SAID Happenings

A recap of events at UC's School of Architecture and Interior Design

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    Facade Innovations

    Nov 6, '12 11:11 AM EST

    Recap of presentation on 10/25, part of Surface Conversations

    Erik Verboon from Buro Happold


    façade engineering
    - facades account for 15-25% of construction costs
    - architect as master builder --> conductor
    - differentiate between off the shelf cladding/curtain wall versus façade engineering
    - integrated design – façade and other engineering services offered



    King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Snohetta – surface as armor
    - cultural interdependency in time and space – pebbles in sand
    - architectural intents: free form, reflective, uniformity, and unique
    - construction realities: sand, birds, clean surface, scheduling, budget
    - stainless steel tubes wrapped in a pattern resembling a thumbprint
    - intersection of thumbprints creates unique seam on each pebble
    - steel tubes flattened in front of windows; transition piece bridges gap
    - outer skin reduced inner skin temperature
    - automated geometry rationalization/generation of new form – used Rhino, Grasshopper, and CATIA
    - custom CNC tube bending – contractor bought 4 machines that run constantly to produce tubes for skin
    - tubes attached to standing seam roof system – cheaper than steel substructure


    performative envelope
    - focus shifting from materials only to energy savings
    - static to adaptive
    - Adaptive Building Initiative founded by Buro Happold + Hoberman
    - great project videos at
    - tessellate, adaptive fritting, strata, and permea


    Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, New York
    - tessellating system – geometry relates back to purpose of building


    Wyss Institute, Boston
    - adaptive fritting to provide opacity for privacy


    Aldar Central Market, Abu Dhabi, Foster + Partners
    - permea operation:


    Hospital Manuel Gea Gonzales, Elegant Embellishments
    - scrubbing surfaces
    - tiles – penrose tiling – irregular but few pieces
    - scrub CO2 from air


    107 West 5th St – Cetra/Ruddy
    - “Pencil Tower” – will be most slender tower in New York
    - only accommodates 1 bedroom condos with shear walls on either side
    - mechanical exhaust occurs through the façade (through joints of curtain wall) - use less core space, eliminated grilles on façade
    - use of structural thermal break – maintain thin profile of the floor
    - thin performative steel cladding housing LED lights
    - does not exceed ASHRAE requirements, achieves even distribution of light up the building


    what’s next in façade engineering
    -  adaptive facades currently powered by electricity
    - desire to use solar power for movement of façade elements – a prototype is in the works, but they need a project to test it

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About this Blog

This blog will provide a recap of events - lectures, gallery openings, major reviews, etc. - at the University of Cincinnati's School of Architecture and Interior Design. Most entries are written by graduate assistants at SAID; other authors will be noted by post.

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