This robotic arm by a Swiss architecture firm stacks bricks into lightweight helixes for complex building facades
Research-intensive Swiss architecture firm Gramazio & Kohler has created a robotic arm capable of stacking bricks into a sculptural, helix-like facade that would appear to defy gravity. The facade zigzags across the front of the offices of Swiss brick manufacturer Keller AG Ziegeleien.
The defining aspect of every building—the facade—is where the artistic aspiration is most visible and where the performance factor is most vulnerable. These new cladding and construction products prove beauty is certainly more than skin deep.
Reveal Panel System
Developed specifically for multi-family, mixed-use, senior living, and light commercial facilities, these panels can be cut on-site to deliver an expressed joint look with deep shadow lines. Trims and fasteners can be field painted, or their metal finishes left exposed. The ventilated rainscreen assembly incorporates best practices for moisture management.
Studio Gang’s Wanda Tower may climb even higher than originally planned. New renderings revealed Monday night show the tower topping out at 93 stories instead of the previous 88. At 1,144 feet, the tower, whose development is being bankrolled by Beijing-based Wanda Group, would be the third-tallest tower in Chicago (provided it fits the standards of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, who arbitrate such matters.)
The first-ever Los Angeles Facades + conference, organized by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos, held in the shadow of Bunker Hill’s glassy towers, showcased the city’s technical and creative talent while introducing participants to the building envelope field’s latest technologies and trends.
Keynote speaker James Carpenter set a sophisticated tone, showing off richly complex work that explores both the “cinematic” and “volumetric qualities of light.” His World Trade Center 7 base, he pointed out, uses a subtle shift in plane to create an ethereal glow, while another project for Gucci in Tokyo uses prismatic light to recreate the qualities of a Japanese lantern. Other highlights included his louvered Israel Museum and his new exploration of optical aluminum, thin glasses, and computer etched glass.
Thanks to our friends at Glass magazine for attending the recent Facades+ LA conference. They’ve provided an excellent wrap-up of the event, which they called “invigorating and exciting.” Editor Katy Devlin identified ten key themes from the conference: net zero building, net zero ready, material transparency, durability and sustainability, preservation, value, updatability, dynamic and integrated facades, human health, and water conservation. This variety and depth of subjects are precisely what makes the Facades+ conferences so important to the A/E/C industry. Next up, Facades+ AM in Washington, on March 5. Join the conversation!
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.