Posts tagged with "Terra-Cotta":

Placeholder Alt Text

SHoP's Midtown supertall brings terra-cotta and bronze to new heights

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
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.
Placeholder Alt Text

University of Oregon's Tykeson Hall announces a campus presence with a terra-cotta and brick facade

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
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.
Placeholder Alt Text

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

Thousands of terra-cotta louvers shade the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
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.
Placeholder Alt Text

Facades+ Seattle will trace the rise of Pacific Northwest design

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
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.
 
Placeholder Alt Text

Morris Adjmi gives classic New York terra-cotta cladding a modern twist

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
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.”
Placeholder Alt Text

In Buffalo, fired-clay terra-cotta facade systems take a leap forward

For the third year in a row, manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta (BVTC) and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning (UB/a+p) in upstate New York hosted the Architectural Ceramics Assemblies Workshop (ACAW). The weeklong event is a gathering of architects, engineers, and artists and offers a fast-paced opportunity for attendees to get their hands dirty physically testing the capabilities of terra-cotta design. Other sponsors of the gathering include Western New York’s Alfred University, an institution with expertise in glass and ceramics, and Rigidized Metals Corporation, a producer of deep-textured metal for exterior and interior cladding, among other products. “Architects designing with industrially produced ceramic components may have little material understanding of clay for large-scale production, while most artists trained in ceramics may have few opportunities to explore the medium at a scale beyond the individual object,” said Bill Pottle, BVTC’s Director of Business Development and organizer of the gathering. “At ACAW, architects, engineers, and educators collaborate with designers and manufacturers in order to deepen their understanding of designing with architectural terra-cotta.” BVTC was founded in 1889 as Boston Valley Pottery, a brick and clay pot manufacturing facility located on the outskirts of Buffalo, New York. The Krouse family purchased the facility in 1981 and transformed it into a cutting-edge architectural terra-cotta factory with a global footprint. Currently, projects range from the restoration of New York’s Woolworth Building to the cladding of Morris Adjmi Architect’s 363 Broadway and Kohn Peterson Fox’s One Vanderbilt. Keynote speakers, many of them workshop attendees, included Anne Currier, a clay sculptor and professor; Dr. William M. Carty, a ceramics professor at Alfred University; Christine Jetten, a ceramics and glazing consultant; Gerd Hoenicke, Director of Pre-Construction Services at Schüco; Matthew Krissel, partner at KieranTimberlake; Craig Copeland, associate partner at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; and Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP Architects. This year, over 60 attendees participated in the workshop, which emphasized the role of pre-design and research at the early stages of a design project. Both the number of attendees and the overarching objectives of the workshop have evolved since its 2016 inauguration. The first event was largely a sandbox tutorial, featuring 20 attendees learning the basics of terra-cotta production. In its second year, ACAW and its 40 attendees focused on the bioclimatic function of terra-cotta in contemporary design and the retrofitting of structures. This year, building upon their experience at previous workshops, the attendees, divided into six teams, began researching and developing their prototypes in March. Designs were submitted to BVTC prior to the conference for prefabrication. Throughout the week, the teams received technical support from both BVTC and UB/a+p.
Placeholder Alt Text

