Posts tagged with "Top":

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Lower Manhattan’s public space under threat

Public space-fronting commercial buildings in New York City are under constant threat of privatization. The latest example: the public spaces along Water Street from Whitehall to Fulton Street. The area was heavily developed during the 1960s with a series of mostly bland towers (except 88 Pine by I.M. Pei Partners, 1968) that are noted more for their surrounding opens spaces than their corporate facades. Two towers in particular—77 and 200 Water Street, both developed by Melvyn Kaufman—have some of the most creative, playful, and useful public spaces in the city. Their designs were influenced by the writings of Holly Whyte and remain a testament to his belief in user-friendly public space. Back then, corporations were leaving the city in droves and New York developers fought back by creating useable, suburban mall-like public spaces. These Water Street plazas nearly all follow the same urban design pattern: a protected arcade just outside their lobby that works as a transition to a larger open plaza. In exchange for these public arcades, the owners and developers were given an extra 2.5 million square feet of floor space. Now the building owners, supported by the Downtown Alliance and an increasingly out-of-touch Department of City Planning (DCP)—led by former Downtown Alliance president Carl Weisbrod—are trying a land grab. They want to turn these spaces into rentable square footage. With the Downtown Alliance taking the lead, the DCP is seeking a zoning change that would allow more than 110,00 square feet of public space along the half-mile strip from Whitehall to Fulton Street to become rentable land. Jessica Lappin, the current Downtown Alliance president, claims these spaces are “uninviting and underutilized” and “serve little public purpose.” Downtown Express has reported that this would provide more than $250 million in annual rent for the building owners. This rezoning would set a dangerous precedent for all public space in New York. The plan labeled ‘The Water Street Text Amendment" has been presented to the members of Community Board 1, which turned it down on February 23, but has now been approved by a single vote in the March 22 board meeting. Its supporters continue to push for this problematic zoning change and it will receive a final vote by the New York City Council.
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Q&A with the curator of Usagi NY, a Sou Fujimoto-designed gallery for architects and creatives

Usagi NY makes wonderful matcha lattes. That may not be the first thing you'd think given this gallery/library/music venue/cafe was designed by Sou Fujimoto. Located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, Usagi NY is a self-described creative hub for artists, architects, thinkers, engineers, writers, designers, and writers. Following its launch last July, the venue's first exhibition was inspired by White, a theoretical and aesthetic exploration of the "essence of 'white'" by Japanese designer Kenya Hara. It subsequently screened Mel Stuart's Golden-Globe nominated documentary Wattstax and recently hosted legendary drummer and experimental composer Ikue Mori. The Architect's Newspaper spoke with Usagi's curator, Tomomi Mangino, to get inside look into Usagi NY, some of its previous projects and collaborations, and its upcoming events. (Update 4/11/2016: At the time of this interview, Mangino was the curator at Usagi NY. Both Mangino and a representative of the gallery informed AN that, as of mid-March 2016, Mangino is no longer the curator there.)
The Architect's Newspaper (AN): Usagi NY's been open for close to eight months. How's the reception been so far? Tomomi Mangino (TM): It’s going great. We are getting customers from our neighborhood, DUMBO, which is home for many technology and creative companies today. In our cafe, innovators and entrepreneurs of the next generation are gathering for networking. We promote encounters between professionals in diverse fields also through our cultural events and the new creative community is growing here. AN: You enlisted Sou Fujimoto to design the gallery. How did that collaboration come about? TM: It was by chance. When our Tokyo-based owner was looking for an architect who is capable to bring the essence of today’s Japanese creativity for his new location in New York, he had an opportunity to meet with him there.
AN: What vision did you and Fujimoto have when creating the space for Usagi NY? TM: The space creates an atmosphere of wandering through the art. The multilayer space can endlessly change its appearance for each project or exhibition using simple, floating, moveable panels, which gives more freedom to artists and creators to express themselves. The unlimited boundaries can even redefine the concept of inside and outside. We wish our space would be open like an inside public space. AN: Usagi NY has emphasized its dedication to showcasing and nurturing the talent of a range of artists. How do you manage to give an equal voice to all of the artists, engineers, writers, musicians, and architects you promote? TM: Since our opening in last summer, we had artists, typographers, programmers, architects, writers, and musicians as exhibitors, but for us what always matters is how their works can enrich our daily life in this city. So the profession is a secondary matter.
AN: Talk to us about Marvel Architects’ Everyday People Making the City series that you hosted recently. What was that like?TM: At the exhibition, Brooklyn in Process | works by Marvel Architects, we showcased smart and beautiful architecture in our area, including St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO, PierHouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and McCarren Pool in Williamsburg. With models, sketches, photos, and aerial videos on the finished works by Marvel Vision, we wanted to show different stages of the work. In conjunction with the gallery show, we hosted a public conversation series, CITIZEN/ DESIGNER: Everyday People Making the City. The gallery temporarily turned into a public salon, where participants openly exchanged ideas with practitioners, urban planners, community leaders, artists and activists.
AN: Finally, you hosted a book launch for "Between Land and Sea," which is Ken Tadashi Oshima's book honoring the work of the late Kiyonori Kikutake. Barry Bergdoll was also on the panel. How important is it for Usagi NY to acknowledge architectural works when architects aren't always given due credit as artists?
TM: We are actually not simply an art gallery but more of a cultural hub. We showcase different types of creativity and the process. So here even an author and a curator are important personalities in our space.
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Product> Por qué? Parquet!

