Archive for ‘Facade Detailing’

July 31, 2011

Hard Rock Cafe Facade | Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Model Model

Section Section

Hard Rock Cafe Facade / Architectkidd © Courtesy of Architectkidd

Architects: Architectkidd / Udomsak Komonvilas, Jariyawadee Lekawatana, Luke Yeung
Location: , Thailand
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 550 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Architectkidd

The Hard Rock Cafe in  marks a new approach for the venerable Hard Rock brand. Designers Architectkidd and Prinda Puranananda have completed the new restaurant in the Siam Square district of  with focus on connecting music and architecture. The starting point of the project were the shapes, rhythms and structures of sound. Their interpretation to physical forms and materials in the new design was the result of a creative collaboration that combined a variety of disciplines from design to branding, furniture and street art.

This approach is expressed in the design of the building facade. By studying the forms of music and sound, the Architectkidd team visualized waveforms that became the starting point for the facade design. The results are materialized in a curved cantilever steel structure with reflective black panels that aim to create a more “tactile” presence on the street and for the pedestrians walking by.

There was also an emphasis on re-using materials throughout the project, which retained parts of the existing building structure. On the exterior, the new facade panels are angled so that in some places the existing building is revealed from behind. In the interior, the two floors of the restaurant have been upgraded with the latest comforts and technological features. The furnishings and fittings contrast with the overall space in which the walls and ceilings have been removed and emphasis placed on the live music and the performance stage.

Throughout the restaurant, the cafe pays tribute to artists from its musical memorabilia to the commissioned graffiti on the second floor. The performance stage features a larger area for the band performers and a custom-fabricated backdrop by product designer Anon Pairot. As one of the highlights of the interior, this stage wall is made from recycled aluminum re-cast into solid modules.

Where wood was used in the restaurant, efforts were made to retain the existing finishes from before the renovation and to also introduce reclaimed timber on the exterior.

July 5, 2011

LTD 1 | PeterRuge Architekten

LTD_1_Pysall Ruge_Jens Willebrand_plusMOOD

LTD_1_Pysall Ruge_Jens Willebrand_plusMOOD 1

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LTD_1_Pysall Ruge_Jens Willebrand_plusMOOD 14

LTD_1_Pysall Ruge_Jens Willebrand_plusMOOD 17

Site plan

Ground floor plan

1st – 6th floor plan





Massing idea

Sun Exposure & View diagram


Sun Exposure & View diagram, drawing courtesy Pysall Ruge Architekten

German architectural firm Pysall Ruge Architekten has designed the office building and health centre – LTD 1 located in Lübeckertordamm, Hamburg, Germany.

The office building’s configuration, composed of four boomerang-shaped elements laid over each other, creates a representative entrance situation, an interior courtyard, and a transitional space to the residential courtyard in the rear. As a result of this building form, every office has direct sunlight and an unobstructed view.

Peter Ruge Architekten

In the context of the revitalising of the St. Georg district of Hamburg, an urban plot of 120 dwelling units and an office building has been realised on a site next to Hamburg St. Georg hospital.The design extends the historic urban structure of the hospital to the housing units, and conceives the office building as a solitary form. The spatial composition of these buildings generates a green courtyard for the residential blocks, an urban place facing a new high-rise to the east, and a raised plaza on the west, as well as a semi-enclosed interior court in the new administrative building. The goal was to achieve appropriately differentiated urban spaces and building appearances, a high quality of life, protection from noise, and an optimal penetration of daylight in both the residential and office buildings. The green space in the interior of the block thus benefits the offices and the dwellings in equal measure.

The office building’s configuration, composed of four boomerang-shaped elements laid over each other, creates a representative entrance situation, an interior courtyard, and a transitional space to the residential courtyard in the rear. As a result of this building form, every office has direct sunlight and an unobstructed view.

The fully room-high façade elements alternate in a relief, staggered motif: a tilting and swing-opening door with a glass weather and sound protection panel in front of it, a highly insulated sandwich panel, and a sheet of fixed glazing. The asymmetric façade assembly, running vertically over the three storeys of one wing form in one direction, and in the opposite direction on the wing form above it, emphasises the building’s concept and provides an ever-changing show of reflected sunlight over the course of the day.

For the office building, ecologically unobjectionable materials are used throughout. The new building is a condensed form, and its surface area is optimised. Two service and sanitary cores lie inside and allow flexible use and simple adjustments to future requirements of the users. The building’s materials possess the “Blue Angel” certification and are thus ecologically friendly. An innovatively staggered, highly insulating external glass skin, a naturally ventilated double façade, low energy heating and concrete core cooling, as well as an energy-optimised lighting concept reduce the primary energy requirements.

The building has received the gold certification for sustainable architecture from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

The seal of approval of the DGNB is a system of certification created by the German Sustainable  Building  Council together with the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. The rating system consists of 61 criteria which evaluate the whole life cycle of a building project with regard to sustainability.

The rating system goes far beyond the ecological standards of a simple ”green building”. With its spe-cific qualities it responds to all aspects of sustainable building: to its ecological, economic, functional and technical objectives, as well as demonstrating sustainability in the final execution process.

Hamburg – about to become the “European Green Capital 2011″ – now got the first office building with the highest seal of approval for sustainable architecture.

