Posts tagged with "Terra-Cotta":

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SHoP Architects unveils new terra cotta installation for Milan Design Week

Yesterday, New York–based SHoP Architects unveiled a “sculptural terra cotta enclosure” designed for Interni Magazine’s Material Immaterial exhibition which will be on display during FuoriSalone 2017, in Milan. Called WAVE/CAVE, the structure was commissioned by Interni as a partnership among SHoP, ceramics manufacturer NBK Keramik, and aluminum products fabricator Metalsigma Tunesi to “explore the dual spirit of design.” Erected in the main courtyard of the Ca' Granda at the Università degli Studi di Milano, the enclosure is formed in three strata of aggregated terra cotta modules, each uniquely carved to create the undulating contours of the interior space. The 1,670 units were manufactured by the Germany-based NBK Keramik, which was able to produce 797 distinct profiles while using only one extrusion mold. Fluted on the outside and laced together on the interior with an ornamental web-like pattern, each block was left unglazed and when stacked they stand over seven meters tall. The enclosure functions more like a sculpture than an occupiable space, as one’s experience of the interior is largely viewed from the periphery or the second floor of the adjacent cloister. This was essential to the design concept that SHoP imagined for the assemblage; the firm stated that it is “open to the action of life around it but accessible only to the imagination and the gaze.” This is strategy is a reaction to the speed at which contemporary life is lived—a “deliberate counterpoint to the internal agitation and disrupted attention spans encouraged by contemporary media and technology.” Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP, said:
We've always been interested in working with traditional materials.... Today's technologies allow us to draw out their material authenticity in new ways. The collaboration between SHoP, NBK Keramik, and Metalsigma Tunesi on WAVE/CAVE was an effort to demonstrate the poetic possibilities of terra cotta while suggesting new directions for its use in contemporary construction.
Lighting was designed by PHT Lighting Design Inc. and engineering by Arup. This project will be on display until April 15.
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Terra-cotta in context: a contextual bridge between past and present

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After nearly ten years, Downtown Brooklyn's City Point—a three-phase, 1.8 million-square-foot mixed-use development—was recently completed. It features a unique assemblage of housing towers—one dedicated to market-rate housing, with another predominantly containing affordable housing—atop a shared retail podium. Designed by New York–based architecture firm COOKFOX, the development is directly adjacent to the planned Willoughby Square Park, Albee Square, and the historic 1908 Dime Savings Bank. The architects said the project is about “tying together Downtown Brooklyn’s grand past with its thriving future.” This is represented through a dynamic faceted massing strategy that responds to a triangular corner lot on Fulton Street, and a white and pale gray terra-cotta rainscreen that subtly reflects the marbled exterior of the century-old bank next door. COOKFOX spokesman Jared Gilbert said when the project began in 2007 only 200 units of housing existed in the neighborhood, which now boasts tens of thousands of units. "We needed to design something that met this new reality of Downtown Brookyln, which is that it is a full-service 24-hour neighborhood."
  • Facade Manufacturer Shildan (Phase 1); Island International Exterior Fabricators (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Architects COOKFOX Architects with Greenberg Farrow Architects (Phase 1); COOKFOX Architects with SLCE Architects (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Facade Installer Acadia Realty Trust, Crowne Architectural (Phase 1); International Exterior Fabricators, Empire Glass, Elite Glass (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Facade Consultants Frank Seta & Associates (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Location Brooklyn, NY
  • Date of Completion 2012 (Phase 1); 2016 (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • System steel frame with terra-cotta rainscreen (Phase 1); Prefabricated mega-wall panels with standing seam zinc cladding and Skyline aluminum windows (Phase 2 Tower 1)
  • Products ALPHATON® Terra-cotta Rainscreen and BAGUETTE® Sunscreen by Shildan, VM Zinc (Phase 1); Rheinzink in “Blue Gray," Rheinzink in “Graphite Gray," Invarimatte Stainless Steel, Skyline Windows (Phase 2 Tower 1)
As architects increasingly confront the issue of contextualism of our cities, terracotta rainscreen manufacturer Shildan is seeing an enormous increase in demand. "We see many more terra-cotta projects each year, with projects getting larger and more complicated. Designers are pushing the envelope to create more complicated shapes, details, and custom finishes, and it’s not just the architects and owners [who] need to be satisfied. We work closely with various kinds of administrators, historic commissions, city planners, government boards and committees, etc—those with a vested interest in seeing the entire context unfold cohesively.” City Point's Phase One retail base is composed of a typical stick built facade with layers of waterproofing and insulation over stick built metal stud construction. An applied rainscreen system by Shildan is installed by first mounting a framework of sub-girts with integral clips to the facade. The open joint terra-cotta panels are then hung off this system. Moshe Steinmetz, president of Shildan, said City Point was a milestone terra-cotta project in the US for its incorporation of custom blends of glazes and profiles. "There has been more and more demand for unique glazing. We are now seeing unique glazing on the terra-cotta on about 50% of our jobs." Steinmetz says terra-cotta has a particular "wow factor" that provides an owner an exterior facade system that has energy savings, incorporates healthy wall construction (open joint rainscreen systems minimize mold and mildew growth), low maintenance, and high durability. He says 30- and 40-year-old terra-cotta systems are clearly outperforming other building components: "You don't see the age of the building on the terra-cotta material - you see it elsewhere in the the windows and other finishes." The architects incorporated two terra-cotta extrusions into the design that are finished in a series of glazes and colors that helps to randomize the facade. The resulting variation promotes what their office calls an interest in the concept of biophilia—people’s natural affiliation to the complexity of natural patterns in the world. This subtle variation in the glaze and the variation in profiles and the way they are randomly deployed is to create a somewhat more natural pattern and rhythm,” said Susie Teal, senior associate at COOKFOX. This interest in patterning can also be seen in Phase Two, which was recently completed. At over 1 million square feet, this phase includes a retail podium and two residential towers that involve separate developers with separate programs. Teal said Tower One includes 80% affordable housing and features a “low-budget facade system” composed of prefabricated “megapanels,” unitized 10-by-40-foot panels, by Island International Exterior Fabricators in a defunct Long Island-based airplane hanger. The panels were craned off a truck, set onto the facade, and gasketed together for rapid assembly. The wall panels are finished in a standing seam zinc with staggered spacing varying from 5-inches, 10-inches, and 20-inches. Randomly locating the zinc standing seams helped the architects visually conceal large 1-inch joints while mimicking a more varied natural pattern. "This helps to blend in a construction system so you don't see a lot of seams," said Teal. “Also, zinc is a natural material—most famously used in Parisian roofs. It lasts a long time and patinas dependent on the local atmospheric conditions. The north side might end up weathering different than the south side. This was all intentional. In order to watch this material change, we have randomly distributed stainless steel panels that will stay bright and shiny.”
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Terra-cotta facade bridges its historic surroundings and modern technology