A modern twist on a centuries-old tradition, geometric patterns are all the rage in updated materials and color options. Biscuit Patricia Urquiola for Listone Giordano

A completely reimagined parquet flooring system, Biscuit uses six modern rounded shapes in different sizes to allow for endless opportunities of new patterns inspired by classic herringbone that is available in a variety of stains.

Liaison Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks

Kelly Wearstler is known for her particular aesthetic of combining raw natural materials with more refined pieces. This collection plays up her love for stone and includes made-to-order tile rugs, which may also be used in custom backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, and showers, in addition to five small- and large-tile off-the-shelf patterns.

Labyrinth Refin Ceramiche

Labyrinth is parquet 2.0—inspired by M. C. Escher drawings, the collection of two patterns, Mirror and Angle, can be rearranged to create endless, mazelike configurations that are meant to evoke the works of Josef and Anni Albers.

Wood Bisazza

Composed of a four-millimeter top layer of European oak mounted on phenolic multilayer laminated birch wood, these wood tiles are incredibly versatile and, given their size and shape (one square, one hexagonal), can easily be paired with other cement tiles.

Etic Pro Atlas Concorde

These two-centimeter-thick wood-look porcelain tiles have super-realistic qualities with grain, streak, and marbling variations. The surface is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and is frost-proof and antislip. It is available in both matte and high-gloss finishes.

Restyle Marca Corona

Inspired by age-old wooden tavelle, these ceramic wood tiles truly resemble hardwood. Each tile, available in three color collections, contains a variety of patterns that makes every slab unique. These tiles are highly versatile and, in addition to being ecofriendly, are antislip and resistant to salts, chemicals, and frost.

Shadewood Ceramica Sant’Agostino

This porcelain tile collection comes in six gray hues, including a multicolor diagonal stripe that creates a herringbone pattern. The tiles can withstand quite a bit of wear and are suitable in residential and commercial spaces, indoors and out.

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Thomas Phifer’s bespoke approach to facade design

For Thomas Phifer, director of New York-based Thomas Phifer and Partners, there is no one best way to design a high performance building envelope. Phifer, whose recent work includes the Corning Museum of Glass expansion, will deliver the afternoon keynote address at next month's Facades+NYC conference. "Each facade has to do with the particular spirit and ethos of the building," said Phifer. "They each have a particular climate that they have to respond to; they each have a particular way of dealing with the context." As a result, he explained, the firm employs a wide array of materials, from large concrete blocks to reclaimed brick or window walls with exterior sunshades. "Our work doesn't focus on one particular material or one attitude toward dealing with the environment," explained Phifer. "We just take each particularity and put them together to try to make an enclosure." As an example, Phifer cited the United States Courthouse in Salt Lake City. "We wanted the building to be all about light, since light can foster that sense of enlightenment," he said. The architects aimed to flood the building's interior with natural daylight, moreover, "so that all of the occupants had a sense of the changing atmosphere of the day." They designed a calibrated louver system for each facade to reduce the radiant heat entering the building while enhancing the building's aesthetics. The shades were "developed in such a way that the louvers hold light," said Phifer. "It's not about reflection or absorption; [the facade] embodies light through the design of the micro-louver. It glows during the day with what turned out to be a kind of metaphor for enlightenment." To hear more about Phifer's recently-completed and pending projects, and to catch up with other leaders in facade design and fabrication, register today for Facades+NYC.
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Product> It’s Lit: Sleek, Minimalist Lighting Design

