Monthly Archives: December 2011

Final _ Maïlys Meyer

My concept is about an origami flower which could evoluate in function of the sun. More it’s sunny and more the flower is open. During the night it’s closed for keeping the heat and the energy caught during the day. It could be also usefull for protecting the facade against the wind impact and recycling the rainwater, it depends of the opening of the module.

Also in function of the scale of the module, the program could be different inside the building itself. I choose to keep the original structure visible to have this idea of memory in the neigborhood, it’s also a symbolic building in this district.

All the modules would be open in function of the impact of the sun on the facade. That’s why I used solar analysis to generate my facade and also shadows analysis. The concept wants to be kinetic and working with an umbrella mechaninsm but in reality it will be static.

The material is a membrane, like this it can be strech and auto-cleaning. For the pattern itself it could be perfored or striped.Finally for the fabrication I used maya and 3D Print.

Final_Francis D’Andrea

Corner Perspective Final


The concept for my Re-Skinning was to have a bottom up, static system of modular panels that were adjusted to solar radiation data to best act as a shading scrim for the building. In addition to this, the building would act as a catalyst for the further enrichment of the West Loop neighborhood, by providing office space for local workplaces and retail space at street to activate the neighborhood. Also, the shading scrim becomes both a response to environmental conditions and a sort of art piece which becomes a landmark in the neighborhood. Also, the building sought to evoke the skyscrapers of Chicago’s past, with their tripartite form.


Two precedents were utilized for their use of shading scrims in front of a main glass curtain wall enclosure. The first was the New York time Building by Renzo Piano. It employed a monolithic scrim of ceramic tubes to shade the main curtain wall of the building.

The second precedent is the Architecture Building at the University of Arizona by Jones Studio. Here a metal mesh is used to shade the building, however, this shading provided by the mesh is augmented by using it as a medium to grow plants.

Both buildings hint at what can be done with shading scrims, however, I sought to take it ia step further and provide a shading scrim that was adapted to environmental data.

Concept Design

The concept design was carried out in Maya, tresting out how simple transformations of panels could be accomplished with various tools in Maya. Below is a graphic showing the transformations of the panels and an overall application of them. Eventually, Scheme 1 was chosen to develop further although only the opening concept remains visible in the final panel.

Environmental Analysis/Digital Processes

Annual Solar data was taken for all the facades of the building and then modified to work with a plug in for Revit which takes the black white value of pixels and translates that into values which can be used to drive length parameters in a Family.

The panels were designed to increase in depth as the opening increased shielding it from oblique radiation while letting in light.

Final Renderings

Final Presentation

Finally, here is a link to the PDF of my Final Presentation.

Final_John Fricano

This project addresses the diverse climactic conditions of Chicago.  It uses two skins, one with an operable window system, and the other with an operable shading system, to open and close, in order to moderate the internal conditions.  Both systems use


The following quote reflects my philosophy of generative design.  I design a system at the detail level that will react to specific factors found at the site level.  This detail is replicated across the facade, creating the building.


The following page is a collage of several environmental factors for the site.  It shows the desired temperature with the dotted line, and where the external temperature exceeds or falls below that mark.  Juxtaposed on the bottom is wind speed, humidity, and % cloudy skies throughout the varying months of the year.  It shows that any direct shading approach will not be the optimal solution for dealing with all factors of the environment.


This video shows the effectiveness of the panel at filtering wind at different levels of open and close.  The width of the panels is consitently altered across the facade in order to have smaller opening at the larger wind loads and bigger openings at the smaller wind loads.  The result should be a uniform wind load of 2.5 mph entering the building.

wind study

The next page shows the individual panel that populates the facade.  It has a curtain wall behind it where the mullions align with the edges of the panel.  This interior curtain wall opens and closes.  The outer panel slides in and out along a track.  When it slides in, it buffers sound, filters direct sunlight, and provides a thermal seal.  It uses channel glass on the outside to subdue the appearance, nanogel for the purposes listed above, and a kawneer standard assembly for the inner layer of glass and thermal seal.