+ Project credits / data

ProjectLTD 1
Location: Lübeckertordamm 1 – 3, 20099 Hamburg, Germany
Size GFA: 26.643 sqm, offices 12.574 sqm, health centre wing A 3.669 sqm, retail area ground floor 3.241 sqm, basement 7.159 sqm
Building cost: € 22 Mio. according to DIN 276 – 300/400
Certification: DGNB Gold-Certification, Seal of approval for sustainable architecture, 2010
Duration: competition 1st price 2003, completion 2007, fit-out 2008, certification 2010
TypologyOffice building & health centre

Client: L.T.D. Lübeckertordamm Entwicklungs-GmbH
ArchitectPysall . Ruge Architekten | Justus Pysall, Peter Ruge |
Staff members: Nicole Kubath, Jan-Michael Strauch, George, Bradburn, Tobias Ahlers, Matthias Matschewski, Bartlomiej, Kisielewski, Maha Alusi, Yolanda Yuste, Philipp von Matt
Structural Engineering: Lichtenau Himburg Tebarth Bauingenieure GmbH, Berlin
Mechanical & Electrical: Reese Beratende Ingenieure VDI, Hamburg
DGNB-Auditor: Intep, Integrale Planung GmbH, München
Photographer: Jens Willebrand Photographie |

Brief: Office building and retail area for tenants related to health care | reception area | office areas with open zones | multi-purpose | offices | individual offices | health centre | retail area | under-ground car parking
Scope of services: Competition design, establishing the basis of the project, pre-liminary design, final design, approval documents, execution documents, participation in tendering and contract award as well as artistic site supervision. ( HOAI phase 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 as well as parts of phase 6, 7 and 8 )

+ All drawings courtesy Pysall Ruge Architekten | Photo © Jens Willebrand

July 5, 2011

Prince George Airport | mgb

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

Prince George Airport /mgb Courtesy of mgb ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN Inc

site plan site plan

plan plan

detail detail

detail detail

section section

section section

mcfarlane | green | biggar Architecture + Design () was commissioned to design three phases of the  Airport expansion and renovation. The project has contributed to a strong civic identity for the  community as the gateway into northern . The project highlights our interest in revitalizing existing spaces and structures in a highly sustainable manner. The first phase addressed new security measures required by the changes to airline travel after September 11th, 2001. New requirements by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority [CATSA] resulted in a national program to upgrade Canadian airports with new equipment and, at times, new space. The second phase addressed new demand for international travel to and from the region. The second phase incorporates international arrivals, domestic baggage claim and offices for the Canadian Border Services Administration.

Architect: mcfarlane | green | biggar Architecture + Design Inc (mgb)
Project Team: Steve McFarlane, MAIBC AAA MRAIC LEED® AP (Lead Design); Michael Green, MAIBC AIA RAIC (Lead Design); Michelle Biggar, BBE Int. Design (Lead Interiors); Vicki Brown, Hozumi Nakai
Project Year: 2005
Photographs: Courtesy of 

Structural Engineer: Equilibrium Consulting

Mechanical Engineer: Keen Engineering
Electrical Engineer: NRS Engineering
Specifications Morris: Specifications Ltd.
Code Consultants: GHL Consulting Engineers
Builder: Wayne Watson Construction

The project involves the expansion of the existing terminal to include a new departure lounge, international arrivals area, security screening area, baggage make-up room, support offices and renovations to the existing check-in hall and arrivals areas. The design modernizes the 1970’s Transport  designed terminal and establishes a fresh approach to the interior and exterior architecture.

The structure is exposed heavy timber, concrete and steel. The design focused on the craft of the structural and envelope detailing. Exterior cladding includes an innovative structurally-glazed curtain wall supported on custom-designed castings. The unique point-fixed glazing system penetrates only the inner pane of laminated glass in the insulated unit preventing thermal bridging. The glazing solution is the first of its type in North America. The ductile steel castings were used to support the roof and used for departure lounge benches illustrating the design’s integration of architectural solutions from structure to furniture.

Design Rationale
Materials were selected for their purpose and not for their decorative value. Durability, sustainability, elegant detailing and cost were all weighed in the decisions to develop a simple natural palette for the building. Wood became the dominant material as a means to satisfy the project’s ambitions to relate to the regional economy and aesthetic. Fir ceilings and exterior soffits continue the plane of the interior to the exterior of the terminal. Interior wood elements include ‘birch box’ seating and maple benches that were designed to create variety and intimacy within the departures lounge.

Arriving passengers are greeted with a sky-lit central atrium that serves as the primary circulation linking departing and arriving passengers. The dense structure is layered with a fir sunscreen and a steel and engineered-wood structure. The space transforms throughout the day with a dynamic play of light and shadow.

The back-of-house baggage ‘make-up’ area is enclosed with translucent polycarbonate planks in extruded aluminum frames. The polycarbonate screens the work area while providing a luminous box from the exterior as passengers descend to the apron from their aircraft. Charcoal fiber-cement panels and panelized cedar complete the exterior palette and continue into the interior.

The  community has embraced the building for its modern and materially expressive aesthetic. The community sees the airport redevelopment and the terminal’s design as a catalyst for future growth and a strong symbol as a gateway for commerce, industry and tourism. The project is particularly unique in its ability to define a strong modern architectural character in a part of BC that is often challenged by modest budget projects.

