Posts tagged with "ZGF":
Expensify is an expense management software company, so it’s fitting that its newest office in Portland, Oregon, is set inside one of the city’s historic bank buildings. Located on the corner of Southwest 5th Avenue and Stark Street, the 103-year-old First National Bank, or the “marble temple,” does not look like the home of an emerging tech enterprise. But the San Francisco–based brand has outfitted the four-story atrium and other spaces to respond to its need for flexibility without compromising the integrity of the structure.
Designed by ZGF Architects, the office reflects Expensify’s self-described “choose-your-own-adventure” work setting. Employees have an array of seating options, from a 41-foot-long communal table to a plush swing set, a classy boardroom, and a speakeasy-style salon with leather booths by Restoration Hardware—all except for personal desks. This goal of creating a 100 percent agile workplace drove all design decisions both large and small, according to Alan Gerencer, principal of ZGF.
Expensify also wanted its office to be a place where employees could directly connect with each other and the national landmark building. Gerencer explained that the interior was completely shelled out when they began work. “It was bare concrete,” he said. “Our effort was to define this space and still respect what was existing.”
To do this, ZGF referenced both the obvious and minute details on the building’s exterior as well as its Art Deco, skylit interior. For example, the firm imagined a set of floating conference rooms immediately visible from the bank’s main entrance that resemble a tree house. Built with glass and blackened steel, the triad of windows on the boxy structures mirror the bank’s expansive vertical windows. Angular chandeliers from Nemo Lighting, reminiscent of the opulent hanging lamps found in old banks, gleam inside. Additionally, the oak flooring by Kährs and millwork used throughout the entire office pay homage to the patterns of oak leaves and acorns on the historic bank vault doors.
Even the oak wood–clad private booths on the third floor, designed for quiet work and conversation, feature a Scandinavian gabled roof design that’s defined with the exact shape and proportions of the classical X-shaped balustrades and grilles nearby. All of these varied work areas allow employees to interact with the historic space on many different levels.
Because Expensify is leasing the office space, ZGF laid out the interior architecture to “gently touch” its historic core. “This whole structure could essentially be removed,” Gerencer said, “and no one would ever know Expensify was there.”
Like other cities across the country, Seattle has been suffering from a severe lack of housing supply that, over the long term, has caused housing prices and rents to skyrocket. A slew of big-budget, mostly luxury skyscraper projects are in the works, however, and aim to bring many more units online over the coming years, hopefully easing the housing crunch. It might seem confusing to counter high housing prices with luxury developments. But given a multi-decade-long trend of under-building, millenials’ stunted entry into the housing market, and the fallout from the foreclosure crisis of 2008, the only way to make prices (which have increased 35 percent over the last five years in the rental market) go down is simply to build more of everything.
In Seattle, the city’s Denny Triangle—just beyond the city’s downtown—has been the recent site of a tectonic shift in real estate and development. Architecture firm NBBJ is currently working on a huge, 3.3 million-square-foot corporate skyscraper campus for online retailer Amazon here that will span three city blocks and include three 37-story tall towers, two mid-rise office buildings, and a series of “biospheres” containing exotic plant specimens. The development has jumpstarted other housing and mixed-use projects along Denny Way and the surrounding streets, laying the groundwork for a new mixed-use tower district. This summer, Dean Jones, principal at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty told the local NBC news affiliate, “In the next five years, Denny Way is going to feel a little bit more like Manhattan,” as he shared a video showing 26 high-rise projects currently in the pipeline.
Jones is part of the team tasked with promoting the new Nexus development, a 40-story Weber Thompson–designed condominium tower that broke ground earlier this year and will be completed in 2019. The project is the first high-rise condominium to begin construction downtown since 2012 and consists of a series of stacked boxes, each slightly off-axis from the one below. The tower’s shifting volumes conceal 383 apartments, designed in a variety of configurations, ranging from studio units to multi-bedroom dwellings. As of October, 80 percent of the units had been pre-sold.
Another development by Weber Thompson is located at 970 Denny, a 440-foot-tall mixed-use tower that aims to activate street-level areas along the Denny Way corridor with a pair of low-rise, seven-story tall office and commercial blocks flanking a mid-block tower. These smaller masses are articulated using brick cladding and large expanses of glass. They will contain 15,098 square feet of retail space, with storefronts and the apartment tower’s entrance marked by V-shaped column-supported steel canopies. The tower podium will be capped by a landscaped park, containing a freestanding pavilion structure, with a similar space located at the tower’s stepped apex. The structure will contain 461 apartment units and is being designed to LEED Silver standards. The tower itself is clad in expanses of curtain wall glass that feature operable windows. The complex is currently under construction and is set to open in 2018.