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A new 34,000-square-foot residential building in New York's Noho neighborhood resonates with a landmarked district of highly crafted facades by echoing their predominantly low-rise scales, regular structural bay rhythms, and large windows. The 11-unit building is located on Bond Street—a two-block street that has become notable for its wave of contemporary architecture (Herzog & de Meuron's first residential project in the United States, as well as buildings by Deborah Berke Partners, and BKSK Architects, among others). Among these recent projects, 10 Bond Street, designed by New York-based Selldorf Architects, further adds to a context where historic and contemporary architecture coexist in complementary fashion. Sara Lopergolo, partner at Selldorf Architects, said that the project team was inspired by the deep russet colored brick of existing buildings adjacent to the project site on Lafayette Street. "Working on the proportions and the scale of the building was important to us. We wanted to find something very grounded in the neighborhood, but also present a contemporary face for this new building.” Selldorf Architects worked with Boston Valley Terra Cotta to design a rainscreen cladding of profiled panels in a custom glaze. The panels are trimmed with weathered steel, which rises beyond the facade to frame a rooftop terrace. On grade, the entry is marked with a mahogany ship-lapped siding.
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta
  • Architects Selldorf Architects
  • Facade Installer Crowne Architectural Systems
  • Facade Consultants Frank Seta & Associates, LLC
  • Location New York City, NY
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System reinforced concrete with terra cotta rainscreen
  • Products Weathered steel from FacadeTek; Custom glazed terra cotta and standard Terraclad panels from Boston Valley; Exterior shades: Nysan-Hunter Douglas Windows: Peerless Storefront windows and corner windows: YKK; Masionette exterior and garage door: Mahogany ship-lapped siding with marine grade clear finish; Penthouse Trellis: Weathered steel structure with mahogany louvers
According to Lopergolo, the terra-cotta manufacturing process is akin to an “advanced Play-Doh machine,” allowing the production of highly specific custom shapes and colors. “We've been working with terra-cotta for a very long time and like to think of this as our material even though others are using it. What is so lovely about it is that its color is customizable, and that you can shape it anyway you like. The glaze creates a certain depth and character that you can't get out of other materials. The way the light catches it is very nice.” Bill Pottle, Boston Valley's international sales manager, said that the two companies have collaborated on a handful of projects. “Around 2000, the first terra-cotta rainscreen job came to the United States. Since then, the material has become very popular—it has grown from something rarely used by architects to a material that has made it into an everyday palette. 10 Bond Street is part of a second wave of terra-cotta jobs we are seeing that incorporate larger, more three-dimensional shaped pieces, not just flat rainscreen panels.” In the case of 10 Bond, the panels were manufactured around 36-inches long and weighed in at around 150 pounds each. The larger, more complex panels require more thought be put into the detailing of attachment clips. According to Boston Valley, often this results in modification of standard clip details, or in some cases the development of a one-off custom attachment detail. According to Pottle, most terra-cotta panels have a shrinkage rate of around seven percent, which is accommodated by digital software when producing dye geometry. "We use the same clay body mixtures and the same formulas so we can determine the shrinkage rate well before production." To help manage shrinkage throughout the process, the panels are constructed with a hollow core that incorporates webs to support a scalloped profile. The backs of the panels are flat to allow for the pieces to lay on a flat surface throughout the curing and glazing process. Full-size mock-ups allowed the architects to confirm a specific coloration and helped the project team to finalize custom attachment clip detailing. Lopergolo said one of the challenges with the weight of the panels was ensuring open joints between panels were dimensionally uniform. Pottle said the mock-up process is also an essential opportunity for the manufacturer to confirm quality control. Mock-ups allowed Boston Valley to see how the custom dyes were performing and helped ensure the extrusion process ran properly prior to the upcoming production phase. They will examine the extrusion process for quality control and confirm the rate of shrinkage of the pieces is accurate. A skewed street grid presented the design team with what Lopergolo called a "fun and challenging" floor plan layout exercise. A living room location at the southwest corner receives a wrap around corner window unit, and benefits from an automated exterior shading system, which is integrated into the buildings two primary facades—a southeastern and southwestern exposure. Occupants can override sensors that drive exterior shade motors. Selldorf Architects, who work on a range of project types—galleries, museums, housing—said its work with New York Landmarks Preservation Commission is especially significant. "We enjoy working with Landmarks—what they contribute is important for the city. With these condominium buildings, of course, the goal is to make nice apartments for our clients, but we also see this as an opportunity to give back to the city. We're very proud of this project—we'll still receive random emails from strangers saying they passed by the building and loved it—it is very sweet that people take the time to do that."
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Black glazed tile clads a curved “mega-bay” in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley

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A new market-rate micro-housing project in San Francisco's Hayes Valley—developed in tandem with a new clubhouse for the Boys and Girls Club—features 70 studio and two-bedroom apartments clustered around a courtyard with ample, secure bicycle parking. The wood-framed housing structure sits atop a concrete podium housing retail spaces just off the main Hayes Street corridor. The new construction project continues development of vacated land caused by the collapse and removal of the Central Freeway. The project—designed by David Baker Architects, which has designed and built more than 10,000 dwelling units—achieves a density of 240 bedrooms per acre, and consists of 40-percent two-bedroom units located at each corner and facing the courtyard. This is the result of a policy by the city to allow new residential developments to accommodate families. The other apartments are classified as micro-units, ranging from 325 to 400-square-feet. These compact studio apartments embrace an "affordability by design" concept, which, according to David Baker Architects, has “proven popular with younger professionals, as well as seniors.” One of the most contentious issues of the project was a large corner bay clad in a custom glazed tile. The bay's massing spans the entire end of the building, out of scale when compared with a typical vernacular bay, however, the architects say this feature is rooted in careful planning and urbanistic principles. The positive and negative forms of 388 Fulton and the Richardson Apartments across the street—another project by David Baker Architects—make a frame for the City Hall dome two blocks away.
  • Facade Manufacturer Fireclay Tile (glazed thin brick veneer); James Hardie (fiber-cement siding); Golden State Steel (sun shade fabrication); Peerless Architectural Windows and Doors (aluminum windows)
  • Architects David Baker Architects
  • Facade Installer Fisher Development Inc. (General Contractor)
  • Facade Consultants KPFF Consulting Engineers (Structural Engineer)
  • Location San Francisco, CA
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System wood frame over concrete podium
  • Products Glazed Thin Brick in Inkwell and custom colors by Fireclay Tile; ENERGSAVE by Peerless Architectural Windows and Doors (aluminum windows); HardiPanel & HardieTrim (fiber-cement siding)
The black coloration was produced from custom low fire glazed tile sourced from local clay. An artisan tile company glazed the brick with a palette of five subtle variations on a standard “Inkwell” black color. The architects specified a repeating pattern for the colors, which Baker said sometimes gets mistaken for being a uniform color. "The different tile colors added a richness to the composition, which one color would not have provided." The thin tile was set directly onto a mortar bed over a cement plastered wood-framed wall. Expansion joints coordinate with punched window openings for a clean composition. The stacked bond tile also integrates precisely with vents on the facade, which required careful coordination between the contractor and architect. The windows in the curved mega-bay have a custom extra-deep extrusion to accommodate the thickness of the glazed tiles. Computer analysis from programs like Autodesk Ecotect was used to optimize perforated aluminum sunshades on the curved facade and west-facing windows. Design criteria included the relative amount of solar radiation that would hit each window for different times of the day and year, including shade from the building, neighboring buildings, and sunshades. After several iterations, the design resulted in a combination louver-and-fin for windows along the curved bay, and a vertical fin of varying length along the west-facing facade. The shapes of these elements were standardized into three repeatable configurations for fabrication efficiency while minimizing solar radiation during the afternoons in late spring and early fall, particularly into studio units with challenging western exposure. Baker said the project team integrated a lot of fun detailing into the project: “The large curved bay is the signature of the building, and something we put a lot of energy into. We took fairly humble materials, and made them look crisp and sleek." A trademark example of this design approach is the “random batten system,” a phrase coined by the office for an aesthetically driven approach to installation of fiber-cement trim board. Baker called this "ranch house technology." The assembly calls for standard fiber cement board trim to be applied in a randomized pattern, transforming a ubiquitous board and batten system into what Baker said, "Looks like something that you would order from Italy."
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West Coast-East Coast collaboration results in contextual campus addition at UCLA

