Archive for February 14th, 2011

February 14, 2011


‘orange cube’ by jakob + macfarlane architects in quai rambaud, lyon, france
all images courtesy jakob + macfarlane
image © roland halbe

paris-based jakob + macfarlane architects (dominique jakob, brendan macfarlane) has sent us
images of ‘orange cube’, their soon-to-be-complete commercial and cultural complex in lyon, france.
designed as a part of an urban planning project to replenish the docks of lyon, the five-storey
orthogonal cube plays off the fluid movement of the river saône, exploring the effects of subtraction
and voids on the quality and generation of space.

image courtesy RBC

built on a regular framework of 29 x 33 m, the structure stands autonomously on the site,
a wharf with a predominantly industrial background. the most noticeable element of the design –
its bright orange shade – is an abstraction of lead paint, an industrial color often used for harbor zones.
the external skin is a light facade, punctured with a pixilated pattern that resembles trailing droplets,
a reference to the adjacent river’s flow. this porous envelope allows sightlines and natural daylighting
while establishing a distinct identity for the building.

in context of the river and surrounding structures
image © roland halbe

the structural regularity of the cube is broken on the north-west corner which faces the river.
conic in form, the large, diagonally-running void generates new space: a large atrium is created
which is circumscribed by a series of outdoor corridors that connect the office platforms together.
the facade is pulled into the depth of the volume, resulting in a shift in interior/exterior relations,
as well as facilitating light and views. another volumetric subtraction on the entry and roof level
establish direct relations between the building, its users, and the site.

view of the void from an outdoor terrace space
image © roland halbe

roof top terrace
image © roland halbe

interior view of the design showroom
image © nicolas borel

featuring a double-height layout, the ground floor accommodates a design showroom. the display concept,
which was also created by jacob + macfarlane architects, was developed as an extrapolation of the ‘orange cube’s
architectural language. taking the treatment of the facade, a three-dimensional volume was generated for an
L-shaped wall that wraps around the space. sixty ‘alvéoles’ are used to display furniture pieces,
while the unit as a whole define the circulation of the floor.

display wall
image © nicolas borel

image © nicolas borel

image courtesy RBC

office floor
image © nicolas borel

images © nicolas borel

detail of light facade
image © nicolas borel

3D rendering of display wall units

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level +4


project info:

client: rhône saône développement
surface: 6,300 m2
commercial program: headquarters cardinal group
cultural program:
design showroom, RBC
cost consultant: michel forgue
electrical engineering: alto ingénierie
acoustic: avel acoustique
structure: RFR GO+
facade: T.E.S.S.

February 14, 2011

Clean Technology Tower | Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill


The “Clean Technology Tower” is a highly efficient building which will be constructed in Chicago. The tower will have wind turbines positioned at the corners of the building, to capture wind at its highest velocity as it accelerates around the tower. At the apex, where wind speeds are at a maximum, a domed double roof cavity directs the wind towards an array of wind turbines. The negative pressure created by the turbines will be used to ventilate interior spaces. The dome itself is shaded by solar cells that capture the southern sun.


The complex includes over 1.8 million square feet of office space as well as a 300,000 square foot hotel, a spa and street-level retail.

It was designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, the same firm who designed the recently featured solar Masdar Headquarters.


This tower in Chicago is an evolution of the Pearl River Tower which both Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill were responsible for while at SOM. Where Pearl River used the face of the building to funnel wind into two large turbine zones this design uses an array of smaller turbines at the corners of the building to catch the wind at its highest velocity.


February 14, 2011

Skyscraper Gets Covered In 7000 Solar Panels, but apparently only 4898 of these modules are “live” the others are “dummy modules” — strange!



The facade of this Manchester skyscraper (owned by CIS, an insurance company) was original covered with small mosaic tiles, but after only six months, they began to detach and fall. A solution was needed, and a company called solarcentury came up with a clever idea replacing the failing tiles with solar cells.

Not only do the solar cells provide a weatherproof barrier, they also generate about 390kW of power for the building. In total, 7,244 Sharp 80W modules are used to cover the entire service tower (but apparently only 4898 of these modules are “live” the others are “dummy modules” — strange). The building also has 24 wind turbines on the roof, which provide 10% of the total power used by the building.


The £5.5 million ($10.1 million) solar project was supported by a £885,000 (US$1.64 million) grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and a £175,000 (US$ 324,435) grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.


