Sto Provides Iconic Exterior for New Jersey Residential Complex

333 Grand in the Liberty Harbor area of Jersey City is an iconic showcase of energy efficient, decorative exterior insulation & finish systems.

Located on 2,500 feet of waterfront in the lower Hudson Bay, the Liberty Harbor area in Jersey City, N.J. provides magnificent views of New York Harbor. It’s a commuters’ haven due to its proximity to Manhattan and the area’s excellent public transportation system. An urbanist-inspired vision has spurred development in the area, including the recent completion of 333 Grand — an 18-story, residential apartment building offering the latest in luxury and style.

With an iconic facade, wide sidewalk area and extensive amenities that include ground floor retail space, 333 Grand is a coveted waterfront address. The building’s exterior is especially decorative, featuring a stunning curved façade, oversized windows, multiple textured surfaces and vibrant colors. In fact, the 80,000 square-foot, multi-family, mixed-use complex is a signature representation of today’s high-caliber exterior insulation and finish systems.

The Sto Wall Story

Developer Peter Mocco and his architects at Urban Architecture wanted an exterior wall system for 333 Grand that would serve as an effective air and moisture barrier to weather the elements, but they didn’t want to compromise on aesthetics. With specifications calling for multiple cladding types and shapes, the designers realized it was going to be impossible to develop the structure they wanted with standard building materials. So they turned to a StoTherm® ci wall system incorporating Sto Limestone and StoCreativ® Brick specialty finishes.

The StoTherm® ci EPS-based, high performance, integrated wall system offered both sustainability and design flexibility. It includes a seamless, fluid-applied air and moisture barrier with continuous insulation (ci) and advanced drainage capabilities. The StoTherm® ci system improves indoor comfort and air quality while maintaining maximum curb appeal and lowering overall life-cycle costs.

The applicator on the job, Richard Riley of Simpson Plastering, said the radius building envelope was a challenge; each drop had nine major architectural attributes with five continuous architectural elements. “Using Sto products and taking advantage of the technical advice and other resources the Sto team offered,”Riley declared, “we had the resources to complete the project in record time.”

Mocco was especially pleased with the classic look of the StoCreativ Brick – a cost effective, energy efficient, lightweight, easy-to-apply decorative wall finish system. Using self-adhering stencils applied over a primer layer to create the appearance of mortar, this finish system offers a sustainable alternative to heavier brick, while avoiding the hassle of dealing with multiple trades and cumbersome accessories.

The water-resistant Sto Limestone Finish provided an extra layer of protection, repelling moisture and wind-driven rain. A lightweight and easily installed architectural wall finish, Sto Limestone provided the classic look and feel of natural stone at a fraction of the expense. When designed as part of a Sto cladding system, this durable 100% acrylic finish can create the appearance of stone arches, reliefs and other distinctive architectural features.

“Thanks to Sto Corp, the building exterior at 333 Grand provides an energy-efficient, resilient envelope with a much smaller carbon footprint and higher LEED certification results,” observes Mocco. “It’s also a study in architectural design.”


The Resurgence of Postmodern Architecture

Grayson Perry and FAT's House for Essex (2015) is one example of the revival in Postmodern architecture.

According to the pundits, Postmodern architecture is experiencing a “revival,” and despite its critics, the design theme is far from long-gone. In fact, it is a style being adopted by many contemporary architects and designers.

Postmodern architecture emerged in the late 1960s as a reaction to the Modernism style, which gained popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. Modernism in architecture was intended to better reflect the experience and values of modern industrial life; it morphed into and included the Mid-Century Modern architectural trend that evolved between the years of 1945-1965.

At a certain point in the 1960’s, Modernism seemed to lose its luster and Postmodernism evolved as an escape from what some considered the monotony of Modernism. It offered an alternative to Modernism’s more entrenched ideals and rigidity of design conventions. Postmodern architecture was, and is, more expressive, more flexible, more integrative; it took the minimalism of Mid-Century Modern and dressed it up with color and patterns; it embraced many architectural styles, cultures and whimsical features.