This slide shows the proximity to surrounding influences on the site.  The site is ideal for offices, as it is close to the airport and all commuter rail lines, to the city and outside the city.  It has several of the top high schools in the state within two miles of it and adventurous exciting retail even across the street.


This slide shows the first two floor plans.  The plans have as much retail as possible.  The market would sell goods that are produced and stored in the west loop.  The roof of the market would be a green roof that would supplement the second floor of retail.


This slide shows the upper floors.  Because the floors lose the relation to the street, they are a mix between office and residential.  The South West corner is the air intake for the building, so the green space and green atrium shown in the following slide will filter the air.  This will improve the air quality of the building.



The next slide shows results of my weather data.  The it has graphs weighing the different internal loads against each other and different solar exposures.  The goal was to break up the heat gain of the building and spread it throughout a longer period of use.  This would reduce the peak conditioning requirements and reduce the need for supplemental heating in off hours.


This zoom in shows the months of January and June.  January does not need any heat with all of the panels closed from 8am through 9pm when the building will be used.  In June, there will be a peak heating load during the day that will require air conditioning.  The final numbers showed a 60% reduction in peak heating and a 98% reduction in peak cooling from a typical unshaded, uninsulated office building.


This is a sunrise shot of the building, where all panel are closed because the building is not being used.


This is an early morning shot, when the office is starting to be used.  Most of the panels are closed to block the glare for the office workers on the east side.  This also reduces the solar gain of the building.


This is an afternoon shot of the building.  The east side has opened up and the south side has closed for similar purposes.


This is an evening shot and night shot of the building.  As the temperature drops or spikes, the building can close off to insulate itself.  At night an outward appearance lets the building glow and project towards the city.



This charts shows the volatility of surrounding real estate values.  Relative to the metropolitan area as a whole, this neighborhood is a very safe investment, it has either retained or increased in value throughout the recession.


This slide shows market demand trends for different programs.  It reasons that the most desirable mix will be a maximum amount of sold residential, then rented real estate, then rented office, then rented industrial.  It also shows that by buying an industrial use and flipping it, the developer could make a substantial amount of money.


This slide breaks down the cost of the skin PSF.  The skin is extremely performance efficient but does that justify its cost.  The project goes negative for seven years under a straightforward business plan.  If the condos are presold however, the project makes substantial money its first year and every year after.  This is because the amount of loan payment is drastically reduced, which is actually a more important factor than the energy bill.



The interior of the building will be a minimalist expression.  It will give a sense of openness and sleakness to the user.  The outside brick will be repurposed as interior partition walls.  This will save considerable money for deconstruction, and also on rehabilitation.


In conclusion, this project could be very successful in terms of performance and profit, but the skin will have to be financed by the sale of a portion of the building, otherwise the amount of money saved on energy alone is negligable compared to the skins mortgage payment costs.


Final_Danny Ruberg


The first precedent that was analyzed for this project was the POLA Ginza Building Façade. It is an adaptive shading system commissioned by POLA, a Japanese cosmetics manufacturer, for their showroom building in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The Adaptive Building Initiative and Hoberman Associates developed the system in collaboration with design architect Yasuda Atelier and executive architect Nikken Sekkei. The skin of the 14-story building contains 185 acrylic shutter mechanisms that are enclosed within the double glazing of the façade. The shutters are composed of custom, curved acrylic panels that are approximately one by three meters. This façade precedent is both highly functional and beautiful, which are two components that remained at the core of my design concept. The operability of the façade elements creates a changing and dynamic skin that is beautiful and iconic. This project was analyzed because the intial concept for this studio investigation was to develop a double skin façade with integrated, adaptive shading.

Several additional precedents were investigated during the development of the project including Barnard College Diana Cener by Weiss/ Manfredi, Kronjylland Savings Bank by 3xNielsen, and Caltrans by Morphosis.


The design process began with an investigation into precedents, environmental factors, and site conditions. This analysis combined with research into natural systems as a starting point to formulate a generative process to design a parametric building skin. Plant, animal, and human systems were analyzed in order to find ways of relating these highly efficient, integrated networks to architecture. Plants and plant cells were closely investigated as a precedent for the building skin design. Plants harvest solar energy and use it to transform carbon dioxide from the air into chemical energy while enriching the atmosphere with oxygen. Plant cells are basically miniature solar cladding systems that are selectively permeable. The building’s double skin design was created using this concept.

