THE ACTIVATED FACADE
Organiser Metals in Construction Magazine Typology Transformation
Procurement Type Competition Location New York City Year 2020
Many New York buildings need to be upgraded in the years to come to suit new energy-efficiency standards. For the annual ideas competition of the magazine "Metals in Construction Magazine" the building 63 Madison Avenue in the south of Manhattan was chosen as a test object.
Perspective, Top 5 stories
Activating the facade
Solararchitekt`s proposal: A new type of facade that does not only prevent the building from loosing energy but also generates energy by using photovoltaics as cladding material. The upper 5 stories of the building Madison Avenue / East 27th Street are set back from the street boundary. By this architectural move, shading on street level is minimised. That`s a classic design action in architecture. At the same time, the set back of the upper floors will gain them more sunlight as adjacent buildings are further apart. In our proposal that condition is being utilized to generate renewble energy by Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV). Also, the area in front of the office spaces is proposed to be used as outdoor terrace space. That provides the building with a newly gained zone for workers to stay outside which is so rare in the centre of New York.
Form and Pattern
The facade of the upper levels cantilevers in a triangular shape from the existing building. By this move, the viewing angle in the interiors get wider, similar to bay windows that occur in a range of buildings. Furthermore the triangular shape gets shifted by one field which creates shading on the surface. This shaded zone helps to protect the interiors from overheating and generates appropriate locations for natural ventilation. The facade of the exterior wall forms vertical support zones for the photovoltaic modules. Because the regular blue of photovoltaics hardly suits the context of facade materials in Manhattan we proposed the use of a very new product that allows the application of a range of colours. (Swiss company)
In contrast to the top levels, the competition entry proposes a brick cladding for the lower 12 stories of the building.
Due to the fact that the external structure is being retained the design relates proportionally to the existing building but changes the material.
Brick as a facade material strongly relates to the local context as many New York buildings historically have been clad in brick.
Additionally large window openings maximise natural light for internal spaces. Brick as a material promises a long lasting durability
and could be re-used in case there will ever be a decision made to dismantle the building. Brick is a key materiality in many cultures hence
it will suit perfect in within the global community of the city of New York. KS