OTD’s 45 Park Lane Facade Panels: Situ Studio with LuminOre

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Friday, July 15, 2011
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45 Park Lane

Panels constructed with composite metal technology decorate facade of a new London hotel.

The Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane hotel will soon open to guests in London’s Mayfair district following a renovation of the building led by The Office of Thierry Despont. The architect has transformed the building’s exterior with metal fins spanning the width of seven of nine floors, emphasizing the hotel’s curved shape and shielding its guest spaces from sun. All new or highly renovated buildings in the district must include a public artwork component, and Despont considered a series of repoussé copper panels on the hotel’s west side, which faces Hyde Park. Intrigued by Brooklyn-based Situ Studio’s digital modeling capabilities, he asked the firm to develop a gradient overlay for the panels in Photoshop, then translate it into Rhino. But once the design was put out to bid the cost of creating the panels proved prohibitive, so the team went back to the drawing board to explore other options.

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Philip Johnson’s Peace Chapel: Radius Track

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Friday, July 8, 2011
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The Interfaith Peace Chapel (Cunningham Architects)

Realizing the architect’s final project using advanced fabrication techniques Johnson may have never known.

Philip Johnson completed the design for the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas just before his death in 2005. Working with Johnson’s firm Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects and architect of record Cunningham Architects, the Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ and non-profit social advocacy group Hope for Peace & Justice moved forward with the building. Completed late last year, the chapel is a monument to the congregation’s pluralistic worldview and acceptance of all religions. Its smooth, curving walls are central to Johnson’s goal of creating a cave-like sanctuary that is far removed from the site’s banal location near the runways of Dallas Love Field Airport. The project team hired cold-formed steel framing fabricator Radius Track to help realize the design.

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Radii’s WTC Marketing Suite

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Friday, July 1, 2011
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Jean-Pierre Mutti/Radii

An abstract vision of the site’s future is also a high-tech marketing display.

As work at the World Trade Center site progresses steadily, a matryoshka-like replica of it has taken shape on the 10th floor of 7 World Trade. With a view of the construction below, the Silverstein Properties marketing suite occupies the same floor as the WTC architects’ annex offices, providing a tableau of the working architects as well as the completed site to prospective tenants of towers Two, Three, and Four. Scaled architecture studio Radii Inc. have been designing models of the site since its earliest phases, so Silverstein’s senior VP of marketing and communications approached Radii partners Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski with his conceptual ideas for the diorama. “He wanted it to be big,” said Wood. “Our first questions was, ‘What are the ceiling heights?’”

See a slideshow after the jump.

Seeyond’s Parametric Building System

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Friday, June 24, 2011
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A cable-suspended ceiling cloud (Seeyond)

Self-supporting tessellations can take almost any form.

“People are pretty burned out on the office cubicle and panel systems,” said Nat Porter, general manager of Seeyond Architectural Solutions. The company, which launched this month, aims to give architects an alternative to standard space dividers with its new user-controlled parametric design and digital fabrication building system. Seeyond’s history goes back ten years, to sculptor and designer Jonas Hauptman’s experimentations with folded materials. For a class he was teaching, he turned for materials to Liberty Diversified International (LDI), whose roots are in the corrugated fiberboard industry. Hauptman teamed up with Paul James, a mathematician, economist, and industrial designer already working with LDI (now Seeyond’s parent company). They presented their business proposal in 2009 and the new fabrication system was born.
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Shimoda Design’s Steelcase Showroom: Formglas

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Friday, June 17, 2011
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Faceted column covers at Steelcase's Merchandise Mart showroom (Shimoda Design)

Molded gypsum shapes a Chicago Merchandise Mart space.

The Steelcase Worklife Center is one of the Chicago Merchandise Mart’s largest showrooms, spanning 45,000 square feet and encompassing four areas displaying the furniture manufacturers’ various brands. The company hired Los Angeles-based architect Joey Shimoda, who also designed the Steelcase center in Santa Monica, to create interiors that would unify the showroom with the common corridor bisecting it. After reading about a project by molded gypsum, concrete, and fiberglass fabricator Formglas in a magazine, he called the company and was on a plane to its Toronto headquarters the next day to discuss a series of geometric architectural elements he envisioned for the space.

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Atlantic Wharf Rain Curtain: Bluworld

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Friday, June 10, 2011
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Water reservoirs are suspended from the atrium roof (Bluworld)

An 80-foot waterfall highlights the atrium of a new mixed-use development in Boston.

Atlantic Wharf is one of the newest additions to Boston’s changing downtown waterfront area. Located on the edge of Fort Point Channel, the one million-square-foot mixed-use center incorporates a series of restored and renovated structures built there more than 100 years ago. Beneath a new 31-story office tower, an 80-foot-high glass atrium encloses the original 19th-century street grid, creating a grand entrance to the tower from Congress Street. As a nod to the site’s history and Boston Harbor views, the building’s translucent glass screen wall is designed with a canted top resembling a sail. Working with developer Boston Properties, architect Childs Bertman Tseckares Inc. envisioned another nod to the site’s maritime past in the atrium. Custom water feature design and fabrication company Bluworld was brought on board to create a feature that would span the height and width of the space.

