RPBW’s active double skin facade kick starts a “new generation” of campus design at Columbia University

Architecture, East, Envelope
Friday, November 13, 2015
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Air in the cavity cycles at a rate of 6 air changes per minute, managing heat gain and condensation build up in the cavity. (© RPBW)

Air in the cavity cycles at a rate of 6 air changes per minute, managing heat gain and condensation build up in the cavity. (© RPBW)

Columbia University’s expansion has been selected by LEED for their Neighborhood Design pilot program, which calls for the integration of smart growth principles and urbanism at a neighborhood scale.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) is designing four buildings to be built over the upcoming years as a first phase of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus expansion. The first of these four projects to break ground is the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, a research facility used by scientists working on mind, brain, and behavior research. The facility is ten stories wrapped in nearly 176,000 square feet of building envelope, consisting of transparent floor-to-ceiling glazing.
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Urbana’s Shape-Shifting Parking Garage Facade

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Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Folded aluminum panels deliver the illusion of movement to passersby.

During their recent expansion, Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis approached Urbana Studio with an unusual request. The hospital wanted the Los Angeles-based art and architecture firm to design an interactive facade for a recently completed parking structure. “With Indianapolis’ really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that’s interactive but won’t be broken in a year?” said Urbana principal Rob Ley. “Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare.” Urbana’s solution was to turn the relationship between movement and the object on its head. Though the aluminum facade, titled May September, is itself static, it appears to morph and change color as the viewer walks or drives by.
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South Korea’s Expo 2012 Pavilion: Active Facade Design

Fabrikator
Friday, June 1, 2012
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Elastic deformation of the pavilion's glass-fiber reinforced plastic lamellas gives its facade movement (Soma)

A 34,000-square-foot kinetic media facade represents the themes of Korea’s international exhibition

Opened last month in the coastal city of Yeosu, South Korea, the 2012 International Exhibition’s theme, “The Living Ocean and Coast,” is a way for attendees to examine challenges and solutions to development on oceans and coastlines. As the architect of the expo’s thematic pavilion, Vienna-based Soma Architecture designed a kinetic media facade to act as a counterpart to the show’s location by the water and to its multimedia presentations. Working with Stuttgart- and New York-based structural engineering firm Knippers Helbig as facade consultant, the team developed a constructible solution for building one of the largest adaptive structures in the world.

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