Posts tagged with "Simpson Gumpertz & Heger":

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Facades+AM in Washington, D.C. to spotlight the District’s particular building culture and challenges

Washington, D.C. has a vibrant architectural culture, not limited to the neoclassical masonry of government buildings and major museums. The upcoming Facades+AM conference gives the District design community a chance to share ideas on building envelopes' contributions to sustainability and occupants' quality of life. Compressed into the morning of March 15 at the Washington Plaza Hotel, the nine-presentation event will address three essential themes in facade design: transparency, opacity, and connectivity. Gathering architects, specifiers, engineers, and others in the field, this Facades+AM is Washington, D.C.'s fourth annual event in the Facades+ series. According to conference chair John Jackson, a senior facade consultant at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, the conference's regional focus allows “a nice balance of projects to showcase–projects that we might not see every day here in DC, but also projects right here in the District which are custom, inspirational, and innovative.” He added that a knowledge transfer from “big, cool, fun projects with endless budgets” to quotidian practice is a high priority. Each panel will include an architect/designer, a consultant/engineer, and a contractor/fabricator to foster interdisciplinary conversations. Glass is the typical skin-type featured at Facades+ events and Jackson’s own specialty, but he made sure to include a broad range of facade types. The opening panel considers glass curtain walls and custom glazing systems. The second panel addresses the construction and performance of opaque walls, such as brick cavity walls, terra cotta, and metal panel rainscreens. The closing panel looks at connections between glass and opaque systems, which Jackson describes as often being a “no man's land," given the "ambiguity and lack of clarity of who 'owns' the design." Jackson anticipates lively discussion of new and innovative technologies that are advancing facade performance on multiple fronts. “The industry is constantly pushing greater improvement in the thermal performance of the envelope,” he said, and is now being more carefully looked at by code reviewers. Increasingly higher-performing building envelopes contribute to energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and control of condensation, particularly in humidified spaces. In the buildings of today and the future, “we expect to see full thermally broken aluminum-framed curtain-wall systems, for example, and high-performance insulating glass with low-E coatings, argon-filling, etc.” New materials and technologies challenge clients to balance performance, cost, and risk, drawing on both predictive estimates and direct experience; though testing using industry standards such as ASTM and AAMA are incredibly valuable, he says, “nothing will ever replace Mother Nature and the test of time.” The city poses its own unique set of climate and planning challenges. The mid-Atlantic climate of Washington, D.C. has wide temperature fluctuations from month to month and season to season, which requires careful attention to the design of exterior walls and hygrothermal performance.  The swing seasons also offer ample opportunity for building users to enjoy fresh air from the outdoors with operable envelope elements, which are particularly popular in multifamily residential buildings, yet less so in commercial and institutional projects. The District's height limit also typically results in cast-in-place concrete as the structural system of choice, which results in limited building lateral movement under wind loads, for example, compared to tall and more flexible steel skyscrapers often found in other cities, which has an effect on the design of the facade joints.  D.C. building owners, he adds, often with government end users, can also present unique challenges in other respects, including design of glazing systems for security requirements such as blast, forced entry, and ballistic resistance. The conference website lists the speakers and topics, along with details on registration, sponsors, and the ten other Facades+ events across the US in 2018. Bill Millard is a contributor to the AN, Oculus, Architect, Metals in Construction, LEAF Review, Icon, Content, and other publications.
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All you need to know about Building Enclosure Commissioning: Stevan Vinci on adding value with BECx

