Cooper Union Academic Building Helps Blur the Lines Between Art and Funtionality

Cooper Union Academic Building Helps Blur the Lines Between Art and Funtionality

Iconic Design On the Leading Edge of Creativity

 

Change is tough and sometimes controversial. When change has the prospect of deviating from the norm with a new artistic expression at the expense of losing some history, it can create some tension and anxiety about the outcome. This was not more evident than in the case of a new building for The Cooper Union in New York City. The 150-year old institution’s new academic building, named the the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, is proof that buildings themselves can represent functional art while inspiring creativity; a testament on which the school was founded on. Designed by Thom Mayne of the Los Angeles and New York firm Morphosis, the Cooper Union Science and Art building was conceived as a more radical design that many had not seen in New York up to that point; a bold architectural statement of genuine civic value. Its lively public spaces reaffirm that enlightenment comes from the free exchange of ideas, not just inward contemplation. Nicolai Ouroussoff, architectural critic of The New York Times, praised the building as being an “example of how to create powerful architecture that is not afraid to engage its urban surroundings.”

 

 

The building, originally known as the New Academic Building, stands on the site where the School of Art Abram Hewitt Building was previously located. Construction of the building began in 2006 and was completed in September 2009. It is a nine-story, 175,000-square-foot academic center that houses the Albert Nerken School of Engineering with additional spaces for the humanities, art, and architecture departments in the newest addition to Cooper Union’s campus at 41 Cooper Square. There is also an exhibition gallery and auditorium for public programs and retail space on the ground level.

 

The renovation project had a controversial start in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. The area around the site consists mostly of low to mid-rise buildings with small commercial businesses on ground level and residential spaces above. Mixed into the scene are various buildings belonging to New York University. The neighborhood was once the scene of early twentieth-century tenements and warehouses and an experimental art and cultural scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Recent projects, most of which are part of the Cooper Union expansion plan, have started to change the modest physical profile of the neighborhood to something much more progressive. Another integral piece of modern architecture introduced into this neighborhood, prior to the New Academic Building, is the Sculpture for Living building (aka Astor Place Tower), a high-rise luxury condo tower, designed by the former strachitect Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects at 26 Astor Place. The site is serviced by two subway lines and many bus routes, which makes it a desirable location for developers. The building does not shy away from this debate by trying to fade into the background.

 

 

Morphosis Architects invited Zahner to join the project team early on in a design assist process. Zahner collaborated with the team to provide engineering, design, and manufacturing for the metal screen building facade. Working very closely with The Cooper Union, Morphosis, and general contractor Sciame, W&W Glass, LLC was chosen as the facade installer for this complex project. W&W Glass was selected based upon their expertise on custom, intricate projects like this.

 

Seen from the old Cooper Union Foundation building across the street, the new building has a flexed, concave facade that is veiled in a glittering perforated metal screen like armor. It’s hard at first to get a grip on the building’s scale from the outside in the day until you see its interior glowing at night with many levels of transparency inside and out. A large vertical slot is cut out of the facade’s center, as if the building’s “armor” had been ripped open.

 

Courtesy of Arch Daily: http://www.archdaily.com/40471/the-cooper-union-for-the-advancement-of-science-and-art-morphosis-architects

 

W&W Glass decided to use a custom Moduline (Oldcastle) window wall system to marry up behind the customized-perforated metal panel scrim system. From afar, small windows appear to be scattered across the building’s surface. Drawing closer, it becomes clear that these windows are actually sheets of punched stainless steel with many building automated operable panel areas for ventilation. Perforated sheets, surfaced in a mechanically-applied “Angel Hair” finish, encompass the entire facade and offer a sustainable, energy saving solution. By controlling sunlight penetration during warm weather and acting as an insulating barrier in cold weather, the skin system promises a 50% reduction in heat load. The video below describes the architect’s vision and the building system functionality in depth.