Double Skin

A double skin was developed to address the harsh weather in Chicago and to setup the framework for an truly integrated skin. The double skin deals with the extremes of hot and cold, maximizes daylight throughout the year, while minimizing solar gain in the summer and promoting solar gain in the winter. The skin protects the shading system and allows for natural ventilation. The double skin design utilizes a geothermal system to create a buffer between the interior and exterior; thus allowing cooler air to enter at night to cool slabs which can radiate throughout the day to reduce heating loads. The following images show the development of two shading options. The double skin was modeled in Revit, while the movement and relationship of the shading elements was studied in Grasshopper using an image based script.

Shading Elements

Various design options were explored for shading elements within the double skin design. The intent was to fabricate the shading module is composed of plant resin panels that can rotate to control the entry of light into the building. The design intent was for these panels to replace the use of typical mechanical shading systems. The quality of light changes as the element rotates and as the sun moves. The system is layered so the panel allows views out, but keeps direct sunlight from entering when the panel is closed. Each panel is designed according to the solar exposure on each façade.

Exterior Facade Optimization

The design process included several explorations seeking to optimize the exterior facade based on annual solar insolation. These studies began with P+W’s iConViz Revit plugin that utilizes an image to control the selection of pattern-base curtain panel families (see images below). The studies with this tool were unsuccessful due to insufficient processing power. Another image based plugin for Revit, downloaded from the Buildz blog, was utilized to control the screening system modules.

Design Development

The main entry to the office building was placed at the intersection of Morgan and Fulton. The mass of the amenity building was used to create a hard edge along the main circulation route of Fulton Street. The skin of the Amenity building is highly transparent, allowing for views through the building to the green space.

The exterior facade is optimized according to the annual solar insolation. Each perforated metal panel is assigned based on the amount of solar radiation received at that point on the facade. The greater the annual solar insolation at each module, the deeper the module and wider the smaller the opening at the face of the panel. The building skin filters light and purifies the air, while allowing the building to breathe.

The double skin was removed from the project after discovering from P+W that double skins are not very effective in Chicago due to humidity. The new building skin includes less exterior glass in order to minimize heat loss and gain. The skin also incorporates radiant heating and cooling that utilizes an energy recovery system to warm water and geothermal system to cool water. The double skin facade is on the left below, and the revised skin is on the right.

The design maximizes the potential of mass customization and performance-driven design to create an innovative office that greatly reduces energy consumption and provides a healthy, uplifting workspace.

Further Development

This project will be developed and submitted in the The Architecture and Engineering of Sustainable Buildings design competition. The building skin will be revised to be more efficient and cost effective. The amount of material could be minimized and the panels could become operable. Various perforation patterns and styles will be analyzed according to the environmental conditions. The perforation patterns could be parametrically generated by environmental data. This method could determine the perforation pattern, the color of the panels, and the percentage of open area. Additional environmental analysis and performance testing will be conducted. The overall building design will analyzed and developed comprehensively.

Here is a link to my final presentation: Ruberg_Final Presentation_Reduced

Final_Andrew Newman

Image converted using ifftoany


Final Concept_

Andrew Newman

A building envelope includes all the components that make up the shell or skin of the building. The envelope therefore acts as an interface of sort, between the controlled space and the existing phenomena of place. The skin of a typical building should not only provide an aesthetic function, but should deliver performative value with regard to climate, ventilation, and energy consumption within the structure.

Using natural influences such as the scales of reptile skin served as a primary influence for my concept analysis. A Scuta (latin scutum, meaning “shield”) is the bony external plate or scale, as on the shell of a turtle, skin of crocodilians, and some feet of birds. The concept of the Scuta was very intriguing not only because of its function, but more importantly for its geometrical divergence. For example, the parameters of each scale on the alligator changes depending on its location on the body. I think this metaphor provides an interesting way of looking at the façade of a building. The metaphor can be applied on a variety of scales, from site to the prototypical window components.

