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From monthly archives: December, 2014

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'December, 2014'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Residential Single Family Winner - Indigo House

High above the Canadian shores of Lake Erie, the Indigo House sits on a precipitous bluff. It stands as a sculptural “object in the landscape,” towering against the harsh elements and stark wilderness of the Lake Erie shoreline.

Given this extreme location, the designers at Cindy Rendely Architexture investigated construction methods and materials that were suitable for the site’s extreme four-season weather. They concluded that this unique home required a permanent, nonfading impervious finish that could withstand severe abuse from the elements. Therefore, ceramic glazed brick units were specified for much of the exterior wall space since they are highly durable and resistant to damage caused by freeze-thaw cycles. A brick exterior provides a robust and durable cladding while also psychologically enclosing the inhabitants within a strong building envelope. At once, it creates a relaxing interior environment sheltered from the unpredictable outdoors.

Aesthetically, the idiosyncratic blue glazed brick reflected the vibrant personality of the owners and provided the contemporary aesthetic they desired. Elongated Norman-sized brick were used to accentuate the building’s horizontality of long, linear forms that anchor the building to its site. Composed of three connected volumes, the geometry of the house takes its cues from critical sightlines that direct one’s view towards the lake from every room. The angles of the building are derived from the property lines, and they were detailed with custom-sized corner brick which provided a continuous glazed surface around the building’s sharp, acute corners.

The glossy blue brick cladding on the building runs all the way to the ground and anchors the house to its site. And yet, its stacked volumes and hovering forms reach out to the sky above. The home truly is a  unique sculptural element that at once blends in and stands out in its environment

For more of Indigo House, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Residential Multi-Family Winner - Millennium Place

Millennium Place, a 256-unit residential building, is one of the newest, upscale additions to downtown Boston. In a prime location on the commercial spine of Washington Street, the brick building sits along a pronounced and important bend in Boston’s historic district. Taking inspiration from its wedge-shaped lot, Millennium Place boasts wedge-shaped bay windows arranged in a radial pattern.

When it came to choosing the exterior material, the owner required a low-maintenance, durable, and dense exterior envelope. Moreover, the aesthetic needed to attract a range of homebuyers in this high-end historical neighborhood. Brick met all the criteria by connoting stability, having a deep architectural tradition in the area, and having a high preference among home buyers.

The choice of brick went beyond concern for retail sales and classic styling. Continuity in the community also played a large role, so the design team sought to visually link the building to the rich historic texture of the early twentieth-century structures on the east side of the street. The brick’s beige color further echoes the surrounding area. During the 1900s, Roman-size brick was heavily used in this district of Boston. The same type of brick was used on Millennium Place to evoke these centuries-old structures, only this time with a newer, high-performance exterior that today’s modern brick delivers.

To further capitalize on brick’s design strength, a blend of three brick colors was employed to create a variegated surface as well as capture a rich interplay between light and shadow. Additionally, the use of full deep-raked mortar joints helped express the individual brick and created a strong visual texture. Each corner was articulated to define a threshold at the intersections, and at the pedestrian level, special details and character were incorporated, reminiscent of other local decorative details.

Millennium Place incorporates many sustainable design features and is pending LEED Silver Certification

For more of Millennium Place, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Renovation Winner - Thurston Wine House

For an avid wine collector and drinker, the addition of the Thurston Wine House to the owner’s existing brick residence was an investment in his extensive collection and a statement to one man’s appreciation for wine.

The Wine House carefully displays a respect for its context through its materiality and tectonic language while expressing its unconventional program through more formal elements. Embedded into the topography of the site, the project takes advantage of its landscape by using the slope to decrease the visual impact of structure, allowing unblocked views of the valley and mountains beyond. The southeast elevation, however, reveals the building’s massiveness as the curvilinear shape suggests the path to an inconspicuous garden gate concealing the Wine House below.

The structure is uniquely constructed with a triple wythe shell. The internal wythe uses concrete masonry units (CMU) and absorbs the variety of structural conditions, acting alternately as a 12 ft-8 in. tall retaining wall and a 12 ft-8 in. cantilevered wall throughout the building’s elliptical construction.

Where submerged, the outer wythe is again composed of traditional CMU construction. However, as it emerges above grade, the courses transition to clay brick. Rejecting any superficial finish coat, the inherent qualities of the brick are celebrated and the signature of each brick’s handmade lineage is exposed.

The design provides a variety of very singular, and yet collective, experiences, all of which enrich the program. The entertaining capability of the existing house flows seamlessly to the Wine House’s rooftop terrace, offering the perfect setting to enjoy a glass of one’s favorite wine with guests. As one descends the adjacent stairs into the wine room itself, the brick ascends skyward and the running bond throughout the project gives way to stacked bond coursing at the entry door.

As the project is partially underground, the Wine House also benefits from the thermal storage capacity of the brick by greatly reducing the demand of the mechanical systems throughout the year. Every design detail reinforces that brick masonry was the ideal choice for this project.