These understated architectural lighting fixtures enhance any space both indoors and out. Minimalist design adds interest, without detracting from other elements. LED Pillar Luminaires Bega A new series of LED pendants featuring a velvet black housing finish and highly efficient LED source, the Pillar luminaires come in a choice of three interior metal paint finishes: aluminum, copper, and brass with three-ply, hand-blown opal glass that elegantly diffuses light. Slotlight LED II Zumtobel This collection of highly versatile lighting products allows a range of different lighting effects to be achieved in a space, all with a cohesive look. The design possibilities are endless, as all of the pieces can be customized in terms of length and light output. Razar LED Generation Bollard U.S. Architectural Lighting Available in single and twin head models, the Bollard design can be utilized to illuminate pathways and driveways as well as larger outdoor areas. It stands at 42 inches high in cast aluminum that is suitable for all environments. The fixture contains low drive currents and robust cooling fans that keep the surface temperature cool to the touch even after hours of operation. Stilo Targetti Perfect for highlighting walls and facades, the Stilo sconce, made of die-cast aluminum, is available in two styles. The flat configuration allows for a combination of effects including elliptical, asymmetrical, effect, and super-spot. Both styles have wattages that range from 11 watts to 33 watts. Kju Circle Selux Kju Circle comes in the option of a wall-mounted sconce or as a pendant with direct or direct-indirect lighting options. The opal covers allow for a diffused uniform illumination that can be used in corporate, hospitality, and retail scenarios. Adena Eklipse Architectural Lighting Available in two versions, single or square, the Adena fixture is ideal for highlighting products in retail and commercial spaces. The fixture length and stem height are made-to-measure, and several light shapes are offered with or without pixels.
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Bjarke Ingels’s design concept for moat-lined Redskins Stadium unveiled on 60 Minutes

In a segment on 60 Minutes this weekend, architect Bjarke Ingels provided a glimpse of the football stadium he is designing for the Washington Redskins. A scale model displayed on the CBS news program showed a curvaceous, open-air seating bowl enveloped in some sort of fabric or mesh—and surrounded by a moat. The model depicts the stadium as a semi-transparent, wave-like structure. The moat is depicted as a space for kayakers, with parks and pedestrian bridges for tailgaters and fans. “The one thing that everybody is…excited about is that the stadium is designed as much for the tailgating, like the pre-game, as for the game itself,” Ingels told 60 Minutes interviewer Morley Safer in a statement released by CBS News and partially aired during the program. “Tailgating literally becomes a picnic in a park. It can actually make the stadium a more lively destination throughout the year without ruining the turf for the football game." On Friday, the NFL team confirmed that it had hired Ingels’ firm, BIG, of Copenhagen and New York, to design its new stadium. The team has not disclosed a location for the project. It is reportedly considering sites in Prince George’s County, Maryland; Loudoun County, Virginia; and the District of Columbia. The team currently plays at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, but has its headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia. The stadium is one of many BIG projects featured in the 60 Minutes profile of Ingels, who was described as “the architect of the moment.” Safer referred to him as a starchitect, putting a heavy emphasis on the c-h in starch. Other BIG projects shown on the program included the Google headquarters in California, the LEGO headquarters in Denmark, Two World Trade Center in New York, and Via 57 West,  the “courtscraper” project in Manhattan that is a combination of a skyscraper and a courtyard building. Safer, 84, expressed admiration that Ingels, 41, is getting such large commissions even though he is relatively young. “A lot of people are willing to lay down millions of dollars for this kid,” he said. Ingels told Safer he originally wanted to be a cartoonist but ended up studying architecture and became “smitten.” He said he is aware of the irony of his firm’s name, which stands for Bjarke Ingels Group. “Denmark,” where he was born and started his firm, “is one of the smallest countries on the planet,” Ingels said. “There was something funny about calling a company BIG. If I started in America, I don’t think I would ever have named it BIG.” Ingels said he was touched when he learned that a firefighter in New York thought of his stepped-tower design for Two World Trade Center as a “stairway to heaven,” evoking the staircases where first responders lost their lives in the 9/11 terror attacks. “It’s probably the most watched skyline in the world,” he said of Manhattan. “So it’s a place where you better get it right.”
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On View> These 12 skyscrapers built by an architect out of LEGOs are on display in Iowa