With parametric design and digital fabrication, it is easy to get carried away with opportunities and design considerations. I have come up with a few variations stemming from the idea of the scuta. Within Maya and Revit I planned to use a bottom to top approach to design the building. Starting with the issues of protection and ideas for fabrication, the component will then sponsor the process of building the system and the final product.

The parameters of each component, window prototype, vary according to its performative function, which depends on its location within the envelope. Both components will use aerodynamics as a precedent for fabrication and design development process. In order to deal with the harsh climate in the winter, each component will have to provide its own way to distribute loads to the di-grid system fluidly.

Precedent Analysis

One project that shows an innovative way to fabricate the envelope was Herzog and de Meuron’s Prada Epicentre store in Tokyo. The creation of the six-storey, five sided glass tower enabled the architects to maximize the vertical volume within its permitted site boundaries and leave the rest of the portion of the site to an urban plaza. In order to merge the traditions of architecture and fashion, the qualitative attributes of the building focused on the display of the design inside. Association between the outside façade and the fashion inside were ultimately gained through having a fully glassed envelope.

The shape of the building is influence by the possible angles of view from the interior, creating a visceral connection back to the city streets. Its glazed surface pattern, structured in a rhomboid shaped di-grid, is clad on all five planes of the building. Each surface contains multiple convex, concave and flat panels with some of them being transparent and others translucent. The translucent panels are fixed based on the privacy of the program inside. These different geometric panels offer a dazzling display of reflections which give the onlooker and ever changing view of the prada products, themselves and the city. Psychologically this pours a large amount of meaning into the design of the façade.

The grid of the façade is known for more than just qualitative attributes. The framework that holds the glass in place is linked back to the core of the building and holds up the double height ceilings. The horizontal steel tubing helps stiffin the structure of the building against seismic loads and also correlates with the program on the inside. Multiple stairs are shaped with an enclosure that is reminiscent of an extruded rhomboid to further tie back to the shape of the window components offering another way to link the design of the façade into its interior spaces.

Design Development

Using Ecotect as a simulation tool to capture existing thermal and radiation values, I was able to create a blended surface in Maya. Each component used sun azimuth angles to drive the form. On the south side of the building the components will feature a larger extrusion at the top of the window to shade from harsh sunlight and delineate glare to the interior. On the east and west side, the component will have a larger extrusion on the left and right side of the component.


To fabricate the component, I needed to design a prototype that could be formed depending on the parameters of the system. To do this, I milled a component for each polar extremity of the system out of dense foam and vaccu-formed the component out of styrene, which has plastic forming abilities.

Through this process I gained a greater understanding of the process of creating a dynamic system based on simulation that could be re-generated based on computer input. This operation allowed me to develop an understanding of parametric design and its performative capabilities.

The relationship between generational data and material assemblies generate new methodologies and design questions on multiple scales. This project intends to show an inventive approach to merging these new ways of thinking with the basic values that we expect to see out of design products, which are material honesty, functionality and aesthetics.

The scale of each part in the design scheme matches an underlying knowledge of proportion. In every step of its process from computation to fabrication, the evolution of its proportion was well conceived as its design goal. This part-to-whole relationship has been a constant aesthetic problem of parametric design that I believe was answered with this approach. Without the issues of scale and proportion the meaning and aesthetics can be led astray, leaving any number of possible solutions unresolved. With this proposal, I believe the questions that have always been prevalent in design theory are answered.

Final_Dylan Fischer


I began the design of this project by first looking at the site and its relationship to green space in the surrounding areas. As the diagram put together by Melina and Marissa shows, there is an extreme lack of green space around the site (the largest surrounds 90/94 and is unusable by the public). I wanted to use this building and project as an opportunity to create a much needed urban green space in the Fulton River District.

I then began to examine the site in relation to the greater Chicagoland area. The east and south facades of the building face downtown while the west and north face out to more open space, green space and, eventually, the suburbs. My goal was to create an in-between site that joined and blurred this dichotomy by creating an urban green space/plaza for the public and employees to use and enjoy.


