Gehry Technologies Discusses Burj Khalifa Ceiling

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Friday, April 6, 2012
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The completed ceiling (SOM)

Members of the Gehry Technologies New York office outline a collaboration that spanned between four U.S. cities and Dubai

Editor’s Note: The following has been excerpted from Knowledge Engineering: The Capture and Reuse of Design and Fabrication Intelligence on the Burj Khalifa Office Ceiling by Neil Meredith and James Kotronis of Gehry Technologies:

Behind schedule and with the finish date of the building fast approaching, Gehry Technologies was presented with a unique problem. A complex, double-curved wood ceiling for one of the main entrances to the Burj Khalifa (then Burj Dubai) was under construction and it was becoming apparent that the proposed system would not work as designed. Instead of delaying the schedule or scrapping the design, an integrated team was quickly mobilized. This team was based in different design and fabrication domains, with all participants working toward the shared goals of redesign, fabrication, delivery, and installation of the new ceiling, all within a tight timeframe and construction site. Partners included Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), Imperial Woodworking Company (IWA), ICON Integrated Construction and Gehry Technologies/New York (GT). Working through the design issues, the new team developed a strategy to strip the design back down to essential geometry and redesign the system from the ground up, satisfying design intent and a host of fabrication and constructability constraints through a shared parametric model.

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Shift_Design’s Philly Shake Shack Green Wall

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Friday, March 30, 2012
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Ivy climbs custom steel panels that conceal the food stand's construction site (Shift_Design)

A temporary installation spruces up the burger stand’s site ahead of its summer opening

Two years ago, Mario Gentile founded Phildelphia-based Shift_Design after being laid off from Peter Marino Architects. With an infant son in tow, he began to design and manufacture a range of systems for outdoor garden environments. The company was part of the GoodCompany incubation program for socially responsible products and will complete a green roof, living wall, and rainwater harvesting system at the Urban Outfitters headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in September. They are also working with Philadelphia’s Water Department to design new stormwater-collecting planters. Though functional and environmentally minded, the group’s work has a lighthearted appeal for urban environments—something that’s apparent in its newly completed installation at the construction site of Danny Meyer’s first Philadelphia Shake Shack, scheduled to open this summer.

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Design Looks Up with Bluarch’s Cloud Installation

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Friday, March 23, 2012
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The ceiling-mounted installation in made of 144,000 poplar pieces assembled by hand (Bluarch)

A geometric ceiling installation creates an organic, light-diffusing shape in a new Port Washington restaurant

New York-based architecture and interiors firm Bluarch has become known for innovative designs that have people looking up. The group has created ceiling installations for residences, restaurants, and retail locations across the world. One of their latest projects is close to home, at Innuendo restaurant and bar in Port Washington. Located on Main Street, the restaurant’s seamless storefront reveals a cloudlike ceiling installation with integrated lighting designed to create an ever-changing atmosphere.

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Infrared’s Madren 5340 Installation

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Friday, March 16, 2012
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The completed installation controls light and opacity between two sides of a room (Infrared)

Temporary structure uses paper to create light-regulating filter

Infrared is a group of architectural researchers and fabricators based in Thessaloniki, Greece. Initiated in 2010, the group’s work has included public installations like the Thess Bic Seat, an amorphously shaped bicycle rack and bench. Another piece called 313 / 315 is a 25-foot-long seesaw installed between two rooms of a derelict hotel created for last year’s XV Biennale De La Mediterranee. For its most recent installation, titled Madren 5340, the team investigated the theme of private space with a digitally modeled screen made with a series of paper tubes.

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KPMB’s Ductal facade in Toronto

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Friday, March 9, 2012
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The Rotman School of Management under construction (KPMB/Tom Arban)

Rotman School makes the most of high-performance concrete and glass

The University of Toronto Rotman School of Management’s nearly $100 million expansion project will more than double the size of the business school. A new 161,000-square-foot building designed by Toronto-based KPMB Architects mediates between its neighbors—a historic 19th century brick home on one side and the towering Brutalist Robarts Library on the other—while maintaining views to the medieval Oxbridge-style Massey College to the east. The architect’s solution to the architectural mixture is an elevated box made with floor-to-ceiling glazing punctuated by slivers of Ductal, a patented ultra-high performance concrete made by Lafarge.

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Bill Kreysler’s Digitally Fabricated Aquarium Liner

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Friday, March 2, 2012
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Installers finished their work from floating platforms (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium updates its million-gallon Open Sea exhibit

Located on the former site of a sardine cannery overlooking the Pacific, the Monterey Bay Aquarium pumps 2,000 gallons of seawater into its more than 100 exhibit tanks every minute. When its Outer Bay exhibit opened in 1996, it had the world’s largest single-pane window, measuring 56 feet long and 17 feet high. But turbulence created by the sea creatures inside unexpectedly damaged the aquarium’s liner, which flexed and loosened the grout that held its blue glass tiles in place. Large, fast-swimming tunas housed in the tank also caused damage by occasionally colliding with the lining. In 2010 the aquarium hired architectural composite consultant and fabricator Bill Kreysler, founder of Kreysler & Associates (K&A), to create a new Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) liner for the exhibit, which recently reopened as the Open Sea galleries.

