Brought to you with support fromOn October 11, The Architect's Newspaper is bringing Facades+ to Toronto for the first time to discuss the architectural trends and technology reshaping the city and region. Toronto's KPMB Architects, an architectural practice with a global reach, is co-chairing the conference. Panels for the morning symposium will discuss KPMB Architects' decades-long collaboration with Transsolar Klima Engineering, the proliferation of timber construction across Canada and specifically its university campuses, and the adaptive reuse of Ontario's architectural heritage. The second portion of the conference, which occurs in the afternoon, will extend the dialogue with intensive workshops. Participants for the conference symposium and workshops include the Canada Green Building Council, the Carpenters' District Council of Ontario, the College of Carpenters, Diamond Schmitt Architects, ERA Architects, Kirkor Architects & Planners, Maffeis Engineering, Moses Structural Engineers, MJMA, NADAAA, RDH, and UL. In this interview with The Architect's Newspaper, KPMB's Director of Innovation Geoffrey Turnbull and Senior Associate David Constable, the conference co-chairs, discuss the theme of the symposium's first panel, "Dynamic Skins: A Conversation on Innovative Facades," an exploration of KPMB and Transsolar's use of double-glass facades. AN: KPMB & Transsolar’s collaboration began over a decade ago with the Manitoba Hydro Palace. Can you expand on the significance of the project, and how lessons learned from the collaboration were applied to future projects David Constable & Geoffrey Turnbull: Manitoba Hydro represented a turning point for KPMB in how the office approached sustainability, but more fundamentally, forced a re-think of the typical design process. This project demonstrated how building design and function may converge to become something greater than a sum of its parts. One of the first projects in North America to invest in a true IDP, or ‘Integrated Design Process’, the design team undertook a process with the client to bring all disciplines to the table at the very beginning of the project. Decisions were discussed and evaluated in detail with input from all disciplines, and the form and strategy for the project grew organically from that process. The first step in the integrated process was the development of a Project Charter, which became the guiding code against which all decisions were measured and validated. AN: How does the use of software inform Transsolar’s consulting during the design process? DC & GT: Transsolar has a high degree of in-house technical expertise in the physical sciences, as well as a deep well of experience on built projects. These capabilities, paired with advanced modeling tools, gives Transsolar a unique ability to develop strategies for projects from a first-principles perspective. As architects, this is transformative in terms of the possibilities that can arise from a collaboration with Transsolar. Where we would otherwise be limited to rules-of-thumb and best practices, working with Transsolar allows us to interrogate the particulars of a given project and derive solutions that are unique to that specific project. Manitoba Hydro Place is an excellent example of this… It’s not immediately obvious that, in a cold climate like Winnipeg, a glass office tower would make sense. By understanding the site, identifying what is unique about it (e.g. there is a very high degree of sunshine in Winnipeg for such a cold city), and then building a strategy around that, we were able to design a project that provides an exceptional degree of comfort for the occupants, a lot of natural daylight, and terrific views to the landscape, all while being one of the most energy-efficient buildings on the continent in a city with a seasonal temperature swing of 65 degrees. In addition, Transsolar uses Transys modeling software, which allows for robust, iterative testing of concepts at a small scale, allowing the team to quickly test assumptions and prove out specific relationships between building components. This process allows active components such as motorized operable windows and automated louver blind systems to be tested in a dynamic way. Elements such as wind, sun, and humidity can all be modeled and reviewed dynamically over the course of an entire year. AN: All of the projects to be discussed during "Dynamic Skins" possess double-glass facades. Can you elaborate on this feature and its merits? DC & GT: Ultimately, on any project where a double facade represents an optimal solution, this will be driven primarily by the desire to optimize the interior environment for occupants. These systems allow us to accomplish a host of optimizations that enhance comfort in the space: maximize daylighting while modulating glare, provide natural ventilation for a larger percentage of the year, minimize radiant asymmetries so that it’s comfortable to sit near the window in winter and summer, etc. Fundamentally the difference between a traditional facade and a double facade is this concept of static versus dynamic. Traditional facades are forced to implement one static condition throughout the entire course of the year. In a Canadian environment, this can represent a huge swing in conditions – temperature, radiance, wind, and humidity can all change radically and quickly. A double facade allows the building skin to become an active component in the life of a building. Windows and shading devices become active elements which remain in constant dialogue with both the interior and exterior environment and allow the building to adapt in real-time to its environment. Further information regarding Facades+ Toronto can be found here.