As I began considering how the skin itself would be designed, I looked at the materiality seen in both the Fulton River District and downtown. I initially wanted to use brick but realized early on that it would be extremely difficult to execute what I had in mind. I therefore decided to use the steel and glass seen in modern buildings downtown but arrange the panels in a running bond pattern to still reflect the brick in the immediate neighborhood.

The individual panels are 3′ x 6′, so four panels stacked on each other make one floor. The opening and overhang of each panel is controlled by two parameters. The opening is determined by the program within the immediate space. An open office space requires more natural light to reach the middle of the floor plate and is therefore the most open panel. A conference room, while still requiring some natural light, is not as open as the previous panel. Finally, a panel enclosing a private office is the most closed, reflecting the idea of private program. The overhang of each panel is controlled by the solar radiation analysis for each facade (completed by Marissa Campos). Panels with larger overhangs cover regions of the facade that experience more solar radiation while panels with smaller overhangs cover areas that do not experience as much. To create these panels in facades in Maya, I established two grids per facade, one for each parameter. I then used the height field tool to create the openings and overhangs and then blended the two grids into a single one with both parameters set at 0.50.

I then investigated the materiality of these panels. Initially, I intended for two types of panels to be used. The first would be a GFRP panel along the east and south facades that would be formed around molds to the correct size. The white color of these panels would reflect indirect light further into the space, providing more light for open office spaces. The second panel, covering the west and north facades, would be a steel mesh that would allow vegetation to grow on it, creating large green, living walls that would further reflect the idea of green space to the west and north.

I have since abandoned this original plan for two panel materials for one that involves just a single type, metal mesh. By allowing vegetation to grow all around the building, but concentrating it along the west and north facades, the building would become a beacon for urban green space.


The first change I intend to make is the finalize the single material of the panels. This will involve an adjustment to the fabrication process I developed for the GFRP panels. I will also investigate further into green wall systems and detail the panels to allow for appropriate plating beds and irrigation as necessary. Logistics, including things as basic as window washing, will be considered and designed for during this continued development.

Final Presentation: Dylan Fischer – Final Presentation

Final_Process Book_Ritter

Water Skin: Parametric Thinking – ReSkin Arch 713

The process for the ReSkin parametric design studio began with an observation and investigation found in nature.  The spider web is a complex structural example of a tensegrity system.  As the environment changes, in this case with rain, the web adapts and changes into a new form.  This is an example of a parametric system, non linear and a kinetic structure that adapts and morphs around the influence of water and gravity.

The primary focus of Water Skin uses rain and the building systems water as the main driving environmental parameter.  The design of this project focuses on adaptability and response mechanisms that are both environmentally conserving and didactic, in that it communicates a recent history of rain, current humidity, and temperature conditions.


The first stage of the design process began with analysis of the water web.  The three areas investigated were the structural system of the spider web called tensegrity, surface tension which explains water to form and hold its surface shape on certain materials, and water in its different phases, solid, liquid, and gas.


Precedent projects were focused on buildings and building skins that adapt over time, have a kinetic or moving component, respond to the environment and also environmentally responsible.

Design: Process

The initial process of design began with an abstraction of the water web using rhino and grasshopper into a two-dimensional image followed by a physical model to explore other possible interpretations and meanings. This process was repeated and applied through several iterations of 2-D, 3-D, digital fabrication and assembly of found objects to represent design intentions.

Design: Adapting

Video Adapting: Ritt_Water_Pouch

The skin design adapts both to humidity and temperature changes on the exterior skin of water components through a change of color.   The interior of the pouch is a bladder that expands as rain water flow increases from off the roof.

Design: Scale

Scale of the project focused on the large overall image of building to the interior views and natural light to assembly of façade components.

Final Presentation: Ritter_WaterSkin_Final Presentation

Final_Suncica Milosevic


The concept is that of an aesthetic historical reminiscence. The Fulton Market Cold Storage building has quite an overpowering physical presence within the West Loop, Chicago neighborhood. This building also served a signature purpose of this functionally altering neighborhood – that of housing and branching out, exporting frozen meat and produce not just for the immediate Chicago are but a large portion of the United States. The initial building’s function – one of being a literal freezer facility – is what inspired me to explore the aesthetics of frozen particle geometries in an effort to develop a facade which will not only be intriguing and interesting to the public, but will be symbolically reminiscent of the building’s former use.