May 16, 2011

Seattle Public Library, Main Branch #3, Seattle, WA

ID: 3151

Alt. Name:

Seattle Public Library, Central Library #3, Seattle, WA
Seattle Library Downtown Branch #3, Seattle, WA

Construction Date:

Start Date: 2000   End Date: 2004

Building History:

Competition occurred in 1999, among five invited firms: Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Rotterdam, Netherlands; Steven Holl, New York, NY; Norman Foster and Partners, London, UK; Cesar Pelli, New Haven, CT; and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF), Portland, OR; finalists were OMA, Steven Holl, and ZGF; OMA awarded the contract in September 1999; OMA Partners-in-Charge: Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus; LMN Partner-in-Charge: John Nesholm; Seattle City Librarian, Deborah Jacobs, collaborated with OMA and LMN closely on the project; Jacobs emphasized a collaborative approach to design, eliciting ideas from the public and staff in frequent meetings; renowned engineer, Cecil Balmond, Chairman of Europe & Building Division at Arup, the huge engineering firm, participated in the engineering work on the building; Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners engineered the glass curtain wall façade; the curtain wall was awarded an American Institute of Architects Washington Chapter 2000 Award; Hoffman Construction Company was the building contractor; subsequent to the building’s completion, a dispute arose over cost over-runs between Hoffman Construction and the administration of the Seattle Public Library; Bruce Mau Design Incorporated, Toronto, ON, consulted on the library’s signage; Petra Blaisse was the landscape architect; in 1999, the scheduled completion date was 2003, although several factors conspired to delay the opening: asbestos removal from the old library was slow, the construction company experienced excavation problems, a retaining wall on Fifth Avenue needed extra repairs, and delays occurred in the ordering of the steel members forming for the facade; the building actually opened Sunday, 05/23/2004;

Structure Type:

built works – social and civic buildings – libraries


1000 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA
map latlong or map of street number


Arup, Ove , (1438)
Balmond, Cecil , (1969)
Blaisse, Petra , (1958)
Brown, Jim , (1899)
Dewhurst, Laurence , (1698)
Hoffman, Lee Hawley , (1700)
Hunter, Adam , (1898)
Koolhaas, Rem , (1180)
Loschky, George , (1956)
Macfarlane, Timothy , (1699)
Marquardt, Judsen , (1957)
Mau, Bruce , (505)
McBride, Damien , (1897)
Nesholm, John F., (1578)
Ramus, Joshua , (1577)
Zimmer, Robert , (1618)


Arup, Ove, and Partners (1011)
Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners, Structural Engineers (1219)
Hoffman Construction Company (1220)
Inside / Outside, Landscape Architects (1408)
Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN) (1127)
Mau, Bruce, Design Incorporated (1221)
Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) (794)


Knecht, Barbara, “Defining Component-Based Design”, Architectural Record, 153-160, 7/2004. 
Olson, Sheri, “How Seattle learned to stop worrying and love Rem Koolhaas’plans for a new Central Library”,Architectural Record, 120-125, 8/2000. 
Olson, Sheri, “Thanks to OMA’s blending of cool information technology and warm public spaces Seattle’s Central Library kindles book lust”, Architectural Record, 192: 7, 88-101, 7/2004. 
Lamprecht, Barbara, “The nice and the good: library, Seattle, USA”, Architectural Review, 216: 1290, 52-57, 
“Been there”, Architecture Boston, 9: 1, 14-19, 01-02/2006. 
Kipnis, Jeffrey, “A Time for Freedom”, Architecture Interruptus, 18-20, 2007. 
“Bibliothek in Seattle”, Arch Plus, 156: 56-65, 5/2001. 
Hantzschel, Jarg, “Zentralbibliothek in Seattle”, Baumeister, 101: 7, 40-49, 7/2004. 
Clausen, Meredith L., “Infopools und atmende Bucherregale : Entwurf Offentliche Bibliothek Seattle”, Bauwelt, 94: 27-28, 22-24, 7/25/2003. 
“Seattle Central Library”, GA Document, 80: Front cover, 8-61, 6/2004. 
“Seattle Public Library”, Library Journal, 130: 2, 15, 02/01/2005. 
“Algoritmi genetici: il diagramma delle funzioni trasformato in forma spettacolare in tre progetti di OMA a Seattle, Berlino e Seul = Genetic algorithm: the functional diagram transformed in spectacular fashion in three projects by OMA in Seattle, Berlin and Seoul.”, Lotus International, 127: 52-65, 
Ouroussoff, Nicolai, “Civic Boosterism Never Looked So Sexy”, New York Times, 2, 46, 12/26/2004. 
Patton, Phil, “DESIGN; I Like the New Car, but I Love the New Building”, New York Times, 7, 10/26/2005. 
Gunderson, Mary Parlato, “Letters to the Editor: Libraries Venues are sanctuaries for creative imaginations”,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B7, 11/16/2007. 
“Library architect earns Pritzker Prize”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 04/17/2000. 
Marshall, John Douglas, “Rem’s bling-bling ; the library Rem Koolhaas almost didn’t get the chance to design”,Seattle Post-Intelligencer, F1, 5/23/2004. 
Mulady, Kathy, “Library steeling for work delays”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B3, 3/26/2003. 
Manahan, William W., “Letters to the Editor: Mountains of praise tempered by critical look”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, D3, 04/01/2007. 
“Plans for new library unveiled today: Architect will show conceptual drawings at Benaroya meeting”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer , C7, 12/15/1999. 
Eskenazi, Stuart, “Something for everyone”, Seattle Times, A1, A12, 09/12/2008. 
Gilmore, Susan, “Library funds put back into city’s budget”, Seattle Times, B2, 11/13/2009. 
“Rahner Q & A Rem Koolhaas”, Seattle Times, E1-E2, 09/09/2008. 
“Nordstrom + The Library + Frederick and Nelson + The Convention Center + The Mayor + Developers = The Deal That Ate Downtown”, Seattle Weekly, 17-21, 23-25, 02/09/1994. 
Lacayo, Richard, “Rem Koolhaas”, Time, 171: 19, 105, 05/12/2008. 