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Hunter S. Thompson-Inspired Gonzo Balcony

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Friday, February 24, 2012
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The 5-by-8-foot balcony, photographed before installation of a second-story doorway and ipe deck (Courtesy Active Alloys)

A traditional brick condo gets unconventional in Chicago

If such a thing as Gonzo Architecture exists, Kujawa Architecture has made a small contribution to the genre on Oakdale Avenue in Chicago. Their client, Ed Hoban, was a longtime confidant of journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and conventional proposals had fallen short of his desire for a balcony that would project from the second-story bedroom of his brick condo, allowing him to enjoy a blossoming crabapple tree in the garden below. The firm’s principal, Casimir Kujawa, took matters into his own hands after looking at unsatisfactory plans from a contractor Hoban had initially hired. The team, including firm members Mason Pritchett and Patrick Johnson, started calling the project the Gonzo Balcony. “The title seemed apt because of Ed’s friendship with Hunter, but primarily in the sense that the building itself as well as the balcony are a bit unconventional. For us the entire experience of working closely with Ed, and with Bill Tellmann and Collin Smith, of the metal fabricator Active Alloys, allowed for a more experimental approach which also seemed to resonate with the ‘gonzo’ term.”

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Zahner, Zaha’s Schumacher, CASE, and More: Facades Conference 2012

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Thursday, February 16, 2012
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Facade fabricated by A. Zahner specializes in the void.

A facade fabricated by A. Zahner specializes in the void. (Courtesy A. Zahner)

Architects and fabricators discuss creating facades in the digital age

Yesterday The Architect’s Newspaper and the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York presented their first-ever educational conference at McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York. More than 250 professionals and students attended the event, themed Metals in Construction, which addressed facade design in an age when skilled collaboration between architects, consultants, and fabricators can more than ever affect a building’s performance and longevity. The day began with a presentation by Bill Zahner, who spoke of his company’s forward-looking work with metal facades, then moved into discussions covering everything from new retrofit strategies to the latest projects from Zaha Hadid Architects with the firm’s director, Patrik Schumacher.

The day also included the official announcement of a new international alliance of academics, professional designers, hardware and software developers and digital fabricators. Born out of a regional organization known as Tex-Fab, the group will be called Digital Fabrication Alliance and offered a look at the kind of minds it will be bringing together at future events with a panel discussion with Phillip Anzalone, Anna Dyson, and Erik Verboon. Read on for AN‘s coverage of the day’s events:

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Snøhetta’s RAK Gateway Facade Prototype

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Friday, February 10, 2012
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The finished RAK Gateway prototype (PCT)

A preview of the collaboration behind the entryway to Ras Al Khaimah

Snøhetta’s 656-foot-tall Gateway tower, 93 miles east of Dubai, will mark the entrance to the new planned capital city of the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah. Inspired by the surrounding desert and mountain landscape, the project’s undulating form will bring almost 3 million square feet of mixed-use space to the city, which is being master planned by Netherlands-based firm OMA. Snøhetta has designed a prototype of the building’s white-scaled skin in collaboration with Dubai-based lightweight composite manufacturer Premier Composite Technologies (PCT).

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Synthesis Design’s Bespoke Office

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Friday, February 3, 2012
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The desk's volumes conceal storage space (Peter Guenzel)

A carefully detailed private workspace conceals office equipment behind birch plywood ribs

It’s a reality of the modern work world that many people work from home. But a home office need not look like a corporate cube. That was the idea behind a customized workspace designed for a personal investment advisor by Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design + Architecture. Located in the client’s Chelsea home in London, the design conceals storage units and office equipment behind a sculptural work surface.

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Bridge 5721: Historic Restoration and Relocation

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Friday, January 27, 2012
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The 3-D laser scan allowed engineers to look at the bridge even after it was dismantled (O.N.E.)

Laser scanning technology helped a Minnesota bridge find its third home

One of 24 historic bridges chosen for preservation by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Bridge 5721 is one of the state’s only remaining wrought iron bridge structures. The bridge was originally built to carry pedestrians over a river in Sauk Center, Minnesota, in 1870, before modern steel production methods had become available. In 1937, the bridge was disassembled and moved to span the Little Fork River near the town of Silverdale. But more than two years ago, the structure began its journey to a third incarnation, this time as an equestrian and pedestrian bridge for the Gateway Trail in the town of Stillwater, near Minneapolis. Because of the bridge’s provenance and the desire to keep its wrought iron parts intact, the Minnesota DOT worked with new owner Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and structural engineers at HNTB and Olson & Nesvold Engineers (O.N.E.) to collect crucial data for the rehabilitation using new 3-D laser scanning technology.
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Rojkind Arquitectos’ Tori-Tori Restaurant

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Friday, January 20, 2012
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Offset steel layers are painted in two shades of gray (Paúl Rivera)

A double-layer steel lattice transforms a former residence into a Japanese eatery’s new home in Mexico City

When Mexico City-based architect Michel Rojkind was chosen as one of the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices lecturers in 2010, he already had a lot of work under his belt. His firm, Rojkind Arquitectos, had recently completed Nestlé’s factory and chocolate museum in Querétaro and was beginning work on a 54-story mixed-use tower on Mexico City’s chic Paseo Reforma. But in spite of big-name projects, the architect who started out as a rock-and-roll drummer maintained a connection to the fabrication of his projects, collaborating with local workers and using simple components instead of employing more complicated techniques. “I joke with my Swiss architect friends that I wouldn’t know how to work in Switzerland, where everything is perfect,” he told AN in a May 2010 interview. “You have to figure out ways to make things happen here, and it inspires me.” A testament to that inspiration, Rojkind’s new Tori-Tori restaurant employs a double-layer steel lattice to transform an existing residential structure in Mexico City’s rapidly changing Polanco neighborhood.

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