Thus, very quickly the complex geometries of ice crystals and snowflakes became the driving factors and the parameters in the design process.

I quickly discovered that, generally speaking, these particles exhibit increasingly intricate geometries as the temperature progressively decreases and the air precipitation rises. I decided to apply this concept toward the shading requirements upon the new design of the facade. As the shading needs increase, the shade devices can exhibit a denser and more complex geometric pattern.


In the initial scheme explorations, I went through several iterations. The very first iteration were kinetically operating devices, aesthetically reminiscent of snowflakes which would open and close like a blooming flower in accordance with shading/lighting requirements at given time of day/season. However, this was quickly altered into 3 static schemes. The first one was that of a single plane screen whose modules were geometric ice crystals. The density and complexity of pattern would increase where shading was more necessary. The second scheme took this approach to the next level, where in place of utilizing a single plane screen, there would be several screens, each with its own level of intricacy and density of pattern. Maya program was used to develop a hexagonal grid was manipulated trough the program’s tessellation technology. Thus when same size modules of varying patterns overlapped, a new increasingly complex and dense pattern resulted.  The third scheme was also developed through the maya program driver and surface population technology. A single plane screen whose pattern would display a gradient of apertures was designed. This was achieved by designing a single, snowflake like geometric pattern whose offset was set a driving parameter. An undulated surface representative of the solar facade needs was populated with this pattern so that when the surface was flattened, a gradually gradient pattern was achieved.


Scheme two was selected for further development. However, looking back, I wish that I had utilized a combination of schemes two and three.

Here, I designed a structural frame for a set of 5 layers of geometric screens. Three screens were estimated with 20%, 40%, and 60% opacities. The solar exposure of each of the four facades was labeled according to these 20, 40 and 60% shading needs so that the placement of the three main screens could be most accurately determined. The solar data was further manipulated to achieve a higher level of variation and interest while still maintaining these three general zones. Thus the screens were overlapped and populated upon these facades in a more intricate manner where two additional pattern screens were used to achieve this variation.

The structural system supporting these screens was left exposed and outside the glazed enclosure in order to portray an industrial effect. The structure was divided into bays according to the building’s predetermined structural grid for each of the four facades. The system includes overhanging trays or track systems supported by steel beams that extend deep into the concrete slabs in order to support the weight of these multitudes of white aluminum screens. Each screen is framed or clasped by a steel frame that i refer to as a c channel so that these 10′ tall screens remain stretched and tightly clasped within the sliding system. The screens themselves can slide using an internal electronic switch system across not only their predermined bays, but across multitudes of bays up until the encounter with another screen upon the same track line. These screen switches would be user driven so that they may override the system and adjust the shading/lighting according to their individual needs.


Looking back, i wish i had reduced the number of tracks from 5 to perhaps 3. Also, I wish that within each of the 3 or so patterns, I had implemented the gradient technology described in scheme 3. I believe that the gradient approach in scheme three could have been utilized as a quantitative measure of shading needs and that when these gradients overlap – I could have achieved the 70-100% opacities where desired in a much more interesting manner. Also, I wish that I took more time to design facades which were not overall the same but varied in aesthetic value according to the program inside. Likewise, I haven’t addressed the site and it would be interesting if I could tie the facade concept to the approach upon the site itself.

Full Presentation

Final_Josh Kuffner


When first approaching the design problem, I considered the existing building site and local climate conditions.  This investigation revealed that the cold storage building to be re-clad was not situated ideally on the site, more specifically, its longitudinal axis was oriented north-south. This results in large, 300’ long x 125’ tall facades that are vulnerable to low sun angles and solar gain, particularly on the west side.  Coupled with this thermal gain issue is Chicago’s climate, which can be characterized as humid continental; the innate temperature extreme between the hot, humid summers and the cold winters is particularly notable.  While the amount of human and machine energy generated on the deep 300’ x 125’ floor plates would negate much need for supplementary winter heating or thermal buffers, the building would be vulnerable to overheating in the summer.  From this information, it would seem like the best way to counter these climactic and orientation issues would be with liberal sun shading and an insulating façade.  However, the building’s massing as by far the tallest building in the surrounding cityscape, which allow for its impeccable views of the nearby skyline to the east, suggest a façade with a high level of transparency to best utilize this amenity.  To mesh these conflicting interests, I began to search for a precedent that could fully shade and insulate, and also provide panoramic views; ideally, a kinetic shading system paired with a double skin envelope.