Bruce Mau Design Inc. (646) Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners Engineering structures worldwide (645) LMN Architects (752) News Release 20 April 1999 Library Board narrows list of architects to design new central library on April 22 (1605) Office of Metropolitan Architecture (744) On Architecture: How the new central library really stacks up (1913) Seattle downtown library: a modern marvel? (3431) Seattle Public Library (747)Seattle’s Eccentric ‘Book Behemoth’ Shatters Stereotypes (1778)

February 4, 2011

Double-glazing vs. masonry

Do More With Less

Double-glazing vs. masonry. Why, in an era of rapidly diminshing resources, is architecture so technologically complex?

By: Kiel Moe

Credit: Jameson Simpson

Architects often have a nostalgic view of progress: Our feebly linear understanding assumes that humanity always benefits when a new technology arises. Architects frequently deploy systems, software, and products to replace older versions and differentiate themselves in a crowded and competitive marketplace. Many architects thus embrace linear progress with excitement and incorporate technology with misplaced enthusiasm, unaware that they are caught in a vicious cycle, based on recurrent, and self-undercutting, obsolescence. Technology is anything but new, and the traditional view of progress—a curiously mixed cocktail of acquiescence and hubris—reflects little about its real dynamics.


In reality, progress is nonlinear and unstable. As such, it is very much open to design. Today, progress itself must be designed. Contrary to the traditional model, one design for progress today would selectively de-escalate the most egregious forms of technology in favor of a lower-technology but higher-performance paradigm. Neither stubbornly reactionary nor blindly optimistic, this lower-technology, higher-performance approach is an intelligent mongrel of both the archaic and the contemporary, and it can improve the performance of our design practices and buildings.

Instead of adding ever-increasing layers of intricacy, specificity, and coordination, architects should question the complexity that dominates our buildings and lives. Using a low-technology, high-performance approach, architects can exceed the performance expectations of a higher-technology building, and in the process they can engender durability, adaptability, tolerance, and, most importantly, resilience—qualities that are increasingly fundamental to architecture. One cannot underestimate the role of designed resilience in the 21st century.

Conspicuous Consumption, Conspicuous Construction
The linear model of progress in architecture is invariably additive: When architects encounter new problems and obligations, they often respond by layering materials, technologies, consultants, software. The double-glazed envelope is a classic example—a cascade of compensations for the conceit of an overilluminated, underinsulated glass box. The extra glass and steel, automated shading devices, fire controls, and operable vents consume prodigious amounts of embodied energy and coordination time. These costs are difficult to justify when envelopes with a vastly more sensible 20 to 40 percent ratio of window to opaque, insulated wall can yield much higher performance for thermal conditions, lighting, operational energy, embodied energy, serviceability, and resilience.


Monolithic wall assemblies such as site-cast, air-entrained, lightweight insulating concrete are, by contrast, an optimal approach to the de-escalation of technology. The lower strength of lightweight concrete requires greater wall thickness to perform structurally. The concrete incorporates millions of air pockets that provide insulation equal to layered insulated wall assemblies and that manage vapor and water migration with its capacity to “breathe.” Indeed, what are often seen today as problems inherent to building envelopes, such as vapor or water migration, only became problematic as assemblies became layered with thinner, task-specific systems and air conditioning.

Whether lightweight air-entrained concrete, solid cross-laminated wood panels, solid masonry, or solid stone, monolithic assemblies become even more beneficial when coupled with a thermally active surface for heating and cooling, created by moving water through pipes that are embedded directly into walls and ceilings. Structure becomes the primary mechanical system. In Portland, Ore., Opsis Architecture renovated a masonry horse stable into its new office by retrofitting the building with a thermally active surface, which at once served as the seismic retrofit, the thermal-conditioning system, a perdurable finish material, and a foundation for a future expansion.

Bureaucracy of Technique
Architects have inherited a mentality of overly programmed, layered, engineered, additive, complex, and obsolescent design from the 20th century. We routinely strain against the bureaucracy of techniques we have passively grown to accept. We lose more ground than we gain in our successive attempts at “progress,” and yet, somehow, we routinely acquire more liability. Architecture stands to benefit from a rigorous reevaluation of its more pernicious theories, techniques, and technologies.

