Posts tagged with "Terra-Cotta":

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The University of Michigan’s Biological Science Building establishes place with corrugated terra-cotta

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Located in the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, the Biological Science Building is a dual-purpose building housing both a biological science program and a museum of natural history. The nearly 300,000-square-foot building, designed by Ennead Architects, was constructed in two phases—the academic spaces opened in 2018 and the museum in 2019—and enclosed with a corrugated terra-cotta rain screen and brise-soleil. The core of the Ann Arbor campus is composed of a dozen halls and auditoriums designed by the renowned Detroit-based industrial and commercial style architect Albert Kahn. His work on the campus, exemplified by buildings such as Hill Auditorium and the Harlan Hatcher Library, is primarily Renaissance Revival and built of reddish-brown brick and terra-cotta with slight ornament found at the cornice and string course.
  • Facade Manufacturer Shildan/Moeding Viracon
  • Architect Ennead Architects SmithGroup (architect-of-record)
  • Facade Installer National Enclosure Company Barton Mallow (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultant Heintges
  • Location Ann Arbor, MI
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom unitized and stick curtain wall system
  • Products Custom Shildan/Moeding terra-cotta tiles 1” VRE24-46 Insulating unit with a CrystalGray inboard lite
For Ennead Architects, the setting was a point of reference to be respected and, to some degree, emulated by any contemporary intervention. “We used deep corrugations and textures of the terra-cotta facade to break down the sale of the laboratory building to relate it to the campus environment,” said Ennead design partner Todd Schliemann and associate partner Jarrett Pelletier. “We were interested in using the depth of the corrugations, in a play of light and shadow, to create a facade that was variegated, reinterpreting the Albert Kahn historic brick buildings on campus which are rich in variegations of color and texture." The three box-like volumes of the Biological Sciences Building cantilever off of a one-story podium and are linked at the hips by full building height atriums with oversized glazing bays. Produced by manufacturer Shildan Group, the terra-cotta tiles are treated with a standard matte finish and arranged in three formats; flat, combed and honed. Through the terra-cotta tiles shifting orientations—all are five-and-a-half inches deep—the facade is cast in an ever-changing condition of light and shadow which suggests the illusion of varied finishes for the panels. Considering the varied internal functions across the project, the design "The patterns of glazing and opaque elements was designed to maximize daylight in spaces where people spend much of their time and temper it in spaces that house research equipment," continued Schliemann and Pelletier. "Our design-team utilized parametric modeling to create a facade that looks infinitely custom yet is actually made of repetitive modules. Curtain wall modules span between 16 and 20 feet from floor to floor, and are held by aluminum framing supporting the weight of both glazing and terra-cotta. Throughout the facade, the terra-cotta tiles also function as screening elements at several points. Offset from the glazing, the tiles are threaded to the unitized curtain wall’s stack joints with a series of steel tubes, and, for extra-tall units, steel tie-back elements handle the increased lateral loads.  
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KPF’s One Vanderbilt soars with terra-cotta and glass

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One Vanderbilt, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), is not a subtle project; the tower topped out in September 2019 and rises from an entire city block with a behemoth massing to a height of just over 1,400 feet. The tower is visible across the metropolitan region, from the New Jersey Meadows to the Bronx-Queens Expressway, and stands out from the pack with spandrels of fluted terra-cotta and canted glass panels. The building is located in the heart of Midtown, standing immediately adjacent to Grand Central Terminal and surrounded by turn-of-the-century office towers—approximately half-a-dozen historic structures met the wrecking ball to make room for the project. For KPF, this context, and perhaps the acts of destruction required in the act of creation, led to two primary design objectives: An accessible podium with an engaged street wall on all four elevations, and a material palette that kept with Terminal City. As noted by KPF design principal Jeffrey Kenoff, “Our use of terra-cotta echoes the work of Guastavino at Grand Central, while the bronze podium allows the building to nest into a Midtown patina.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terracotta Tvitec Spain Guardian Permasteelisa
  • Architect Kohn Pedersen Fox
  • Facade Installer Permasteelisa AECOM Tishman
  • Facade Consultant Vidaris
  • Structural Engineer Severud Associates
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System Custom unitized curtainwall system
  • Products Custom BVTC extruded terra-cotta Tvitec glass Guardian SunGuard HP Neutral 50/32
Excavation of the site began in 2016 to make way for one of the city’s largest concrete pours, with the foundation requiring approximately 4,000 cubic yards of concrete. Since then, construction manager AECOM Tishman and facade installer and fabricator Permasteelisa have proceeded at a dizzying pace. According to David Mangini, Permasteelisa North America’s project office leader, the team typically installed four floors per month using a mini-crane projected from the floor slab above. The unitized panels were fabricated at Permasteelisa Group’s factories in Connecticut and Montreal and were shipped to the site by New Jersey-based superload logistics specialist Farren International. Buffalo-based manufacturer Boston Valley Terracotta (BVTC) produced the tower’s architectural terra-cotta and was involved in its modeling since the concept design phase. There are two custom glazes, resulting from half-a-decade of collaboration between BVTC and KPF, applied to the tower’s terra-cotta panels; a darker glaze for the larger soffit tiles and a light, high-gloss glaze used for the curtain wall spandrels. The bulk of the tiles were extruded—the clay was forced through a steel die to produce a hollow cored unit which is subsequently cut, dried, and fired. In total, there are over 2,400 soffit tiles, which measure 5'-0" x 2' - 6", and 26,000 spandrel tiles, which have a standard width of approximately 5 feet. Each diagonally-oriented flute is just over a foot in height, and are split by approximately two-inch seams. The tiles are held by a straightforward system of mullions and stack joints, however, special attention was paid to areas that incorporate natural-ventilation components. The canted glass panels run the same width as the spandrel tiles and were produced by Tvitec Spain and treated with Guardian SunGuard HP Neutral 50/32. Each IGU module is composed of a 3/8" outer lite, a 1/2" air space, and an inner lite of two 1/4" panes. The project is scheduled to wrap up in 2020.
 