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  Kevin Daly Architects recently completed an addition to UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music that sets a new framework for the school’s future growth and presents a new face for the music building. The Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center is the second addition to the 1950s structure that was previously augmented in the 1980s. Sited within UCLA’s campus of over 200 buildings, the project was regulated by campus design standards that define a material palette consisting of a “UCLA blend brick,” along with buff stone, terra-cotta, and concrete. According to UCLA’s Physical Design Framework, these are “enduring materials that express a quality of permanence and durability.” The standards reference the first four buildings constructed on campus nearly 100 years ago, in a red brick romanesque revival style. A terra-cotta rainscreen system was ultimately specified for its performative qualities, which helped the building achieve UCLA’s required energy standards – a significant 20% better than state energy codes. Open joints in the finish material promote natural ventilation and solar shading. This assembly provides higher R-values throughout the exterior facade by allowing for a continuous layer of insulation, and helps to eliminate air infiltration. The cladding system also allowed for a relatively standard CMU exterior wall construction. KDA collaborated across the country with East Coast-based terra-cotta manufacturer Shildan to produce the custom facade material. Kevin Daly, founder of KDA, described this design process as a “collaboration to get [a] contemporary material to fit within a historic campus.” Bricks from UCLA’s campus were sent to the Mount Laurel, New Jersey company who color matched them to their standard color palette.
  • Facade Manufacturer Shildan Group (terracotta)
  • Architects Kevin Daly Architects
  • Facade Installer Rainbow Glazing
  • Construction Manager Shildan Group
  • Location Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System Terracotta rainscreen over insulated CMU shell
  • Products Alphaton Terracotta Rainscreen & Baguette Terracotta Sunscreen Systems (Shildan); Aluminum curtainwall system (Arcadia); Steel glazing system at acoustical windows (Arcadia); Ombra Honeycomb insulated glass unit insert (Pulp Studio)
Daly said their desire for this project to produce a more natural effect pushed Shildan to do something slightly different than what they normally do: "In a lot of the industry, the focus is to produce super consistent results, so that by the time you wrap the building with material, the end matches where you began. We wanted to do something different. We wanted to introduce a slight variation that was consistent enough to look like it was all from one palette, but at the same time was not a factory-produced tightly controlled material." In response, Shildan developed a custom fabrication process that produced this variation. Six tile styles were created with various glazing and firing techniques on two standard color finishes. The panels, made from 35% recycled content, were selectively left in the firing process longer than typical, while others were fired under slightly different temperatures, introducing variation to the material qualities of the panels. A number of mockups developed some basic ground rules for the design team based on campus guidelines. KDA worked with available terra-cotta samples to demonstrate their idea before developing the mockups into full-scale test systems. The desire to produce variation in terra-cotta is not unique, but the methods employed at Ostin are notable. At Lawrence Public Library, Gould Evans introduced variation to their facade by designing a combination of grooved and smooth panels, specifically controlling the panel texture. At UCLA, KDA’s facade produced variation through the materials manufacturing process and by a panel rotation, casting shadows over the facade for an additional natural layer of perceived color variation. Focusing on the contextual specificity of their project within the historic campus setting, KDA introduced an additional level of detail to the facade. Grooves etched into the terra-cotta panel register course lines found in standard brick on campus. A louvered screen at Knusten Hall, which faces the music center from across a public plaza, provided the basis for a significant sunshading system marking the west facing main entrance. Fixed in place diamond-shaped terra-cotta baguettes framed off a secondary steel structure spring from an expansive curtainwall. The system is saturated in UCLA’s classic “buff” limestone color. The curtainwall system features what Daly calls a “transparent shading system,” integrating an extruded polycarbonate honeycomb material into the insulated glass layers to provide an extra layer of solar protection. At the corners of the faceted building, a reverse mitered edge trim out of painted aluminum protects the open end of the terra-cotta panels, while “fins” set proud of the undulating facade surface help articulate the texture of the facade by casting shadows registering the varied angles of the panels onto the building. The interior acoustical spaces provide a unique cladding design that was driven by economy and the desire to create a dynamic environment. KDA worked with Newson Brown Acoustics to develop a design that utilizes three repetitively cut douglas fir and spruce shapes. These panels were re-assembled into layers to produce a complex surface patterning which was flexible enough to expand or contract the quantity of exposed absorptive acoustical material.
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Machado Silvetti delivers a glazed ceramic facade for the Ringling Museum of Art

