In the age of glass curtain walls, the notion of a ‘window‘ may seem a quaint relic of stone and wood framed structures, yet it is still a basic conceptual building block of architecture. In Elements of Architecture, the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas installed a large display of glazed windows (pointed arches, wood frames and divided lights) taken from buildings that form the Brooking National Collection of historic building components. Across the room was a display of advanced contemporary windows cut away to show their internal structures, gauges for testing window strength and a machine for making window parts. The idea of these fragments and the 2014 biennale was to suggest they represented advanced “research” into the basic components of contemporary production. But at least with windows it was little more than a formal display of objects, rather than an outline of current academic research or technical sophistication. But now there is an institute in Tokyo devoting itself solely to the history, meaning and future of the window. Founded by the Japanese fastener (and yes zipper) company YKK AP Inc. in 2007, the Window Research Institute or as they term it “Windowology,” is hoping to become the world–class center for research on glazed openings and an archive of research for scholars. They have, under their director Kinuko Yamamoto, created an institute based on the belief that "windows represent civilization and culture." It approaches the subject of windows in a serious, academic way that brings in architects, cultural historians, and artists. It is fascinating that Japan, only a few centuries ago, did not even have framed windows in their buildings but instead utilized paneled Shoji screens that emitted light though the entire wall rather than simple glazed openings. Windows were not introduced into Japan on a large scale until the arrival of Europeans in the 18th century. The YKK AP–sponsored institute just conducted a day–long symposium on Windowology at the Fumihiko Maki–designed Spiral Hall in conjunction with an exhibition Windows Represent Civilization and Culture, that focuses on the meaning as well as the architectural and urban effects of the window. The exhibition has been organized with the aim of comprehensively examining the knowledge and sensibilities surrounding the window “as a universal cultural phenomena” as described by artists and architects. Many of the images in the exhibit are based on the institute's research and highlight the window's urban effect on the street or as cultural frames for viewing out through and onto the landscape. One large installation, "Window and Ladder–Leaning into History," by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich, set the stage by presenting a large gravity–defying window with a ladder in a large double height circular space. In addition, artists Takashi Homma and Yusuke Kamata each presented new window-themed artwork that they created for the exhibition. Finally, Italian architect Michele De Lucchi produced several of his signature pictograms of windows that serve as a poster image of the exhibit. The symposium presented research by scholars and architects who in their practice consider the importance of the window. Iwan Baan, the architectural photographer, presented a series of windows from refuges camps that are part of a research project he has been developing for ten years. One image showed the mud wall of a camp that had the side of an automobile embedded in it for structural support and used the car's window opening of the interior space. Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-Wow spoke about windows as adaptations of local cultural norms and environments, arguing that architects must consider these functions as pro forma realities while working with new and advanced technological window design. Tsukamoto also spoke about energy efficiency in new windows and how they will change our architecture. He described technologically–sophisticated new windows being developed that “pull” heat from the outside into the interior. Fumihiko Maki also focused on the future of technologically–engineered apertures as he spoke about his latest housing projects to create a sustainable society. Three Tokyo–based designers of small residential projects that Tokyo is known for: Yuichiro Kodama, Toshiharu Ikaga and Tetsu Kubota (moderated by Toshiharu Ikaga) discussed wall openings not simply as places for egress or controlled ventilation but as key design elements of each building, like the Steel house, which has an elegant continuous opening on each wall. Finally, historian–designer Terunobu Fujimori showed his wildly expressionistic Mosaic Tile Museum that uses windows as random and odd–shaped small openings splayed across his façade. The ten–hour symposium also considered the historic legacy of windows in literature, art and regional cultures. Vittorio Lampugnani, who has worked with the YKK AP Institute since it was founded, highlighted Roman paintings of windows found in excavation sites and in the paintings of Caravaggio, where the window became a sign of regional culture but does not emit light in order to emphasize that light comes down from God, not the wall apertures on his painted architecture. Lampugnani also showed his Zurich housing development, where windows serve as traditional markers for European urbanism and historical context. The YKK AP Institute that created the window event and exhibit is creating an online archive of windows for scholars that makes it the most important repository on window research in the world. Windows may be new to Japanese culture but this Institute is quickly becoming the most important repository of their history, meaning, and development. If you need to know about windows, an important but often overlooked aspect of architecture. you need to go to Windowology.
Posts tagged with "YKK":
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.