 

 

Prior to Cooper Union’s expansion plan, the campus consisted of three academic buildings, one for each of the disciplines of art, architecture, and engineering, as well as a seventeen-story dormitory. There have recently been more changes to the campus with a new office tower, designed by Fumihiko Maki, that has replaced the former Cooper Union engineering building on 51 Astor place. Times they are a changin’.


W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

 

University of California at San Diego

University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Medical Education and Telemedicine Building Keeps Things Cool with Glass Fin Shading Devices

 

Cutting-edge technology is the best way to describe the Medical Education and Telemedicine Building on the campus of the University of California-San Diego based in La Jolla. This picturesque facility is situated at the intersection of two major pedestrian routes as the 88,000 square-foot Medical Education and Telemedicine Building serves as a welcoming gateway and meeting place for the School of Medicine campus. The building incorporates a world class, state-of-the-art medical education center with a wide range of academic and practical medical teaching environments. It is capable of responding to projected growth in enrollment and profound changes in the methodologies of medical education.

 


The goal set forth in constructing the building was to assimilate the technology into the building to replicate the work being done inside. Coming in at a price of $12 million, the building is highly transparent and permeable, with ground floor connections out to the campus in all four directions. At the center, a light filled open-air courtyard is carved out to encourage the medical school community to interact and exchange ideas while enjoying the outdoors. It also works as a pre-function area for the auditorium and is used for daily informal gathering as well as a formal event space. An interconnecting courtyard stair facilitates building access promotes a vibrant sense of community.

 

University leadership hired Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) to lead the architectural design. The plan was designed to maximize controlled day lighting, provide a high degree of transparency, and allow flexible learning spaces. Classrooms and offices are grouped into “learning communities” that promote collaboration between students and faculty. The 359-seat auditorium and large group testing and training rooms are divisible by operable partitions for multiple flexible configurations and diverse learning environments. These double height rooms open to adjacent breakout terraces.

 


A main feature of the building is a cantilevered glass sunscreen on the west elevation  that provides articulation and shading to the main facade. Working with the installer Tower Glass on the vertical glass shades, W&W Glass designers and engineers opted for a Pilkington Planar™ glass fin system to create the screen. Pilkington Optiwhite® low-iron SentryGlas® Interlayer laminated silk-screened fins with custom 40 percent dot prints in two colors (black and graphite) applied to the #2 surface to satisfy the architect’s intent. The fins were connected back to structure with capped Pilkington 902 series fittings to hold all the glass securely in place. On a bright sunny day, these fins help dissipate the heat and solar glare to increase occupant comfort in addition to creating a dramatic look from the inside and outside.

 

 

Sustainable design features on the project include ample daylight, reduced water use, optimized energy performance, and reclaimed and low-emitting materials. Accessed by a sunken light court, the lower level houses the Center for the Future of Surgery, a teaching and research facility for medical students and practicing physicians. In this nationally recognized center, simulated operating rooms, emergency rooms and intensive care units, patient rooms, and labs for high-fidelity medical robots and robotic surgery equipment are organized and fitted out to present a sophisticated, technically advanced environment. Due to all the light, energy saving features and other innovations, the facility easily earned the LEED® Gold Certification. All in all, this facility will serve emerging medical students and faculty for years to come.

 

UCSD Medical Education and Telemedicine Building - Photo 15

 

W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

Mill City Museum Restores History from Ashes

It is a trend that is in full swing in architecture and construction today. Modernize historic old buildings but preserve the past. This was the challenge for Minneapolis when trying to honor a staple of the city in restoring the Washburn Mill site. The goal was to develop a modern museum that had been a part of Minnesota’s history for decades.

 

Located within the ruined walls of the National Historic Landmark Washburn “A” Mill, is now the Mill City Museum that focuses on the stories of flour milling, water power, railroading, food product development, grain trading, and farming, as well as the related people, labor, and immigrant stories. With multiple entries on two levels, the museum functions as a porous link between downtown Minneapolis and the Mississippi River. A destination place and “must-see” addition to the riverfront’s menu of cultural attractions, the museum furthers the city’s vision of reconnecting to its birthplace at Saint Anthony Falls.