As the complexity of buildings and practices continues to increase, so does our inability to know the difficult whole. This is an intellectually and professionally dubious position. In a radically less-additive mentality, there are systemic gains for buildings and practices when we do more with less by orders of magnitude: 40 drawings in a construction set, not 400, for instance. Practices that do this know more about what they do and do more of what they know well. Doing less but better, and in turn achieving more, is consequential progress. A primary aim of de-escalating technology is an escalation of actual knowledge about technique, practice, and performance.

Twin Obsolescence
Architecture’s chronically divergent preoccupations with a building’s image and the inevitable obsolescence of ever-escalating technologies and systems is not a cogent pathway forward in this century, and it never was. Rather, consequential progress will emerge only when architects productively merge architecture’s objecthood and objectivity; when they grasp that a single-speed bicycle offers a model of far-higher-performance design than a Toyota Prius, much less a Formula One race car.

In all aspects of practice, an increasingly interesting question has arisen: What is the least architects can do and still exuberantly achieve or exceed the expectations of our discipline? This is not to suggest laziness, or some trivial minimalism, but rather to invoke a more mindful engagement with technique—a wholly untaught, unthought but inordinately consequential concept in architecture in this century.

What the profession needs is more intellectual and disciplinary agility to finally set our techniques and practices on a course for meaningful progress. This will emerge from strategic shifts in our pedagogies and practices. It will not emerge from capitulating to the demands of software packages, certification checklists, or greenwashed products. As Lewis Mumford wrote, “The machine itself makes no demands and holds out no promises.” Progress will not arrive automatically, but through thoughtful tactics and strategies. Progress will only be achieved when it is designed.



February 4, 2011

Terra-cotta rainscreen systems present designers with a broad palette of cost-effective possibilities.

Let It Rain, Let It Rain, Let It Rain by Aaron Seward

For the University of Michigans Ross School of Business, Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF) used terra-cotta both as visual punctuation for the glass-and-aluminum curtainwalls and in a rainscreen system for the large planar surfaces. The apparent differences in tile color are due to the fact that some of the tiles have vertical flutes that point to the right, while others have vertical flutes that point to the left.

Credit: Barbara Karant/Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

For the University of Michigans Ross School of Business, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) used terra-cotta both as visual punctuation for the glass-and-aluminum curtainwalls and in a rainscreen system for the large planar surfaces. The apparent differences in tile color are due to the fact that some of the tiles have vertical flutes that point to the right, while others have vertical flutes that point to the left.



Rainscreen section, Ross School of Business, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Payette used a terra-cotta rainscreen system to cover the entrance face of the Meditech Computer Science Building (above). In addition to offering a contemporary riff on the areas historical architecture (mills built from stone), the terra-cotta absorbs the suns heat, insulatating the interior with an R-value of 12.5.

Payette used a terra-cotta rainscreen system to cover the entrance face of the Meditech Computer Science Building. In addition to offering a contemporary riff on the areas historical architecture (mills built from stone), the terra-cotta absorbs the sun’s heat, insulatating the interior with an R-value of 12.5.


Rainscreen section, Meditech Building, Payette

DiMella Shaffer used terra-cotta (at right in photo) on about 25 percent of Crimson Hall. The tiles sandy color and size14 inches high by 4 feet longprovides a sharp visual contrast against the smaller red bricks.

Credit: Robert Benson Photography

DiMella Shaffer used terra-cotta (at right in photo) on about 25 percent of Crimson Hall. The tiles’ sandy color and size—14 inches high by 4 feet long—provide a sharp visual contrast against the smaller red bricks.
Rainscreen section, Crimson Hall, DiMella Shaffer

Terra-cotta rainscreen systems have been in German façade manufacturers’ catalogs since at least the 1980s. But this marriage of an ancient material with a more contemporary construction methodology has only really caught on in the United States over the past decade. In that relatively brief amount of time, however, this nation’s architects have put the system to good use both in solving project-specific design challenges as well as in foiling one of the chief enemies to a building’s longevity: water infiltration.

The traditional way to keep water out of a building has been to seal the envelope, generally with caulking. This has one major fault. Caulking materials inevitably deteriorate. Weather causes them to expand and contract, and eventually crack, while UV rays corrode them. Meanwhile, wind, or the inevitable pressure differential between interior and exterior, causes water to worm its way into the exterior.

Rainscreens, of whatever material, answer this problem by doing away with caulked façade joints and replacing them with a vented cavity between the cladding and insulation, where the final weather barrier is established. This eliminates the pressure differential and allows the water that does invade the system to be harmlessly vaporized.

A multitude of materials can be employed in rainscreen systems, including woods, metals, and masonry. Terra-cotta, however, offers a relatively affordable way to achieve a durable finish, with a wide spectrum of design possibilities. The material can be manufactured in almost any color imaginable, and in extrusions limited only by physics and the architect’s imagination. The three projects that follow are examples of designers using terra-cotta rainscreen systems to develop a contemporary response to built environments dominated by brick and stone.

Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, 2008
When the University of Michigan hired Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) to design a new 281,000-square-foot home for its school of business in Ann Arbor, Mich., the architects found themselves facing the challenge of integrating their building into a context of revival styles. The project sits diagonally across from the neo-gothic William W. Cook Law Quadrangle. “The client had an inclination to use a material that would enable the building to be perceived as a good neighbor to the campus’ traditional buildings, and a material that would last with a high level of elegance over the life span of building, but we didn’t want to do brick or gothic, exactly,” explains William Pedersen, FAIA, the design principal for the project. “A terra-cotta rainscreen seemed perfect. The modular nature of its construction lends it a certain modernity, and it blends well with a masonry context. It also goes well with glass and stone.”