New naturally-ventilated Louis Armstrong Stadium debuts at US Open

Today tennis takes over the world’s stage with the start of the 2018 US Open. Now in its 50th year, the tournament will play out within the newly renovated USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. The five-year, $600-million project is now finished with the opening of the site’s final project: the Louis Armstrong Stadium, the world's first naturally ventilated tennis arena with a retractable roof. Over the next two weeks, hundreds of thousands of fans will descend upon the city to watch the final Grand Slam of the year, and while the tennis champions themselves are the real stars of the show, the stadium architecture will be prominently on display. The highly-anticipated renovation marks the end of the site’s fraught history with deteriorating courts and rain delays messing up major events.     Designed by Detroit-based firm Rossetti, the new 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium evokes the feel of the old arena, which the USTA opened in 1978, but includes modern feats of engineering and sustainable design additions that bring it into the 21st century of sports architecture. The stadium boasts 40 percent more seating than its predecessor in two levels of precast concrete bowls and an advanced shading system that’s anchored by a fixed, cantilevered roof deck. Matches can proceed rain or shine thanks to the masterfully-engineered two-piece, moving roof that covers the court. Called a “complex, stackable sun room” by the architects, the retractable roof features 284,000-pound PTFE fabric panels that create a 38,160-square-foot opening after traveling 25 feet per minute in under seven minutes from the stadium’s edge. The transparent, lightweight fabric diffuses a soft light into the arena when closed, transferring 73 percent of the sun’s energy. The sides of the stadium additionally allow breezes to flow through the facility. Rossetti placed 14,250 overlapping terracotta louvers on the north and south sides of the structure that act as horizontal window blinds. The siding material is a nod to the traditional brick buildings found throughout the tennis grounds. Construction began on the new stadium two years ago when the 52-year-old Armstrong arena was demolished after the 2016 championship. Originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair, the structure was much-loved because it gave fans an intimate experience and unbeatable views with sky-high, stacked seating. Louis Armstrong Stadium 2.0, as many are nicknaming it, does the same but with a more porous, contemporary design. Plus, it has a built-in umbrella that ensures consistency of play no matter the weather. To celebrate its opening, Armstrong will hold more matches during the 2018 US Open than its neighboring Arthur Ashe Stadium, an 18,000-seat arena that also received a flexible roofing system during the renovation. Both stadiums will hold two matches at night, but Armstrong will see three during the day while Ashe will host two.
Placeholder Alt Text

Olson Kundig creates dynamic terracotta pattern at Kirkland Museum in Denver

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from >->
"How does a little building for decorative arts hold its own next to big icons?" asked Jim Olson, Partner at Olson Kundig. This was the challenge that the Seattle-based architects were tasked with when they took on a project to design a new space for Denver's Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art. The project site sits in the shadows of two major civic projects from Daniel Libeskind and Michael Graves: the Denver Art Museum, and Denver Central Library respectively.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer NBK USA Architectural Terracotta; John Lewis Glass; Swisspearl
  • Architects Olson Kundig
  • Facade Installer Shaw Construction
  • Facade Consultants KL&A Structural Engineers and Builders (structural engineer)
  • Location Denver, CO
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Terracotta rainscreen
  • Products TERRART® baguettes and rainscreen system by NBK USA Architectural Terracotta; Swisspearl “Carat HR Topaz 7070” large size panels
Olson said that when starting the project, he had been experimenting with wood detailing in his personal cabin and looking at various combinations of glossy and matte finishes. This spirit of experimentation rubbed off on the Kirkland Museum, which brings together a variety of glazed terracotta baguettes and decorative glass backed with gold leaf. "While the layout and elevations of the building are calm and simple, the materials cladding the exterior are full of energy," wrote Olson in a letter to the museum explaining the vision. "At the entry, hand-crafted amber glass fins will further enliven the facade. My hope is that the building itself will be considered a ‘piece’ in the collection." The project started with a desire to create a controlled gallery-style lighting environment and a protective space for the art objects housed within the museum, with the building envelope assuming an opaque character. The architects pulled from a range of yellow and gold hues inspired by the environmental conditions of Denver, which receives three hundred days of sunshine per year, and "energizing" color palettes pulled from Vance Kirkland paintings. The facade is a relatively conventional rainscreen system composed of wall connections, girts, and clips from NBK Terracotta. The system was customized by the architects and collaborator John Lewis Glass, who developed custom decorative glass inserts. Introducing custom material into NBK's rainscreen assembly was a collaborative process, requiring coordination between suppliers, manufacturers, installers, and contractors. The facade's composition achieves a randomized effect through the deft manipulation of patterns. Two approximately four-foot-wide modules were first developed to achieve a seemingly random order. These units were distributed across the facade and overlaid with two additional patterning effects that were applied in a mirrored fashion. Ultimately this produced a variable arrangement across baguette widths, depths, heights, and colors to produce a dynamic texture. Bryan Berkas, an architect at Olson Kundig, said the compositional system provided a useful way to document and communicate the facade components for the shop drawing process, and for overall quality control. "We could look at the four foot, nine inch module closely to make sure we were getting an even distribution of color, [and] a range of joint lines to ensure there wasn't too much alignment." The facade is capped by large roof overhangs, producing deep soffits. The soffits, almost always in shadow, are clad in deep bronze anodized metal panels that allow the roof to visually recede from the vibrant facade. The cladding is arranged in a unique herringbone pattern at the corners, developed by the metal panel manufacturer and installer through a series of mockups. A key feature in the project is a sculpture by artist Bob Vangold acquired by the museum during construction. The architects scanned the artwork and positioned the object onto the facade, bridging a continuous horizontal roof edge. The piece is anchored to the facade with base plates. Water collection and durability were carefully evaluated by the owner, structural engineer, and architect. "Terracotta hasn't necessarily been on the radar in our office, so learning about new facade materials has been a great outcome of this project. It's a very intriguing material," said Crystal Coleman, Associate at Olson Kundig. "For us, it's a very vibrant and durable material."
Placeholder Alt Text