The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, is famed for its ornate Venetian-Gothic Cà d’Zan mansion. Translated, “Cà d’Zan” means “House of John,” referring to John Ringling, who shared the residence with his wife, Mable.

In 1924, construction started on the mansion that was designed by New York architect Dwight James Baum. His design embodied the palazzos that line the Venice canals, emulating the Italian decor that the Ringlings fell in love with on their many trips to the Mediterranean. The building also typified the Roaring Twenties. More than 90 years on, however, the Cà d’Zan remains the showpiece structure on the Ringling Museum site. Boston firm Machado Silvetti used it as a precedent for the building’s recently completed extension of the Asian Art Study Center.

This new project includes the conversion of approximately 18,000 square feet of preexisting gallery space from a temporary exhibition area to permanent galleries. Catering to the museum’s developing Asian collection, the scheme also includes a gut renovation of the west-wing galleries, located to the southwest.

The most visually striking aspect of the project, though, is the shimmering terra-cotta-tiled facade. Craig Mutter of Machado Silvetti said the facade is meant to act as a guide to visitors, highlighting the entrance to the building.

“People would often be lost and wander into the loading-bay area,” Mutter said. “There was no visual key to tell you where to go, and so the mission of the project was to provide this clear marker and definitive entrance.”

The client had asked for a “monumental” entrance, for “something that did not currently exist on the site.” What resulted were more than 3,000 jade-colored ceramic tiles cladding the elevated extension. Their color, Mutter said, is a nod to the natural surroundings and opposes the original pink Italian campus.

In terms of procuring the tiles, the firm sought the help of Boston Valley Terra Cotta, who also worked on the renovation of the Cà d’Zan in 1999. Such experience gave Mutter and his team confidence that they could work successfully to deliver the facade they wanted.

In fact, a ceramic skin was something that had intrigued Machado Silvetti for quite some time. “We had done a number of facade screens in the past where we had been interested in using ceramic but for one reason or another were not able to do so, usually because of the available technology at the time,” said Mutter.

Originally, they had planned for the tiles to be both larger and thicker. However, the dimensions were reduced by four inches on each side and two inches in thickness to allow Boston Valley to fire more panels inside their kiln.

The tiles also enabled the firm to deliver a high-performance envelope. Their large mass helped combat heat gain while also acting as a barrier between the envelope and the elements. “The program demanded a constantly monitored climate control; that meant we really wanted to ensure that there was a continuous insulated seal,” Mutter explained. “By using the panel system that we adopted, we essentially used a rain-screen system to allow the continuous insulation and air-vapor barrier to wrap the museum.”

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Machado Silvetti’s modern addition to historically significant Ringling Estate

