Facetted facade: a changing display of light and shadow
By Jordan Rogove and Wayne Norbeck
Rising 20 storeys tall in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan, the side-by-side towers of the Maverick Chelsea feature 87 condo units and 112 rental units, 31% of which are designated affordable under the New York City (NYC) Inclusionary Housing and Fair Housing Acts. The facades are formed from acid-etched precast concrete that create a striking, facetted column and spandrel grid. Inlaid metallic paint provides highlights against the shadows cast by the facets on the ever-changing, dynamic street front.
Designed to support health and wellness, the towers share amenities including an 18-metre (60 foot) long swimming pool, gym, sauna, steam room, kid's playroom, yoga room, meditation room with a Himalayan salt wall, pet spa and storage. Bicycle parking provided exceeds the NYC code requirement, and 77 parking stalls are available, including spaces for electric vehicles.
The building's envelope exceeds the NYC Energy Code performance requirements and was designed to maximize light and air within the residential units with nearly all windows being floor-to-ceiling and operational. The interior program focuses on using low energy, individually controlled LED lighting, energy and water-efficient appliances, and integrated building systems.
Outdoor space is provided by way of private terraces and a landscaped, recreational rooftop with a full kitchen and fire pit open to residents. Canopies at the building entrance are also landscaped and the amenity spaces are filled with plants to create year-round visual interest and celebrate the building's proximity to the historic flower district.
The light and dark hued design features asymmetrical triangular patterns that all interact differently with daylight and frame each window while animating the static nature of the square elevation. The windows maximize light and air within the residential units, increasing in size up the building to capitalize on the mostly unobstructed downtown views.
The two towers mirror each other in design but differentiate themselves through the materiality and colour of their facades. DXA Studio collaborated with BPDL, an architectural and structural precast concrete fabricator in Quebec, to develop a modular system for the facades made up of 25-foot-wide facetted precast concrete panels.
Lightly acid-etched white concrete with hand-painted bronze reveals makes up the condominium tower, whereas a darker concrete is used for the rental tower. The contrasting materials not only delineate the two addresses, but also reduce the perceivable width of the development’s street elevation. Each panel was transported by truck into the heart of New York City from Quebec and individually attached to the superstructure.
Jordan Rogove and Wayne Norbeck are co-founders of DXA studio.
CREATING THE ANIMATED EXTERIOR
By Guy Bouchard
The architect’s design intent was to create an effect of movement on the facade, which is attained by the sun’s changing position in the sky and its effect on the facetted precast concrete panels. In the white portion of the building, the triangle patterns are inlaid with contrasting bronze metallic paint.
At our plant in Sainte-Marie de Beauce, Quebec we used CNC equipment to create the master forms out of rubber formliners.
One of the challenges in the design and installation of the panels was the interlock and overlap details between panels to hide the horizontal and vertical panel joints. A total of 280 punch window panels were fabricated, with some of the panels 7.6 m wide x 3.3 m high (25 feet x almost 11 feet) to accommodate larger size windows.
All of the windows were factory installed at our plant, creating pre-glazed precast concrete panels ready to be installed on site. This was a big advantage given that the panel installation occurred during the inclement winter season. Over a three-month period, the panels were craned into position and connected to embeds cast into the superstructure.
Guy Bouchard is an engineer and vice president at BPDL.
Photos courtesy of DXA STUDIO (1,3) and BPDL (2,4)
Bétons Préfabriqués du Lac Inc. (BPDL)
Canadian Precast Prestressed Concrete Institute
PO Box 24058 Hazeldean, Ottawa Ontario, Canada K2M 2C3