The architects used the terra-cotta in two different applications: as larger surfaces with no fenestration, and as vertical punctuation elements on the glass-and-aluminum curtainwalls. Only the unpunctuated surfaces employ a true rainscreen system. The tiles hang from aluminum clips attached to metal stud-framed walls. From interior to exterior, the wall sandwich is assembled like this: metal studs, gypsum sheathing, bituminous sheet waterproofing, 3-5/8 inches of mineral-fiber insulation, an air barrier, a 1-3/4-inch vented air space, and, finally, the terra-cotta cladding. “We wrapped the mineral-fiber insulation with an air barrier in case any wind-driven rain got behind the terra-cotta,” says KPF senior associate principal Phillip White, AIA. “In Europe, they typically don’t add that, but we did because when insulation gets wet, it loses its value.” The architects subjected the system to a battery of performance testing and believe the wall to provide an R-value of 16.

While the terra-cotta’s red-brown color is vibrant on its own, the architects took full advantage of the sculptural properties of the material to add texture to the surfaces of the building by using vertically fluted tiles. In half of the fluted pieces, the flutes point slightly to the right, whereas in the other half, they point the same degree to the left. These ridged tiles are alternated on the wall with the flat tiles, giving the otherwise planar surface an interesting texture. The tiles—which vary in size but are, for the most part, roughly 1 foot by 2 feet 5 inches—were also hung oriented vertically (most terra-cotta rainscreen systems feature horizontally hung tiles). This allowed the crisp joints between tiles to further strengthen the lines of the building.

The sculptural tiles did add cost to the system, but KPF worked with the manufacturer to reduce the number of extrusions to 10, thus keeping the price tag within reason. The wall was stick-built on site and cost approximately $70 per square foot—far cheaper than the project’s curtainwall, which rang in at around $120 per square foot.

Meditech Computer Science Building
Payette, 2008
Medical Information Technology, or Meditech, is a healthcare software developer, one of the industry’s leaders in hospital records database management. When commissioning a computer science building for its new 17-acre campus on the northern shore of South Watuppa Pond in Fall River, Mass., the company wanted to embody its high-tech culture and yet nod to the area’s historical architecture. In the 19th century, Fall River was a center of American textile manufacturing, and many of the old mills—constructed from local stone—still dot the landscape. Boston architecture firm Payette looked to these structures for inspiration when designing the 120,000-square-foot building, a strategy that led the architects to clad half of the facility in a terra-cotta rainscreen system. “Although terra-cotta is a very ancient material, its application in a rainscreen offered a way to reinterpret the mills in a contemporary way,” says Payette associate principal Jeff DeGregorio, AIA.

The terra-cotta rainscreen clads the entrance face of the building and is outfitted with punched windows set in a pattern much like that found in the local textile mills. This relatively closed façade stands in contrast to the opposite face: a floor-to-ceiling glass curtainwall that allows Meditech employees to take in views of the water and the landscaping. In addition to establishing an open and closed dynamic, the opposing façades are oriented optimally for sun exposure, with the terra-cotta and its superior insulation values accepting the lion’s share of the summer sun and heat. The punched windows are triple glazed for the same reason. The terra-cotta features an R-value of 12.5, whereas the windows have R-values from 4.5 to 5.6 in the summer and 4.2 to 5.5 in the winter.

To add variety and texture to the terra-cotta façade, the architects designed a stripe pattern in the chalky white tiles, which are 3 feet 4 inches wide by 14 inches high. The pattern was accomplished by extruding each tile with a 2-inch-wide horizontal stripe of honed finish at the bottom and the remainder of the tile with a corduroy pattern. “We went through a long process with the manufacturer and looked at 70 to 100 different samples of terra-cotta to get to the right coloring and texturing,” DeGregorio says. “There was no amount of rendering or computer modeling that could tell us if the building was too stripy or not stripy enough. Terra-cotta offered us the flexibility to actually mock-up lots of different pieces and see what worked.”

Rather than stick-build the rainscreen system, Payette had it prefabricated in 30-foot-wide by 14-foot-high panels that were trucked to the site, then hoisted into place by crane and clipped to the floor slabs. This saved time and money on installation and made the process easier in the face of the site’s strong winds. Each panel, from interior to exterior, was made up of 6-inch cold-formed metal framing, 5/8-inch exterior sheathing, an air and vapor barrier, 2-inch rigid insulation, a 1-3/4-inch vented air gap, a vertical aluminum rail that accepts the terra-cotta, and then the tiles themselves, which were shiplapped. The windows were installed later. “We worked hard on the details to make sure the air and vapor barriers were secured and used the cladding to keep as much of the system as watertight as possible,” DeGregorio says. The system was bid at $80 per square foot, not including the windows.