Link: CIS Solar Tower


February 14, 2011

1Bligh Street | Architectus + Ingenhoven Architects

Extending the ideas Architectus proposed in the Stage 1 DA, the proposal has been developed with three critical considerations: the View, the Public Space, and the Work Environment.The ViewThe corner of Bligh and Bent Streets strongly marks the main address for the building. The elliptical form aligns with the grid to the north and is oriented to the harbour, maximising views and creating premium office space and a quality work environment.The Public SpaceThe reduced building footprint creates a significant new public space for Sydney that allows deep soil landscaping and extends Farrer Place.

Broad curving steps rise to the sheltered wintergarden and provide an ideal place to sit in the sun and appreciate the full expanse of Farrer Place and the heritage buildings of the Education and Lands Department.

The Work Environment

The Work Environment is designed around the principles of ESD, flexibility, efficiency, communication and transparency.

The sustainability strategies proposed achieve a 5-star ABGR and the highest ESD standards. A fully shaded double skin facade provides excellent Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ).

The structure delivers consistent large floor plates of up to 1600 m2 and achieves 92% efficiency Nett Lettable Area to Floor Space Area. 40% of office space is within 4.5 m of the façade with 1000 m2 contiguous column free space creating high potential for office layout flexibility. The elliptical plan is 12% more efficient than a rectangular building in façade to floor area and allows excellent natural light penetration. The atrium makes dynamic views accessible to all.

The building is set to create a new benchmark in Australia for sustainable high rise and provide an enduring presence attuned to emerging cultural, social and environmental concerns.

Project summary

  • Client
    DEXUS Property Group/Cbus Property
  • Location
    Sydney, Australia
  • Floor area
    42 700 m²
  • Completed
    May 2011
  • Original value
  • Contact
    Ray Brown


  • DEXUS/City of Sydney design competition winner 

Australia’s most ecological high rise office tower stands proud in Sydney

1 Bligh office tower, designed by ingenhoven architects + architectus, was inaugurated by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week. The architects were commissioned to design this tower in the centre of Sydney, Australia in 2006 as the result of an international design competition by the client, the Dexus Property Group.But the prominence and prestige of this 28-storey tower lies not only in its formidable size and design, but in its evident commitment to environmental sustainability. The $670 million building received the highest score in the Australian Green Star standard, a 6 Star/World Leadership certification, and is hence the first office tower in Sydney to get this rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).Its light and airy appearance is achieved by an atrium as tall as the tower itself, which offers natural daylighting and allows for natural ventilation of the offices and balconies that face in towards it.

With glass elevators running up and down the atrium, routine journeys to and from the workplace are transformed into exciting visual and spatial experiences. The shape of the building itself is derived from view corridors and solar orientation, and the transparent office building with its elliptical floor plan offers unobstructed views of the world-famous Harbour Bridge of Sydney.

A public plaza complements the opposite Farrer Place to create one of downtown Sydney’s most attractive urban spaces. A large grand staircase and the first floor are open to the public and two new cafes and a Kindergarten in the building help to animate the space.

There is also an outdoor terrace with a harbour view at the transfer-level in the 15th floor as well as a large rooftop terrace at the 28th floor, providing a unique spot to enjoy the sights of Sydney.

Its environmental credentials are as impressive as its scenic views. The tower is the first in Australia to have a double skin facade and to use natural ventilation, while the energy system combines cooling, heating and electric power generation (Tri-Generation) and a vacuum tube solar collector that produces electricity on site. Because water is an especially precious resource in Australia, 1 Bligh has its own filtration plant in the basement, capable of cleansing more waste water than the building actually produces. As a result, more waste water from the public sewage system is used, cleaned and brought back to the cycle.

300 safe parking spots for bikes (complete with shower) make the environmentally-friendly commute to the building easy and complete the ecological profile of the building.

1 Bligh has been awarded the 2011 Asia Pacific Property Award and the International Architecture Award already before completion.