Terra-cotta sun shading offers transparency and dynamism for Australian business school

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from ->
Nestled into a small inner-city suburb of Sydney sits a new business school facility for the University of Sydney. The building, designed by Woods Bagot across three of their fifteen global offices, consolidates facilities that were once scattered across nine buildings on campus while supporting a student body of over 6,000 students. The massing of the building weaves into the context of the neighborhood, unified by a terra-cotta cladding system with carefully selected coloration that help to blend in with surrounding Victorian-era worker’s terraces.
  • Facade Manufacturer Gosford Quarries; Stane Industries
  • Architects Woods Bagot; Kannfinch; Carr Design Group (interiors) 
  • Facade Installer Stane Industries
  • Facade Consultants Taylor Thomson Whitting (structural engineering)
  • Location Sydney, Australia
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System terra-cotta screen over IMP/window wall assembly
  • Products GALVABOND® steel supplied by BlueScope Sheet Metal Supplies
The building envelope of the University of Sydney's Abercrombie Business School is composed of three components: an all-glass undulating base level, a window wall enclosing classrooms and offices, and an exterior screen assembly composed of terra-cotta baguettes. Matt Stephenson, senior associate at Woods Bagot, said a primary focus of the design team was developing a project that was contextually sensitive. “With the enclosure, the challenge was to maintain a singular identity and dynamic expression for the overall academic building.” The team conducted color theory research, arriving at a scheme that balances “background” coloration of insulated metal panels on the building envelope with “foreground” terra cotta screen colors. A color palette of unglazed and white glazed terra cotta was selected which allows the two facade layers to visually merge, creating a texture inspired by sandstone local to the area. The terra-cotta screen is composed of repetitive baguettes, dynamically arranged in response to program and solar orientation. The architects “unfolded” each elevation, designing orthogonally by setting up a series of operations that began with a uniform screen density. They overlaid a solar analysis and a programmatic analysis of the base building skin that differentiated between room type and activity level. This zoning of the elevation helped inform where baguettes could be eliminated within each facade.  In active zones, the architects deleted over 35 percent of the baguettes to allow light and air into the active program spaces. Additional baguettes were culled in response to eye-height views, localized areas of seating, and areas of the facade that were obstructed by adjacent buildings. The last step was to rotate the baguettes on elevations that received the most severe sunlight in order to increase their ability to act as a sunshade while maintaining visual porosity. The result was a dynamic system assembled from standard componentry.
The project evolved between Woods Bagot’s Sydney office, located 30 minutes from the site, and their New York and San Francisco offices. The project teams would share design models on a daily basis, which, thanks to time zone differences, allowed for nearly continuous project development. Stephenson said firm benefits from expertise in multiple offices around the world, and that in the years since the early design phases of USBS, cloud-based model sharing has significantly improved, enabling for more streamlined workflows.
Placeholder Alt Text