Postmodern architects Philip Johnson, Michael Graves and Charles Moore incorporated neoclassical designs into their work; Terry Farrell combined Aztec design with green glazing in London; James Stirling threw pink-painted metal pipes against travertine in Stuttgart; Arata Isozaki combined high-tech with traditional design elements.

In a recent CNN piece, Owen Hopkins, a senior curator at Sir John Sloane’s Museum and author of Architecture and Freedom: Searching for Agency in a Changing World, posited that, “While Modernism had sought to draw a line under the past, Postmodernism used the past as a quarry of sources, references and quotations, deploying them with wit, irony and irreverence. After decades of being mute, architecture was allowed to speak again through color, ornament, decoration.”  Hopkins firmly believes that Postmodernism is back (assuming it ever really went away) and that it continues to inspire the architects of today.

Designer Adam Nathanial Furman agreed with this position in a recent interview with Dezeen. A founder of the Postmodern Society, Furman is an expert on late-20th-century style and just authored a book with Terry Farrell – the architect responsible for several postmodernist icons built in the 1980s. Their book, Revisiting Postmodernism, showcases some recent examples of the postmodern resurgence such as MVRDV’s market hall in Rotterdamn (2014).

Market Hall in Rotterdamn (2014)

While we ponder why postmodern architecture is making a comeback (could it be the chaotic, complex, global nature of the design world today?), the following is a look at some classic examples of Postmodern design, both past and present.

SIS Building in London. Photo: George Rex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Architect Terry Farrell’s SIS building in London (1994), which is also known as the MI6 building, may be the pinnacle of British postmodernism.  Its Mayan and Aztec temple design creates a layered fortress and incorporates 60 open-air terraces into its design – as well as triple-glazed windows and buttressed protection against bombs.

Modernism meets ancient Mediterranean architecture at the Clos Pegase Winery in Napa Valley, California, designed by Michael Graves. Another of his creations, the Hyatt Regency Fukuoka in Japan, embraces a vast pyramid structure, is naturally lit from above, and encircled by a rotunda of hotel rooms.

Clos Pegase Winery in Napa, California and the Hyatt Regency Fukuoka in Japan

The Kreeger Art Musuem in Washington DC (1963) by Philip Johnson with Richard Foster  was previously a residence. It is located in a wooded park of over five acres, with layered arches inspired by a Roman aqueduct design.

Kreeger Art Museum in Washington D.C. Photo: Payton Chung

Binoculars Building by Frank Gehry –Venice, Los Angeles (1991). Photo: Grant Mudford

 

 

 

 

 

 


New Business Model Suggested for Architecture Profession

A prominent architecture professor at Yale suggests that the profession could benefit from a new business model based on results versus selling time.

A recent article in Architectural Record penned by Phil Bernstein suggests that the architectural profession could benefit from a new business model. Bernstein, who is an Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer at the Yale School of Architecture, challenges the current methods of value creation and proposes a new business model for architects that shifts the value proposition of practice from selling time to creating results for clients.

According to AIA, architects are responsible for designing approximately $600 billion worth of buildings each year for which they are paid about $29 billion in fees, or 4.8% of construction value. Bernstein notes that these fees are largely paid as a commodity, and that real value is rarely reflected when compensation is a commodity; it hurts the overall economics of the profession. Fees are typically negotiated down, and architects are too often selling time versus measurable results.

If architectural compensation models were based on delivering outcomes of the building process, including the performance of the finished building, he believes these result-based fees, or outcome-based design practices, would redefine and benefit the architectural services business model. With digital tools and technology today, architects can truly impact building performance objectives such as energy usage, carbon emissions and maintenance-cost optimization.

