Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with powdered precious metal, is a practice of celebrating the life and history of an object. It is an embodiment of the belief that a piece can be more beautiful and valuable for having been broken and repaired.
What if we thought about our aging buildings in the same way? What if, instead of tossing aside or accepting the broken, we transformed these buildings into something more valuable? What if in reimagining their facades it is possible to create something richer and more beautiful than a brand new facade could be?
We believe that designers can bring new life to downtowns, salvage the embodied energy in aging structures and create historied buildings that offer the unique, premiere environments the market demands.
But repositioning and recladding outdated buildings comes with challenges. These existing structures often come occupied, creating logistics challenges in scheduling and sequencing. Floor to floor heights, structural layouts and systems from another era require creative programming and planning strategies. Significant updates to older buildings require a careful and nuanced analysis of current codes and zoning developments. Each of these areas of concern and more will have impacts on the façade design and detailing in ways that are unique to each reclad project.
Although the range of issues requiring project specific analysis in these projects is vast, there are some similarities and lessons to be learned as designers approach transforming these dated facades into high-performance envelopes for adaptable, sustainable, high performing buildings. This paper will explore these design challenges on a range of projects from One Indiana Square in Indianapolis, IN complete in 2009 to One Post Office Square in Boston, MA, currently under construction. We will draw on perspectives beyond architecture and include voices from engineering and construction.
In developed countries, 50% of the buildings that will be in use in 2050 are already constructed and over 70% of floor-stock today is over 20 years old (Fig. 1)
The process of repositioning buildings through overclad (a process where significant portions of building envelope remain and are layered over with new) and reclad (a process where the building envelope
Reclad projects create possibilities to enhance building performance in multiple ways. Whether the building repositioning is an opportunity to replace outdated mechanical systems or the renovation impacts envelope alone, increased
Each re-clad project has its own set of architectural and performance drivers and its own set of constraints. Understanding the existing structure, MEP systems and zoning requirements all impact the
At One Post Office Square, designing a new curtainwall for the tower provided an opportunity to increase the efficiency and performance of the building envelope. The design team selected glass
One of the initial decisions to be made for overclad and reclad projects is to determine how the new cladding system will be supported. The new façade can be anchored
Often re-clads are not vacant. The construction sequence must work with and around existing occupants. Sequencings and coordination are critical.
At One Indiana Square, the building was over 70% occupied at
It takes a knowledgeable team to address the complexities of reclad and overclad projects. Each perspective brings value to the design and efficiency to the execution, and it is beneficial
Urban city centers are filled with aging buildings in prime locations. A successful repositioning can result in higher rents and lower building operating costs. The design industry, along with building
Additional thanks to Nilesh Bansal and Sasha Zeljic, Gensler and Ben Gomez, Benson.
Figure 1 by US Energy Information Administration, CBECS 2012, Table B9.
Figures 2,3,4,7,8,10,14,16 and 17 Courtesy of Genlser.
Figure 5 Courtesy of Gensler with Photograph by John Edward Linden.
Figure 6 Courtesy of Gensler with Photograph by Chris Barrett.
Figure 9 Courtesy of Gensler with Photograph Copyright Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing.
Figures 11,12 and 15 Courtesy of Vidaris.
Figure 13 Courtesy of Gensler with Drawings by Benson Industries.