Metronome Art Wall

DESIGN GOALS
Construct an art wall as the main façade of a mixed-use retail/residential building, implementing the winning design of two artists.

The art wall must feature concentric circles and an undulating pattern of waves so that the building appears to be in motion.

The wall material must be similar in appearance to the brick used on the remainder of the building.


"We found the right precaster with the right skills for this project, which would not have been possible without him or someone with comparable abilities."
Harold Fredenburgh, partner
Fredenburgh Wegierska-Mutin Architects

PRECAST SOLUTIONS
Because of its complex design and large size (50 feet wide by 100 feet high), the entire art wall couldn't be constructed in place. Erecting separate precast concrete panels offered the best solution.

Brick matching the style that was used on the rest of the building was inset into the precast panels' face at the plant.
 
Brick faced precast panels stored at Artex Systems' plant near Toronto. Outside panels have a beveled edge.
 
Precast had the plasticity needed to create the concentric circles and undulating wave pattern on the panels' surfaces. More than 50,000 bricks were laid concentrically in 29 panels to create 36 concentric rings. The waves are farther apart and shallower as they become farther away from the centre of the panel. Wave spacing varies from 15 to 36 inches. Trough depths range from 9 to 14 inches.

The use of precast panels provided a fast and cost-effective installation on a tight urban site. The streets were closed at night during panel erection.
 
The art wall sculpture on the Metronome building at One Union Square in New York City consists of concentric, undulating circles formed by bricks inset into shaped precast concrete panels. The art wall's theme is Time: Past, Present and Future. A puff of steam is emitted hourly from the centre of the wall.

PROJECT SPECS
Art wall measuring 50 feet wide by 100 feet high on a 500,000 square-foot building
29 precast panels
Panels vary in weight from 8 to 22 tons
Total cost: $4.3 million (art project); Precast cost: $1 million

Simulated boulder is cut and fitted to the surface of the brick faced precast panels at Artex Systems' plant.

The Judges Said...
"This playful project provides a nice integration of a sculptural piece with an exterior wall system. Aligning the rings took significant planning and forethought. Using precast concrete for this design shows the advanced technological applications the material offers to designers."

Credits:
Art Wall Architect: Fredenburgh Wegierska-Mutin Architects Inc.
New York City Art Wall Designers: Kirstin Jones and Andrew Ginzel
New York City Engineer: RSD Engineers P.C. - New York City
Precaster: Artex Systems Inc. - Concord, Ontario, Canada
General Contractor: HRH Construction Corp. - New York City
Owner: The Related Companies - New York City

 
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