The new pavilion features 2750 individual terra cotta modules, weighing in at 60-70 pounds each.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, part of a historic 66-acre estate in Sarasota, Florida has received a striking new pavilion designed by Machado Silvetti to house new gallery and multi-purpose lecture space. Officially called the Center for Asian Art in the Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Gallery of Asian Art, the project features a custom glazed sculptural terra cotta clad volume elevated off the ground, and attached to the museum’s West Wing galleries via glass bridge. The new 7500 sq. ft. pavilion establishes a new monumental entrance to the museum, and assists in the reorganization of site circulation and infrastructure systems. Teaming with Boston Valley Terra Cotta, the architects developed a cladding strategy to respond to specific environmental, programmatic, and budgetary criteria. The project is inspired by lush foliage and historic architectural ornamentation found within the Ringling estate. Craig Mutter, Principal at Machado Silvetti, says the gallery-based program of the new addition led the project team to considering a conventionally constructed box with very few windows, to reduce glare: “We put our design energies into creating a high performance building envelope.” Machado Silvetti teamed with Boston Valley Terra Cotta, an upstate New York-based architectural terra cotta manufacturer. “We were involved very early in the process," says Bill Pottle, Boston Valley International Sales Manager. "We went from hand sketches to a 3D digital format where we were able to go back and forth with the architect and talk about different sizes. This helped us rationalize and execute the project to fit into both manufacturing and budget parameters." The tiling of the facade was achieved with three primary shapes optimized to the rack size of the kilns utilized in the production of the modules – a 24” square, a 24” portal framing a window opening, and an 18” square. All together, with custom pieces at corners and end conditions, no more than 10 unique shapes were required. The repetitions allowed for efficiencies in the production process, which paired digital modeling and fabrication with hand craft. The modules were made one at a time, weighing between 60-70 pounds apiece. In total, 2750 three-dimensionally shaped ceramic modules were installed on the building. This manufacturing method became a significant constraint on the architectural design, said James Smokowski, Project Manager at Boston Valley. "The size limitation of the RAM drove a number of design changes from the architect.” Initially calling for a 60" x 60" tiled piece, the architects revamped their design to fit within the dimensional constraint of the kiln equipment. Rhino3D models were prototyped into shells using a 5-axis mill, which became the formwork for a hydraulically operated RAM press.
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta
  • Architects Machado Silvetti
  • Facade Installer Key Glass (windows), Sun Tile (terra cotta)
  • Facade Consultants Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Stirling and Wilbur Engineering Group (structural engineering)
  • Location Sarasota, FL
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System custom terra cotta rainscreen on concrete frame with concrete block infill
  • Products custom terra cotta modules attached to modified Terraclad track from Boston Valley, YKK glass units
A sense of depth was established both by the chiseled three-dimensional form of the ceramic modules and a custom green glaze developed by Boston Valley. Due to the geometry of the modules, the glaze pools in the concavities creating a coating with variable depth. The terra cotta modules were installed on a modified version of Boston Valley’s standard Terraclad stainless steel track and clip system over a standard wall construction of concrete framework infilled with concrete block units. This detailing allowed for cost savings and assisted in the pre-qualification of terra cotta installers. Adjustments to the stock rainscreen system were made to create a consistent 3/8” gap around the full perimeter of each modules, ensuring individual pieces are able to be removed and replaced in the event of any damage. Windows were used sparingly on the facade, composed into clusters where interior program can accommodate some glare. These “clouds” of windows occur in the third floor meeting room along the north facade, and are distributed throughout the facade with careful attention to reducing glare within the gallery space. Despite having significant views to the picturesque Sarasota Bay, windows are used sparingly as accents – tiny portals which nearly disappear into the tiling of the facade. Rodolfo Machado, Principal at Machado Silvetti, says this compositional decision was deliberate: "Perhaps the most effective windows are in the third floor conference room. Here, small windows carefully framing the landscape are quite effective – almost like looking at a painting. In this case, fewer smaller windows work better." Through this modern addition to the Ringling Museum campus, the architects were able to solve programmatic day to day operational issues at The Ringling, which was a big win says Craig Mutter, Principal at Machado Silvetti: “We are particularly proud of this project because our mission was to create a striking addition to this area of the museum that would be a beacon to the visitors on the campus. But we were also able to solve day to day problems the museum was facing, from way finding to operations, to conservation lab connections. We feel this project will have a very big long term impact for the Museum."
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Harvard GSD material processes students build an intricate ceramic wall at Cevisama

Cevisama is the largest annual ceramic and terracotta exhibition in the world. Architects and designers from the whole world are here, but there is almost no North American representation—either displaying products, media reporting on building advances with the material, or architects looking for new products. Thus it was surprising to run across this Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) project from their Material Processes and Systems Group student studio. It is one of the most advanced and exciting projects in the entire fair. Have a closer look below.
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Wine supplier to the British royal family unveils enchanting new cellar by MJP Architects and Short & Associates

Britain’s oldest wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, has unveiled its new subterranean Sussex Cellar, an enchanting juxtaposition of classic and modern by Short & Associates and MJP Architects. Wine suppliers to the British royal family since the reign of King George III in the early 19th century, the brand named its new cellar after the duke of Sussex, one of seven royal dukes who were regular customers during that era. Inspired by a Spanish bodega with a tiled fan vaulted soffit, the two-story cellar is an expanse of terra cotta archways and columns clad in handmade London tiles. These extend through the mezzanine and sub-basement level. The dining room retains a light and airy feel, despite being underground, by dint of a circular aperture that connects it to the mezzanine above. Over 800 wine events are held annually in the company’s existing Napoleon and Pickering Cellars and its townhouse on Pickering Place. The new cellar was built to accommodate the uptick in demand for the brand’s well-known ‘Cellar Series’ – intimate 40-cover dinners presented in collaboration with London’s most popular restaurants. “Our new Sussex Cellar affords us much-needed extra capacity in bringing wine education and entertainment to our clients,” said Demetri Walters, sales manager at Private Wine Events, a part of Berry Bros. & Rudd. “This latest venue is of a completely novel design that combines the feel of one of our traditional wine cellars with the existing architecture, convenience, and state-of-the-art gadgetry of a purpose-built venue.” Sited beneath the historic St. Jame’s shop, the cellar is accessible via a secret door in one of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s 17th century townhouses on Pickering Place, with an interior styled by Nicola Crawley of the celebrated decorators Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. The space accommodates up to 40 for a reception and lunch or dinner, or 36 for a reception, tutored tasting, and lunch or dinner.
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Gould Evans Rewraps Kansas Library