 
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Omgivning and Spectra return L.A.'s Broadway Trade Center to turn-of-the-century splendor

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Los Angeles's Broadway is home to one of the finest assemblies of Commercial Style buildings in the country, consisting of steel structures with box-like massing, clad with richly ornamented terra-cotta or cast-iron, and lightened with large rectangular and divided windows. Constructed over several phases starting in 1908, the Broadway Trade Center, initially known as Hamburger's Department Store is a prominent example of the style within this district and was once the largest department store west of Chicago, sitting on half of a city block and measuring a total of 1.3-million square feet. After decades of decay and ultimately abandonment, the historic structure is getting a new lease on life due to the rehabilitation efforts of architecture and design firm Omgivning and contractor Spectra. Founded in 2009, Omgivning is not specifically a preservation architect, but the firm has established a particular expertise in the rehabilitation of historic structures within the Los Angeles-area and had led the overhaul of dozens of neglected structures.
  • Facade Manufacturer Spectra Gladding McBean
  • Architect Omgivning
  • Facade Installer Spectra
  • Structural Engineer TTG
  • Location Los Angeles
  • Date of Completion TBD
  • System Historic Commercial Style structure with Chicago windows and ornamental terra-cotta
  • Products Restored wood window frames and terra-cotta replacements
Historic tax credits are a key component to the feasibility of restoration projects and maintaining the original design is an inherent requirement. “In terms of facades specifically, we knew that we needed to maintain unaltered facade on all four elevations to comply with the requirements of working with historic buildings,” said Omgivning projects director Peter Rindelaub. Conforming to these requirements also led Omgivning to place new building air supply and exhaust louvers within a rooftop addition, while obscuring the path of utilities to the new electrical transformers. Restoration of the facade began with exhaustive archival research of the department store. While historic photographs were readily available, the team had to procure shop drawings from ceramics manufacturer Gladding McBean, the original producer of the terra-cotta cladding, who joined the restoration to replace damaged components. Only so much of the structure’s condition can be gleaned from research, and contractor Spectra handled the bulk of on-site inspection. “The survey entailed a hands-on inspection of the terra-cotta and windows,” said Spectra project manager Dick Gee. “A visual survey can only identify so much, while a hands-on survey after scaffolding is erected allows for a more accurate reading of the building.” Most of the terra-cotta was repaired in place; color-matching mortar applied to tile cracks, and faded segments brushed down and repainted. If a section of cladding proved non-salvageable, Spectra measured individual components and produced molds that were subsequently shipped to Gladding McBean's facilities just outside of Sacramento and reproduced to match their original size perfectly. Replacing and repairing the fire escapes and window frames were the other significant aspects of the facade restoration. For the latter, Spectra built an entire woodshop within the building to restore the decaying windows and immediately reinstall them—a more cost-effective and ultimately more pragmatic option than repairing offsite. Exterior restoration is essentially complete, while interior building renovations are ongoing.
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Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects' Centrale nods to the Jazz Age with chevrons of terra-cotta