Architect Adam Reed Tucker has taken the art of LEGO building to towering new heights. He created 12 LEGO architectural wonders, all of which can be seen at the The Art of Architecture exhibition at the Figge Art Museum in Iowa. Tucker, it turns out, is part of an elite group of only 11 official LEGO Certified Professionals in the world and contributes new additions to the popular LEGO Architecture Series. Many of Tucker's LEGO skyscrapers are from his hometown, Chicago, including the John Hancock Building, Trump Tower, Marina City towers, Hancock Tower, and the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). Also on display are icons from across the globe including the Empire State Building, the St. Louis Arch, and the Burj Khalifa. That latter tower was built using over 450,000 LEGO bricks, rising to 17 feet. Unbuilt projects are also included, such as the Chicago Spire and 7 South Dearborn. According to Tucker, the project is “all about celebrating architecture and using plastic, interlocking bricks as my medium. Lego was the easiest three-dimensional medium to use because it doesn’t require gluing or cutting, it’s self-contained, interlocking, and everyone knows how to snap them together.” "The LEGO brick is my way of illustrating my creativity," Tucker said in Philip Wilkinson's LEGO Architecture book. "I use it in order to physically and visually demonstrate what architecture is—through my eyes. Whether recreating a world famous landmark or inventing something completely original, I utilise the Lego brick as a creative medium to capture the essence of design." The Art of Architecture also includes monochrome architectural photography by J. Hunt Harris II and will run through to May 29. (Courtesy Figge Art Museum) (Courtesy Figge Art Museum)
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Boston’s City Hall Plaza set to become year-round leisure zone

For decades, there have been plans to transform Boston's City Hall Plaza, the windswept concrete wasteland, or triumphant frame around an outstanding piece of Brutalist civic architecture, depending on your view. Now, the plaza is poised for a major makeover into a year-round leisure zone. Mayor Marty Walsh has prioritized the revitalization of the barren plaza with the launch of Rethink City Hall! Last summer, the city installed an Astroturf front lawn and solicited ideas for a redesign from Bostonians. Other plans called for an urban habitat with micro wind turbines and stormwater-collecting planters. The City has signed a three year contract with hospitality management company Delaware North (which also own TD Garden and New York's Rockefeller Center ice rink). Concept plans call for a 200-foot-tall, 42-gondolas Ferris wheel, a restaurant and beer gardens, a summertime beach, a winter garden with ice rinks, curling, and hot chocolate, as well as interactive public art installations, including a massive selfie-ready sign that spells out #BOSTON. The contract raises an all-important question: Who's paying for this? The City states that no public funds will go towards the project, although Delaware North is willing to invest more than $15 million dollars, on the expectation that it will recoup its investment in a revenue-sharing agreement with the City. Although free beer would be nice, some of the amenities will be fee-based. The proposals still need to be opened for public comment and city approval, The Boston Globe reports. To ensure the project's financial viability, Delaware North would like Boston to commit to a longer contract. The company is also seeking corporate partners to help pay for the project. Construction on the winter garden and a temporary restaurant is set to begin this October.
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Impossible Architecture imagined by Turkish Photographer Aydın Büyüktaş

Inspired by the notions of varying dimensions and surprise Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, Turkish digital artist and photographer Aydın Büyüktaş has created a fanciful Istanbul in his latest project. Aerial depictions of the city turn the landscape on itself—literally.

Using a drone, his photographs have been digitally manipulated to appear as if the city is doubling back over itself creating a fantastical curved world.