Shingled glass and twisting terra cotta accentuate new music building in Iowa City

  facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Open last year in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building is a six-story, 184,000-square-feet academic building containing performance spaces, a music library, practice rooms, classrooms, and faculty studios and offices. It establishes a connection between the community and the school though specific massing articulation and building envelope detailing. LMN Architects credited their collaboration with W.J. Higgins (envelope), Weidt Group (energy consultant), Jaffe Holden (acoustics), and Design Engineers (MEP) with ultimately delivering a high-performance acoustic and energy-saving building envelope design. Among other awards, the building recently received the 2017 Excellence in Energy Efficient Design Award at at the 2017 AIA Iowa Convention in Des Moines.
  • Facade Manufacturer Wausau Windows (glazing); Foshan X+Y (terracotta)
  • Architects LMN Architects; Neumann Monson Architects (Associate Architect)
  • Facade Installer AWS (envelope contractor/installer)
  • Facade Consultants W.J. Higgins & Associates, Inc. (envelope consultant); Overgaard (envelope consultant to contractor); Magnusson Klemencic Associates (Structural); Design Engineers (MEP); Jaffe Holden (Acoustics & A/V); The Weidt Group (energy analysis)
  • Location Iowa City, IA
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System unitized terracotta rainscreen; glass curtain wall
  • Products large format low iron glass from Wasau; custom terracotta from Foshan X+Y
Throughout the Voxman Music Building, the project team created an array of bespoke systems that responded to unique challenges presented by the complexity of the building type and programming. From facade components to acoustic systems, LMN worked to optimize the often conflicting needs of acoustic performance, aesthetic quality, and constructability. One of the most recognizable elements of the building design is a cantilevered “shingled” glass wall, containing a recital hall for students. Exposing this space, and expressing its function to the surrounding area, was central to the connective ideology of the project. It is here that students, in the words of LMN partner Stephen Van Dyck, learn about the art of performance. Prototyping scale models developed by the architectural team helped establish constructability goals and manage contractor bidding on the job. “We found that if we could build the design through models, it became much easier to have a discussion with contractors about our intent.” The unique facade was constructed as a series of rectangular units that produced a gridded, cantilevered steel frame for individual glass units to sit within. Aside from the shingled glass recital space, all other performance spaces were clad with a unitized terracotta system. The baguettes were composed of variable combinations of textures (smooth and grooved) and glaze finishes (matte and glossy). The resulting effect was a dynamic surface quality capitalizing on variable daylight conditions, including what the architects noted as exceptional sunrises and sunsets. Van Dyck said this idea of variable form and finish options within a base cladding material was one of the successes of the project and ended up guiding future facade designs, one of which is currently under construction. At key moments, terracotta cladding tiles formally twist into vertical fins. These moments accentuate a break between major program elements within the building. To ensure the accuracy of the complex form, the architects worked with the terra cotta manufacturer to develop a jig in which the extruded clay would be slumped, dried and later fired. “Buildings need to read at a variety of scales,” said Van Dyck. At a distance, the facade of Voxman reads at a solid/void compositional level. The medium scale allows for a reading of how program in the building is dispersed, through the cladding and aperture distribution. At a detail scale, the shimmering quality of varied terracotta tiles becomes legible. LMN’s Tech Studio, a small team within the firm, was integrated with the project team from the beginning of the design, playing a central role in the rationalization of surface geometry and interior acoustical surface detailing. Combining research in acoustic properties, material science and manufacturing processes, Van Dyck said the team approached each opportunity with a similar toolkit. Parametric modeling was central to the pursuit, enabling rapid ideation and precise geometric control despite vast complexity. In-house prototyping capabilities augmented the team’s abilities to test ideas well before finalizing documentation and procurement. Van Dyck said project opportunities often spawn unanticipated research problems that can be packaged to solve future design problems, and that the work from Voxman, which was completed last year, served as a basis for current and future projects. Further details can be found on LMN’s website documenting their acoustic related form-finding research and “Theatroacoustic System.” Van Dyck is co-chairing the upcoming Facades+ conference in Seattle, on Decemeber 8, 2017. More information about this conference and its participants, including registration details, can be found here.
Placeholder Alt Text