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Midtown East is a competitive Manhattan neighborhood to design a new tower; the skyline is crowded with an assembly of jostling skyscrapers and landmarks constructed over the last century. Completed in 2019, The Centrale is an 803-foot-tall residential tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and developed by Ceruzzi Properties. The building strikes a middle ground between the surrounding Art-Deco icons and post-war glass curtain walls with panels of terra-cotta chevrons and solar-control glass. The 220,000-square-foot tower is located mid-block and is flanked on either side by pre-war midrises of stepped massing and clad in detailed yellow brick, limestone, and ornamental masonry. The challenge for the architectural team was how to incorporate these historical elements into a contemporary mold for a remarkably slender project.
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terracotta Interpane Permasteelisa
  • Architect Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects SLCE Architects (Executive Architect)
  • Facade Installer Permasteelisa
  • Facade Consultant Vidaris
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom unitized system
  • Products INTERPANE Ipasol Platin 52-36 Boston Valley Terracotta extruded terra-cotta panels
"We were cautious not to fall into the trappings of architectural style and appearance, but rather to emulate the repetition and movement of the Jazz Age and the expressive machinery that celebrated the still young industrial age," said Pelli Clarke Pelli principal Craig Copeland. "The chevron emerged as a key motif for the project; and we soundly incorporated it throughout from the scale of the skyline, to the touch of many close-up details." The base of the project begins with a 100-foot-tall metal screen that cloaks shared residential spaces and is indented with the tower's prevailing chevron detail. Lifting the residences measurably above street level and shrouding the podium with perforated metal is a clever aesthetic solution to engineering requirements. Similar to SHoP's 111 57th Street, the narrow profile of the tower—floor plates are approximately 3,000 square feet— required significant shear walls on the east and west elevations, and is further stabilized by a 400-ton tuned mass damper located at the bulkhead. A series of hinged setbacks occur as the tower rises, shifting the face of the primary elevation to the northeast and northwest in a playful nod to contextual massing. The orientation of the terra-cotta panels corresponds to the alternating facade planes, and are colored cream and dark brown. Using the latter was a practical solution to heighten the depth of a relatively shallow architectural detail, and the terra-cotta bands form something of an abstract impression of fluted buttresses. The design of the facade and the dimensions of the curtain wall units were impacted by the constraints of the site, and contractors relied on a hoist run rather than a conventional crane to install the panels. Typical curtain wall units measure approximately 5'-8" by 11' and 3' by 11', and the terra-cotta units are 4'-4" by 11'. According to Pelli Clarke Pelli associate principal Jimmy Chang, "The design team had to work with this limitation and modify the much more expressed facade (deep saw-tooth profile), to smaller and shallower profile units." Through scaling down the unit sizes, fabricator and installer Permasteelisa saved time in assembly and installation which ultimately translated to overall cost savings of the curtain wall. On the second day of Facades+ NYC, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, engineering firm BüroEhring, and Roschmann Steel & Glass Construction will lead an intensive workshop titled "(P)ReFabricate: An Interactive Reinterpretation of Prefabricated Building Enclosures." Attendees of the workshop will collaborate closely with the team of nine instructors to recalibrate the designs of one of eight prefabricated case studies according to a change in context, contemporary energy standards, and ease of assembly.  
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PAU's JFK Towers will stagger over Philadelphia's Schuylkill Yards

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Philadelphia's Schuylkill Yards is undergoing a massive redevelopment by Brandywine Realty Estate that will bring half-a-dozen new buildings, totaling approximately six million square feet, into the center of the city. Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), is joining the fray with JFK Towers; a duo of cantilevering, offset mixed-use buildings clad in terra-cotta and aluminum. The project, which broke ground in November 2017 and is master-planned by SHoP Architects, follows a spate of railyard redevelopments around the country; ranging from the ongoing construction at Hudson Yards to the 244-acre revamp of Sacramento's former Union Pacific Railyards. In this instance, the redevelopment is located atop the former parking facilities at the adjacent 30th Street Station, rather than decking over the yards that neighbor the Schuylkill River.
  • Architect PAU HDR (Architect-of-Record)
  • Developer Brandywine Realty Trust
  • Structural Engineer LERA Consulting Structural Engineers
  • Location Philadelphia, PA
  • Date of Completion TBA
  • System Glass and aluminum curtainwall with terra-cotta base
As a tabula rasa, the architects enjoyed the opportunity of shaping an entirely new district that will be visibly prominent from most vantage points within Philadelphia—the east tower will reach a height of 512 feet and the west tower will stand at 360 feet—and will effectively bridge Center City to University City across the Schuykill River. "We generated the forms through the site geometry. Rail is adjacent on three sides which bifurcate the buildable area at different angles and heights informing the cantilevers and stacking," said PAU associate partner Mark Faulkner. "The breaking of our massing into low, mid, and high-rise blocks yields a playful stacking of volumes, efficiency for the complex mixed-used program, and a unique addition to the skyline that announces this important new neighborhood in the city." Although the planned towers of Schuykill Yards will dwarf surrounding structures in this corner of West Philadelphia, the design team has included several material choices that will tie the JFK towers to the city-at-large. Outside of Center City, Philadelphia is comprised of residences and small businesses rendered in often brownish-red low-rise brick and masonry. An additional influence can be found in the historic red metal coaches used by the defunct Pennslyvania Railroad headquartered in Philadelphia. The east tower of PAU's duo will appropriate this heritage with a red terra-cotta base for the vaulted arcade and a similarly-colored polychromatic paint coating over the aluminum cladding. The west tower will be subject to a similar material treatment but in a brownish-gray hue. The fenestration pattern that will rise from the arcaded base of the two towers will be a clear nod to commercial high modernism, with ribbons of windows divided by protruding vertically-oriented fins, and is a significant diversion from the predominantly all-glass towers otherwise rising throughout the city. PAU associate partner Mark Faulkner and Brandywine Realty Trust vice president Joseph Ritchie will be joining the panel "Schuylkill Yards First Facades: Architects’ and Developers’ POV" at the Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Philadelphia conference on October 18.
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Architectural terra-cotta is advancing in Buffalo, New York

