On 27 August 2015, we organized and moderated the symposium titled Skin New York at the Harvard Club of New York. We started an important and ongoing discussion among industry leaders in the fields of engineering, fabrication and architectural sides about collaboration in an era of increased complexity of building facade systems, especially with the challenges of building in New York.
The presenters included: Bertram Beissel from Atelier Jean Nouvel, Robert Otani from Thornton Tomasetti, Mic Patterson from Enclos, and Eric Verboon from Buro Happold.
The first presenter was Bertram Beissel, Design and Project Partner at Atelier Jean Nouvel. He presented two projects, 53 West 53rd near the MOMA and One Central Park in Sydney. Both projects presented a very different process in the two countries relative to innovation in design and façade systems, as well as pushing the limits of technology. The Sydney tower dealt with urban density and ecology utilizing a very innovative building skin, while the New York tower was presented much more in terms of its structural innovation and its relationship to the city.
Robert Otani, Principal, Thornton Tomasetti, was the second speaker. He presented on the engineering strategy behind the structure for the BIG VIA 57 West residential development, and methodologies for designing the façade to attain maximum efficiency and stability. He also presented on Cornell Gates Hall and the structural development of the building enclosure system of “The Bridge,” also a Cornell project.
Mic Patterson, Vice President Strategic Development, Enclos, works from the Advanced Technology Studio in NYC and LA. His presentation focused on the fabrication strategies for the VIA 57 West project. He specifically emphasized the challenges of systematizing the fabrication of the façade, and the innovative methods utilized in the factory to facilitate the site installation. He also presented a series of other projects from the Enclos Portfolio that showcased the challenges that often arise in the field and ways in which design and engineering are affected.
Eric Verboon, Associate, Buro Happold, presented on the design and engineering strategies behind the SHoP Architects-designed 111 West 57th street in NYC. His focus was specifically on the design of the façade and the engineering of the system to attain the architectural design intent. The presentation of the development of the design was a great insight into the challenges and layers that are involved in the technical development of a façade system.