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Brought to you with support fromOn April 4 and 5, Facades+ is returning to New York for the eighth year in a row. Organized by The Architect's Newspaper, the New York conference brings together leading AEC practitioners for a robust full-day symposium with a second day of intensive workshops led by manufacturers, architects, and engineers. Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, and Toshiko Mori are respectively leading the morning and afternoon keynote addresses for the symposium. In between the keynote addresses, representatives from Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Permasteelisa, Cooper Union, Gensler, Heintges, Atelier 10, Transsolar, Walter P. Moore, Schüco, Frener & Reifer, and Behnisch Architekten, will be on hand to discuss recently completed innovative projects. New York-and-Frankfurt based practice 1100 Architect is co-chairing the conference. In anticipation of the conference, 1100 Architect's Juergen Riehm sat down with AN to discuss the firm's ongoing work, the conference's program, and trends reshaping New York City's built environment. The Architect's Newspaper: It is safe to say that New York City is undergoing a tremendous period of growth. What do you perceive to be the most exciting trends within the city? Juergen Riehm: You’re right; New York City is undergoing big change and growth. I would say that one of the big drivers of that change—and one of the exciting trends—is the investment in the city’s public spaces. There has been such transformation along the waterfronts and in parks across all five boroughs, and that has really catalyzed growth. We have worked with several city agencies for many years and in different ways, including with the Department of Parks & Recreation, which has been an exciting partnership, contributing to these changes. One of the projects we currently have in design for NYC Parks is a new community center in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. There, we are designing a 33,000-square-foot community center. The facade will perform in a number of ways. Since it is a community center, we want it to be as open and transparent as possible, and it also needs to be robust and durable. The building is on track to meet the city’s new sustainability standards LL31/32 and LEED Gold. There has been so much attention on new large-scale developments like Hudson Yards or the supertall towers in Midtown, but one of the other exciting trends right now is the renewed attention on optimizing the performance of existing buildings. It is something we will address during Facades+ NYC, but there is great work happening now on restorations of historic buildings—at the Ford Foundation or the United Nations, for example—that not only addresses decades of wear and tear, but that also brings these structures up to full 21st-century performance standards. AN: 1100 Architect is based in both New York and Frankfurt. What are the greatest benefits of operating a trans-Atlantic practice? JR: Our practice has always been deeply rooted in New York—just as it has also always had an international footprint. From our earliest days, we delivered projects overseas, so it seems like part of 1100 Architect’s DNA to have an ongoing dialogue with other geographies. We launched our Frankfurt office about 15 years ago, and, as you suggest, it does bring benefits. In general, we find that it has a reciprocal sharpening effect, with each location informing the other with different materials, technologies, and delivery methods. AN: Which projects are 1100 Architect currently working on, or recently completed, that demonstrate the firm's longstanding demonstration of sustainable enclosures? JR: Well, the NYC Parks community center in East Flatbush is a good example. It’s an exciting project in many ways—including the fact that we are designing it to the City’s new LL31/32 sustainability standards. In every way, we are really pushing for optimal performance, and the high-performance envelope plays an integral role toward that end. We were recently awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of State, so we are poised to begin working on diplomatic facilities around the world, so the safety and security of facade systems will be a paramount consideration. In Germany, we are renovating a 19,000-seat soccer stadium and adding a new training facility, using an innovative and high-performance channel-glass facade. We recently completed a Passive House–certified kindergarten there, too, which involved a high-performance facade. AN: Are there any techniques and materials used in Germany or the EU that should be adopted in the United States? JR: In Germany, I find that there is a more closely integrated relationship between government, the building industry, and the architectural profession. With environmental standards, for example, the goals set by the government are quite ambitious, and it has resulted in a closely integrated process of meeting those goals. In this moment of deregulation in the U.S., it seems like a good time to consider the value of the government’s role in moving toward energy efficiency. AN: Where do you see the industry heading in the coming years? JR: By necessity, I see it moving toward higher standards of energy performance. Climate science is calling for it and the marketplace is increasingly looking for it, so the architecture and building industry will need to deliver. And as I mentioned at the start of this conversation, I also think there will be a lot of focus on updating existing buildings to enhance performance. Further information regarding the conference can be found here.