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Now in its fourth consecutive year, the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW) has reached a new level of maturity. The annual conference, hosted in Buffalo, New York, counted a total of nine teams hailing from leading architectural and engineering firms across the country. For attendees, the gathering is an opportunity to part the veil behind the architectural terra-cotta manufacturing process, experiment with new concepts, and physically transform them into full-scale prototypes.  The collaborative project is the product of an ongoing partnership between manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta (BVTC) and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (UB/a+p); engineering firm Walter P Moore served as an additional sponsor for the event. Buffalo, New York is home to a broad range of 20th-century architectural heritage. It should then come, perhaps, as no surprise that BVTC made its bones in the field of architectural preservation. The company, originally founded in 1889 as Boston Valley Pottery, was purchased by the Krouse family in 1981 who converted the operation into a manufacturer of architectural components. Beginning with local restoration projects such as Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building, BVTC has since partnered with UB/a+p in the use of digital documentation to mass-produce historic architectural pieces. The use of digital design has facilitated BVTC's ascent in the field of custom terra-cotta assemblies; current projects range from Kohn Pedersen Fox's (KPF) supertall One Vanderbilt to Morphosis's Orange County Museum of Art The teams were made up of new attendees and familiar faces who had developed their prototype concepts in the months leading up to the conference. The prototypes largely followed the ACAW statement of intent, which encouraged an exploration of the intersection between ceramic furniture and cladding. Projects ranged from SHoP Architects' self-supporting structure formed of interlocking terra-cotta units to KPF's manipulation of geometry and glaze embedded atop a concrete panel. There was also a significant alteration to the overall procedure of the conference. Andy Brayman, founder of the Kansas City ceramics collaborative Matter Factory and past ACAW attendee, recently partnered with BVTC to develop the company's first off-site Research & Development Lab within his own facility. "This strategy is helpful when taking on the ACAW projects which by their very nature contain at least one element (and often several) that could be considered experimental," said Brayman. "The bulk of the technical know-how comes from BVTC and it is augmented by research that has been done at the Matter Factory. Taking the projects out of the main factory that is focused on the production of existing jobs allows a different dynamic to take place." The conditions present at the BVTC are effectively replicated at the Kansas City collaborative as the gas-fired kilns are produced and calibrated by the same Italian manufacturer. Keynote speakers, many of them also workshop attendees, included Andy Brayman;  Dr. William M. Carty, a ceramics professor at Alfred University; Billie Faircloth, partner at KieranTimberlake; Sara Lopergolo, partner at Selldorf Architects; Sameer Kumar, director of enclosure design at SHoP Architects; Jason Vollen, vice president High Performance Buildings AECOM. What is the overarching goal of this annual earthenware gathering? According to UB/a+p associate professor and conference organizer Omar Khan, "ACAW’s ambition is to make Western New York a recognized center for architectural ceramic research. It is the only one of its kind and we feel that it will influence design and innovation in terracotta usage. From this year’s success, we are already receiving many inquiries to participate next year but our intention will be to internationalize the participants to some extent. This will put other issues and traditions in the mix, which we feel will help us better address more global concerns." Let's see what the future has in store for this corner of the Empire State.
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SHoP's Midtown supertall brings terra-cotta and bronze to new heights

