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Found 17 results

  1. A cautionary tale: Cheap glass window wall is not suitable for our climate http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/11/13/tor-glass-walled-condos.html Thermal Window Failure: How it Happens A Developer's Change of Heart Engineering Buildings to Perform Audio and Video Highlights Many of the glass condominium towers filling up the Toronto skyline will fail 15 to 25 years after they’re built, perhaps even earlier, and will need retrofits costing millions of dollars, say some industry experts. Buyers drawn to glass-walled condos because of the price and spectacular views may soon find themselves grappling with major problems including: Insulation failures. Water leaks. Skyrocketing energy and maintenance costs. Declining resale potential. Glass condominiums — known in the industry as window walls — have floor-to-ceiling glass, so essentially the window becomes the wall. Window walls generally span from the top of the concrete slab right to the bottom. The slow-motion failure of Toronto's glass condos http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/ Over the past decade, Toronto's building boom has been dominated by tall glass condo towers. They've transformed the look of city skylines all over the world – especially here in Toronto, where according to Emporis.comwe've built more towers per capita than any other city in North America. But it may be a trend that puts style over substance. A small but growing chorus is sounding the alarm about the future of these buildings. Building scientists have known for a long time that glass-walled structures are less energy efficient than the stone and concrete buildings that were put up forty of fifty years ago. But the market demand for glass combined with the relatively low cost of glass-wall construction means the building industry has been happy to oblige. However, industry insiders warn that as energy costs climb, glass towers may become the "pariah" buildings of the future. In these stories, we explore the hidden costs of building with glass and the slow-motion failure of window walls. We also look at why the Ontario Building Code failed to make energy performance a priority, and meet a developer who is reconsidering the construction of such buildings. Building science consultant and University of Waterloo professor John Straube wrote a paper called Can Highly Glazed Building Facades be Green? View Paper [1MB .pdf] http://www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/condos/pdf/condo_conundrum.pdf John Straube John Straube, a building science consultant and professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo says glass condos are a "perfect reflection" of a society that's found it easier to throw things away than to build them to last. "We have a hard time," says Straube, "thinking five years when we buy a laptop, ten years when we buy a car. With these buildings – both the skin and the mechanical systems are going to have to be redone in a 25-year time frame. The concrete structure will be there a long time but in 20, 25 years time, we are going to see a lot of scaffolding on the outside of the buildings as we replace the glazing, sealants and the glass itself." Although falling glass from the condo balconies has attracted most of the public attention during the summer of 2011, building scientists warn that the long-term failure of the glass structures – although less sensational – is much more serious. More: how thermal window failure happens Window-wall systems Most of them are built using window-wall systems which have next to no insulation value, except for a half inch of heavy gas between the two panels of glass. As John Straube points out, what glass does really well is conduct heat. "A little experiment anyone can do at home is get a glass for drinking. Pour boiling water into it, and try and pick it up. You'll burn yourself." Straube, along with building science colleagues like Ted Kesik at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto, warns that as energy costs climb, the costs of heating and cooling glass towers will increase the monthly fees. Kesik wrote a paper called The Glass Condo Conundrum (250KB .pdf) on the potential liabilities of glass towers. The Glass Condo Conundrum It's not just the energy costs. Glass structures require major maintenance much earlier in their life cycle than a traditional structure made of precast or brick. Straube warns maintenance costs will skyrocket in 20 to 25 years' time as the buildings age. The windows will begin to fog up, and the cost of replacing entire walls of glass will be prohibitive on highrise structures that can only be accessed from swing stages. Building scientists talk about the life cycle of a building, akin to a human life cycle, language that encourages people like Straube to see a building as an organism. "It has lungs," says Straube, "it has veins, all of that stuff – it has a structural skeleton." To Straube, a building is a living, breathing thing, enclosing the people who live inside. Building with glass walls is to miss the main point of a building, says Straube – sacrificing the protection that is a building's first duty for a beauty that is only skin-deep. "It's almost derogatory in my world," says Straube, "to forget about everything else that's part of experiencing a building. I like to think what is this building going to be like on a dark and stormy night. In our climate particularly, we care about that. It's life and death." Audio Introduction Matt Galloway spoke with Mary Wiens about the series. Listen (runs 6:11) Part One Mary Wiens introduces us to people concerned about the hidden costs of glass walls. Listen (runs 6:48) Part Two A developer of glass towers tells us why he will never put up another one. Listen (runs 6:28) Part Three Mary Wiens asks engineers about the rise, and repair, of the glass towers. Listen (runs 6:38) Part Four Mary Wiens tours a new condominium with a young couple and their real estate agent. Listen (runs 6:50) Part Five Mary Wiens tells us about a solution that has helped produce more efficient cars and appliances, an approach that may have potential for condominiums as well. Listen (runs 6:59) Video Part One: How glass fails John Lancaster talks to David House about the potential problems facing owners of glass condos in Toronto. Watch (runs 3:16) Part Two: Hidden costs Kamela and Jason Hurlbut are looking for their first dream home but there are hidden costs to living in Toronto's glass condos. Watch (runs 3:19) Part Three: The ripple effect If I can't sell my condo, I can't buy your home. John Lancaster looks at the possible ripple effect in Toronto's real estate market. Watch (runs 3:48)