As Morrison Hershfield's Building Enclosure Commissioning Practice Lead, principal Stevan Vinci hears one question again and again: "The design team has an envelope consultant. What's the point of having a BECx authority on project?" The point, explained Vinci, is to ensure that the owner's expectations are understood and met throughout the design and construction process. "While the presence of a facade consultant on the design team adds value, their role may be limited to certain tasks or technical issues based on their specific project scope," he said. "The BECx authority works independently on behalf of the owner. The objective is to verify that the owner is getting what they are expecting and paying for." With Simpson Gumpertz & Heger's Jud Taylor, Vinci will offer an inside perspective on BECx services at this month's Facades+ LA conference in a dialog workshop on "Building Envelope Commissioning: The Who, What, & Why of BECx." Per Vinci, the BECx workshop targets "people in the design and construction community who want to know more about this service and how it will fit into their future projects, especially projects that will be using LEED v4." Designers, fabricators, clients, builders, and students will come away with a better understanding not just of the BECx process itself, but of how it can enhance a project's value. Architects, said Vinci, will also learn how to "effectively engage themselves in the Building Envelope Commissioning process." Vinci is eager to hear from BECx workshop attendees. "I'm looking forward to getting the audience's feedback concerning their perception and experience with BECx on projects as it stands today and where it can lead in the future," he said. "I not only enjoy being an educator but also learning from my audience's experiences." To register for Vinci and Taylor's BECx workshop or another lab or dialog workshop, visit the Facades+ LA conference website today. Secure your spot now and earn AIA CEUs in a unique, in-depth look at contemporary topics in facade design and fabrication.
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Finding Asylum: Tracing the evolution of five Kirkbride Planned hospitals for the insane

The Victorian-era psychologist Thomas Story Kirkbride advocated the use of fresh air and elegant architecture for healing mental illnesses. Under the Kirkbride Plan for asylums, patients resided in extensive, well-landscaped grounds and palace-like structures. Yet inside, unplanned by the architects, patients often were restrained in chains and dark dungeons and suffered ice-water baths. Fortunately, these immoral practices were abandoned, but so were the Victorian buildings that housed them, and these elegant structures deteriorated from neglect. Many Kirkbride Plan facilities have since been demolished, but at least forty remain. Once shameful and secret, these asylums are revamping community pride and local economies, as architects renovate the properties for a variety of uses.
St. Elizabeths Hospital Southeast Washington, D.C. For example, the 182-acre West Campus of the former Government Hospital for the Insane, later known as St. Elizabeths Hospital, will house the new United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters. This Southeast Washington, D.C. asylum housed up to 8,000 patients, including multiple presidential assassins and would-be assassins, such as Richard Lawrence (Andrew Jackson), Charles J. Guiteau (James Garfield), and John Hinckley, Jr. (Ronald Reagan). Working with DHS, Shalom Baranes Associates and Grunley Construction are repairing the 264,300-square-foot Center Building, originally designed by Thomas U. Walter, the primary architect of the 1851 expansion of the U.S. Capitol building. The Center Building’s seven connected structures originally served as administrative offices and treatment rooms for the Government Hospital for the Insane but will now house all DHS operations, saving $64 million per year in rental costs, since DHS operations are currently scattered across dozens of buildings in the District. Read more from AN here.
Hudson River State Hospital Poughkeepsie, New York In 2007, six years after the Hudson River Psychiatric Center closed, the abandoned asylum was struck by lightning, burning its south wing, what used to be the male housing quarters. In April 2010, two more fires occurred, although these reportedly were intentional. Then, in November 2013, the abandoned, burnt, and deteriorated Gothic Revival structure, was purchased for $4 million. Diversified Realty Advisors and EnviroFinance Group (EFG/DRA Heritage) are transforming it into a $200 million, mixed-use development, called Hudson Heritage. The original grounds were designed by Olmsted & Vaux and the buildings were designed by Frederick Clarke Withers. Four of the 59 original buildings will be re-purposed, whereas the other 55 will be demolished. The development calls for a 350,000 square foot shopping center, 750 single and multifamily residences, and an 80 room hotel, which was an original Kirkbride. Read more from AN here.
Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital Morris Plains, New Jersey Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital abandoned a 675,000-square-foot, Second Empire Baroque building by architect Samuel Sloan. After the facility closed in 2008, Preserve Greystone, a volunteer organization, emerged to fight for its adaptive-reuse. However, the original Greystone Park could not be saved and was demolished at taxpayers’ expense of $50 million. John Huebner, president of Preserve Greystone, called the demolition “an irretrievable loss for this generation and countless future ones, and an affront to the generation that built it.” Hueber hopes to make a memorial for the site and preserve 1,000 linear feet of granite building facade, two marble columns, decorative pieces, and as many trees as possible. Read more from AN here.
Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane Buffalo, New York The Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, by architect H.H. Richardson and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is undergoing a $56 million make-over, funded both publicly and privately. The current design team is made up of Flynn Battaglia Architects (executive architect), Deborah Berke Partners (design architect), Goody Clancy (historic preservation architect), and Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger (structural engineer). The three main buildings will house a hotel and conference center along with the Buffalo Architecture Center (BAC). Deborah Berke Partners redesigned the north-side entry as a beacon, with a glass entryway, highlighting the coexistence of historic and modern. Construction is underway and is expected to open in fall 2016 as Hotel Henry, Urban Resort Conference Center. Read more from AN here.
Northern Michigan Asylum Traverse City, Michigan Dr. James Decker Munson, the first superintendent of Northern Michigan Asylum, was a firm believer of “beauty is therapy.” He exposed patients to beautiful flowers, provided year round through the greenhouses and trees on the hospital property. The Victorian-Italianate facilities were designed by architect Gordon W. Lloyd and at their peek housed around 3,000 patients. The 63-acre complex closed in 1989, and was vacant until 2002 when Raymond Minervini purchased the entirety for only one dollar. The rehabilitation, called the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, cost $60 million, and by 2005, housed residences, offices, shops, and eateries. The firehouse is now a bakery, and the laundry room is a wine bar and fair-trade coffee shop. The rehabilitation is expected to house 1,000 people–ranging from 300 square foot studio apartments to 3,800 square foot condos– provide 800 jobs, and host farmers markets, easter egg hunts, and beer and dairy festivals. Despite their negative associations, asylums exhibit excellent design and craftsmanship, and are adaptable to an endless variety of uses. Photographer Christopher Payne is an authority on these old facilities, photographing dozens of them for his book, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals. "Payne, who trained as an architect before turning to photography, is attuned to the incongruously fine detail or trace of order among landscapes of decay," AN's Jeff Byles wrote in a review of an exhibit of the book's photos. "Perhaps the most affecting images in Asylum are those that confront head-on the human experience of asylum life: dozens of toothbrushes hung neatly in a cabinet, each labeled with the name of its owner; patient suitcases piled sadly in an attic; bowling shoes at the ready for a night at the lanes in Rockland" For more photos of abandoned asylums, visit Payne's website here.
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Matthew Johnson on the Reemergence of Craft in the Digital Age