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Over the last two decades, SHoP Architects has pushed the envelope of facade design, leading a notable shift from predominantly glass-clad skyscrapers to supertalls incorporating a variety of materials. SHoP’s 111 57th Street is currently rising on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row—a stretch of dizzyingly luxurious towers. The tower stands out with a facade that incorporates three materials: terra-cotta, glass, and bronze ornamental work. The tower rises from a narrow lot located immediately behind and adjacent to the historic Steinway Building. In the mold of historic New York skyscrapers, the tower sets back and tapers upward along its south elevation. Both north and south elevations are clad in a glass curtain wall with vertical strips of bronze sprouting into finials at each setback.
  • Facade Manufacturer NBK Architectural Terracotta ELICC Americas Corporation SYP Glass Group
  • Architect SHoP Architects
  • Developer JDS Development Property Markets Group Spruce Capital
  • Facade Installer Parkside Construction Builders
  • Facade Consultant BuroHappold Engineering
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System Custom ELICC unitized system
  • Products NBK Architectural Terracotta custom terra-cotta rainscreen
As a result of the site’s constraints, the approximately 1,400-foot-tall tower’s width runs at a remarkably narrow 45 feet—the width-to-height ratio comes out to just 1:24. Partnering with BuroHappold Engineering, a key challenge for the project was developing a facade system capable of supporting the weight of cladding materials, notably the terra-cotta panels. Concrete shear walls back the facade for these two elevations with only select opportunities for punched window openings. “These select openings allow for vision glass to be used while the remaining glass panels contain shadow boxes,” said BuroHappold Associate John Ivanoff. “The unitized curtain wall panels are consistent in dimension across the width of the facade; the units are separated between different materials.” The composition of the east and west facades is formed by a trio of terra-cotta, glass, and bronze. Curtain wall–manufacturer Ellic Americas merged the three materials into approximately 4-foot-by-16-foot panels, with bronze filigree fluttering between vertical stripes of glass and terra-cotta. These panels were then delivered to the site, craned into position, and hung from concrete structural slabs similar to typical curtain wall systems. In total, nearly 43,000 terra-cotta pieces, mechanically fastened to a unitized aluminum curtain wall system, run across the two elevations. The design of the quasi-fluted terra-cotta strips was formulated using a 3-D wave geometry generated by a computational script. This geometrically focused design by SHoP was adapted by NBK Terracotta to conform to its specific fabrication parameters. The building is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
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University of Oregon's Tykeson Hall announces a campus presence with a terra-cotta and brick facade

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Tykeson Hall, currently wrapping up construction, is nestled in the center of the University of Oregon’s Eugene campus. Designed by Portland’s OFFICE 52 Architecture, the intervention consolidates classrooms, academic advisors, counseling, and tutoring for nearly 23,000 students under one roof. The 64,000-square-foot academic building carefully inserts itself into the campus with a variegated terra-cotta and brick facade with moments of glass curtain wall. The building, like much of the campus, rises as a rectangular mass with a series of incisions and setbacks for daylighting and programmatic purposes. To match with the cornice height of the surrounding structures, Tykeson Hall tops out at four stories.
  • Facade Manufacturer Shildan Group Mutual Materials Hardscape and Masonry Kawneer Vitro Hartung Viracon
  • Architects OFFICE 52 Architecture Rowell Brokaw Architects
  • Facade Installer Streimer Sheet Metal Davidson's Masonry Culver Glass Company
  • Location Eugene, Oregon
  • Date of Completion Summer 2019
  • System Kawneer 1600 Wall System Open-joint rainscreen system with a fully thermally broken aluminum window system
  • Products Custom extruded terra-cotta tiles by Shildan Group Mutual Materials Hardscape and Masonry Columbia Red and Autumn Blend Vitro Solarban 60 & 70 Viracon VE-1-2M
The principal material for the exterior envelope is a terra-cotta rainscreen system composed of 3,100 vertical tiles manufactured in Germany by the Shildan Group. This is the first application of terra-cotta on the historic campus in over eighty years—and earlier examples are chiefly decorative rather than performative. All of the terra-cotta tiles roughly measure six inches by three-to-five feet and are clipped to an aluminum grid at both their top and bottom. In using such a straightforward fastening method, the tiles can be easily removed, repaired, or replaced. Visually striking from multiple vantage points across the campus, the pattern of the matte-glazed terra-cotta tiles was developed from the study of Oregon's natural landscape and the architectural context of the University of Oregon's campus. "We looked at numerous color combinations and determined that five colors were necessary so that no color was ever repeated adjacent to itself on any side," said Office 52 founding principal Michelle LaFoe and principal Isaac Campbell. "We then produced keyed drawings that called out every one of the 3,100 tiles, and we made full-scale mock-ups of the final options in our studio. The final resolution of the palette came down to a gray palette that had both warm and cool colors." The most common material element found throughout the campus is brick, loadbearing in the case of historic structures, curtain for the contemporary. The existing brick color palette is largely brownish-red and arranged according to the simple Stretcher bond pattern—bricks overlaying each other midway on each successive course. For the project, the university required OFFICE 52 Architecture integrate this overarching aesthetic into the design of Tykeson Hall. To this end, the design team researched prospective brick layouts to enliven the facade along the east, north, and south elevations of the project. "During our research, we discovered an interesting pattern known as an English Cross bond, which creates a diagonal pattern by staggering the vertical mortar joints from course to course," continued LaFoe and Campbell. "Intrigued with this pattern and seeking to increase its scale, we added a course of longer Norman bricks to the pattern, creating a new pattern which we called a Norman Cross bond." For the coloring of these three elevations of brick, OFFICE 52 Architecture worked with Mutual Materials Hardscape and Masonry to develop a custom-blend of their Columbia Red and Autumn Blend brick types. In total, 78,000 bricks were used for the project, with the design team using building information modeling software to ensure the pattern corresponded with window returns and corner finishes. The bulk of the project's fenestration is composed of punched window openings. However, one-story glass curtainwall projects from the prevailing sedimentary mass along the north, west, and south elevations. Tykeson Hall is estimated to be completed in July 2019.
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Ancient technology gets an update in sustainable cooling solution

