Riverfront Revival by Shalom Baranes

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Shalom Baranes' renovation of a 1984 office building transformed a waterfront eyesore into a sleek condominium complex. (Thomas Arledge Photography)

Shalom Baranes’ renovation of a 1984 office building transformed a waterfront eyesore into a sleek condominium complex. (Thomas Arledge Photography)

Brick and metal transform a tired office block into a residential building worthy of its site.

Located on a slice of land adjacent to the Potomac River in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, the 1984 Sheet Metal Workers Union National Pension Fund building failed to live up to the site’s potential. “I’ve used this in a couple of lectures,” said Shalom Baranes Associates principal Patrick Burkhart. “I show ‘before’ photos and ask the audience, ‘What is this building?’ The answers include: ‘It looks like an urban jail.'” When the property came on the market, Maryland-based developer EYA seized the opportunity to transform the waterfront eyesore into a contemporary condominium complex. Clad in brick and metal paneling, with high performance glazing emphasizing views along the Potomac, the Oronoco balances a sleek urban aesthetic with sensitivity to Old Town’s historic fabric.

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Goetz Brings Bucky Back

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Goetz Composites designed and fabricated a reproduction of R. Buckminster Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome in cooperation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute. (Lala Periera)

Goetz Composites designed and fabricated a reproduction of R. Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome in cooperation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute. (Lala Periera)

Fly’s Eye Dome reproduction applies contemporary tools and materials to 1970s concept.

Thirty years after R. Buckminster Fuller‘s death, the visionary inventor and architect’s Fly’s Eye Dome has been reborn in Miami. Unveiled during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014, the replica dome, designed and fabricated by Goetz Composites in cooperation with the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), pays tribute to Fuller both aesthetically and technologically. Constructed using contemporary materials and digital design tools, the new 24-foot Fly’s Eye Dome (which serves as the pedestrian entrance to a parking garage in the Miami Design District) is yet further evidence that the creator of the geodesic dome was ahead of his time.

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Learn and Earn CES LU Credits at Facades+ Los Angeles

Architecture, Technology, West
Thursday, January 15, 2015
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Facades+ tech workshops offer hands-on exposure to digital design methods.

Facades+ tech workshops offer hands-on exposure to digital design methods.

In the fast-paced world of building design, hands-on instruction in new methods can be hard to come by. Next month, attendees at Facades+ LA can take advantage of a unique opportunity for one-on-one guidance in digital tools at tech workshops intimately connected to the themes of the conference. “The tech workshops are a great way to learn cutting edge methods that are regularly at the core of what is presented in the symposium and dialog sessions,” remarked Thornton Tomasetti‘s Matt Naugle, a veteran Facades+ tech workshop instructor.

More info after the jump.

Merge Rides the Waves in Bangalore

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Merge's HUB-1 office tower features a modular passive shading system. (Courtesy Merge Studio)

Merge’s HUB-1 office tower features a modular passive shading system. (Courtesy Merge Studio)

Modular self-shading system delivers budget-friendly environmental performance.

Tapped to design the facade for the HUB-1 office building at Karle Town Centre in Bangalore, India, New York–based Merge Studio faced a two-pronged challenge: crafting an efficient envelope that would beat the heat without breaking the developer’s budget. Moreover, the architects (whose role later expanded to include landscape and public space design) aspired to lend the twelve-story tower, the first in the 3.6 million-square-foot SEZ development, an iconic appearance. “The idea was that we bring together the aesthetics of the facade and make it performative as well,” explained Merge founder and advisor Varun Kohli. Despite financial constraints dictated by India’s competitive development market, Merge delivered, designing a modular facade comprising metal and glass “waves” that cut solar gain while allowing light and air to penetrate the interior.
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James Carpenter on Light and the Building Envelope

7 World Trade Center envelope, New York, NY. (David Sundberg/ESTO)

In architecture—and especially in warm, sunny locales like Southern California—light is a double-edged sword. Successful daylighting reduces dependence on artificial lighting and enhances occupants’ connection to the outdoors. But the solar gain associated with unregulated natural light can easily negate the energy savings effected by replacing electric lights with sunshine.

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Gould Evans Rewraps Kansas Library

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Rather than adding on to one end of the existing structure, Gould Evans wrapped a new reading room and terra cotta facade around the old Lawrence Public Library. (Courtesy Gould Evans)

Rather than adding on to one end of the existing structure, Gould Evans wrapped a new reading room and terra cotta facade around the old Lawrence Public Library. (Courtesy Gould Evans)

Terra cotta rain screen transforms brutalist eyesore into energy-efficient community space.

Considered an aesthetic and functional failure almost since its construction in 1974, the old public library in Lawrence, Kansas, was overdue for a renovation four decades later. Gould Evans‘ challenge was to transform the low-slung brutalist behemoth, a poor environmental performer lacking both adequate daylighting and a sense of connection to the community, into an asset. “The desire was to try to come up with a building that basically reinvented the library for the community,” said vice president Sean Zaudke. Rather than tacking an addition on to one end of the existing structure, the architects elected to wrap a 20,000-square-foot reading room and open stacks area around the old facade. In so doing, they altered the exterior for the better, swapping bare concrete for an earth-hued terra cotta rain screen punctuated by plentiful glazing. They also significantly enhanced the library’s environmental performance, with early estimates suggesting that the new Lawrence Public Library will see a 50 percent reduction in energy usage despite a 50 percent increase in square footage.