  2. Could the era of glass skyscrapers be over? One of the architects behind London's famous Gherkin skyscraper has now turned against glass buildings. Is it time tall towers were made out of something else, asks Hannah Sander. It is one of the UK's most recognisable buildings. A Stirling Prize winner. A backdrop to Hollywood films. Named the most admired tower in the world. But 10 years after it was opened, one of the designers behind the "Gherkin" has turned against it. Architect Ken Shuttleworth, one of the team at Foster and Partners who designed the tower, now thinks the gigantic glass structure was a mistake. "The Gherkin is a fantastic building," he says. "But we can't have that anymore. We can't have those all-glass buildings. We need to be much more responsible." The building at 30 St Mary Axe - nicknamed after a gherkin because of its bulbous silhouette - kick-started a decade of strangely shaped glass towers. The Cheesegrater, the Walkie-Talkie and the Shard loomed up from the pavements of London. The skylines of both Birmingham and Manchester were drastically altered by the addition of towers by property firm Beetham. One of the best-known glass building mishaps took place last summer, when the Walkie-Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street in London was accused of melting cars. The 37-storey building reflected light in its glass facade and shone powerful rays at its surroundings. Cars parked underneath were damaged, and passers-by even managed to fry eggs using only sunlight. In the end the developers, Land Securities, had to apply for planning permission to obscure architect Rafael Vinoly's £200m design with a permanent "brise soleil" or sunshade. And yet despite this, Land Securities recently revealed that the widely reported calamity "did nothing to deter lettings". Glass buildings are popular - not just because of their striking appearance but for the views they boast, and the increased light they let in. When German architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe designed what is said to be the world's first glass skyscraper in 1921, he associated the glass facade with purity and renewal. Later in the century, British architect Richard Rogers praised glass buildings because of their social worth. Glass walls enabled even employees working in the basement to benefit from reflected natural light and dissolved barriers between a cramped indoor office space and the greenery outside. Companies like to give the impression of a democratic working environment - open-plan and with floor-to-ceiling windows, so that all employees, not just the boss, benefit from the view. However, as concerns over global warming have become more widespread, so the glass structure has come under scrutiny. Since leaving Foster and Partners in 2006, Shuttleworth has become a key voice in the fight against glass. Despite his background working on giant glazed buildings, he has founded an architectural practice in which floor-to-ceiling windows are considered an archaic luxury. "Everything I've done for the last 40 years I'm rethinking now," he says. "If you were designing [the Gherkin] today... it wouldn't be the same product all the way around the building. "We need to be much more responsible in terms of the way we shade our buildings and the way we thermally think about our buildings." Glass lets out and lets in a lot of heat. A vast amount of energy is required for an office full of people to remain cool in the UAE and to stay warm in the snowstorms of Toronto. Governments are now so concerned by the long-term impact of "solar gain" - the extent to which a building absorbs sunlight and heats up - that they have introduced strict regulations around shape and structure. Architects are being encouraged to change where they place windows, so that a sunny south-facing wall has less chance to absorb heat than a chilly north-face. Walkie-Talkie developers Land Securities are currently at work on a building called the ZigZag, that is designed so that alternate walls cast shadows on their neighbours. The building is deliberately shaped so it can keep itself cool. In the US there is a campaign in favour of wooden skyscrapers, promoting wood as a "green" building material in place of glass. However, the trade association Glass for Europe has dismissed what they consider "a preconceived idea" that glass is bad. Instead they point to sustainable buildings in which glass has been fashioned into corridors that don't require central heating and solar panels that have been slotted seamlessly into a design. The association also points out that glass is fully recyclable. "A whole palette of glass products is available for the glazing to meet different functions in the building envelope," the association said. "Glass is fit for all climates." In the past decades, the glass industry has worked hard to adapt technology in the context of climate change. Engineer Andrea Charlson is part of a team at firm Arup that seeks new ways to increase material sustainability. She is not convinced that the glass in glass buildings is the cause of their problems. "There have been a lot of advancements in glass technology in the last few years and it's amazing what we can do now in terms of putting coatings on glass. Some of them can be a heavy colour tint that will provide some shading. Others will be almost invisible but will still keep a lot of the heat and solar gain outside a building," she says. Charlson is currently investigating problems in the materials that hold the glazed panels on buildings in place. "As the glass technology improves, one of the biggest causes of heat loss is through the framing. The heat energy will always try to find the path of least resistance." Even with the improvements to glass technology, Shuttleworth is not convinced that these sheer skyscrapers can be justified in today's society. He is not only concerned by their environmental impact, but also with the other effects a glass tower has on its surroundings. Architecture and design critic Tom Dyckhoff is equally keen to see the glass skyscraper put to bed. "As someone who spends their entire life staring at buildings, I am a bit bored by the glass box. They were radical in the 1920s and now they are just cliches, expensive ones at that. "But now that we are having to be more thoughtful about how and where we use glass, maybe architects will become more inventive in how they use windows, instead of plastering them across whole facades," he says. Shuttleworth's most recent project began life as a solid steel object and he says it has glass only where it is needed. "It is a privilege to have a window. I think it should be seen as a privilege," he says. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27501938