“The way we cool our buildings right now is totally wrong,” said Indian architect Monish Siripurapu in a video produced the United Nations' Environment program. The words are bleak, but arguably true; the electricity and hydrofluorocarbons most modern cooling systems demand ironically warm the planet overall while they cool our conditioned spaces. On top of that, with global temperatures rising and worldwide populations growing, demands for cooling are only increasing. More eco-friendly options are urgently needed, and Siripurapu’s New Delhi–based firm Ant Studio has proposed an affordable, scalable, sustainable, and aesthetically appealing solution to the problem of air conditioning. Ant Studio’s mission is to combine “art, nature, and technology,” and its temperature-regulating solution is designed to be as much an art installation as a cooling system. The Beehive, as the system's first iteration is called, was built to ameliorate high-temperature conditions for laborers at the Noida, Uttar Pradesh–based manufacturer Deki Electronics, where generators and other equipment output their own heat, adding to high outdoor temperatures. The Beehive is part of a larger exploration by the firm that leverages terracotta tubes and water as part of a low-energy cooling system. The Beehive, so-named for its honeycomb-like structure, follows an Indian tradition of using earthenware to cool water. “Traditional architecture has so much wisdom,” said Siripurapu. The ancient process has been wholly modernized, with tools such as computational fluid dynamics modeling, as well as the addition of low-energy water pumps and, if needed, electric fans. But instead of using fans with the Beehive installation, Ant Studio’s cooling device was placed right in front of the exhaust vents of the diesel generator near where workers at the factory were active. This was able to drop the “scorching” air being expelled from the generator from 122 degrees Fahrenheit to 97 degrees Fahrenheit, while lowering the overall temperature in the area and reportedly consuming 40 percent less energy than other cooling systems, not to mention using no refrigerants. The cooling system consists of arrays of open terracotta cylindrical cones (designed in such a way to maximize surface area and fired at “mid-level” temperatures to maintain the clay’s ability to absorb moisture from the air) over which water is poured. The water, which adheres to the clay, naturally lowers in temperature due to evaporative cooling, which in turn cools the air passing through the tubes. The water can be recycled throughout the system, requiring only infrequent topping off, and biofilms of microalgae that grow on the clay surfaces can actually aid in air purification, according to the firm. Further, as explained in an informational video from the firm, “all materials are recyclable, reusable, or biodegradable.” While the Beehive at Dika Electronics took on a particular nature-inspired form, the system can be designed in all manner of shapes and sizes, and is inherently modular, making fabrication and assembling on-site simple. The overall hope with the project is to devise a system that is functional and visually appealing at the same time.” Ant Studio views the cooling systems as a work of sculpture as much as a functional tool. The terracotta cooling systems also could have broader social impact. Besides being a cheap, energy-efficient way to cool factories and public spaces, the craft required to manufacture the tubes creates local employment and skill-building opportunities. It also keeps alive traditional manufacturing techniques that provide a unique, hand-hewn character that industrial cooling systems certainly lack. The clay-based materials also mean a net reduction in embodied energy for these cooling systems. Ant Studio has also proposed a smaller system which they’re calling ETHER, a cooling device for personal use and small spaces that resembles something like a cross between a Dyson fan and an ancient artifact. Ant Studio’s cooling projects were one of the twelve winners of the United Nations’ Asia-Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge and have been nominated for the Clean Energy Challenge from What Design Can Do, a “platform” and series of global conferences on design. Nominated teams are given the “opportunity to improve their project” with the final winners to be announced on March 6.
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Thousands of terra-cotta louvers shade the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre

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Five years ago, Fuzhou hosted an international competition for a new cultural center to affirm the city's as a premier destination along the Strait of Taiwan and the East China Sea. Opened in October 2018. The Strait Culture and Art Centre is a five-pronged complex on the banks of the Minjiang River designed by Helsinki and Shanghai–based PES-Architects. The complex is clad in terra-cotta louvers over a yawning glass curtain wall made of trapezoidal panels. According to the architects, the design of the Strait Culture and Art Centre intends to provoke a dialogue with the residents of Fuzhou and Fujian province as a whole. Every city in China has its own distinctive flower: Shanghai has its magnolia, Guangzhou the Bombax ceiba, and Fuzhou the jasmine white. The five wings of the center, clad in LOPO China and Zhonglei-produced terra-cotta glazed brilliantly white, function as conjoined "petals" of a gargantuan 1.6-million-square-foot flower.
  • Facade Manufacturer LOPO China              China State Construction Company (CSCEC)              Zhonglei              Shanghai Haojing Glass Products Co. 
  • Architects PES-Architects
  • Facade Installer Jiang He Curtain Wall Co. CSCEC
  • Facade Consultants Schmidlin Facade
  • Location Fuzhou, China
  • Date of Completion October 2018
  • System Terra-cotta screen mounted atop diagonal steel tubes with custom-designed clips
  • Products LOPO Terra-cotta plates Zhonglei terra-cotta baguettes            Custom-designed clips by Guangdong Jianlong Hardware Products Co 
The Strait Culture and Art Centre’s facade is composed of roughly 42,250 repetitive terra-cotta baguette louvers, measuring nearly six feet in length and nine inches in depth. The position of the louvers was determined through methodical evaluation by sunlight simulation scripts; solar radiation analysis revealed the optimal vertical spacing between baguettes to be 11 inches with an upward tilt of 45 degrees. The density of the louvers across sections of the curved elevations was determined by interior shading and visibility requirements—sections facing northwest bear significant breaks in the primary skin. To fasten the system of terra-cotta baguettes to the structural steel columns of each wing, PES-Architects collaborated closely with consultant Schmidlin Facade to custom-design clips for the sunscreen. According to project architect Martin Lukasczyk, the greatest difficulty of the clip design “was to develop a system to allow for tolerance in multiple directions, to cope with structural inaccuracies on site, and to ensure an even spacing and continuous pattern of the louvers.” While PES-Architects repeated digital simulations of the design and performance of the building, the scope of the project and the challenges of construction in China related to potentially poor-quality installation due to rapid-paced construction time demanded further testing. Lukasczyk went on to note that "it took several rounds of reviewing 1:1 mock-up models before the final product of the ceramic louvers, and the final detailing" could be accepted by the design team. The end of each baguette is outfitted with an aluminum plate adhered with a neoprene layer and shaped to match its profile. Each clip consists of an aluminum "hand" bolted to the ceramic louvers, and an "arm" tying them back to the secondary structural system of double-curved pipes. Bar the custom-designed clips, a similar fastening system is repeated between the primary and secondary structural systems; rows of arms, which are adjustable to compensate for installation tolerances, protrude from the main steel columns towards the curved pipes. Seeing as the bulk of interior space of the complex is dedicated to performance or entertainment, significant portions of the facade design did not demand the same level of visibility requirements. For these portions, Zhonglei produced approximately 2.5-feet-by-1.5-feet terra-cotta panels with the same brilliant glazing as the louvers. Following the lens-shaped contours of the buildings, growing gaps naturally occurred between terra-cotta panels moving towards the structures' apex. To remedy this issue, PES-Architects placed flexible aluminum profiles along the borders of the terra-cotta tiles that thicken to address the growing width of gaps.
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Facades+ Seattle will trace the rise of Pacific Northwest design