Imagine a world with an outcome-based delivery system in which architects are helping clients realize goals to create offices that boost the effectiveness of workers, schools that educate students better, hospitals that promote faster healing. Bernstein is encouraged by the architectural students he sees today who are eschewing the more traditional architectural firms and are looking for more entrepreneurial, multi-faceted practices that include builders, researchers, and developers as well as architects. He is hoping this next generation of architects will be more responsive to innovative business models and demand new ways of practice.


StoPanel Technology Project in Downtown Denver Wins Award

The Le Meridien AC Hotel complex in downtown Denver is an award-winning study in Sto Panel Technology.

 

The Le Meridien and AC Hotel complex in downtown Denver is one of the first dual-branded luxury lifestyle hotel developments in the U.S. The 272-room Meridien, and the 223-room AC offer two iconic brands under one roof, just a block from the Denver convention center. The pair of European-inspired properties mark an industry milestone as the first collaborative project from hospitality giants Marriott and Starwood since their merger.

The 20-story project which opened in September 2017, is also noteworthy for its use of award-winning StoPanel Technology. Built quickly and efficiently, the project won top honors for Excellence in Construction Quality from the Association of the Walls and Ceiling Industry (AWCI) in its EIFS category.

According to Tyron Garrison, Senior Product Manager for Swinerton Builders, a contracting firm on the Meridien/AC hotel project, “Sto is our go-to resource for panel systems; no one else has a panelized system like theirs. With StoPanel Technology,” he adds, “we can confidently say we are constructing a completely dry, energy-efficient building.”

StoPanel Classic ci was the cladding selected for the new structure – using a prefabricated insulated exterior wall panel system that weighs almost 90 percent less than a precast panel of the same size. The light weight prefabricated panels are both energy efficient and durable, incorporating an insulation layer and StoGuardÒ air and moisture barrier.

Prefabricating the exterior with finished panels improved quality, safety onsite, and cut the onsite construction time.  In fact, the finished panels were installed in under 300 hours.

Despite limited access to the construction site and a location in the heart of busy downtown Denver, the streets were kept open to traffic during this massive construction project. Precast was done three days each week and panels were installed three days each week.  The panels were set in 40 days, employing a maximum crew of eight at any one time on the site.

The installation of the exterior walls for the entire project was done simultaneously, and by using the panels, saved about 75% of the conventional construction time, according to Travis, Vap, CEO of South Valley Prefab. “Panelization takes the guess work out of any project,” said Vap.  “The projects can be designed ahead of time, there’s a fast dry-in, and the interior can be completed concurrently. It’s an easier way to build.”


Restoration of Iconic Buildings Means Big Business and Big Energy Savings

The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco is one of many older, iconic buildings that are benefiting from retrofitting and restoration.

As reported by National Geographic this month, iconic buildings are often celebrated for their architecture that has withstood the test of time, but what lies beneath those favorite, enduring facades – the cladding and infrastructure — does not usually hold up so well. The majority of the world’s most famous structures were built long before sustainability, climate change, recycling and energy efficiency were key trends and mainstream buzz words.

Enter the age of retrofit and restoration, which has (thankfully!) become the prevailing practice in preserving vintage structures worldwide. Aging buildings of note are being updated with new windows and claddings, lighting, heating and cooling systems, all of which are preserving the historic nature of the buildings, saving owners and operators money while also conserving energy.

Some iconic structures that have set an example for others to follow include the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Reichstag in Berlin and the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco.

  • The Depression-era Empire State Building completed a $13 million energy-efficient retrofit in 2013 that cut energy consumption by almost 40%, saving over $4 million annually. The upgrades are expected to eliminate105,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions over 15 years.
  • In keeping with its original raison d’etre as a symbol of engineering prowess, the Eiffel Tower undertook a 4-year, $37 million renovation, completed in 2015. It included everything from installing solar panels to LED lighting, and adding enhanced glazing on glass. In addition to saving energy, the structure now generates much of its own electricity with wind-powered turbines in the building.
  • The 853-foot Transamerica Pyramid, built in 1972, was the tallest building in San Francisco until it was eclipsed last year by the 1,070-foot Salesforce Tower. But it’s keeping up with the newer structure thanks to a sustainability retrofit and a gas-fueled cogeneration plant in its garage that generates 70% of the building’s electricity. In 2011, the Pyramid was certified LEED Platinum, the country’s highest rating for green buildings.