Crimson Hall, Bridgewater State University
DiMella Shaffer, 2007
In designing Crimson Hall, a 130,000-square-foot student residence at Bridgewater State University, Boston architecture firm DiMella Shaffer combined terra-cotta rainscreen, brick cladding, and glass curtainwall to create the building’s envelope. The decision was, in part, one of contextual sensitivity. “The rest of the campus is made up of multimaterial structures that mix brick and precast concrete and things like that,” says firm principal Ed Hodges, AIA. “I wanted to keep our building in that tradition.” The proportion of material to material, however, came down to a matter of cost. Availed of a tight budget and an expedited construction schedule, the architects clad most of the building in brick, saving the curtainwall and terra-cotta for the standout elements of the facility.

DiMella Shaffer used the rainscreen system on about 25 percent of Crimson Hall. A desire to emphasize the mélange of materials guided the architects’ detailing of the terra-cotta. The sandy-colored tiles themselves are 14 inches high by 4 feet long, allowing the terra-cotta surface to pop next to the smaller red bricks.

Construction of the project began in March 2006, with a completion date set in July of the following year. This meant that the cladding would have to be erected during the winter months. In this case, the terra-cotta rainscreen system was a big help to DiMella Shaffer because it employs a dry installation process. The system was built layer by layer on top of metal studs. The wall composition, from interior to exterior, consists of gypsum wallboard, metal studs, sheathing, an air barrier, 2-inch mineral fiber insulation, a 1-3/4-inch air gap, and, finally, an aluminum rail system upon which the terra-cotta tiles were clipped. The windows in the wall were set back at the water barrier and flashed with aluminum and membrane flashing.

At around $50 square foot (in 2007 dollars), the terra-cotta rainscreen system at Crimson Hall was a bargain. Its R-value of 12.15 also helped the project to achieve LEED certification. But the real value may be in the system’s durability. “Because there’s no caulking in the rainscreen system, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance,” Hodges says, “and that’s crucial for any material you use in a building that’s going to last 100 years.”


February 1, 2011

Broadcasting Place | Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Broadcasting Place - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios © Sapa: Architectural Aluminium Solutions

Architects: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Location: Leeds, 
Client: Downing and Leeds Metropolitan University
Budget: £50 million
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Cloud9PhotographySapa: Architectural Aluminium Solutions

Broadcasting Place is a mixed use development close to Leeds city centre.

Broadcasting Place - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios © Sapa: Architectural Aluminium Solutions

Broadcasting Place - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios © Sapa: Architectural Aluminium Solutions

Broadcasting Place - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios © Sapa: Architectural Aluminium Solutions

Broadcasting Place - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios © Sapa: Architectural Aluminium Solutions

Broadcasting Place - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios © Cloud9Photography

Broadcasting Place - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios site plan

Conceived as a public/private partnership for property group Downing and Leeds Metropolitan University, it provides approximately 110,000 square feet of new offices and teaching spaces together with 240 student residences in a landmark building rising to 23 storeys. A new Baptist Church completes the scheme on its northern edge.

The buildings are conceived as solid landscape forms which draw on Yorkshire’s rich geological and sculptural heritage. The lower buildings rise as a continuous rake from 3 storeys, adjacent to low rise listed buildings, up to 5 storeys. The taller buildings drop from 8 storeys down to 6 before rising to the scheme’s highest point of 23 storeys. The strong roof pitch is reflected in the massing of the buildings which have sharp triangular corners and angular cantilevered projections. Through this massive form, windows were conceived as the flow of water cascading through a rock formation. This design intent is reinforced by the selection of cor-ten  as a solid, sculptural and weathering material, constructed as a rain-screen façade.

The development overcame difficult site challenges with a masterplan which manages an inner city motorway passing alongside whilst also enabling future growth. This is a key central Leeds location and a new public space linking key urban spaces forms a significant landscape element in the scheme.

A key success of the scheme is the innovative approach to the design of each elevation. We developed our own software programme to undertake a rigorous computational analysis of each small section of the building facades. The result is a varied appearance highly specific to this scheme, optimising daylight and reducing solar penetration.

Bold and beautiful, the building has made a big and positive impact on this area of central Leeds. What isn’t so immediately obvious is the innovation and research that went into its environmental strategy and the benefits this will bring over the coming years.

Paul Houghton, Director of Development, Downing

Broadcasting Place has already been described as the most notable addition to the Leeds skyline in decades…..As its oxidising surface weathers to a deep red colour – as the Angel of the North now has after ten years – its other virtues will become apparent: the environmental excellence of the design, the quality of its internal spaces, and the contribution it makes to Leeds as a walkable city.

Professor Chris Bailey, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Society

January 31, 2011

Central Energy Plant | Spillman Farmer Architects

Central Energy Plant / Spillman Farmer Architects © Steve Wolfe Photography

Central Energy Plant / Spillman Farmer Architects © Steve Wolfe Photography

Central Energy Plant / Spillman Farmer Architects © Steve Wolfe Photography

Central Energy Plant / Spillman Farmer Architects © Steve Wolfe Photography

Central Energy Plant / Spillman Farmer Architects © Steve Wolfe Photography

Central Energy Plant / Spillman Farmer Architects © Steve Wolfe Photography

Central Energy Plant / Spillman Farmer Architects © Steve Wolfe Photography

site plan site plan

floor plan floor plan

wall section wall section

detailed render 01 detailed render 01

detailed render 02 detailed render 02

Architects: Spillman Farmer Architects
Location: , PA, 
Project Team: James G. Whildin, Joseph N. Biondo, Mike Metzger, Mark Piell
Project area: 6,300 sq. ft.
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Steve Wolfe Photography

Dickinson College’s program for its Central Energy Plant addition was straightforward: extend the existing 80,000 SF building to accommodate the boilers and cooling towers required to serve the campus’ energy requirements. The College asked that the addition, a 6,300 SF building determined by the size of the equipment housed within, reveal the functionality of the building rather than conceal its operations. The architect’s challenge was to respond to the client’s program and create an extension that respected the existing structure but was not dominated by it.