 


The Mill City Museum itself is a thoughtfully-designed modern museum which explores the history and impact of milling on Minneapolis. The museum does a wonderful job of incorporating the old mill into its design and includes, besides the braced ruins, an educational elevator ride that recreates the experience of working in the mill. The original “A” Mill, built in 1874, was leveled by a flour dust explosion that claimed 18 lives. That explosion and the resulting fire destroyed much of the riverfront business area, cutting Minneapolis’ milling capacity in half. The Gold Medal Flour sign still shines at night atop the adjoining grain elevator. Across the river, the former competitor Pillsbury “A” Mill is topped with a sign reading “Pillsbury’s Best Flour.” During its heyday, it was said that the mill ground enough flour to make 12 million loaves of bread a day. Its years as a large abandoned building in industrial Minneapolis turned the Gold Medal Flour building (the final incarnation of the flour mill) into one of the city’s most prominent graffiti-writing locations, with people doing elaborate works and paintings spanning nine floors. Although half the building is now a condominium and the other half is the Mill City Museum, presumably somewhere under the new sheet rock, a generation of Minneapolis graffiti artists’ work still remains.


The owners, Minnesota Historical Society, assigned transforming the mill into a respected museum to noted local Minneapolis architects Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle (MSR). The lead was a founding principal of MSR with 42 years’ experience, Tom Meyer.  Meyer is well-known regionally and nationally for his work with historic preservation and the Mill City Museum complex (recognized with an AIA Honor Award for Architecture, National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award, and The Waterfront Center’s Excellence on the Waterfront Top Honors).

 


Mill City Museum has an award-winning architectural design that combines relics of the mill’s past with modern steel, brick, and wood to create a contemporary, industrial space that beautifully preserves the building’s historic integrity. Among the new architectural features is an eight-story glass façade overlooking the Mississippi River. True-to-scale graphics of the milling machines are featured in silk-screened paint (baked into the glass) on the glass façade to give visitors an idea of how massive the milling operation was. The façade forms a reflective backdrop for the courtyard a 100 x 100 foot outdoor area with weathered masonry walls that retrace the 1991 fire while it was mostly abandoned. Ruins of the historic mill are showcased in the courtyard through significant excavation efforts.


One of the most stunning aspects of the building is are the glassy transition areas installed by Harmon, Inc., engineered and supplied by nationally-recognized glass experts from W&W Glass. This adaptive reuse project, spanning 125,000 square-feet, is highlighted by Pilkington Planar™ system vertical wall projections. W&W Glass’ team utilized large panels of clear low-e insulating glass units for the face glass with custom ceramic frit patterns on a #2 surface. The panels were secured with standard Pilkington 905 series fittings.  To gain more natural light (something the original mill workers would have loved to have) the install and design team engineered a skylight return at the top of the main feature wall using clear low-e insulating laminated glass units secured with 905 fittings onto a steel back-up structure.

 


The Mill City Museum is truly one of the most striking and unique historic preservation projects in the city, taking an extremely old, battered structure that had been partially ruined due to several disasters and transforming it into a contemporary building paying homage to the past while encased in modern flair.


W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

 

 

A Creative Remodeling of Alvin Ailey

Completed in 2004, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has announced a planned three-story expansion atop its headquarters at 405 West 55th Street, located on the corner of Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. The new space is dubbed the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation Education Wing, and will expand an already amazing building.

 

Alvin Ailey
Photo Courtesy of: www.ibarchitects.com

 

Founded in 1958, the Alvin Ailey Theater was initially comprised solely of African-Americans and sought to interpret and express their experiences through a style-based as much in spirituality, soul, and social commentary as it was in technique and innovative movement. Completely redefining dance in America, Ailey’s most prominent work with this group, entitled “Revelations,” quickly established them as the one of the most creative set of dancers in the country.