Brought to you with support fromThe newest major addition to Northwestern University in Chicagoland, the 415,000 square-foot Kellogg School of Management’s Global Hub, establishes a formidable cornerstone for the campus’s border with Lake Michigan. KPMB Architects, a Toronto-based firm with a significant background in sustainable institutional design, addressed the region’s weather extremes with a well-executed layout and an undulating triple-glazed glass curtain wall.
Lake Michigan. The nearby shoreline stabilization system, composed of boulders and precast concrete, has been consistently smoothed over by wave patterns. For KPMB, “the use of glass helps break down the mass of the large structure while maximizing visual connections to the adjacent lake and Chicago skyline." The 160,000 square-foot curtain wall is designed with horizontal and vertical anodized aluminum mullions, and a reflective glass coating. While sections of the facade are curved, the design team worked closely with the manufacturer to incorporate narrow curtain wall modules and vertical glass fins at every frame to blur hard edges. Each triple-glazed glass panel is tied to the structural frame with modified steel angles painted to match the curtain wall and aluminum anchor hooks. The result is a sweeping surface that simultaneously reflects other wings of the building and the ever-changing environmental conditions. Although glass panels of various sizes are the primary material element, KPMB Architects added certain details to diversify the dominating blue-green color palette. The elevations are unified by reddish-brown Brazilian walnut soffits that crest and wrap around the building. Brazilian walnut, a hardwood, was chosen for its durability and minimal maintenance. The Global Hub’s layout consists of four wings, perceived by the design team as independent buildings, rotating around a centrally placed atrium. Swooping white balconies, interconnected by pale-yellow wood bridges and an expansive two-story stairwell, are the main conduits of interior circulation. The glass curtain wall and a band of rooftop clerestories, clad with high-performance translucent glazing, flood the interior with natural light without significantly producing thermal heat. The project, part of KPMB Architects' long-running collaboration with Transsolar KlimaEngineering, was designed with a number of features to boost environmental performance. These measures include a geothermal energy system embedded beneath an adjacent football field, a ventilation system that circulates fresh air, and an automated shading system. In 2018, the Global Hub received LEED platinum certification.According to Senior Associate Kevin Thomas, the first inspiration for the building’s six-story curvilinear form is the rolling movement stemming from the adjacent
The Steven Holl Architects (SHA)-led team has won the University College of Dublin's (UCD) Future Campus – University College Dublin International Design Competition. Holl’s winning scheme will see the creation of a “green spine” across the sixty-acre campus, and construction of a crystalline Centre for Creative Design. Steven Holl Architects was joined by Dublin-based Kavanagh Tuite Architects, Brightspot Strategy, structural engineers ARUP, landscape architects HarrisonStevens, and climate engineers Transsolar. Nearly 100 teams from 28 different countries entered the competition, and a star-studded shortlist featuring Diller Scofidio + Renfro, John Ronan Architects, O’Donnell + Toumey, Steven Holl Architects, Studio Libeskind, and UN Studio was revealed in April. The SHA-designed Centre will reportedly reflect the “60-million-year-old natural geometry” of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, filtered through the “stream of consciousness”-style prose found in UCD alumnus James Joyce’s Ulysses, according to Steven Holl. The resultant building is a geometric take on SHA’s more typical institutional work, with windows and balconies carved into prismatic shapes, including a gem-like auditorium faceted like a dodecagon. A plaza and reflecting pool will meet the building at its base. Inside, the center has been optimized for collecting natural light as the jutting crystal shapes—rotated 23 degrees in reference to the tilt of the Earth—will act as enormous solar tubes. The new building will contain classrooms and maker spaces bounded by glass walls, so visitors can peer into the academic areas without disrupting the work going on inside. The Centre will act as a gateway to the seven new quadrangular green spaces the team has designed, which will be interlinked through the new pedestrian “spine” that will run parallel to the campus’s existing circulation route. The SHA team has included a series of solar power-generating weather canopies along the route, as well as cafes and social gathering spaces. UCD was founded in 1854 and is the largest college in Ireland with over 30,000 students. The current 330-acre campus was designed in 1963 by Polish architect Andrej Wejchert and contains a large number of brutalist buildings. The Centre’s budget will be approximately $60 million, and no completion date has been given as of yet.