Büyüktaş's images can appear disorientating at first sight with the viewer's eye naturally following what should be linear forms that end up being viewed from alternate perspectives. The scenes resemble those from Christopher Nolan's Inception and Interstellar movies where cityscapes are curvaceous, both in dreams and in space. Creating the curving montages in a flat world  was no easy task. Drone's were sent up into the skies, but Büyüktaş had to rely on the weather and wildlife to be on his side.

"So many times I had to turn back without a picture because of bad weather, technical problems, or birds attacking the drone," he said.

Once he had collected all the images, Büyüktaş adopted the much more grounded approach of editing and patching them together in Photoshop.

"We live in places that most of the times don’t draw our attention, places that transform our memories, places that the artist gives another dimension; where the perceptions that generally crosses our minds will be demolished and new ones will arise," Büyüktaş says on his website. "These works aims to leave the viewer alone with a surprising visuality ironic as well,multidimensional romantic point of view."
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What a difference 400 years makes: Modern and medieval London contrasted in hand-drawn cityscapes

[beforeafter]London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral (Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)(Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter] What would a young William Penn, prolific planner and founder of Pennsylvania—and London native of the 1600s—make of his home town today? He would probably admire how the chaotic life of trade, slums and hackney carriage horses had been reigned in, but chances are, he wouldn't recognise a thing. On view now at London's Guildhall Galleries is Visscher Redrawn, an exhibition offering a view through Penn's eyes thanks to two panoramic views of London taken 400 years apart—from 1616 to 2016. [beforeafter](Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)(Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter] Dutch artist Claes Jansz Visscher's staggering 6.5-foot-long depiction is taken from an elevated viewpoint in the city and sheds light on the how London looked prior to the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed much of what is depicted. The image is even more impressive considering Visscher never set foot in Britain. Emulating Visscher, artist Robin Reynolds—who has actually visited London—has completed his own view of London, using the same vantage point as Visscher. London Bridge, for example, has changed dramatically. It's hard to think that it was once a bridge that was a lively place with shops and houses hovering over the Thames. In the foreground of the top view, just left of London Bridge (at the bottom of the picture), is Southwark Cathedral, which was spared by the 17th century conflagration. The cathedral might be the only recognizable architectural element that can be seen in the two views. St. Paul's Cathedral, below, had no such luck. A dominant gothic feature in the 1616 skyline, it was burned to the ground. Poking out, in the same location in Reynold's drawing, is Sir Christopher Wren's variant. [beforeafter]St. Paul's Cathedral (Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)St. Paul's Cathedral (Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter] Interestingly, after the Great Fire of London, Wren and the incumbent King Charles II had great plans for the capital. Wren drew on his experiences of Paris, envisioning wide boulevards to replace the narrow streets, though this was never realised as businesses were eager to remain in the same location. [beforeafter]The Glove Theater (Courtesy London Metropolitan Archives)Glove Thearer is barely visible today (Courtesy Robin Reynolds)[/beforeafter]
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Stealthy Parisian development blends city life with garden courtyards

VIB Architecture has constructed a mixed-use program of student housing and a nursery along a narrow site in a busy neighborhood in Paris.

