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. 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.
Posts tagged with "Terra-Cotta":
Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored the Alberta Legislature Building's century-old dome using a combination of digital and traditional techniques.Restoring a century-old terra cotta dome without blueprints would be a painstaking process in any conditions. Add long snowy winters and an aggressive freeze/thaw cycle, and things start to get really interesting. For their reconstruction of the Alberta Legislature Building dome, the craftsmen at Boston Valley Terra Cotta had a lot to think about, from developing a formula for a clay that would stand up to Edmonton’s swings in temperatures, to organizing just-in-time delivery of 18,841 components. Their answer? Technology. Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Omar Khan at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, the Orchard Park, New York, firm’s employees are as comfortable with computers as they are with hand tools. On site in Edmonton, technicians took a 3D laser scan of the dome prior to disassembly. They also tagged specific terra cotta pieces to send to New York as samples. These pieces, which ranged from simple blocks to gargoyles and capitals, went straight to the in-house lab for scanning into Rhino. The drafting department combined the overall scan with the individual scans to create a total picture of the dome’s surface geometry and depth. The individual scans, in addition, were critical to making the approximately 508 unique molds employed on the project. To compensate for the eight percent shrinkage clay goes through during drying and firing, the craftsmen at Boston Valley used to have to perform a series of calculations before building a mold. “[Now we] take the scan data and increase by eight percent by simply doing a mouse click,” said Boston Valley national sales manager Bill Pottle. In some cases, the craftsmen converted the scan data into a tool path for the five-axis CNC machine used to make the molds. “We’re doing that more and more in some of our mold making. It also allows us to ensure that we’re recreating them to the most exacting tolerance and dimensions that we can,” said Pottle. The data from the 3D scans also helped the craftsmen replicate the dome’s complicated curvature. “Between the scanned pieces and the scan of the dome itself, we were able to figure out some very complex geometry where each of these individual pieces had the correct shape to them,” said Pottle. For sustainability and durability, the designers at Boston Valley reconfigured the dome as a rain screen system, with terra cotta components attached to a stainless steel frame. But while the rain screen boosts environmental performance, it also demands incredible precision. Again, the 3D models proved invaluable. “The models allowed these tight tolerances. [We] could explode it and make sure everything was connected. It would have been impossible without that level of sophisticated software,” said president John Krouse. The Alberta Legislature Building dome restoration is the first major project on which Boston Valley has unleashed its full array of digital design tools. Krouse hopes its success—he estimates that the digital tools speeded fabrication by 200 percent—will send a message to designers interested in experimenting with terra cotta: “What we’re trying to say to the architecture and design community globally is don’t be afraid to start designing domes with complex geometry, because we’re equipped with all this technology. It doesn’t have to be a square box.”
New York's inaugural design week, held from May 10 through 21, was a comprehensive, two-week celebration of all things design across Manhattan island, as well as parts of Brooklyn. Showcasing the latest from industry stalwarts to emerging and independent designers—local, domestic, and international—AN culled its top picks of New York Design Week products from the ICFF show floor, Wanted Design exhibitions, showroom launches, and all events in between. The Low Collection 13&9 Design The multidisciplinary Austrian design studio debuted at Wanted Design with a collection of furniture, wearable fashion and accessories, a cinematic video, and a music album. With the Low Collection (pictured above), Corian is formed into several seating styles that combine with storage vessels, all at ground level. Suitable for outdoors, furniture heights can be modified to generate a unique landscape. Cartesian Chair Alexander Purcell Rodrigues Named for Descartes's coordinate system, the Cartesian chair is made from aircraft-grade aluminum with an anodized finish for extreme durability. Mathematically generated, subtle texture on the back is realized via parametric design tools. Stool 60 Special Editions Artek Originally designed by Alvar Aalto in 1933, Artek celebrates 80 years of production with special updates by guest designers including Mike Meiré, Tom Dixon, Commes des Garcons, Mads Norgaard, and Nao Tamura. Special Edition by Brooklyn-based designer Tamura features screen-printed tree rings directly onto the seat to unify the lifespan