Work is currently underway on a new mixed-use development at Ohio's Oberlin College that, once complete later this year, will include one of only a handful of hotels pursuing LEED Platinum certification in the United States. The hotel operator is Olympia Companies, based in Portland, Maine. In addition to 70 guest rooms, the building features a restaurant focused on local food, 10,000 square feet of retail, a conference center, and a basement jazz club. Rounding out the facility's 105,000 square feet will be offices for the college's admissions and development staff. The Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center, developed by Cleveland's Smart Hotels, was planned to be “the cornerstone of Oberlin's Green Arts District,” at the intersection of North Main Street and East College Street. Chicago architects Solomon Cordwell Buenz designed the project, which will draw on Oberlin's existing 13-acre solar photovoltaic farm adjacent to campus. Smart Hotels' Christopher Noble said the design team worked with the New York office of Germany's Transsolar on the development of that solar farm, and the new building will not throw Oberlin off its target of purchasing 100 percent renewable energy for electricity by the end of 2015. Mechanical engineers KJWW helped finesse the building's fully radiant heating and cooling, which employs no forced-air ventilation—although some back-of-house areas will still use some water-source heat pumps, Noble said. “We're relying on nonconventional HVAC systems,” said Noble, who added that heating and cooling needs will be fulfilled fully from geothermal wells on site. The building is expected to be certified LEED Platinum after opening early next year. While the design team hasn't assessed the payback period for the building's sustainable features, Noble said Oberlin made energy efficiency a project priority. “It wasn't a cost issue,” he said. “It was a design issue—we were going to make a statement and do this.” Of the $35 million total project cost, $12 million came from outside donors, including $5 million from the building's namesake, the late philanthropist and chairman of Progressive Insurance Company, Peter B. Lewis.
Steven Holl Architects have been selected to design a new addition to Mumbai’s City Museum, besting finalists including OMA, Zaha Hadid Architects, Amanda Levete, wHY, and Pei Cobb Freed, among others. The 125,000 square foot white concrete addition will include 65,000 square feet of galleries, each with carefully calibrated natural light filtering down from overhead. Light is used as a device to draw visitors through the spaces. In addition to providing natural light, cuts in the roof form channels that feed a large monsoon pool adjacent to the museum. Inspired by India’s monumental well architecture, the pool serves a contemporary function: Lined with photovoltaic cells, the pool will generate 60 percent of the museum’s energy. Guy Nordenson & Associates is engineering the project, and Transsolar is serving as sustainability consultants. The international competition was the first ever held for a public building in India. Construction is expected to begin in 2015.