For much of its early history, architecture was more than a pragmatic response to the problem of shelter. It was infused by craft. "Craft has existed in all kinds of industry, especially architecture, for a long time," said Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) principal Matthew Johnson. "But I feel it it lost its way in the twentieth century as we chased efficiency over quality." Until quite recently, in fact, Johnson felt that hope for a reunion of art and technics within architecture was dim. Then he had an epiphany. "It struck me that craft exists now, it's just in a completely different way than what I traditionally had thought," said Johnson. Where he previously defined craft as "a manual labor and artistic trade," Johnson saw that "craft has evolved into a computational trade, where you can create interest and detail computationally." Johnson, who is the "New Design" Practice Leader for SGH as well as Structural Engineering Head for the firm's Chicago office, will share his thoughts on the contemporary craft of building envelopes in a presentation at next month's Facades+ Chicago conference. Johnson was careful to stress that, for him, the new architectural craft is about more than just good-looking graphics: it extends to fabrication, for instance 3D printing. "There's a whole world of opportunity out there to create [at least] parts of building with an incredible level of detail and precision," said Johnson. "That doesn't mean we need to make things materially complex for complexity's sake. But there are often other needs to be met. We can start to be really creative in how we approach things." As an example, cited new techniques for designing and building in concrete. Constructing a concrete hyperboloid the old-fashioned way took a ton of time and effort, because the forms had to be put together on site, by hand. "Now all of a sudden we can build incredibly complex formwork, off site," said Johnson. "It's sort of like craft has reemerged in our profession. There's a skill set out there that allows this to happen." For Johnson, who will focus his talk, "Digital: Design-to-Fabrication Opportunities in Contemporary Facades," on SGH projects in the public realm, one of the most exciting developments has to do with the relative affordability of certain digital techniques. "For a museum, it's easy to be inventive," said Johnson. "They might have $1000 per square foot to build. What's interesting is where we see it in smaller projects, for example in K-12 schools. You can start to be inventive and inject craft into something that would otherwise be cost prohibitive." Hear from Johnson and other AEC industry leaders, and view the latest facade materials and systems at the Methods & Materials Gallery, at Facades+ Chicago November 5–6. View additional information and register online at the conference website.
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Radlab Makes Music with Moiré

Undulating birch walls create pockets of privacy in an apartment building lobby.

