Federico Balestrazzi, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, is a leader of the facade engineering practice for the mid-Atlantic South region of the firm’s operations. He, along with other associates of the engineering firm, will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference. Thornton Tomasetti’s facade engineering team specializes in the design and construction of complex building enclosures and facades, particularly high-rise curtain wall systems, and provides innovative approaches that are both practical and cost-effective. Balestrazzi will be presenting insights into recently completed arena and stadium work like the Miami Dolphins stadium renovation that carefully integrates structure with facade engineering. The project team designed a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) shade canopy. Inflated pillows of ETFE cover the canopy, blocking rain and direct sun from the seating bowl while letting light in. In a recent blog post about the firm’s research into ETFE, Thornton Tomasetti said, “We believe the high-visibility use of ETFE at the Hard Rock and U.S. Bank stadiums (as well as in other buildings, like ARTIC and The Shed) marks a turning point in its adoption as a viable option for transparent roofs, skylights and building envelopes in the U.S.” The transparent polymer foil is celebrated for its unique properties: It is highly durable, low maintenance, lightweight, and admits the full spectrum of light (including UV, which allows for plant growth). Balestrazzi said roughly half of the projects he works on are sited locally in the Miami area, and that these projects must respond to environmental conditions unique to the region. "Being in a hurricane region completely changes the game when it comes to wall performance. Dealing with the threat of hurricanes on a yearly basis is a very local phenomenon." You can see Balestrazzi’s presentation on facade engineering at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference, on January 26 and/or take part in a Thornton Tomasetti workshop, “Choosing Between the Titans: Glass vs ETFE.” Registration is open now. For further details, visit the Facades+ Miami site.
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SOM returns to LA with a new office to be led by Michael Mann, Paul Danna, and Jose Palacios, all coming en masse from AECOM. The new studio will start out with ten to 40 people in a temporary office, with plans to eventually find a permanent home in downtown LA. The Boston Society of Architects announced the departure of executive director Margaret Wigglesworth. Wigglesworth, who only assumed the ED role in February 2011 and oversaw BSA's move to a new home, will be returning to the commercial real estate sector. In Chicago, Crain's reports that FGB, an architecture firm based in Oak Brook, has acquired Deerfield-based SRBL, specialists in schools and institutional work, to create a 95-person strong office. On January 18, John Hatfield will join Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens as executive director. Hatfield leaves the New Museum of Contemporary Art, where he has served as deputy director since 2008. Fore Solutions, a green building consulting firm, has joined Thorton Thomasetti to create the Thorton Thomsetti Building Sustainability practice area, to be led by Gunnar Hubbard.