Revitalizing iconic buildings is only a small part of the huge commercial market for restoration and energy efficient retrofitting. New York, for instance, is also tackling the improvement of energy efficiency in less prominent landmarks, investing nearly $500 million to improve its million-plus buildings.

Buildings consume 73 percent of the electricity in the U.S., and indirectly create 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions—more than industry or transportation. Experts estimate that only 10% of the 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. are now “high performance” thanks to upgrades. The remaining 90% represent a huge market opportunity.

Leaders in the building material and restoration industry such as Sto Corp. have been on the forefront of commercial restoration providing state of the art products and systems that can help preserve an historic structure as well as safeguard a property’s value by conserving energy, reducing operational costs, improving interior comfort, and enhancing curb appeal.


What Films Teach Us About Architecture

Architectural documentary films provide invaluable insights into the architects and architecture of yesteryear and today.

Dozens of movies have been made in the past 100-or-so years about famous architects and architectural projects. Arch Daily recently published a piece on architectural documentaries to watch in 2018  and Arch 20, an online architecture & design magazine, recently looked at some of the most enduring and notable architectural documentaries from the archives that are as awe inspiring as they are educational, many of which are laced with human drama and politics.

Whether depicting the life and work of famous architects, past and present, a school of architecture, or a remarkable architectural feat, the new slate of films as well as the 30+ films highlighted by Arch20  have made a memorable impact and may even leave viewers as delighted and breathless as a Hollywood action film would.

From Cairo, the Capital of Egypt  (a 1914 documentary) to Frank Lloyd Wright (1998) a film directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about the famous architect’s life — including his misdeeds — and the surpassing influence he had on American architecture, or Inside Piano (2013) about Renzo Piano’s three most symbolic buildings including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the films reviewed offer insights into architectural visionaries throughout time, as well as a grand international tour of architectural wonders.

Some of the other films reviewed include:

  • Schindlers Hauser (2007) — a “cinematic photo album” directed by Heinz Emigholz, showcasing 40 of the homes Schindler built in Los Angeles between 1921 and 1952. Emigholz also pays tribute to the pioneering work of Modernist Adolf Loos (1870-1933) in the film Loos Ornamental (2008).
  • Antonio Gaudi (1985) — an ethereal visual documentary with minimal narrative that showcases the innovative architect’s work, directed by Hiroshi Teshigarhara.
  • Bird’s Nest – Herzog & de Meuron in China (2008) elaborates on the cultural and political challenges the two architects faced building the new National Stadium for the Olympics in Beijing.
  • If you’re a Rem Koolhaas fan, there are at least three films to choose from: REM (2013) directed by his son; Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect (2008), and Koolhaas Houselife (2013).
  • Samsara (2011) — filmed over five years, in 25 countries on five continents, directed by Ron Fricke, generated $2.6 million in box office earnings and transports viewers to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes and natural wonders.
  • Unfinished Spaces (2011) — an inspiring story about the National Arts School in Cuba and the political turmoil there in the 1960s, and about how dreams are destroyed but can be revived. The film was a catalyst for restoring the structure.
  • One of the most widely viewed documentaries, Sketches of Frank Gehry (2005), directed by the famous Sydney Pollack, portrays Gehry’s career and creative process and his twin masterpieces: the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Music Hall in Los Angeles.
  • And finally, while not a documentary, Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang, is a science fiction masterpiece that architectural scholars consider a “must see”. It depicts a futuristic dystopian city severely divided along lines of wealth and class.

Films may be accessed online (Netflix, Amazon, etc.); get the popcorn ready and turn down the lights!