Corrugated-geometry Copper and Glass Facade

From Concept to Construction



Photo of Marko Tomsic, PE

Marko Tomsic, PE

Project Consultant

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Photo of John A. Jackson, AIA

John A. Jackson, AIA

Senior Project Manager



The subject of this case study is the design and construction of a custom corrugated-geometry facade featuring pre-patinated copper and glass for an office building in downtown Washington DC. Midtown Center opened in the Spring of 2018, and since its opening, its unique facade has caught the eye of not only the architectural community at large, but also the average pedestrian passing by 15th and L Street. From design concept to final construction, the successful execution of a custom facade like Midtown Center’s requires a close collaboration between the Ownership, Design, and Construction teams. In this paper, we will explore the collaborative design process from the original architectural design intent, geometry definition, panelization studies, system selection, and engineering for thermal performance and condensation control. We will look closely at the development of mockups for aesthetics and material selection, laboratory performance testing and constructability, curtain wall fabrication, installation, and field testing as part of the overall quality assurance/quality control for verification of performance.

1. Introduction

Midtown Center is a newly-developed office building in northwest Washington, DC. The project includes approximately 865,000 square feet of office space in a thirteen story U-shaped tower. The tower is

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2. Façade Design

The hard shell façade includes a series of glass and copper panels of varying widths and geometric offsets, creating the distinctive corrugated sawtooth pattern (Figure 2). Panels generally splay outward

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3. Thermal and Condensation Analysis

The curtain wall units had to be designed to meet the project-specified thermal (i.e., U-factor) and solar (i.e., Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) requirements. Alongside standard challenges of calculating curtain wall

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4. Design-Assist and Construction

The curtain wall for the project was procured through a design-assist process. The design-assist team, including representatives from the Ownership, Architects, Consultants, and Contractors, met at regular intervals over a

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5. Summary

The successful completion of unique-geometry façade projects requires close collaboration between the Ownership, Design, and Construction team members. Balancing the architectural design intent, technical performance criteria, costs, schedule, and constructability

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Rights and Permissions

Select Images Courtesy of Old Castle Building Envelope

Select Images Courtesy of SHoP

Paper presentation permitted by Carr Properties