A high-performance facade weaves a diverse program into a single volume.The School of Law at the University of Baltimore was founded nearly nine decades ago, but for most of that time its classrooms, offices, library, and clinics were scattered among several downtown buildings. That changed last year, with the opening of the John and Frances Angelos Law Center. Designed by Behnisch Architekten with Ayers Saint Gross, the Angelos Law Center unites a diverse program within a single 12-story structure. Its checkerboard envelope, which won Best Facade in AN’s 2014 Best of Design Awards, weaves the building’s three principal components—a classroom and office wing, the library, and a central atrium—into a single volume. In addition, the facade positions the university on the cutting edge of sustainable design. Its integrated approach to energy efficiency has helped the Angelos Law Center win several green-building prizes, and set it on track to achieve LEED platinum status. Behnisch Architekten took a tripartite approach to the design of the facade. The architects wrapped the portion of the building dedicated to offices and classrooms with an aluminum plate and punched window system. “This is the kind of facade that works very well with the kinds of spaces behind it, because those tend to be a bit more regulated and modular in the way they are allocated,” said partner Matt Noblett. For the library, the uppermost of the building’s two L-shaped volumes, the designers chose a frit glass with a pattern they call a basket weave. “The library, from a program perspective, is kind of a big soup,” said Noblett. There are group study spaces, offices, and, of course, the stacks. “[W]e wanted to find a way in the facade to do [something] more neutral, less specific,” he explained. “The basket weave is less specific in how the articulation of the facade related to the program behind it.” The third segment of the facade, transparent glass enclosing the building’s atrium, draws the two other volumes together. The architects developed a unique sustainability strategy for each section of the building. For the office block, National Enclosure Company fabricated a unitized curtain system comprising the window surface, exterior blinds, and a glass rain screen. The Hunter Douglas Nysan blinds move up and down according to an automated program that operates the top one-third and bottom two-thirds of the windows separately. “It’s remarkable to look at the specific data, to see how much more of the year you’re able to maintain comfort without excessive amounts of air conditioning when you have an exterior sunshading system,” said Noblett, whose firm worked with Transsolar on the building’s climate engineering. Outside the blinds is a low-iron laminated glass rain screen mounted on aluminum brackets. While the architects initially designed the rain screen to protect the blinds, it also solved an architectural problem. “It had a tendency to reunify all of the facade into one building,” he explained. “The more you perforate, the less you read as one volume. By essentially shrink-wrapping [the offices and classrooms], you start to read it again as a [single] volume.” The library at the Angelos Law Center is faced with frit glass from Viracon. “We did a lot of study with the manufacturer” to determine the gradient pattern, said Noblett. “What we wanted it to read was as purely white as possible. We wanted the ceramic as close to the surface as possible.” The goal was to reduce solar gain to the bare minimum. “If you were designing the building and didn’t care how it looked, you would just build a solid wall,” said Noblett. “The idea to add frit to make the wall essentially solid, [but] from the interior of the library it still feels like it’s open.” Outside the atrium, Behnisch Architekten installed a fixed brise soleil by National Enclosure Company on the south and west sides. The north side they left uncovered. All of the Angelos Law Center’s windows are operable, which, while not unheard of, is still unusual in a non-residential setting. “It’s hard to argue with a building where you can get comfortable by opening windows versus sealing up and running the air,” said Noblett. Noblett describes designing a high-performance facade as “this game you’re constantly playing between how much light comes in and how much solar gain [results].” By that analogy, the Angelos Law Center is a check mark in Behnisch Architekten’s win column.
On October 24th, AN and Enclos present Facades+PERFORMANCE, an architectural symposium in Chicago on the complexity, construction, and design of modern facades. Gathering some of the leading architects, engineers, and innovators within the field, panels and keynotes will address the most pressing issues of facade design today. Among these experts is Pratik Raval of Transsolar who will be leading “Climate Responsive Design,” a discussion of the foundations, challenges, and solutions found within engineering for optimal human comfort and low environmental impact. Raval is a regular studio jury at Colombia University and the University of Pennsylvania, a frequent presenter for various architectural and engineering symposiums, and a guest advisory board member for the New York City College of Technology’s Bachelor’s program in Architectural Technology. He has a diverse background in both tech and design. Using Transsolar project examples, he will provide Facades+PERFORMANCE attendees with insight on optimization and collaborative architectural integration with the built environment. Transsolar is a climate engineering firm dedicated to creation of the highest aesthetic impact with the lowest ecological consequences. Raval has been involved in several important projects with the firm, focusing his skills on designs for optimal energy consumption through creative architectural and engineering design solutions. He recently developed climate concepts for the Center for Sustainable Urban Living at Loyola University in Chicago with architecture firm, Solomon Cordwell Buenz. The student housing complex, set to open this fall, consumes 50 percent less energy through green initiatives that harvest its outdoor environment for the benefit of its indoor climate. Register for the symposium and see the complete Facades+PERFORMANCE schedule.