The GSW Headquarters building in Berlin by Sauerbruch Hutton Architects matched these unusual requirements precisely; it was sited with massive east and west exposures, and handled the corresponding solar gain and shading issues on the west side with a double skin with operable shading fins integrated into its air cavity.  These fins are perforated aluminum panels controlled by the user, and can either be closed to provide a high level of shading, open to provide views and some shading from early afternoon sunlight, or slide to one side of the curtain panel to provide unimpeded views.  The polychromatic color scheme also appealed to me, as it brightened the often dismal weather of Berlin, a location not unlike Chicago.

GSW Headquarters facade. Image courtesy of:

After considering the GSW façade, I began to look for a way to emulate it in a way that would allow an even greater level of shading control, besides fully open and fully closed.  An unusual inspiration came to me from the Rotogate, a turnstile device at subway stations.  The Rotogate’s interlocking rods in particular interested me, as they suggested two possible degrees (interlocked and not interlocked) of opacity in addition to fully open.  I applied this strategy to the vertical fin concept at GSW, and devised a system of vertical pivots, each which would have two shutters.  The shutters would have staggered horizontal rods that would interlock when in the open position as well as when in the closed position, except with the next shutter over.

A Roto-gate. Image courtesy of:

Eventually, I discovered the Q1 Building by JSWD Architekten which uses a very similar system.  In the case of the Q1, however, the shutters do not interlock when closed, and therefore do not provide the three levels of shading.  The Q1 example also does not perform inside a double skin, rather, on a secondary framework outside of the building enclosure.

Q1 Building Facade. Image courtesy of:

Design Development

Applying parametrics was essential to the project, and the current scheme did not do so.  In order to improve yet further the experience for the user and add a parametric layer, the individual shutter rods would be responsive to the human scale, a consideration the existing building had failed miserably at.  The rods would be smaller but denser around the height of a seated or standing human, while larger and less dense as one moved vertically away from this ideal level.  Utilizing Rhino and the plug-in Grasshopper, a script was developed that used a Bezier spline graph to determine the density of the louvers, with many other sliders that could, among other things, adjust the louver scale, length, and number.

Shutters generated from initial Grasshopper script

After this initial script, in order to create a more dynamic appearance and more specific and efficient sun shading, the louver cross-section was changed to rectangular.  With this change were the addition of a louver angle parameter to best reduce glare, and also, specific scripts that catered to the building’s four distinct exposures.

The Grasshopper script for a south facade shutter with rectangular louver cross-sections

Interior rendering of angled rectangular louvers generated from Grasshopper script

Addressing the Site

The remainder of the existing site, a collection of low-rise buildings on the west side of the cold storage tower, was to be demolished per Perkins + Will’s program.  A 40,000 square foot addition was also to be placed here, allotting for extensive green space.  Following this program, I created a 5-storey setback retail building on the northwest corner of the site that is connected to the main building.  The setbacks adhered to the need for human scale on the site.  Further following this agenda, an offset of one structural bay would be applied to the main tower, so that pedestrian circulation would be routed under the building as opposed to next to a sheer 125’ wall.  Additional retail and the main office building lobby would be accessed in this sheltered walkway.  The main plaza in the southwest corner would slope down from the peristyle levels of the addition and the main building, which are, by virtue of the original building’s floor elevation, 3’6” above sidewalk level.  The slope would allow the building to interact more easily with the surrounding cityscape.  This plaza would be modeled loosely on one of the Chicago Art Institute’s gardens, which has raised planting beds and trees that create an intimate atmosphere which attracts outdoor interaction.

