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The recently completed Capital One Hall performing arts center located in the Washington DC metro area is defined by a pleated exterior of glass and marble. The facade design embodies two salient topics: the development of an environmentally-tuned self-shading geometry and the research and selection of a durable, bow-resistant marble for the cladding.
The final geometry of the facade and the distribution of transparency and opacity were the result of a parametric study that analyzed the total annual solar radiation on faces at different orientations. Using Grasshopper and Excel, a script rotated each face from parallel to perpendicular, quantifying the accumulated total of detrimental radiation at each position. The resulting data allowed the design team to make informed decisions about the distribution of glass and stone, overlaying a passive design strategy onto the formal origins of the pleated facade.
The choice of marble was influenced by the client's interest in a white stone facade. After an extensive search by the design team that included travertine, Brazilian white granite, and a silvery Alabama limestone, it was deemed that white marble was the preferred look. The tendency of marble veneer to bow and the history of high profile failures triggered a thorough investigation of marble behavior, collaboration with global marble experts, the use of recently developed European tests that measure and predict bowing, and the identification of two viable quarries for suitable exterior marble cladding. The extensive research and collaboration mitigated the risks associated with marble and built confidence for the team in a material that has a troubled history.
As an architectural design progresses from concept towards completion, it's not uncommon for core ideas in the original concept to present opportunity and risk. These are important moments in the life of a project. On the one hand, risk is often loud and persistent, keeping architects up at night with its uncertainty. A risk could be minimized or eliminated by taking a conservative approach and changing course, thus losing part of the original design concept. Or, a risk could be faced head-on in such a way that it is quantified. By making risk known and calculated, it becomes less threatening. On the other hand, opportunity tends to be quiet and easily overlooked. Every project has missed opportunities, often because it takes time and fee and dedicated staff to seek out opportunities and exploit them. Nonetheless, embracing opportunity is a way to add value to the project. The cladding at Capital One Hall provides an illustration of opportunity and risk, of how HGA was able to exploit a latent opportunity and, working closely with the client, quantify and therefore minimize risk.
Capital One Hall is a recently completed performing arts center in Tysons, Virgina, part of the Washington DC metro area. The new building has a 1,600-seat proscenium stage, a 225-seat black box theater, a rooftop amphitheater and beer garden, and street-level retail. It is part of a full-block development that includes an upscale grocery store and three residential towers. The building is defined by a pleated exterior, an accordion-like shell comprised of stone and glass.
As concept design progressed from hand sketch to 3D model, the building began to look real and believable, though there was still a long way to go. The configuration of
As the building became more defined, the conversation with the owner about stone selection became more focused. The client became enamored with the idea of a white marble exterior. Architects
Many industry standards need to be understood in the context of pragmatism -- that the standards represent what's possible, not necessarily what's best. In the case of BS EN 16306