For more of Thurston Wine House, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture. It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Paving/Landscape Architecture Winner - One Loudoun

The Plaza at One Loudoun is the centerpiece of a new planned town center and has become the heart of Loudoun County, Virginia’s “new downtown.” The One Loudoun development encompasses more than 400 acres, which are divided into residential, office, and mixed-use areas.

A main goal for the Plaza at One Loudoun was to create an area where people could relax and be part of a unique gathering space. The plaza would be a place for residents and visitors to enjoy its entertainment, shopping, and dining choices. In addition to its central location, the plaza has a modern identity offering a concert stage, electronic tag games, and a summertime interactive water fountain. Throughout it all, the unique brick paving pattern adds a warm, inviting feel for all who are drawn to the area.

Inspired by both the classic American town square and the unique paving patterns found in the piazzas of Italy, this modern design incorporates brick pavers, artificial turf, and planted areas. With so much activity on the plaza, its design had to be balanced, unique, and inviting. By configuring the brick into an intricate paving pattern, the design team divided the space of the plaza by activities, yet still created one cohesive space.

The design team quickly turned to brick pavers as the main surface element because of their great variety of colors and patterns. Basket weave, herringbone, and running bond brick patterns were repeated throughout the design using different colors of brick. The effect creates a design with concentric ellipses and crossing stripes that leads the eye to the center of the plaza and stage. The warm brown and tan brick pavers coupled with the lighter-colored concrete pavers imbue the plaza with an old-world feel. Ultimately, the brick pavers have created one visually stunning design.

Compared to other pavements in the surrounding area, the brick pavers and the plaza itself have been warmly embraced and welcomed by people of all ages

For more of One Loudoun, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Municipal/Government Winner - Shelbyville Fire Station

One can measure the success of any fire department by the courage and sacrifice made by each firefighter and by the sense of security felt by the community they serve. To help the firefighters carry out their 24/7 public service operation, their facilities need to be highly functional, durable, efficient, and comfortable. Additionally, the design of the structures needs to be timeless, well conceived, and provoke a sense of longevity. In the end, a firehouse should be a source of pride in the community.

Shelbyville Fire Station No. 2 is the second new fire station to be built by the City of Shelbyville in the past seven years. It is, however, the city’s first station built within a planned development that will include a mix of commercial, retail, and light industrial buildings. Additionally, the fire station required two main programmatic components: appropriate living quarters and an apparatus bay.

The biggest challenges faced by the architects were how to create the massing of the two components and the lack of existing context around the site. As the first building of the development—and sitting adjacent to additional undeveloped sites—the design had to employ unique, iconic forms in order to state its presence.

Brick became the clear choice for many reasons. First, it is a material that provides the longevity and durability a fire station needs in order to withstand the test of time. Second, unlimited brick detailing and design options allow it to blend well with other materials and fit into any future context. Finally, the brick creates a defined scale that relates the overall massing of the building to the firefighters who interact with it.

Designed and built off of the lessons learned from the city’s first station, Station No. 2 stands as an exemplary composition of civic architecture that uplifts the community in a positive way.

For more of Shelbyville Fire Station, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Health Care Winner - Mercy Health West Hospital

The new Mercy Health – West Hospital has proven to be an extraordinary place for the delivery of health care, due in part to the uplifting effect of its colorful glazed brick exterior.

The architects embraced a holistic design approach to the project. Connections between architecture, natural light, and landscape promote healing and root the building in its place. The use of color, natural materials, and attention to the entire sensory experience promote a restorative and positive environment. By using high-quality materials and developing an exterior expression that connects to a community’s history, the architects created a 100-year building.

In order to merge architecture and well-being, the architects needed to translate the building’s functionality into its outward expression. They also needed to fulfill the primary design goal of creating a “landmark building, of its place and community.”

Inspired by Ohio’s tradition of art pottery production, the design team used a blue-to-green color palette of the glazed brick that was inspired by ceramics glazes as well as the landform and color of the site. When taken in the context of the sky and landscape, the architecture continually provides a new experience, changing with the time of the day and the seasons.

The unique exterior façade is composed of 11 colors and 19 shapes of glazed thin brick. The architects developed a system and color matrix only after extensive modeling phases. They started with painted architectural scale models, moving to full-scale foam core mock-ups, then to large-scale computer-generated prints of the pattern, and finally to full-scale mock-ups using the actual materials.

The thin masonry veneer is used in conjunction with a fully insulated wall system, which allows the system to reduce energy consumption and related utility costs by 10% to 40%. Triple-pane glazing, coupled with the insulated precast panels, also provides an efficient thermal envelope to reduce mechanical demand and improve patient comfort.

The aesthetic and technical approach to the distinctive façade has proven so successful that it is now being replicated on other Mercy Health facilities, supporting the organization’s objective of providing a consistent brand system-wide.

