has Florida product approval. This improved system uses a continuous thermal space and offers a shear block assembly with no exposed fasteners for a clean aesthetic and easy installation. Additionally, it is glazed with 1-5/16-inch insulating laminated glass.
Stoneglass Pulp Studio
An innovative new offering from Pulp Studio, this glass is made of a crystalline silicon structure that makes it as hard as granite, but more consistent than natural stone. Unlike stone, it can be bent, formed, carved, and specified in particular thicknesses that can reduce cost and waste. And, because it contains no resins, Stoneglass can be recycled.
YES 60 YKK AP
The new line of FI, TU, and XT models allow for taller and wider storefronts, including spans as high as 14 feet. These storefronts offer a cost- and energy-efficient alternative to curtain walls for use in retail and low-rise offices.
A research center in Manhattan gets a custom facade solution for energy efficiency and user comfort.Ennead Architects and Heintges & Associates recently completed construction on the 475,000-square-foot Belfer Research Center, Weill Cornell Medical College’s latest expansion to Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The building’s facade includes a unique double skin system on the southern face to define the medical campus’ identity, provide ample natural light without glare to the laboratory spaces, and create a highly efficient envelope. Heintges and Ennead previously worked together on the neighboring Weill Greenberg Center in 2007, said Todd Schliemann, partner in Ennead Architects and designer of both WCMC’s Weill Greenberg Center and new Belfer Research Building. Among the strategies employed in that project was the use of custom ceramic fritting to cut down on sun loading and glare. The team repeated that strategy at Belfer, applying ceramic frit to both sides of the building’s outer curtain wall. The exterior of the outermost layer features a white frit pattern designed to reflect sunlight, while a black frit pattern on the interior surface helps reduce glare and increase visibility through the glass. The double curtain wall produces a chimney effect that reduces cooling loads. For insulation, the inner layer is composed of argon-filled insulated glass units. “We conducted a lot of thermal analysis to minimize bridging through the outriggers,” said John Pachuta, a partner at Heintges. The framing system for the inner wall is thermally broken; a layer of mineral-fiber insulation behind the frame helps improve performance. Permasteelisa manufactured the 5-foot units in its Montreal facility. Glass from BGT was treated with an Interpane coating, and outrigger connections were affixed to the frame every 5 feet. The outriggers also extend to support the outer skin. For the outer wall, unitizing the unique geometries helped maintain the building schedule, despite its complex appearance. “We learned that even with a subtle shift in plane, you can still use standard parts and pieces,” said Schliemann. The team was able to reduce the number of IGUs and achieve a more monolithic appearance by using larger, 10-and-a-half-foot panels, ultimately requiring fewer joints. The grid breaks into 21-foot repetitions, in order to accommodate window washing balconies that also provide faceted cavities in the exterior curtain wall. The cavity between the two skins measures between 18 and 25 inches to accommodate an aluminum catwalk, which is supported by the inner wall’s outriggers. Access points to the catwalk can be reached from the interior for cleaning and maintenance. With increasingly erratic environmental conditions in the Northeast corridor, the entire system had to be secure yet resilient. “We considered having support members starting from the base building structure—from the perimeter beams or columns to extend through the inner curtain wall—but to reduce thermal bridging it was more effective to have outriggers extend through the weather enclosure,” said Pachuta. “Instead, steel outriggers support the catwalk and outer screen wall that are directly attached to the mullions of the inner curtain wall.” Mullions of the inner curtain wall are reinforced with steel, and are anchored to the outer wall at the edge of each unit. The faceted cavities produce good ventilation, but also leave the protected areas open for pigeons to nest. En lieu of standard bird wire, the team developed a custom steel frame with tensioned, horizontal stainless steel rods ¾ inches apart. Though the system keeps the sky rats at bay, the wire is no wider than a bicycle spoke and does not impede views from inside.