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Designing Facades for a Changing Environment

NBBJ's Samsung America Headquarters in San Jose, California. (Courtesy NBBJ)

NBBJ’s Samsung America Headquarters in San Jose, California. (Courtesy NBBJ)

When it comes to responding to climate change, said Stacey Hooper, senior associate at NBBJ, architects have tended to be more reactive than proactive. “Our industry is so insular,” she explained. “As a profession, we’re really interested in the coolest, newest thing—not necessarily how we’re going to support these bigger global challenges.” Hooper had this in mind when she sat down with co-chair Luke Smith (Enclos) and the rest of the planning team to lay out the inaugural Facades+ LA conference, taking place in February in downtown Los Angeles. “We were talking about, ‘Who are the influencers?’—not just in the building industry,” recalled Hooper. “Where will real influence come from?”

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Larry Scarpa on Los Angeles and the Building Envelope

Center for Manufacturing Innovation, Metalsa CIDeVeC in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, designed by Brooks + Scarpa. (Courtesy Brooks + Scarpa)

Center for Manufacturing Innovation, Metalsa CIDeVeC in Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, designed by Brooks + Scarpa. (Courtesy Brooks + Scarpa)

With its combination of warm temperatures, low humidity, bright sun, and vulnerability to earthquakes and fires, Southern California presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges to facade designers and builders. “It’s way more forgiving here than in most places,” said Larry Scarpa, principal at Los Angeles-based Brooks + Scarpa. “I’ve been on design reviews in various parts of the country where you have to do things much differently with the building envelope. In Southern California you have a lot of freedom to explore things that you don’t in other parts of the world.” Scarpa and other AEC industry movers and shakers will gather in early February at Facades+ LA to discuss possibilities and trends in building envelope design, both in Los Angeles and beyond.

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LACE by Jenny Wu, Prêt-à-3D Print

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Jenny Wu's jewelry line, LACE, includes digitally-designed, 3D printed necklaces, earrings, and rings. (Courtesy LACE)

Jenny Wu’s jewelry line, LACE, includes digitally-designed, 3D printed necklaces, earrings, and rings. (Courtesy LACE)

Oyler Wu Collaborative partner delves into jewelry design.

Oyler Wu Collaborative partner Jenny Wu had long dreamed of designing jewelry—just as soon as she found some spare time. Last fall, she realized that she might wait forever for a break from her busy architecture practice. “At some point I decided, ‘I’ll design some pieces, and the easiest way to make it happen is just to 3D print them,'” said Wu. She fabricated a couple of necklaces, and brought them on her just-for-fun trip to Art Basel Miami Beach 2013. “I wore my pieces around, and I was stunned by the response I was getting,” she recalled. “People kept coming up to me, literally every five seconds. After a while, I thought, ‘Maybe I do have something that’s unique, especially for a design crowd.'”
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On View> HOME is Where the Art Is at the El Segundo Museum of Art

ESMoA's HOME juxtaposes works from different styles, media, and periods in an apartment-like setting. (Courtesy ESMoA)

ESMoA’s HOME juxtaposes works from different styles, media, and periods in an apartment-like setting. (Courtesy ESMoA)

Forget “home is where the heart is.” Home is where the art is—or so argues the latest show from the El Segundo Museum of Art (ESMoA). HOME isn’t your typical art exhibition, just as ESMoA isn’t your typical art museum. (In fact, ESMoA prefers the terms “experience” and “laboratory,” respectively. ) The experience, which runs through February 1, 2015, invites visitors to re-evaluate their personal definitions of art, the home, and—most especially—art in the home.

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Passive House Laboratory by GO Logic

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The University of Chicago's Warren Woods Ecology Field Station is the first Passive House-certified laboratory in North America. (Trent Bell Photography)

The University of Chicago’s Warren Woods Ecology Field Station is the first Passive House-certified laboratory in North America. (Trent Bell Photography)

Architects deliver a North American first with Warren Woods Ecology Field Station.

When Belfast, Maine–based architecture firm GO Logic presented the University of Chicago‘s Department of Ecology and Evolution with three schematic designs for the new Warren Woods Ecology Field Station, the academics decided to go for broke. Despite being new to Passive House building, the university was attracted to the sustainability standard given the laboratory’s remote location in Berrien County, Michigan. “We presented them with three design options: one more compact, one more aggressive formally,” recalled project architect Timothy Lock. The third option had an even more complicated form, one that would make Passive House certification difficult. “They said: ‘We want the third one—and we want you to get it certified,'” said Lock. “We had our work cut out for us.” Thanks in no small part to an envelope comprising a cedar rain screen, fully integrated insulation system, and high performance glazing, GO Logic succeeded in meeting the aesthetic and environmental goals set down by the university, with the result that the Warren Woods facility is the first Passive House–certified laboratory in North America.

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Justin Diles Breaks the Mold for TEX-FAB

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Justin Diles' Plastic Stereotomy took first place in TEX-FAB's fourth annual digital design and fabrication competition. (Courtesy Justin Diles)

Justin Diles’ Plastic Stereotomy took first place in TEX-FAB’s fourth annual digital design and fabrication competition. (Courtesy Justin Diles)

Competition winner uses composite materials to re-imagine Semper’s primitive hut.

The title of TEX-FAB‘s fourth annual competition—Plasticity—has a double meaning. It refers first to the concept at the core of the competition brief: the capacity of parametric design and digital fabrication to manifest new formal possibilities. But it also alludes to the material itself, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). “Plastics have the potential to push contemporary architecture beyond the frame-plus-cladding formula dominant since at least the 19th century,” said competition winner Justin Diles. Pointing to traditional stonecutting and vault work, he said, “I’m very interested in this large volumetric mode of construction, but I’m not at all interested in the stone. I think that composites probably offer the best way of addressing this old yet new mode of constructing architecture.”
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