Archive for January 16th, 2011

January 16, 2011

Ornilux Bird-Safe Glass

Posted October 31, 2010 11:55 AM by Alex Wilson
Related Categories: BuildingGreen’s Product of the Week

The German company Arnold Glas produces glazing with UV-reflective striping that is highly visible to birds yet nearly invisible to humans.

We’ve written in Environmental Building Newsabout the tragedy of bird collisions with glazing. According to the New York City Audubon Society, 100 million birds are killed annually in the United States through collisions with buildings, primarily because the birds see reflections, rather than the glass. Daniel Klem, Jr., Ph.D., an ornithology professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the leading expert on bird collisions with buildings, considers this to be the second greatest cause of avian mortality–after habitat destruction.

Fortunately, some smart people at leading-edge companies around the world are working on this problem.

Among the strategies that have been used to minimize bird collisions with buildings are gluing hawk silhouette decals to the glass, using glass imprinted with a ceramic fritting pattern, applying patterned plastic films, installing exterior shading systems that help birds see the building (as with the New York Times headquarters building in New York City), planting vegetation close to heavily glazed facades; and installing netting on the outside of large windows.

The first installation of Ornilux glass was in 2006 on the facade of an indoor swimming pool building in Plauen, Germany. Photo: Arnold Glas.

A solution that has less of a visual impact on the building (for us) relies on differences in the visual acuity of birds and humans. Ornilux glass, made in Merkendorf, Germany by Arnold Glas, has patterning of UV-reflective coating that is nearly transparent to humans but clearly visible to birds. Birds are able to see a broader spectrum of UV light than humans, according to the Arnold Glas website.

The first installation of Ornilux bird-friendly glass was in 2006 on the glass façade of a 100-year-old indoor swimming pool building in Plauen, Germany. The building uses 2,700 square feet (250 m2) of insulated Ornilux SB1 glazing. Like other types of glass, Ornilux can be fabricated into a wide range of glazing systems, including high-performance double- and triple-glazed systems with low-emissivity (low-e) coatings.

In the U.S., the New York City architecture firm FXFOWLEwas the first to use Ornilux. The glazing was installed on a portion of the Center for Global Conservation at the Bronx Zoo, which was completed in 2009. (The bird-safe glass was originally specified for the entire building, but was value-engineered out for all but one corner conference room.) FXFOWLE principal Bruce Fowle, FAIA has been a leading proponent of bird-safe glazings, and his wife, Marcia Fowle, co-authored the 55-page Bird-Safe Building Guidelines, published in 2007 by the New York City Audubon Society. (A pdf file of the Guidelines can be downloaded for free.)

The random pattern on Ornilux Mikado glass is UV-reflective and highly visible to birds, while being less noticeable to humans. Shown here is what birds see. Photo: Arnold Glas.

Visually, the UV-reflective pattern on Ornilux glass is visible, but it is less apparent that many of the other strategies that have been tried to minimize bird collisions. To date, this glass has been used primarily on buildings where wildlife protection has been a high priority, such as nature centers, but as awareness of this problem grows, the use of this glazing, and competing products, may grow.

In 2009, a new version of Ornilux glass was introduced, called Mikado (German for the game of “pick-up-sticks”). Rather than even striping, Mikado glass has a random pattern of lines. To date, several installations of Ornilux Mikado glass have been completed in Germany, but none in the U.S.

Ornilux glass is distributed in the U.S. by Roeder Windows & Doors, which is advertising on its website the availability of Ornilux glass in its window and door products at no up-charge through June, 2011. The glass is also offered as an option on NanaWall operable glass wall systems.

Environmental Building News will be running a more detailed review of Ornilux glass and, possibly, other glazing systems designed to minimize bird collisions in an upcoming issue.