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Prefab Alpolic Units: Rapid type and SUM

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Friday, June 3, 2011
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Intersecting ribs form the prefabricated coffee cart's shell (Rapid type)

A coffee stand prototype explores new possibilities for small-scale modular construction.

As part of a push to get its products into the hands of young architects, the Alpolic division of Mitsubishi Plastics sponsored a spring design/build studio entitled “Rapid type” at the California College of the Arts (CCA). The goal was for 15 students, led by CCA adjunct architecture professors Andre Caradec and Kory Bieg, to explore new design uses and assembly techniques for Alpolic aluminum composite materials (ACM), which are most commonly used for exterior cladding and signage. The students had at their disposal not only the school’s resources, but also those of Bieg’s San Francisco-based design and fabrication firm OTA+ and Caradec’s Oakland-based design and fabrication firm, Studio Under Manufacture (SUM). Given the college’s location at the nexus of a burgeoning San Francisco food truck scene and students’ proclivity for caffeine, the team landed on design of a mobile coffee service unit as a means of testing Alpolic’s limits.

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SmithGroup′s ASU Facade: Kovach

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Friday, May 27, 2011
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The facade includes six copper panel types (Liam Frederick)

Articulated copper clads gateway building to new College of Nursing in Phoenix

Copper has certain attributes that make it an appealing facade option in arid climates. The first is that it doesn’t turn green. “Here in the desert, it weathers like a penny in your pocket,” said Mark Kranz, the SmithGroup Phoenix design principal in charge of the recently completed Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation Phase II project. Clad in an articulated and partially perforated copper skin, the 84,000-square-foot, five-story facility complements a collection of existing and new buildings that form the college’s new Phoenix campus. This month, the project won a 2011 North American Copper in Architecture Award, earning points not only for the identity it imparts to the campus, but also for a unique panel design that delivers environmental performance at a low cost.

Continue reading after the jump.

Nilus Designs′ W.E.T. Seat

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Friday, May 20, 2011
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W.E.T. seat 1/8 scale prototype made with 2mm coroplast (Nilus Designs)

Polycarbonate sheets become an interactive bench, part of Fort Mason Center’s upcoming SEAT exhibition.

San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center will be the stage for an outdoor chair show set to open June 23. Called SEAT, the yearlong exhibition is being curated by artist and landscape designer Topher Delaney, of Seam Studio, and will include work by more than 40 designers, artists, and architects. Each team was given a site on the former Fort’s 13-acre waterfront campus, which now serves as an arts and culture venue. As one of the invited participants, San Francisco-based Nilus Designs is preparing an interactive piece called W.E.T: West End Terminal, an anthropomorphic bench created with carefully stacked strata of clear twin-wall polycarbonate.

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Vlad Tenu′s Minimal Complexity: Tex-Fab

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Friday, May 13, 2011
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The Tex-Fab Repeat Competition winner: Minimal Complexity (Vlad Tenu)

The winner of the second annual Tex-Fab competition explores ideas of modular assembly and material efficiency.

Earlier this year, design practitioners from across the world converged on Houston to attend Tex-Fab 2.0, a two-day conference featuring experts, lectures, and workshops. Tex-Fab is a non-profit initiative founded by Brad Bell (Brad Bell Studio), Kevin Patrick McClellan (Architecturebureau), and Andrew Vrana (METALAB) to create a network of Texas designers focused on exploring issues of parametric design and digital fabrication. The organization hopes to serve as a bridge between academia, professional design offices, and industrial fabricators throughout the country.

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Aidlin Darling′s Bar Agricole Banquettes: Concreteworks

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Friday, May 6, 2011
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The bar's custom concrete banquettes (Concreteworks)

Ribbon-thin Ductal concrete creates sculptural seating at a San Francisco eatery.

The Aidlin Darling-designed Bar Agricole has brought new life to a warehouse in San Francisco’s industrial South of Market neighborhood. Built in 1912, the renovated building is now home to the 4,000-square-foot “urban tavern” owned by restaurateur Thad Vogler. Taking an unconventional approach to realizing his design vision, Vogler commissioned work from the designer and a variety of trades in exchange for a stake in the business. One of those craftsmen was Oakland-based concrete design and fabrication company Concreteworks.
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Wilson Savastano Venezia′s Dukhan facade: TAKTL

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Friday, April 29, 2011
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Prototype of a perforated Dukhan facade panel (TAKTL)

High-performance concrete creates new possibilities for a community college facade.

A new generation of concrete, called Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC), is changing the way architects and designers think about the material. Usually composed of cement, fine grain sand, silica fume, optimized admixture, and alkali-resistant glass fiber reinforcement, UHPC offers high ductility, strength, and durability with a fine surface appearance. A new UHPC product called TAKTL, launched last year, shows the many additional applications that are possible with the right material mix, including facade panels available through its sister company VECTR. Recently chosen by Milan-based Wilson Savastano Venezia Architecture Studio for its Dukhan Community College (DCC) project in Qatar, the company is in the research and development phase for perforated and solid panels to clad the school’s sculptural facade.
Continue reading after the jump.

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