View of public plaza and retail addition

Chicago Art Institute south garden. Image courtesy of:

Further Development

To bring the project to its full potential, the addition of a polychromatic color scheme as inspired by the GSW Headquarters would be implemented.  An ideal candidate would have to be selected as the driver for this color, as to not trivialize its application.  Other considerations, such as tweaking the louver cross section for ideal sunlight reflection and for more effective use as light shelves would be explored.

Final Presentation

Kuffner_Final Presentation

Final_melina carneiro brandao pereira

Creating Green Space

Site and Volumetric Strategies | My first reaction to the Fulton Cold Storage building project and the fact that it was going to become a commercial building for offices was that it needed a good strategy for access to daylight. The building has a very large floor plate, 120′ deep by 300′ in length. At the same time, the building was also located in an area that lacked green space as shown in the diagram below. My first strategy was to carve out a atrium space for the building, opening up to sunlight. The atrium was located centered on the mass of the building responding to the existing bilateral symmetry of the site. The lowest level was to contain a public green space, visually connected to the elevated green space on the roof level of the amenities building. This green space was in its turn extended to the interior of the atrium space liking it to all the office levels as well as to the rooftop garden space.The building also had an unfortunate East-West orientation, making the thermal conditions very challenging to control. To counter act this condition the atrium was used to function as a buffer zone in the building. In the summer time, the atrium would serve as a means for stacked ventilation, letting in fresh air through the roof top level of the amenities building, and being exhausted through the atrium roof. Louvers would also be used to block some of the direct heat gain from the south, yet mirrors would still be used to reflect some light down into the space, letting in light but controlling heat gains. This ventilated condition could also be used during the night time so that the building could absorb the coolness of the night and slowly release during the day. This thermal mass concept allowed through the solid tower, which was also maintained as a mass for vertical circulation within the building, would still be functional in the winter times. Louvers would be opened, winds blocked, but the garden spaces would still be able to keep some of the warmth absorbed throughout the day within the space. Facade Strategy | To accompany these volumetric strategies, a building facade was developed to also be able to control the light entering the building. I was inspired by the idea of polarization and its most common example, the overlaying of Polaroids.

To bring this idea to fruition I spent time developing a folding system that performed while closed, as well as while opened. With the large East-West orientation in mind, I decided to use this system to create a folding mechanism that could be used as louvers to help keep some of the glare off the building whilst still provide freer views out. The first scheme I developed had a checker appearance, reminiscent of the previous rectangular geometry of the brick facade. This scheme required too much space between the exterior shades and the building, leaving a very large open unused space.

First scheme

In the design development, the interior side was dropped. The folded mechanism was was changed to be left “semi open” to create a more interesting formal quality. The larger pattern on the building facade were a result of a parameter embedded in a curtain wall family in Revit. The parameters controlled the size of the individual panels within the 12′ curtain wall width. Another level of parameters, which were developed in Rhino and Grasshopper as a response to the image of the solar analysis, were used to populate these panels with different kinds of perforated metal sheets. The Grasshopper script was used to develop the size of these perforations. Where they were smallest, and therefore solar radiation was greatest, PV panels would be applied to collect sunlight and use it for lighting the exterior of the building much like the Green Pix building in Beijing which I analyzed as a possible precedent for this project early in the quarter.Overall Building | The building when closed would be able to show the pattern created by the facade, yet the smaller perforations would be more noticeable in the interior spaces. The folded panels also increased the performance of the Photovoltaic panels, which would be applied in the ones that face south, while the ones that face north would have a larger perforation of panels.

Closed Louvers

Open louvers

Interior views towards the East

Next Steps | As I work towards the further development of this project, there are two main issues I will address. The green space on the building’s roof top will become noticeable for those approaching the building by lowering the highest panels, and by adding higher vegetation elements such as trees. This way the green visible space will give a hint of what is inside. In regards to the exterior skin, its parametric conditions of denser to diffuse panels will also be made more apparent. For this, I will explore two possibilities and choose the one that has a better performance. The first will be to work with a gradient of one solid color to highlight the different types of panels that make up the facade but maintain the current parameter of perforation and the second will be to work with a larger pattern of perforations.

Final Presentation | MCBP_Studio_A11