FTI's half-day NYC Forum took place virtually on Thursday, November 5, 2020. Hosted by the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York, this year’s virtual event focused on resilience of facade systems, buildings and the urban habitat. Three panels addressed the topics of changing social behaviors on design, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on building sites and field operations, and the feasibility of retrofitting mid-Century tall curtainwall buildings.
The first session of FTI’s half-day NYC Forum featured speakers Fiona Cousins, Arup, David Herd, Buro Happold, and Martin Siefering, Perkins Eastman. According to Cousins, crises accelerate change, leading designers to take on challenges that include setting design criteria, imagining a better future for our buildings, and planning for resilience in the future. David Herd followed, stressing three principles. The first is human comfort and the intangible benefits that affect people. The second is the resilience and adaptability of buildings, and the third is sustainability of materials. The third speaker, Martin Siefering addressed the importance of reimaging senior living facilities to improve the comfort, health, and safety of residents and caregivers.
The second session’s panel discussion included a variety of viewpoints from panelists. Moderated by Benson’s Jeff Heymann, the panelists talked about their experiences with job site changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Gerald Bianco, Lendlease commented that the pandemic was an unknown at first with different job site and employee challenges than those of pre-Covid. Jamil Lacourt, L&L Holding Company, LLC noted that the safety of people prompted the collaboration among trade partners. Peter Myers from Iron Workers Local 580 talked about the dangers related to going back to work. He said the safety of the men and women on the job site was paramount. Roberto Bicchiarelli, Permasteelisa Group, said that knowledge of the pandemic response in Europe was beneficial to the North American operation.
The third session of the Forum focused on retrofitting tall mid-Century curtain wall buildings. The moderator of the panel, Gabrielle Brainard, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The first speaker was Nathan Walker, Vidaris. Walker presented the five levels of intervention, including selective restoration, cladding modification, over cladding, recladding, and rebuilding. He noted that feasibility studies are valuable and help the owner make prudent decisions. The other panelists, Stanford Chan and Adrian Tuluca, Vidaris and Peter Daniele, Sterling Project Development participated in the panel discussion.
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