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Over the last three decades, Seattle has experienced explosive population and economic growth, that has fundamentally reshaped the city’s architectural makeup as well as its AEC community’s relationship to national and international trends. On December 7, Facades+ Seattle will bring together local practitioners in an in-depth conversation around recent projects and innovative facade materials and design. Consider architecture and design practice Olson Kundig. Founded in 1966, the firm has established an international reputation for blending high-performance enclosure systems with the craftsmanship of local artists and artisans. Principal Blair Payson will serve as co-chair for the conference, with other principals of the practice moderating the three panels.
  • Co-Chair Blair Payson, Principal Olson Kundig
  • Firms Olson Kundig Gensler Katerra PAE Front Inc. Werner Sobek Thornton Tomasetti Eckersley O'Callaghan
  • Panels Integrated Envelopes: New Project Delivery Workflows Envelope Performance: Current Trends in Codes, Energy and Comfort Envelope Design: Innovations in Facade Materials and Design
  • Location Seattle
  • Date December 7, 2018
One such project is the recently completed Kirkland Museum in Denver, which features an array of glazed terracotta baguettes produced by NBK Terracotta arranged in a unique alternating pattern, and amber-colored glass inserts produced by small-scale manufacturer John Lewis Glass Studio based out of Oakland, California. The firm collaborated with local sculptor Bob Vangold to embed a sculptural form within the facade. To achieve this effect, the sculpture is anchored along the horizontal roof edge with a series of base plates. On a larger scale, the Olson Kundig-led renovation of Seattle’s Space Needle recently wrapped up after 11 months of sky-high construction. The project entailed the removal of decades of haphazardly designed additions in favor of an open-air viewing area. Working with facade consultants Front Inc., the design team converted floors within the top of the Space Needle to transparent glass panels providing revolving views on the city below, and wrapped the observation deck with 11-by-7-foot, 2.5-inch-thick glass panels produced by Thiele Glas and installed by a team of robots designed by Breedt Production. Just south of Seattle’s Space Needle, the trio of Amazon Spheres consists of approximately 2,500 glass panels suspended over a complex steel truss system. Collaborating with NBBJ Architects, Front Inc. led exhaustive case studies, with the help of custom-built software tools, to develop a glass tiling scheme matching visibility requirements for occupants and light exposure for the greenhouse within. Following the creation of multiple digital models, Front Inc. led the fabrication of full-scale mockups of the design to test the computer-generated models. Representatives of these two firms, as well as Gensler, Katerra, Werner Sobek, Thornton Tomasetti, and Eckersley O'Callaghan, will be on hand to dive deeper into the architectural resources and trends present in both Seattle and the rest of the country. Further information regarding Facades+AM Seattle may be found here.
 
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Morris Adjmi gives classic New York terra-cotta cladding a modern twist

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Morris Adjmi Architects has just completed its wedge-shaped 363 Lafayette mixed-use development in New York City. The project is located in the heart of the NoHo Historic District, a context known for its mid-rise store-and-loft buildings clad in detailed cast iron and stone.
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terracotta, Belden/Tristate Brick, Vitro Glass, Tristar Glass
  • Architects              Morris Adjmi Architects
  • Facade Installer PG New York (terra-cotta), IHR1 (brick), TriStar Glass
  • Facade Consultants Frank Seta & Associates
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion Fall 2018
  • System Terracotta rainscreen on a frame wall system flanked by brick piers
  • Products Win-vent series 850 frames, Solarban z60 glass, custom-made rainscreen produced by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, and installed with TerraClad clip system
363 Lafayette’s site is prominent, with three visible elevations to the north, south, and west. The ground floor of the building is dedicated to commercial space and extends from Great Jones to Bond Street. Due to zoning and site constraints, the massing of the west facade is set back, with eight floors of office space rising midway through the elevation. The development’s facade is defined by horizontal and vertical bands of white brick, produced by Belden/Tristate Brick, which frame a charcoal-colored terra-cotta curtain wall. For the color scheme and materiality of 363 Lafayette, Morris Adjmi reinterpreted the area’s historically narrow terracotta mullions, window surrounds, and brick piers, into a much wider layout. Designed by the firm and crafted by Buffalo’s Boston Valley Terra Cotta (BVTC), the geometric pattern of the terra-cotta reliefs was conceived by the design team as an abstraction of neighboring Classical and Richardsonian Romanesque detailing. The custom-made terra-cotta rainscreen was installed on BVTC’s TerraClad clip system that attaches to a perimeter concrete beam and a medium-gauge framing wall. A series of gaskets and isolators allow the system to adjust to thermal expansion while reducing wind-induced vibration. Elongated rectangular windows, fabricated by TriStar with Win-Vent frames and Vitro Glass, are placed between chamfered terra-cotta mullions. Why does the building twist? Lafayette Street used to proceed north from Great Jones Street until the end of the 19th century when the street was excavated from the IRT subway. The excavation of the street led to the creation of odd-shaped sites, such as 363 Lafayette. According to the design team, “the building’s twist serves to reflect the cut of the street and to architecturally engage the setback with the lower portion of the building.”