A new building for the nation's oldest conservatory of music

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
This week, the first building added in 60 years to New England Conservatory’s (NEC) historic Boston campus will open.  The new Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC) is a ten-story mixed-use structure offering over 250 residential units, along with space for dining and music-related preparatory work with a focus on collaborative research and experimentation. Ann Beha Architects (ABA) and Gensler designed and realized the building as a collaborative and integrated team—the two firms’ fourth collaboration.
  • Facade Manufacturer Centria (metal panels); Terreal North America (terra cotta)
  • Architects Ann Beha Architects (Design Architect); Gensler (Associate Architect and Architect of Record)
  • Facade Installer Tishman Construction Company/AECOM (construction manager)
  • Facade Consultants Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (envelope); LeMessurier Consultants (structural engineer)
  • Location Boston, MA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System terra cotta tiles installed in a rainscreen assembly
  • Products NeXclad Classic 16” tile by Terreal North America, with Impressionist Series glazing from Ludowici
Both the design team and the Conservatory wanted the project to have a unique identity and distinctive expression. Sited in a historic context, the design team sought a traditional cladding material that expressed craft, sustainability, and durability. They prioritized a “handmade” aesthetic, ruling out the machine-like qualities of colored concrete panels, composite materials, and costly glass curtain wall systems. The exterior envelope ultimately featured a refined composition of variegated terra-cotta tiles, applied in mixed patterns, with broad glass expanses at street levels, and stainless steel screen cladding. Offset operable windows animate the upper floors, and north-facing open lounges offer expansive views of Boston. ABA turned to Ludowici, a terra-cotta manufacturer known for 19th century historic tile roof renovations. Its subsidiary, Terreal North America, engaged with the architecture team during the design process and produced samples for full-scale on-site studio mock-ups. The mock-ups became an integral part of the design process due to the custom nature of the tiles, their assembly system, and finish options, and helped to facilitate collaboration between the design team, client, and city oversight groups. “The idea of implementing this innovative facade was exciting for the Conservancy,” said Ann Beha, owner of ABA. “The fact that you couldn’t just go see something like this elsewhere meant that mockups were an essential part of the process.” The architecture team worked closely with Terreal North America to develop a gradient range of tiles that animate and anchor the building. Deep tones located at the base of the tower give way to lighter hues as the height increases. The challenge became how to achieve this effect within technical and budgetary constraints. The team worked with three glazes, each with a wide variety of coloration. Percentages of these mixes were then varied. The architects developed a “paint by number” style document to specify the final distribution across the facade, which the installer referenced on site. The unique color blends were created by a proprietary glazing process designed by Ludowici, referred to as their “Impressionist Series.” The process features a random multi-spray matte glaze application that creates a unique finish patterning on every tile. The colors chosen included Terra Cotta, Dark Terra Cotta, and a custom color. Distinguished from and responding to the terra-cotta tile, the facade of the performance center is marked by a 40-foot-tall metal screen mounted in front of the orchestra rehearsal room’s double-height facade. The installed Centria metal panels have a ridged profile that improves their structural capacity, and vertical shadow lines. The material clads a radiused steel frame, reading as a vertical curtain that peels away from the building envelope to reveal the school's performance spaces.
AN spoke to ABA about the composition and detailing of the facade, which is organized around variable window spacing that relates to the width of student dormitories. “We liked the idea of an inscribed horizontal line that acts visually as a datum that all of these shifting panels could relate to,” said Steve Gerrard, principal at ABA. “It becomes especially important where the windows increase in their frequency. The line is an important compositional tool to relate to each of the floors.” Beyond compositional refinement, the envelope's energy performance allowed for a reduction in HVAC system sizing. Beha said the durability and aesthetic quality of the tile rainscreen cladding was particularly successful. “We see concrete panel structures built all over Boston, and they seem to lose their color, and their quality, so fast. This will not.” Beha concluded, “For me, the painterly aspects of the result are consistent with the issue of urban identity and urban contribution. We wanted a facade worth looking at and considering, and one that brought NEC distinction, dissimilar from others, and enduring, simple, distinguished, in its own way.” ABA said the facade composition reflects the New England Conservatory’s own ambitions: creative, contemporary exploration that combines tradition and innovation. The project was dedicated in a ceremony on September 14th, 2017, and will open to the public the following week with a full day of programming involving performances and talks.