When Boston design and fabrication firm Radlab began work on Clefs Moiré, the permanent installation in the lobby of One North of Boston in Chelsea, Massachusetts, they had relatively little to go on. They knew that the apartment building's developer wanted a pair of walls of a certain size to activate the lobby space, but that was about it. "Normally we get more information, so we can come up with a story—a concept based on the building and its requirement," said Radlab's Matt Trimble. "For this we pulled back and said, we have an opportunity to be a little more abstract about how we approach this conceptually." Inspired by moiré patterning and a harpsichord composition by J.S. Bach, the team designed and built two slatted birch walls whose undulating surfaces embody a dialog between transparency and opacity. The client's interest in achieving moments of privacy within a public space led Radlab to moiré patterning, the phenomenon in which a third pattern emerges when two other semi-transparent patterns are superimposed on one another. Trimble compares the moiré effect to standing in a cornfield. "It's not until that moment when you look at it from the perpendicular that you see the rows of corn," he said. "When you look to either side, the crossing prevents you from seeing depths." The designers decided to think about the two walls as a single volume that would later be split. "There's this potential for reading it as a single wall when you look at it from different perspectives," explained Trimble. "This made sense because the project is about viewpoint. If you're perpendicular to the wall, you see straight through it." Radlab began with a traditional approach to moiré patterning, playing with identical vertical components set askew to one another. Then they looked at J.S. Bach's Partita No. 2 in B-flat Major: Gigue. Bach's challenging composition requires the performer to cross his or her hands, the left hand playing the treble clef while the right hand plays the bass. "That became an inspiration for a way to structure and organize the two walls," said Trimble. "To think of one as being the result of a bass set of wavelengths, and the other as a treble set." The designers realized that they could modulate the metaphorical wavelengths across both the vertical and horizontal sections to create an interesting, and varied, third element. "That's where the Gigue became influential," said Trimble. "It gave us a way to create a rhythm in the wall that would pace itself."
  • Fabricator Radlab
  • Designers Radlab, Paul Kassabian (structural engineering)
  • Location Chelsea, MA
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • Material birch
  • Process drawing, modeling, Rhino, Grasshopper, CNC milling, hanging, varnishing, gluing, tilting
The team relied heavily on Rhino and Grasshopper both to design the installation and to plan fabrication. "We would create various iterations in 3D modeling software, then disassemble them into the flat XY plane and try to understand: how would we actually build this?" said Trimble. Simpson Gumpertz & Heger's Paul Kassabian provided crucial help with structural engineering, including designing a base plate that is invisible except when the wall is viewed from a 90-degree angle. Radlab CNC-milled the wood slats and spacers before coating them with varnish. "Fabrication was long and arduous, but it challenged us in really great ways," said Trimble. The group developed a hanging mechanism to efficiently apply fire retardant to the ribs. To prevent varnish from adhering to the points of connection between the ribs and spacers, they fabricated each spacer twice, once out of birch, and once out of chipboard. They affixed the chipboard templates to the ribs before spraying the varnish, leaving an untouched patch for the final spacer. "It was process-intensive, there was no getting around that," recalled Trimble. "But we embraced that process-intensive journey from the onset, to see if there were ways we could be creative about creating improvements to make fabrication more efficient." On site, Radlab laid down templates of the base plates to drill holes for the anchor bolts, then returned with the walls themselves. Each wall was prefabricated of four panels and assembled in the shop. "They tilted up almost like tilt-up concrete walls," said Trimble. In addition to having inspired the form of Clefs Moiré, Bach's Gigue works as a metaphor for how the finished walls perform in space. "It starts and stops abruptly," explained Trimble. "There's no crescendo or tapering of intensity. The walls do the exact same thing: there is no rising up from the ground or falling into it. They start and stop in a similar way."