Terra cotta rain screen transforms brutalist eyesore into energy-efficient community space.

Considered an aesthetic and functional failure almost since its construction in 1974, the old public library in Lawrence, Kansas, was overdue for a renovation four decades later. Gould Evans' challenge was to transform the low-slung brutalist behemoth, a poor environmental performer lacking both adequate daylighting and a sense of connection to the community, into an asset. "The desire was to try to come up with a building that basically reinvented the library for the community," said vice president Sean Zaudke. Rather than tacking an addition on to one end of the existing structure, the architects elected to wrap a 20,000-square-foot reading room and open stacks area around the old facade. In so doing, they altered the exterior for the better, swapping bare concrete for an earth-hued terra cotta rain screen punctuated by plentiful glazing. They also significantly enhanced the library's environmental performance, with early estimates suggesting that the new Lawrence Public Library will see a 50 percent reduction in energy usage despite a 50 percent increase in square footage. The decision to entirely enclose the old building within the addition was a critical component of the architects' sustainability strategy. "It allowed us to come up with a continuous facade utilizing a continuous insulation system," explained Zaudke. "It helped a lot with energy performance." Gould Evans chose a terra cotta rain screen from NBK to better tie the library to its surroundings. The building is located in an interstitial zone, immediately adjacent to buildings constructed in the 1950s but not far from Lawrence's thriving historic downtown. "We selected terra cotta because it could play by both sets of rules," said Zaudke. "It has an historic connotation, but it's also a much more modern-looking material."
  • Facade Manufacturer NBK (terra cotta), EFCO Corporation (storefront/curtain wall), Insulite Glass Company (glazing)
  • Architects Gould Evans
  • Facade Installer Drewco Inc. (terra cotta), Kennedy Glass (storefront/curtain wall/glazing)
  • Facade Consultant Building Science Corporation
  • Location Lawrence, KS
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System terra cotta rain screen, high performance glazing and Solatubes, tongue-in-groove wood siding over existing concrete
  • Products NBK TERRART-MID, EFCO S433 storefront, EFCO S5600 curtain wall, EFCO D318 doors, PPG Solarban 70XL glass
Daylighting was another of the architects' key concerns. "Because there were so few windows in the old library, wherever you went there was a sort of phototropic behavior," said Zaudke. "People just gathered around the windows. The rest was not as utilized." Gould Evans significantly altered the user experience by creating an open reading room within the wraparound addition, all of which is exposed to daylight. Other library functions are contained within the core, which in turn is lit both by a continuous clerestory and a series of Solatubes. The clerestory also prevents glare within the reading room by illuminating the inside of the facade. Gould Evans used prescriptive data to determine the overall balance of terra cotta to glass on the new facade—about 60/40—as well as on each exterior wall. To reduce thermal gain on the east and west faces, the architects placed terra cotta baguettes over each horizontal slit window. Together, the baguettes and the depth of the wall act as sunshades. As for Lawrence Public Library's old concrete facade, "we didn't want to just pretend it wasn't there," said Zaudke. Instead, Gould Evans partially overlaid it with a tongue-in-groove system of unstained wood. "The concrete had a harsh feel to it," explained Zaudke. "By wrapping it with wood and revealing it in places, there's this nice dialog that occurs. Everywhere it opens up is where some core function reveals itself—it's an interesting dynamic." At the library entrance, the architects brought the wood outside, encased in glass to protect it from the elements, said Zaudke. "That vocabulary of cracking open the library, of making it accessible, is present at the entry."
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New renderings and details of SHoP’s supertall Midtown tower