The new building is a layered dance of brick and aluminum. At the east elevation, a stair tower marks a subtle transition from the existing to the new; here, a full-height brick wall continues the mass of the original building. As the corner is turned, the brick is progressively subtracted until it becomes

A low wall on the west elevation. In its place, continuing to define the space, is an aluminum veil that is visually both solid and sheer. Its solidity completes the block form and its sheerness allows views into the functional spaces (cooling towers) within.The horizontal layering also suggests the building’s vertical layering. The masonry wall envelops, but does not hide, the structural elements placed independently behind it. The aluminum veil is loosely hung on the structure. Throughout, the building shows clear evidence of how it is made, its materiality expressed and unadorned.


August 18, 2010

1100 First Street | Krueck & Sexton Architects

1100 First Street, Wasington DC

Tishman Speyer Properties

Architect of Record: Gensler

With building heights limited to a uniform 130’ throughout the city and allowable floor area to be maximized, the urban design opportunity for 1100 and 1150 First Street is realized in the most advantageous placement of the limited and precious open site area.

The project consists of two distinct buildings placed perpendicularly to First Street, and parallel to each other. This allows both buildings equal frontage on the primary, address side of the site while forming a common plaza courtyard between the opposing long sides.

The two buildings are subtly shaped to create a dynamic plaza and courtyard that allow natural light deep onto the site and into the buildings. Additionally, the proportions of the First Street Facades are improved as their verticality is emphasized. Rather than following the Washington, D.C. office building paradigm of absorbing open site area in an enclosed atrium, 1100 & 1150 First Street acknowledge and improve the immediate neighborhood by creating public space on private property.

Environmentally sustainable design principles are followed throughout, with LEED Gold certification as the projected benchmark.

The concrete structural frame, consisting of a typical 30’ by 30’ bay, is manipulated along the perimeter to allow for the building shape. On the courtyard side, perimeter columns lean in, out, or kink once as they rise.

The precisely folded facades open up to the sky to maximize daylight, and offer an intriguing play of unexpected views and reflections. Visually, once building #2 is completed, the project will have a sense of movement, like two icebergs sliding past, one shaping the other.

The strength of the architectural concept is proven in its ability to guide all aspects of aesthetic and technical development and decision making during all phases of design: selection of materials and systems, articulation of building elements, and the resolution of details at every scale are guided by the overriding concepts of dynamic design, precision, and innovation.

The all glass east and courtyard facades of 1100 & 1150 First Street are made of insulated glazing units with 5/16” thick outer glass. This additional 1/16” thickness over the typically used ¼” glass results in extraordinary flatness, which conveys the precision of a machined aesthetic. Additionally, the sound isolation from the exterior is improved significantly. The selection of Viracon VRE 1-46 for the glass low-emissivity coating was driven by a balancing of glass color, reflectivity and transparency, and thermal performance. The ever changing appearance of the selected glass which oscillates between transparent and reflective enhances the character the dynamically shaped buildings.     

read it from Archdaily:

Architects: Krueck & Sexton Architects
Location: Washington, , USA
Client: Tishman Speyer
MEP Engineer: Flack + Kurtz
Structural Engineer: Tadjer Cohen Edelson Associates, Inc.
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 355,000 sqf
Photographs: Prakash Patel

Krueck + Sexton’s architectural design vision for 1100 First Street re-defines the expectations of the speculative office building in Washington, D.C. Organized as two distinct 350,000 sqf blocks on a 1.7 acre site, the forms of this -clad building pair are subtly manipulated to emphasize verticality and activate a dynamic courtyard at the center of the complex. This space brings natural light deep into the site and identifies the building’s main entry.

In a city known more for stone facades and traditional windows, 1100 First Street is decisively modern in its expression and 21st century in its technology. Glass, the building’s exterior material, is used in two different but related ways: cleanly detailed and folded at the courtyard in a manner that lightens each volume and clearly identifies the main facade, and more deferential and modular at the adjacent streets. The architectural language that results from the precise articulation of surfaces and edges is timeless and enduring.

A high-performance facade, which uses glass in varying directions for careful infiltration and controlled reflection, provides for an open & light-filled building offering daylight and views to over 75% of its occupied areas. Throughout the building’s office spaces, natural light penetrates deep into the plate from the floor to ceiling exterior glazing. All of the glazing units are insulated with a low-e coating, providing superior energy performance.

At the ground floor the lobby is revealed, opening up the building to the scale of the street. Detailed with care and sophistication, the lobby design draws upon the language of the exterior to create a distinctive identity. The first completed building of the pair is certified LEED Gold, achieved through site strategies, water savings and energy efficiency.