Amongst the most noteworthy buildings that ingenhoven architects have designed are the RWEtower in Essen, the Lufthansa Aviation Center in Frankfurt, the European Investment bank in Luxembourg and the new Headquarters of the Swarovski Corporation in Zurich. Currently they are working on a cluster of high-rise buildings in Singapore, the new Headquarters of the HDI-Gerling Insurance in Hanover and the new high-speed railway station in Stuttgart. Only recently the office was commissioned to design the new Google Headquarters in California. ingenhoven architects have won many awards for their designs including the Global Holcim Award, the European Architecture Award and the RIBA International Award.

more pics from ArchDaily n all Courtesy of Ingenhoven Architects:

February 14, 2011

Sydney’s first major ‘double-skin’ high-rise

February 2010 – Work is underway at 1 Bligh Street, Sydney, to construct Australia’s first major high-rise building with a full ‘double-skin’ facade. JOHN POWER investigates whether two sets of glazing skins are really twice as good as single-skin options.

When 1 Bligh Street, a 29-storey office building overlooking Circular Quay in the heart of Sydney, is completed in April 2011, this $270 million structure will be a visually and functionally unique landmark.
The 42,000-square-metre development will deliver 6 Star Green Star (5 Star NABERS Energy) performance through a range of tightly integrated ESD (ecologically sustainable development) solutions, the most notable of which is a ‘double-skin’ facade.
As the phrase suggests, a double-skin facade consists of two separate glazing systems – in layman’s terms: two layers of windows. The design being incorporated into 1 Bligh Street has an INNER skin of high-quality, double-glazed windows, and an OUTER skin of single-sheet laminated glass. There is a 600mm cavity between the two skins – providing sufficient space to accommodate a sophisticated automated venetian blind system, as well as walkway gantries at each level of the building for access by cleaners and maintenance personnel.
While double-skin facades are popular in the Northern Hemisphere, where such energy-efficient designs are highly prized for their superior insulation and anti-glare properties, there are fewer examples of double-skin systems in Australia. The 5,500-square-metre Bendigo Police Station in Victoria is a good example.
The outermost glass skin at 1 Bligh Street has two primary functions: first, fixed horizontal ventilation slots at all levels of the building encourage upward airflow in the cavity between skins, helping to expel unwanted hot air; second, this outer skin serves as a weather shield to protect the motorised venetian blinds from severe winds.
The inner skin, utilising double-glazing for world-class thermal efficiency, provides an effective barrier against heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter, and maximises the benefits derived from the external venetian blinds.
According to Ray Brown, director of the Australian architectural firm Architectus – which designed the building in collaboration with German colleague Christoph Ingenhoven – the geographic and climatic conditions at 1 Bligh Street were major influences on the specification of the double-skin façade.
“The siting was really a fundamental issue; it all comes down to the siting, the use of the building, and the natural attributes of the site,” Brown says. “The building is at the heart of the commercial core of the city and looks out over the harbour. Even though it is set back several blocks, there are panoramic harbour views from the fourth level.”
Brown says the venetian blinds between the glazing skins are intrinsic to overall building performance. “Normally, external blinds of this kind can’t survive the conditions of a high-rise building more than 40 to 50 metres off the ground, so the second (outer) skin of glass is a wind shield for the blinds, which are the main solar shading system.”
Co-architect Christoph Ingenhoven, speaking recently1 with Professor Steffen Lehmann, UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific, and chair of the School of Architecture and Built Environment at The University of Newcastle, adds that double-skin sun protection is vital for both energy efficiency and user comfort.
“Our first eco-high-rise was the RWE Tower in Essen 25 years ago, which was all about the building’s envelope,” Ingenhoven says. “Since then, we have done over 40 buildings with dual-glass skin facades, and the technology has greatly evolved over this time. The Bligh Street tower will be the first high-rise to receive a 6 Star certificate on the Green Star rating system. This tower will be equipped with a real double-skin façade and will be ventilated by an atrium stretching the whole height of the tower. Fifty percent of the ventilation will be provided by the double-skin façade.
“The building will capture great gap views to Circular Quay, and there is a whole range of things we have introduced that will make the project work well. For instance, the façade will allow us to have a 100 percent shading solution and glare protection, with perforated internally adjustable blinds within the 600mm double-skin cavity. The sun protection is very efficient, while maintaining the views, so we can use non-tinted glass on the outer skin. This makes the building extremely transparent and will offer the user a different experience. The ventilated outer skin is made of clear glass, which will ensure a highly transparent building.”

The façade of 1 Bligh Street in Sydney will feature two distinct sets of glass skins. Automated venetian blinds will function between the skins, shielded from the elements.