Nearby, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects (ZGF Architects) are working on a two-building complex: the 11-story Tilt49 office tower and the 41-story AMLI Arc housing tower. The office building will feature 300,000 square feet of space, with the ground floor containing retail. Right next door, the $115-million AMLI Arc tower will contain 393 apartment units, a 509-stall underground parking garage, and amenity spaces on the 12th and 41st floors. The tower will offer different apartments types, including an industrially-inspired model and another unit type with more upscale, “condo-quality finishes.” The residential tower is aiming for LEED Gold certification. Construction is well underway for both buildings and is slated for completion sometime in 2017. The project is being built by Mortenson Construction’s Seattle office.
Lastly, the 41-story tall McKenzie Tower by developer Clise Properties and designed by Graphite Design Group will be located diagonally across from the new Amazon tower complex. It will feature 450 residential units and 8,000 square feet of retail. The elliptical building is designed to maximize views from within each unit, presenting a wide-set gaze over the city. The tower’s shape will also minimize the monolith’s impact on surrounding viewsheds. Like the other schemes mentioned here, the tower will rise out of a low-rise podium and will be clad in glass curtain walls.
These transformative projects portend the growing influence of the region’s technological powerhouses on the built environment. With Amazon and others adding thousands of new jobs at a steady clip, it seems like Seattle-based architects and developers will keep working like this for a long time.
ZGF Architects teamed up with Hensel Phelps Construction to deliver a custom 220,000-square-foot design-build cancer center for the University of Arizona at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The facility incorporates an “evidence-based, multidisciplinary model of healthcare” and utilizes the most modern technologies. An exterior shade system, along with chilled beams—the first to be used in an Arizona healthcare setting—greatly contribute to the facility’s sustainability. The east and west facades are clad with a solar shading system composed of repetitive rectangular quarter-inch aluminum composite panels (ACP) perforated with half-inch diameter holes yielding a 40 percent openness factor. The panels are folded once at a calculated angle, bending outward to reveal a shaded view of the surrounding desert context from the interior. This copper-toned assembly takes on the coloration of the landscape, adding a contextual aesthetic to the project. The assembly sits 30 inches off a facade of stucco and curtainwall glazing—a dimension that allows maintenance access to the exterior envelope for cleaning and repairs. The panels are supported directly by a tube steel frame hung from a series of outriggers that cantilever from a hefty 16-inch reinforced concrete roof slab. These “diving boards” establish a dimensional grid that is constructed from the individual 15-foot-6-inch by 5-foot-3-inch panels. Additional outriggers on the same grid provide lateral support, tracking through the facade onto the slab edge. The project delivery was design-build, per University of Arizona’s requirements. Mitra Memari, principal at ZGF, said the process benefitted from a close working relationship between ZGF and Hensel Phelps, which previously teamed up to complete a different project on University of Arizona’s main campus: “Having gone through this process, one of the key factors in making a design-build project successful is the relationship. Hansel Phelps knows ZGF very well and our design aesthetic, and we know Hansel Phelps very well…specifically individuals who worked on the project. This played well for the university and the end product." Memari said the success of the collaboration is evident in the fact that, for the $74-million project, over 90 percent of the 450 RFIs received were “confirming RFIs” to provide clear communications and exact resolution records. The primary purpose of the screen system is to reduce peak mechanical loads in the building. More than 10 variations of the assembly were studied by the architects, who were looking for a configuration that maximizes view and reduces glare, while properly shading the building. The project team was able to work with the fabricator from a very early point in the project, which allowed it to quickly optimize panel material, size, and configuration. A full size mock-up of a corner condition further helped to inform detailing decisions. Two types of shading panels—one per orientation— were developed in response to solar angles. The repetitive geometry also contributed to a quick construction schedule. The north and south facades feature a curtainwall system from KT Fabrication with three types of custom louver designs integrated in it. The most impressive is a series of canted glass fins incorporating a custom gray 60 percent frit patterning. The glass louvers denote the central area and the main lobby of the cancer center, providing a low-glare interior environment. Chilled beams play a major role in the energy efficiency of the building, reducing energy usage by 23 percent. The system was a first for healthcare projects in both the state and the university. Chilled beams utilize piped water located in the ceiling to naturally (and quietly) heat and cool the air using convection. ZGF incorporates chilled beams into nearly every project it takes on, and has introduced the system into many projects around the country. Beyond the facade, Memari said that one of the greatest successes of the project is an interior “communicating stair” that promotes walkability for staff and visitors through a carefully detailed, highly visible positioning within the building. The stair reads as a folded sculptural element to connect the facility’s tall 16- to 18-foot floor plates. The project opened in August 2015 and recently received a 2016 AIA Healthcare Design Award.