Installation of Ornilux glass at the Center for Global Conservation at the Bronx Zoo, designed by FXFOWLE. You can see the shadowy vertical stripes on the right. Photo: David Sundberg/Esto

For more information:

Arnold Glas (English website available)

Roeder Windows & Doors
476 E. Main Street
Ventura, California  93001

See more on this product in the GreenSpec Guide

Alex Wilson is the executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC. In addition to this product-of-the week blog, he writes the weekly Energy Solutions blog. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feeds.


January 16, 2011

Times Square’s Newest Skyscraper: An Interview with Dan Kaplan of FXFOWLE

Jacob Slevin

Jacob Slevin

CEO of and Guest Curator, Design Thursdays


Eleven Times Square occupies a full block front along Eighth Avenue between West 41st and West 42nd Streets. Photo by REDSQUARE.

Many architects dream of designing a single skyscraper in their lifetime. Dan Kaplan, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Partner, at FXFOWLE Architects has led the design of four skyscrapers at Times Square alone, so he’s living the dream and then some. 11 Times Square is the newest addition to the busy 42nd Street intersection, and I’m thrilled to have spent some time with Dan chatting about the project ambitions, and what makes this such a grand departure from his earlier work just across the street.

Jacob Slevin: Describe Eleven Times Square’s design and site.

Dan Kaplan: Eleven Times Square is a sculptural, glass-clad office tower at a prominent corner on one of the World’s most celebrated urban thoroughfares: Manhattan’s 42nd Street. Designed to extend the vibrancy of Times Square and meet the needs of today’s dynamic companies, its form was derived from a deep “reading” of the surrounding area. Three nestled components comprise the structure. A six story ribbon-base wraps the corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, extending the scale and vibrancy of 42nd Street. A dramatic outwardly sloped glass-clad “crystal” creates a gateway to Times Square. And a south-facing 40-story spine anchors the composition. The sloped “crystal” is an inversion of the typical Manhattan’s model where buildings taper as they rise. Here, the building’s form cants outwards by 30′, opening up views for pedestrians on the sidewalk and providing commanding views for the offices up above. When you look out from the corner of the crystal you feel like you are floating over 8th Avenue.


Dan Kaplan, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Partner, FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS. Photo courtesy of FXFOWLE.

Jacob Slevin: Have you always wanted to design big buildings? What types of projects excite you most?

Dan Kaplan: Sustainable city building is my passion and preoccupation, and I have consistently sought to integrate design excellence, innovation, and environmental responsibility into my studio’s architectural and urban design projects. I’m proud that all of our projects contribute to the greater whole of the city; they reinforce and are natural extensions of public spaces and neighborhoods.

Jacob Slevin: Tell me about the process for designing a skyscraper.

Dan Kaplan: A modern high-rise is a real marvel: the combination of economic and schedule parameters, marketing and leasing facets, technical demands and of course their highly visible and symbolic nature all adds up to make them a highly demanding building type. There is a recent movement in the design and construction industry called “integrated design,” where architects, engineers, specialists, contractors and building operations staff are in on the design process from the outset. Tower designers have been designing this way for years; there is no other way.

Jacob Slevin: What is the one architectural feature of 11 Times Square you just love bragging about?

Dan Kaplan: I love its airy three-story lobby. It is a calm and handsome refuge from the visual noise of the city. The lobby is an essay in the skillful use of light. Using various surface treatments – hammered cararra marble, etched silk-glass, warm wood, and burnished silver leaf – we produced a radiant glow within the space. Visitors and employees of the building will enjoy Tim Prentice’s kinetic sculpture of metal “leaves” that hangs from the ceiling. It plays-off the qualities of the space, creating beautiful, ever changing patterns of light and shadow.


Burnished materials were selected for the tower’s lobby to produce a warm, radiant glow within the space and compliment the natural and artificial light. Photo by Coe Will.


A kinetic aluminum sculpture by Tim Prentice animates the tower’s lobby. Photo by Coe Will.

Jacob Slevin: What was most challenging about designing this building?

Dan Kaplan: The most challenging aspect of designing Eleven Times Square was its site at the corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. Because the building’s site is surrounded on all four sides with ample space, there is no “back”; every side is highly visible, yet very different in character and exposure.

