Today’s facade designers cannot afford to ignore the question of sustainability, and in particular energy efficiency. James O’Callaghan (Eckersley O’Callaghan), William Logan (Israel Berger & Associates), and Will Laufs (LaufsED) sat down with our partners at Enclos during April’s facades+ NYC conference to talk about the push and pull between aesthetics and environmental performance in building envelopes. Top AEC professionals will continue the conversation at facades+ Chicago on July 24–25. For more information or to register, visit the conference website. Early Bird registration ends June 29.
Climate change and extreme weather events have made resilience a watchword among AEC professionals. In this video from our partners at Enclos, filmed at facades+ NYC in April, Gordon Gill (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill), Edward Peck (Thornton Tomasetti), and James O’Callaghan (Eckersley O’Callaghan) talk about designing and engineering building skins to meet present and future environmental challenges.
Resilience will take center stage at the facades+ Chicago conference July 24-25. Early Bird registration rates have been extended through Sunday, June 29. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.
[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted response to a back-page comment written by Pamela Jerome (“The Mid-Century Modernist Single-Glazed Curtain Wall Is an Endangered Species” AN 05_04.09.2014). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
Pamela Jerome’s thoughtful comment on mid-century modernist curtain walls raises a number of important issues that deserve further study.
Having successfully redeveloped two major twentieth century commercial buildings, I believe that those buildings are probably the least understood in all of preservation theory. They were built by unsentimental men in pursuit of trade, commerce, and wealth. There was never a moment’s hesitation to alter them time and again as tastes changed, neighborhoods evolved, and tenants came and went. Those commercial cultural issues are just as important as the aesthetic issues inevitably associated with any building, and they are very hard to reconcile.
Fire hydrants are as necessary as they are historically significant. The first fire hydrant was proposed sometime during the early 19th century. No one knows the exact date as the records of its creation and use were, ironically, destroyed in a fire. The design of modern fire hydrants hasn’t changed for decades, but today, a veteran firefighter has proposed a new design that could make fighting fires much easier.
At first glance, the glass-observation boxes that jut out of the Willis Tower’s 103rd floor don’t look all that safe—and that is exactly the point. The SOM-designed attraction, known as the Ledge, opened in 2009 and offers “thrill seekers,” “death defiers,” and “people who can wait in a really long line” the chance to step outside of the iconic skyscraper and look straight down at the streets of Chicago, 1,353-feet below. The floor of the suspended structure is comprised of 1.5-inch laminated glass panels, which can hold 10,000 pounds and withstand four tons of pressure. So, the danger is all imagined, right? Well, it certainly didn’t feel that way for a California family who visited last night.
Joshua Prince-Ramus, principal at REX, has a bone to pick with modernism and its legacy. “For the last 100 years, architecture’s been involved in a silly tension between form and function,” he said. While high modernism privileged function over form, some of today’s top designers argue that architecture is about aesthetics and not much else. REX has a different take: architecture, the firm claims, is both function and form. “We really believe that architecture can do things. It’s not just a representational art form,” said Prince-Ramus. “We talk about performance. Aesthetics are part of performance [as is function.]”
As most AEC professionals know, technology can be either a help or a hindrance when it comes to the design of high-performance building envelopes. Software programs like Grasshopper and Autodesk Vasari offer powerful tools for generating, modeling, and analyzing facades. But there’s a catch. Without a firm grasp of the programs’ capabilities, users can lose data, overlook important features, or otherwise negate the advantages inherent to digital design. Read More
Innovations in building envelope design typically take one of two forms. The first concerns the materials themselves, and the application of developments in the science of glass, metal, concrete, wood, and plastics to architecture. The second has to do with how the facade mediates between the building interior and the environment.
In a world of extreme weather events and rapid sociological change, architects must invent new ways to marry flexibility, resilience, and sustainability in facade design.
A Shanghai building company has erected a small village of pitched-roof, 3-D printed structures—in about a day. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co is behind the series of humble buildings, a fully fabricated unit is expected to cost less than $5,000. The homes were created through the use of a 490- by 33- by 20-foot 3-D printer that fabricates the basic components required for assembly.