For more of Back of the Yards High School, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Education (K-12) Winner - Back of the Yards High School

The location of Chicago’s new Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School proved to be a tight squeeze. Bound by manufacturing facilities and railroad tracks, the 200,000-square-foot  building—along with its athletic fields and parking area—had to fit a site of less than nine acres.

To delineate the different functions of the 1,200-student high school, the architects designed a continuous brick “ribbon wall” to serve as the building’s primary design element. This wall snakes back and forth to define three programmatic building volumes representing mind (academic), body (athletic), and spirit (arts). A texture of vertical slot windows of varying widths is overlaid onto the wall to provide a random and continuous pattern. Secondary elements feature masonry walls that connect perpendicularly to the ribbon walls and to the protruding aluminum and glass boxes, which set off the specialty areas in each programmatic volume.

Next, the architects looked to the nature of the brick itself for inspiration. With the verticality of the slot windows in mind, the architects explored the design of the unit with the overall goal of increasing typical dimensions and providing a variation in unit size to promote the randomness. The design team worked closely with brick manufacturers to ensure special shapes and sizes could be produced and fit within the budget.

The large brick face proved to be important as it allowed the architects to extend a random texture over the brick through scoring. From an onlooker’s perspective, the pattern is maximized and holds up visually over a long distance due to the oversized scale of the brick units.

In addition, the design team specified special corner units to ensure continuity of pattern at the corners formed at door and window returns. They curved the corners at each turn of the brick ribbon wall by  using brick units that are curved to the 4-foot radius of the wall. This allows the two perpendicular walls to unify into a single serpentine expression without faceting the wall.

In the end, the architects exploited many of brick’s design possibilities to create a truly unique and admired new high school.

For more of Back of the Yards High School, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Educational Design (Colleges) Winner - Tozzer Anthropology Building

After enduring years of scattered offices and classrooms, the Harvard anthropology department desired a new, consolidated space. With the help of Kennedy & Violich Architecture, the 1971 Tozzer Library was transformed from what was originally just a building wing into the independent Tozzer Anthropology Building. In short, the renovation would completely transform the building’s envelope and reunite the anthropology department for the first time in over 50 years.

Tasked with strict guidelines from University officials, the architects worked within the administration’s following three criteria: the preservation of the existing infrastructure and foundation, an increase of building’s square footage by 25%, and the creation of a new public identity for the anthropology department.

The architects chose a brick that expresses an authentic contemporary materiality, yet still resonates with the enduring quality of a nineteenth century structure. Although the new building uses brick veneer construction, one of its contemporary features is the meticulously corbelled brick detail at the entry.

The building’s new entry features inclined courses that exactly follow the massing’s geometry. The corbelled brick details were digitally modeled course by course and mocked-up by local masons. A tilted metal stud back-up cantilevers past the second floor, creating a 30-foot brick entry that has no control joints or relieving angles but instead just one custom-designed loose lintel set above the hung brick ceiling.

The main building is wrapped by thin, taught brick bands that express the existing slab, off of which the new brick envelope is relieved. Vertical expansion joints are staggered between floor levels while horizontal expansion joints occur behind recessed soldier courses. With a play of thick and thin, the design creates an authentic brick expression that reflects not only contemporary construction and existing reuse requirements, but also reflects the layered brick of the nearby Landmarked Peabody Museum.

The project was designed to above LEED Gold Certification.

For more of Tozzer Anthropology Building, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.

2014 Brick in Architecture Awards - Best In Class Commercial Winner - Sundance Square

Sundance Square Brick In Architecture Awards Best In Class Commercial.

With a new world-class plaza and two sustainable mixed-use office buildings as its bookends, the completion of Sundance Square marked the capstone moment to a successful downtown Fort Worth redevelopment. The project features extensive use of clay brick, a material selected for its ability to bring visual cohesion to the surrounding areas and to create a space that invites people to gather and visit.

When assessing the project, the architects considered the site’s location, size, and the style of the surrounding buildings. Their goal was to enhance the vibrant street-level retail spaces, to provide appropriate physical enclosure for a top-tier civic plaza, and to continue Fort Worth’s tradition of constructing refined and distinct buildings that reinforce the area’s timeless and beautiful character.

The architects chose clay brick for its beauty, durability, and ability to stand the test of time. The two opposing buildings, The Westbrook and Commerce Building, were given solid, yet refined, brick façades that further reinforce the handcrafted feel of the neighborhood and its pedestrian-friendly character.  The Westbrook uses a custom blend of clay brick while the largest façade on the Commerce Building was intended to resemble an old mill building which uses crimson brick. The warm and welcoming plaza is also made with brick pavers. With the owner seeking LEED certification for the project, proximity of sourcing for the local materials was an important consideration.

From the beginning, Sundance Square strove to become the primary public outdoor gathering space in downtown Fort Worth. That vision has been dramatically realized, as it instantly became one of the most significant public outdoor gathering spaces in the entire region.

The project is expected to achieve LEED Certification at the Silver level or above.

To see more of Sundance Square, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.