Indeed, the clarity of the glass used in both glass skins of the façade will be one of the most eye-catching elements of the design.
Conventional office buildings usually incorporate some form of tinted or reflective glazing in order to minimise the amount of direct sunlight and heat entering the structure. The trade-off is a darkened or pearlescent finish that can visually isolate the occupants of the building from the natural environment and create unwanted reflectivity, particularly at night, when the inner glass can resemble a mirror.
The Bligh Street glass, supplied by G. James, has a 60 percent VLT (visual light transmission), compared to normal office glazing specifications of approximately 25–40 percent. In other words, onlookers will be struck by the crystal clear views into the building; meantime, the occupants will experience ‘true-to-life’ panoramic views of the harbour and the city’s genuine colours.
The double-skin façade will “definitely stand apart”, says Kerryn Coker, from engineering consultancy ARUP, who has worked closely on the project.
“In terms of the overall look, you have to realise that most commercial buildings have a VLT of no more than 35–40 percent, used with internal blinds that mean ‘no views’ when drawn,” she explains.
“So the immediate benefit of a double-skin façade is that you introduce operable external blinds, which typically you can’t have on a high-rise, to produce a shading coefficient of 0.15 with the blinds down and uninterrupted views when they’re up.”
Coker says that the external skin’s fixed (open) ventilation slots, measuring approximately 100mm wide, will allow wind to circulate fresh air through the cavity between the skins and stop excessive heat build-up. This means the internal skin will never be exposed to air temperatures that are vastly higher than the outside ambient air temperature.
“Wind rather than convection will typically drive the air movement,” Coker explains. “In Sydney you practically never experience a completely still day.”

The outer glazing skin, i.e. the external glass panel exposed to the elements, has been designed to promote airflow through fixed horizontal vents at the top and bottom of each level of the building, thereby preventing excessive heat build-up during summer.

Strong winds, of course, are not compatible with sophisticated venetian blind systems. As already mentioned, the outer skin of the building is a protective barrier against the elements for these units.
Jason Turner, whose firm Turner Bros is responsible for the installation of the motorised venetian blinds and accompanying façade control system – all supplied by Horiso – says there will be a total 1774 separate blinds throughout the building, i.e. an average 64 units per typical level.
Each unit, measuring 3300mm high and 1702mm wide, will be positioned in the cavity between the two skins, “on the inside of the outer glazing,” Turner notes, “where the pelmet attaches to the bottom of the vent at the top of each section.”
Overall, these units will form part of a powerful management platform to conserve energy and optimise user comfort. The aluminium blades [colour RAL 9007] will have a width of 80mm each.
Turner says a Horiso Dynamic Façade Controller has been programmed to track the path of the sun, which changes slightly each day of the year. The system will automatically adjust the angle of the blades in each blind depending on the orientation of the façade and the momentary position of the sun.
One of the strengths of the system, Turner says, is its ease of operation. The facility manager will be able to make use of a GUI (graphical user interface) for on-screen views of the positional settings of each blind on each floor. This system provides complete centralised control, which is vital, for instance, when overriding automatic functions for scheduled cleaning.
Similarly, individual building users can manually override pre-set functions for personal privacy, or to darken a room for video conferencing presentations, etc. Automatic functions will resume after a specified period.

It goes without saying that a double-skin façade requires more cleaning than a single-skin glass façade: “about twice as much,” Ray Brown jokes.
However, as Kerryn Coker observes, while the exterior of the outer skin – the surface exposed to the elements – will probably require six-monthly cleaning, the other surfaces will require less regular attention.
Coker says a customised, permanent BMU (building maintenance unit), comprising a cantilever-lowered cradle, will be used for the outer face of the building.
The cavity between the skins should be less susceptible to weather-related grime, and the gantry set-up will greatly enhance the speed and safety of this cleaning task.

1. Professor Christoph Lehmann spoke to Carl Ingenhoven recently as part of an interview for the article ‘Beauty in Necessity: Christoph Ingenhoven’, which appeared in the August-September 2009 issue of Architectural Review, a sister publication of Facility Management.

PROJECT NAME 1 Bligh Street, Sydney
ARCHITECTS Architectus + Ingenhoven Architects
BUILDING CO-OWNERS DEXUS Property Group and Cbus Property

Ingenhoven Architects
G. James Glass & Aluminium
Turner Bros