of a tree with the longevity of Stool 60. Regent Street Mirror Avenue Road Debuting its second collection with Avenue Road, Yabu Pushelberg launched seven new pieces with its production partner for 2013. Regent Street is a full length dressing mirror with a functional, glass-topped shelf, supported by a polished nickel frame. Minikitchen Boffi Made from Corian with a solid teak chopping board, Boffi's mobile, outdoor kitchen unit can be repositioned easily on swiveling castors. It also features space for a mini-refrigerator, small cutlery drawers, electrical appliance sockets, and a pull-out worktop. Maharam Shell Chair Project Carl Hansen Carl Hansen has collaborated with Maharam textiles on the Maharam Shell Chair Project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of CH07's design. For this special collection, 20 of Wegner's Shell Chairs will feature a range of re-edition designs from Wiener Werksẗatte and Alexander Girard, as well as collaborations with Hella Jongerius and Paul Smith. Tuareg Foscarini The frame of Ferruccio Laviani's Tuareg floor lamp is marked by three metal tubes that house fully adjustable LED light sources. At 82 inches in height and 50 inches in width, it is available in Orange and Black. Curl Luceplan Industrial designer Sebastian Bergne designed Curl with adjustable white, LED technology which allows users to change the light temperature quickly and easily. And with no established base, the fixture can be set in any position for endless configurations of ambient light. Pleat Box Marset Featured in the "Design: Istanbul–Turkey" showcase at Wanted Design, the Pleat Box lighting pendant is designed by Mashallah Design in collaboration with Barcelona ceramicist Xavier Mañosa. Recycling various enamels produces a white ceramic, brown, black, terracotta or gray exterior and is finished with a glossy white or gold interior. Røros Tweed Blanket Snøhetta Debuting this spring, Mountainfold, Color Noise, and Islandskap are Snøhetta-conceived patterns on Norwegian-manufactured Røros Tweed. On Mountainfold, the design was derived from the famous mountain peak in Dovre, Norway (and the firm's namesake), and is available in six colorways. Heze Trove Geometric, circular patterns are rendered in blurred strokes on wood veneer, matte foil wallpaper, PVC-free Type II Redeux, embossed Type II Marquee, or in bamboo and rice textures for windows. A 12-foot by 67-inch panel shows no vertical repeats. Exquisite Wink Wolf-Gordon For its booth at ICFF, Wolf-Gordon commissioned 10 leading designers and artists to demonstrate the benefits of Wink, a clear, dry-erase coating that can be applied to any smooth surface. Featured sketches and designs in the "Exquisite" installation came from Snarkitecture, Ali Tayar, karlssonwilker, Michael Graves, Boym Partners, Myles Karr, and Ben Katchor.
The University of Chicago’s ongoing development is a balancing act of preserving its collegiate gothic badge of architectural honor and making bold contemporary bounds ahead. One project that maintains that equilibrium with grace is Ann Beha Architect’s conversion of the University’s old Theological Seminary into a new economics building. The area surrounding the site at 58th and University is on the preservation watch list, so the new steel-and-glass research pavilion along Woodlawn Avenue is likely to ruffle a few feathers. But most of the work treads lightly on the site. Glass infill will create a new entryway between the seminary building’s two main wings. While historic facades remain throughout much of the building, designers hope a new staircase will improve vertical circulation. And a 90-seat classroom anchors an expansion below grade that improves access to existing space, drawing in light from openings to a new loggia above. Placed atop a terra cotta base, the modern addition jives tastefully with the former seminary.
Treehouse of Worship. Everyone loves a treehouse, especially one that dates from 1696 (built in a tree that's over 800 years old, no less). Boing Boing uncovered the chapel in Allouville-Bellefosse, France dedicated to the Virgin Mary that was built in the hollowed out trunk caused by a lightning strike. Talking Tanks. Who can forget the Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania who, fed up with cars parked in the bike lane, crushed the offending vehicles with a tank. Classic. Transportation Nation couldn't get enough of the car-crushing crusader, either, and has posted an interview where the mayor warns that tanks may return to the streets of Vilnius. Frank Llego Wright. Will we ever tire of LEGOs? I hope not. LEGO has already immortalized Wright's Fallingwater and his Guggenheim Museum in tiny plastic bricks, but Building Design just reported that the Prairie-style Robie House in Chicago is also available for architects and aspirants to assemble and adore. Baking Buildings. Some of the most beautiful historic (and modern, too!) buildings feature terra cotta facades, but whether they're ornate or sleek, we seldom have a chance to peek behind the scenes to see how the clay cladding is made. Buffalo Rising took a visit to a local terra cotta factory to check out what's involved.