Despite concerns that New York City’s high-end housing bubble is about to burst, the supertall towers that have come to symbolize that upper-echelon of the market keep coming, one after the other. Now, with One57 open, and 432 Park topped off, SHoP’s 111 W. 57th Street—widely seen as the most attractive of the bunch—is preparing to head skyward. As the tower begins its roughly 1,400-foot climb, new renderings and details of the project have surfaced. The new information about the highly-anticipated tower was divulged by Simon Koster, principal at the JDS Development Group, at the Municipal Arts Society's 2014 Summit for New York. CityRealty's 6sqft blog was there and reports back on the latest plans. Along with a floorplan of a typical unit in the building, 6sqft unveiled some new, detailed images of the tower's skin. On its east and west-facing sides, 111 W. 57th,  is clad in a terra cotta panels separated by glass, and bronze filigree details. The other two sides of the building are primarily glass—to provide optimal views of Central Park to the north and Lower Manhattan to the south. For residents of 111 W. 57th Street, this presents a conundrum: which view to pick. Just kidding, no it doesn't—apartments take up entire floors. When complete, the tower won't just be one of the tallest buildings in New York, it will be the skinniest skyscraper in the world with a floor plate of only 60 feet by 80 feet.
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BNIM’s Entrepreneurial Envelope for the University of Missouri-Kansas City

A tight budget and short timeline inspired an innovative concrete and terra cotta facade.

BNIM and Moore Ruble Yudell approached the design of the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with two objectives. The first was to express the creative spirit of the university’s program in entrepreneurship, which at that point lacked dedicated support spaces. The second goal was to tie the contemporary structure to its historic surroundings. Moore Ruble Yudell, who developed many of the project’s interior concepts, tackled the former, creating flexible classroom and laboratory spaces and a multi-story amphitheater that doubles as casual seating and a venue for school-wide gatherings. As for the latter, BNIM designed a multicolored terra cotta envelope that balances singularity with connection. “The idea was to create a building that sat by itself, but somehow bring it into context in terms of materials,” explained BNIM senior project architect Greg Sheldon. Because so much of the existing campus architecture featured masonry construction, the architects “had a desire to use a fired earth material, but to try to do it in a more contemporary way,” said Sheldon. Inspired by a project in London that combined different colors of terra cotta to blend it into its surroundings, BNIM began working with architectural terra cotta manufacturer NBK to design a rain screen for Bloch Hall. But budget and time constraints soon intervened. To cut costs and enclose the building as quickly as possible, BNIM approached Enterprise Precast Concrete about the possibility of casting the terra cotta components directly into insulated concrete panels. “There was a lot of back and forth between Enterprise Precast Concrete and NBK,” said Sheldon. “This was one of the very early projects to use this technique.” To further streamline construction, BNIM and Moore Ruble Yudell decided to integrate the concrete into the interior aesthetic, so that the inside face of the panels required no additional finishing beyond sandblasting. General contractors JE Dunn Construction “loved that if we could pull this off, the insulation’s in place and the inside’s finished,” said Sheldon. “They bring it out, put it on the building, and that’s it.” For glazing, the design-build team ordered a YCW 750 XT high performance curtain wall from YKK, sized to slot into the opening between the building’s masonry components. Together, the insulated concrete-terra cotta panels and high performance glass helped put the building on track to earn LEED Gold certification.
  • Facade Manufacturer Enterprise Precast Concrete
  • Architects BNIM, Moore Ruble Yudell
  • Facade Installer JE Dunn Construction
  • Location Kansas City, MO
  • Date of Completion 2013
  • System precast concrete with embedded terra cotta elements, high performance glass curtain wall
  • Products NBK architectural terra cotta, YCW 750 XT high performance curtain wall from YKK
The patterns in the terra cotta “weren’t accidental, but were studied and studied,” said Sheldon. The south end of the building is a deep red, like the adjacent Bloch School Building. To the north, the colors fade to a buff yellow, reflecting the lighter tones of the nearby student center. To perfect the patterning, the designers first looked at the range of colors available through NBK and chose the six most compatible with the surrounding buildings. They then unfolded the elevation of the building and plugged the different shades into their digital model. BNIM experimented with different combinations, printing each and pinning it to the wall before making adjustments. “I don’t know how many iterations they did,” said Sheldon. “It just went on and on.” The final scheme achieves the desired effect. In color and materials, it creates a dialogue with the older buildings around it. Yet the bold patterning simultaneously marks the facade as a 21st century creation. Upon receiving the $32 million gift from Henry W. Bloch that made building the new Bloch Hall possible, then-Dean Teng-Kee Tan observed that “the path of innovation is never a straight line.” The architects manifested the analogy in the building's architecture and landscaping, carving the interior into a series of curvilinear spaces, and connecting the building to its neighbors via a meandering path. But the statement applies equally to the design process itself, in which a tight budget and 14-month construction timeline encouraged an innovative combination of concrete, terra cotta, and high performance glass. A successful sublimation of limitations into opportunity, the story of Bloch Hall’s envelope is the story of entrepreneurship in microcosm.