In a Parisian neighborhood known for its pedestrian-scale passages and small alleys, VIB Architecture has constructed a mixed-use project skillfully incorporating student housing and a nursery program into a complex of several new construction and renovated properties. The project is located in Belleville, a historically working class neighborhood with strong arts community and a heterogeneous mix of architectural scales arranged along a hilly topography. This latest addition to the neighborhood adds to the mix by combining contextual strategies with a bold contemporary material palette and massing scheme. The project is generally organized around two 8-story buildings that are bisected by an exterior passageway that leads to a courtyard space. Apartments are located along the active street front, protecting a rear sunny courtyard, lined with smaller scale buildings, for use by the nursery. An existing building links the two programs.
  • Facade Manufacturer Tolartois (panel fabrication); Francano (anodized finish)
  • Architects VIB Architecture (Franck Vialet and Bettina Ballus)
  • Facade Installer BECS (engineering consultants) / Lainé Delau (facade installation)
  • Facade Consultants Igrec Ingénierie (engineering)
  • Location Paris 20e
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System rainscreen (perforated, stamped, arched, boards over a galvanized steel framing)
  • Products 2mm aluminum panels (Tolartois); bronze anodizing (Francano); marble granulate coated facades (Zolgranit); Lacquered aluminum frames with integrated acoustic ventilation slits (Kawneer), Laminated and coated flat glass & metal mesh (Jakob)
The most recognizable building is wrapped in a custom-designed perforated aluminum skin, with a massing composed of slightly staggered floor plates with rounded corners. The skin of the building becomes panelized into operable shutters at window locations, allowing for users to control desired levels of shading, privacy and ventilation. The horizontal patterning of the perforations tracks downward into the courtyard, aesthetically integrating the housing and nursery programs, says Franck Vialet, Partner of VIB Architecture. “The perforations give depth and the horizontal stripes vibrate and link the street to the inner gardens.” The building interestingly was originally designed with a wooden rainscreen system, but was dropped early in the design process due to strict fire regulations. Vialet says the resulting aluminum facade became a natural choice due to its material qualities and design flexibility with fabrication processes. “We looked for a skin that could be unique and could be textured or machined into both large scale and smaller pieces. Anodized aluminum was the ideal solution because of its great ability to reflect light and to be perforated easily.” Positioned next to an historic garden, the bronze anodized building acts as a landmark, providing a sense of depth to the urban fabric of Belleville. Immediately adjacent to this building sits a second which is designed to be compatible with existing context, clad in a white plastic coating, the massing of the building is more ubiquitous than the first, while strategically stepping down at the rear facade to gently meet the courtyard. By altering the tectonics of the two buildings, the overall impact of the scale of the project is reduced while reinforcing a central circulation “spine” through the length of the plot, linking two successive courtyards. Vialet says the most successful part of the project is the urbanism it fosters: “its ability to naturally blend into the city and to bring together people from the street, the park, and the courtyards.”
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KPF architect Shawn Duffy examines trends in London facade design

A specialist in large-scale projects with over 20 years of experience, Kohn Pedersen Fox principal Shawn Duffy is a keen observer of trends in London's commercial and residential building markets. Next month, Duffy—who served as managing principal on Aykon Nine Elms and One Nine Elms—joins BuroHappold Engineering's Jonathan Sakula in a panel on "London Calling: The Bold New Face of the UK" at the Facades+ NYC conference. With respect to commercial developments, observed Duffy, one contemporary preoccupation is how to improve the adaptability of the facade by the occupants. "Most often the outer layer of skin simply wraps a traditional sealed curtain wall with no operable panels," he said. "The control of the blinds in the ventilated cavity is done by a central computer system concerned mainly with reducing heat gain, leaving little or no individual control over daylighting and glare." Duffy anticipates an increased focus on how to enhance the comfort of individual users without sacrificing overall sustainability goals. "The challenge will be balancing the conflicting issues of natural ventilation and noise, daylighting and glare, fresh air and reduction in mechanical loads," he said. On London's residential construction scene, meanwhile, one challenge is the fact that "facades in both tower and low rise construction require solid building materials—aesthetically, so they don't look like office buildings, and in increasing percentages, technically, in order to meet the stringent facade performance requirements," explained Duffy. Because materials including brick and stone are so expensive, architects are often left few options for cladding other than metal or concrete-composite panels. The situation may soon change for the better, however. "The use of prefabricated, fully glazed facade panels is increasing," said Duffy. "The benefits of improved quality control in finishes and reduced fabrication/construction time is offsetting the increased cost of quality materials, creating better looking and performing residential facades." High performance building envelopes have the potential to help mitigate some of London's most pressing concerns, including energy waste. At present, London's commercial market  remains fixated on floor to ceiling glass. "The value of extensive glass facades to office developers and occupiers looks likely to continue as a main driver of office facade design," said Duffy. But a growing emphasis on environmental performance will eventually privilege more solid surfaces, he predicted. "We will then see more commercial buildings turning the amount and type of glazing to the orientation of the facades, the existing and future context, and the types of spaces within." Learn more about the cutting edge in facade design and fabrication in London, New York, and beyond at Facades+ NYC April 21-22. For a full agenda and to register, see the conference website.