 

Rendering of Alvin Ailey
Rendering Courtesy of: ChelseaNow.com

The space was quickly bursting at the seams so the foundation required a new expansion adding approximately 10,227 square feet of space, up from 50,786. It will feature four new dance studios, two classrooms, and offices on the current 8-floor structure that highlights glass curtain walls to show transparency to the city. The current building already houses 12 dance studios; a 5,000-square-foot black box theater with flexible seating for 295; adjacent green room and concession stand/boutique; dressing rooms and warm-up areas; archive and library facilities; costume shop; physical therapy facilities; lounges; and administrative offices. In addition to all of these areas, the building also features long-distance learning capabilities in various studios and the performance theater.

 

The original architect, Gramercy-based Iu + Bibliowicz Architects has already been tapped as the architect of record for the expansion. The architects understand the space is integral to the success and creativity of the students. The original structure highlighted large-scale curving Teflon “veils” on top off the structure and serve to mask the building’s mechanical equipment on the roof. These forms were drawn from Ailey’s signature dance “Revelations,” referencing the “Wade in the Water” section that uses large, billowy, white and blue fabric stretched across the stage to symbolize a river. These forms are repeated in the canopy marquee over the entrance to offer an inviting welcome into the building at street level.

 

Working with Iu + Bibliowicz Architects are structural engineers from Gilsanz Murray Steficek and the general contractor Structure Tone. The team knew just as important in keeping the consistent look and feel of the striking exterior was hiring a firm that knew how to seamlessly make the expansion meld into the current structure. They have tapped nationally-acclaimed installers from W&W Glass to make it happen.

 

Since this is an expansion and not an original building, W&W Glass is going to carefully remove 2,400 square-foot of existing curtain wall at the lower three floors prior to installing 7,400 square-foot of new curtain wall onto the existing structure and new addition atop the building. They will set unitized curtain wall panels connected onto the existing portion of the structure via existing embed anchors and new ones on the addition.

 

Alvin Ailey W&W Glass

 

W&W Glass has selected Erie Architectural Products’ Enviro Facades™ unitized curtain wall system for the project. Well-engineered and rigorously third-party tested, the EF Series™ proves to be the product of choice for high-performance custom facades. It is the ideal solution for conditions requiring exceptional thermal , air, water, and structural performance all while meeting the distinct architectural requirements of the project for remodeling and new construction.

 

The panels are a combination of four-sided and two-sided structural silicone glazing. The maximum panel size is 100 inches x 288 inches. The insulating glass units feature an Interpane Ipasol Neutral 70/37 high-performance low-e coating with a custom silk-screened frit pattern on clear glass fabricated by BGT (Bischoff Glastechnik AG) in Germany. The maximum insulating glass unit size is 98 inches x 170 inches. Glass was sourced from Europe due to the oversized nature and high quality level required.

 

Approximately a third of the new installation occurs at a courtyard which is inaccessible from the street. One unique aspect to the appearance of the curtain wall is a silk-screened “wave pattern” of frit resulting in a custom pattern for each unit affected. The building’s core spaces, enclosed by red brick, are a subtle gesture to Manhattan’s Clinton District with its numerous tenement brick buildings.

 

Completion of the expansion is expected in the fall of 2017. Not only is Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater the home for members of its company and school to rehearse and take classes, but they have an extension program that allows for anyone at any level of expertise to take a class taught by one of Ailey’s incredible teachers. The stunning views of the surrounding area from the upper floors of the building serve as quite the backdrop for the dancing that takes place within. There are a wide range of classes offered including Salsa, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Latin Jazz Fusion, Horton, Zumba, Samba and Afro-Brazilian.

 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” has performed for over 23 million people in 48 states and in 71 countries on 6 continents, celebrating the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition.

 

W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

 

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