Between keynote sessions, awards presentations, and interviews at the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) National 2013 Convention, AN's editors joined 20,000 attending architects in the search for the newest and most innovative products on the floor of the Colorado Convention Center's exposition hall. Following are a few notable discoveries. SureClad Porcelain Stone Crossville The Tennessee-based supplier of interior ceramics has partnered with Shackerley, a British manufacturer of porcelain ventilated facade systems, for an exterior cladding solution that meets U.S. building codes, including all seismic and hurricane standards. The system (pictured above) is supported by an aluminum frame and is delivered to job sites as a prefabricated system to ensure fast and efficient installation. SunGuard Neutral 78/65 Guardian Industries Developed to passively retain heat in colder climates, Neutral 78/65's low-E coating facilitates high visible light and a neutral color. It can be used in double- or triple-glazed units and can also be combined with any of SunGuard's other low-E coatings. AA5450 Series OptiQ Window Kawneer The new series in the OptiQ line of windows maintains thermal continuity and reduces energy transmission in both single and double hung constructions thanks to a polyamide thermal break. The 4-and-5/8-inch aluminum frame maintains a minimal profile and can be outfitted with 1-inch double pane or 1-and-1/2-inch triple pane insulated glass. OptiQ Windows are also available with expanded configurations. Benchmark Facade Systems Kingspan A fully integrated line of ventilated exterior cladding debuted at AIA 2013 and is now available from Kingspan. The company supplies a complete system of metal rails, insulated panels with a Bayer-developed polyurethane, and fastening solutions. The cladding is available in aluminum composite material (ACM), metal composite material (MCM), plate, high pressure laminate (HPL), ceramic granite, terra cotta, and thin brick, and comes in a broad range of colors. YUW 750 XTH Unitized Wall System YKK Hurricane and impact mitigating glazing for low- to mid-rise commercial buildings can be applied to multi-span curtain and single-span ribbon walls with YKK's latest addition to its ProTek portfolio. The new wall system can be specified with visible exterior face covers, a four-sided structural silicone glaze, or in a combination of both. It also boasts U-factors as low as .30.
You've got to have one. A facade, that is. So AN rounded up five leading glass and metal facade systems whose value is more than skin deep. For instance, Kalzip's FC Rainscreen, used on New Orleans' Superdome. These aluminum panels form a non-penetrative facade system that can be installed in two directions, from top to bottom or from the bottom up. Individual sheets can be removed and installed independently of the rest of the assembly. The system's quick, cost-effective installation procedure won it the job of renovating the Superdome in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. STILLA JOEL BERMAN GLASS STUDIO These three-dimensional kiln-cast glass panels are available in a low-iron version, which virtually eliminates the green cast inherent in clear float glass. They can also be tempered for safety and impact resistance for exterior applications. The panels can be installed with the studio's newly expanded line of hardware, which has been designed specifically for this glass product. OMBRA PULP STUDIO A wire mesh core surrounded by tempered glass obscures angled light, yet appears transparent when viewed head-on, allowing more daylight to enter a building in the morning and late afternoon when the sun is low on the horizon. It can filter up to 50 percent of transmitted light without tinting or special coating, and also acts as a moisture-resistant sound barrier with an STC rating of up to 49. REYNBOND ACM ALCOA REYNOBOND This lightweight Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) is as durable as it is pliable. It comes in interlocking panels that can be folded or curved while still retaining its shape, making it an ideal choice for challenging facades. Designers can choose among a variety of colors and also have the option of selecting a fire-retardant mineral core. YES 45 TU YKK This expansion to YKK's popular storefront system allows it to handle front-set glass applications, improving thermal performance and allowing for either interior or exterior glazing. The patented Thermabond Plus process creates a thermally broken system that reduces heat flow through the frame, saving energy and providing architects and designers with greater flexibility.
“The Energy Tour” is a music video and performance tour premiering at the AIA 2012 convention, happening now in Washington D.C. Produced by YKK AP America, the video introduces the new YUW 750 XT unitized wall system, part of the company’s enerGfacade product line. Part advertisement, part SNL Digital Short, part amateur YouTube upload, the video features two Ohio State students in suits rapping about new YKK AP products, “Listen up the saving starts now,/ Come and roll with us and we’ll show you how./ To minimize costs and reduce heat gain,/ What they say is we’ll make it rain.” YKK AP America has used YouTube before, including a “Building a Better Tomorrow, Today” video competition and another enerGfacade product release video, both in 2010. With a simple beat and scenes of dancing architects excited about energy efficiency, this new video is a novel, youth-oriented addition to advertising for the design community.
While many of you –our loyal readers--were partying it up in New Orleans at our AIA New York State party, we were being honored in New York! The Historic Districts Council presented the paper with its Friend in the Media Award at their 12th annual Grassroots Awards in the spectacular in the garden of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights. I was honored to accept the award for our very hardworking staff on Murray Street. Meanwhile, Ibex, AIANY, YKK, and the Ceramic Tiles of Italy hosted their shindig in New Orleans...