Jacob Slevin: What is an innovative feature of 11 Times Square?

Dan Kaplan: Eleven Times Square is solar responsive! It is a high-rise that is based on first-principles of environmental design. It is the only major tower in New York to have different façade properties on its north and south sides. The south portion of the building – exposed to the most sun- has reflective glass and perforated aluminum sunshades that cut down on glare and heat. In contrast, the 42nd Street portion is sheer and more transparent welcoming in the softer, north light.

Jacob Slevin: Eleven Times Square was designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification. What are some of the more innovative sustainable systems at play?

Dan Kaplan: Office buildings in our climate are almost always in cooling mode, and therefore the reduction of solar gain was a driver of the building’s form and expression. Its various “skins” relate to solar orientation; more transparent on the north side; more reflective on the south. The south facades also incorporate projecting sunscreens for energy and glare control. This strategy was augmented by many others – highly filtered air, ample day light, wise management of storm water, careful tuning of the building for energy savings, healthy materials – that will result in energy savings, water use reduction and occupant well-being.


Reflective glass and perforated aluminum sunshades were installed on the tower’s south façade in order to cut down on glare and heat gain. Photo by Coe Will.

Jacob Slevin: What are the three most defining characteristics of Times Square you considered before beginning work on 11 Times Square?

Dan Kaplan: I wanted Eleven Times Square to be:

  • a great addition to this uniquely New York neighborhood: to add to the vibrancy of Times Square and 42nd Street, to create a compelling form on the skyline, to create interesting and surprising moments in the streetscape.

  • an environmental good neighbor as well: to use less energy and water and to do its part to not over-tax the sewers, the landfills and the energy grid.


  • attractive to today’s leading businesses: to give employees access to great light and views; to give major tenants their own identity and a building-with-in-a-building feel; and to provide a flexible, productive platform for dynamic organizations.


Jacob Slevin: What’s it like having such a substantial impact on perhaps the busiest intersection in the United States?

Dan Kaplan: In high-density cities like New York, buildings are rarely seen or experienced as a single composition. I designed Eleven Times Square not as a singular object, but rather an exploration of shape and form that changes depending on from where you view it, contributing to the larger urban experience. I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with SJP and create a truly unique building in one of the most visited and celebrated locations in the world. It was our goal to design a building that was energetic, created a sense of place, and enriched the built environment. I’d like to think we’ve done that, and more.


The tower’s commercial tenants access their offices through a three-story lobby on the corner of 41st Street and Eighth Avenue. Photo by Coe Will.

Jacob Slevin: What’s the next big project you’ll be working on?

Dan Kaplan: We are fortunate to be involved in many fascinating and challenging projects in New York, Washington, Istanbul, Riyadh, and Sao Paolo. The one project that I believe will have the most far-reaching impact is the new Palliative Care Campus for the HeathCare Chaplaincy. This building, on the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan, will house a very innovative program that focuses on spiritual health and comfort for residents facing terminal illness. We are looking at every aspect of hospice and advanced assisted living environments with an eye to reinvent the existing paradigm. It’s an architectural – as well as emotional – challenge!

About FXFOWLE Architects
Founded 32 years ago, FXFOWLE Architects is an architectural, interior design, planning, and urban design firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. The firm’s diverse portfolio of work has garnered international recognition for its design quality, technical innovation, and environmental responsibility. In 2010, FXFOWLE was named Firm of the Year by the American Institute of Architects – New York State.

Jacob Slevin is the CEO of and the Publisher of 3rings.

January 16, 2011

CRYSTAL CG Architectural Visualization


Established in 1995, crystal CG is the world-leading professional digital visualization service company worldwide…

must see the company PARTNERS  list @, WOW!

such as Adrian Smith | SOM | KPF | Foster | Gensler,……………………………………………………..

January 16, 2011

Pamela Yasuko

image : SOM | Pamela Yasuko Photography