  3. Toronto Star, May 19, 2010. By Carol Perehudoff I don’t dare sit down in this glass-encrusted dress. If I break one of the attached silvery rectangles, not only will I damage a piece of art, the splinters would be a serious pain in the you-know-what. “You’re the first person to try it on,” says designer Jessica MacDonald as I twirl around Espace Verre, a glass arts school, studio and exhibition centre housed in a former firehouse in southwest Montreal. I’m not sure how I convinced Jessica to let me try on the dress or how it fit over my hips after the almond croissants this morning at Patisserie Kouign Amann, but it’s a great introduction to “Montreal, City of Glass,” a year-long celebration of the city’s most translucent art form with more than 100 glass-themed events. That’s reason enough to visit, but I’m also on the trail of a mystery: “The Mystery of the Disappearing Windows.” This intriguing headline on the website of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel appealed to my inner Nancy Drew. It’s hard to sleuth in a glass couture outfit, however, so reluctantly — and carefully — I shed the dress and accompany my guide, Marie José, to Old Montreal, where the chapel was founded in 1655 by Canada’s first female saint, Marguerite Bourgeoys. Unfortunately the church doors are locked. “How am I going to solve the Mystery of the Disappearing Windows now?” I ask. “Do you mean the disappearing glass at Notre-Dame Basilica?” Marie José asks. “There’s a mystery there.” Either there’s an awful lot of vanishing glass in Montreal or I’m mixing up the two Notre Dames. To find out, we head down to Notre-Dame Basilica at Place d’Armes Square. Completed in 1829, this towering neo-Gothic basilica is a stained-glass showcase containing windows from three different historical eras. Like celestial skylights, three rose windows are set in the ceiling; in an unusual touch, the side windows depict historical rather than biblical themes. “But what about the mystery?” I ask, gazing up at a scene of Jacques Cartier coming upon the Iroquois village of Hochelaga (today’s Montreal). “It started with arson.” Marie José leads me to the back of the church. “In 1978 someone set fire in a confessional, causing millions in damages. During renovations, five stained glass windows were found behind a brick wall. They’d been walled up and forgotten for more than 80 years.” Two of the windows, St. Peter and St. Louis, now hang in the Basilica’s Sacred Heart Chapel. Masculine and medieval-looking, they glimmer with deep tones of blue, burgundy and gold. “Why would anyone cover them up?” I ask. Marie José offers a solution. “The windows were right behind the altar, so parishioners couldn’t see the priest during services because of the sun shining through.” Well, that’s one mystery solved. It’s not my original mystery, however, so the next morning I return to Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. The current domed church dates to 1771, the foundations of the original chapel now mere stone traces deep in the church cellar. I hunt up Karine St-Louis, head of educational programming, who gives me a rare peek into the cellar’s depths. An eerie-looking room with ancient timber supports, it lay abandoned for decades, filled with dirt and debris. Then, during an archaeological dig here in 1996, two stained-glass angel fragments were found. “They were part of a much-larger window made around 1855,” Karine says. “It was either the Assumption of Mary or the Immaculate Conception.” “Who made them?” “We don’t know.” We visit one of the angels — now on permanent display in the chapel museum. Backlit, the angel glows with a luminous calm, his green wings and golden hair framing an unreadable expression. It’s hard to imagine that before Canada was even officially a country he stood watch in the chapel, then waited more than a century to re-emerge. “Who saved it, I wonder? And what happened to the rest of the window?” Karine smiles. “That’s the mystery.” “Why would anyone remove it?” This is something she can solve. “Like anything, glass goes in and out of fashion.” From stained glass angels to couture cocktail dresses, it certainly does. Evidently it can disappear and reappear, too, carrying with it fragments of history. Montreal may be the City of Glass, but it’s a city of secrets, too, making me wonder what other mysteries lie hidden behind its historical walls. http://www.thestar.com/travel/northamerica/article/811043--montreal-a-city-of-glass-and-secrets Here is a video by Ms. Carol... a little bit funny! http://www.thestar.com/videozone/811042 "In the end, I've come to the conclusion that Montreal is alot like glass. It shimmers its tiny shiny pieces that make up an incredible whole. And if you catch it in the right light, it's iluminating! "
  4. September 10, 2009 Architecture Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF Does Manhattan have a future as a great metropolis? If you hope the answer is yes, you will be disheartened by the City Planning Department’s decision on Wednesday to chop off 200 feet from the top of a proposed tower next door to the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street in Manhattan. Designed by Jean Nouvel, the building would have been as tall as the Empire State Building minus its antenna, a fact that probably made planners tremble. Amanda Burden, the city planning commissioner, said the tower’s top, which culminates in three uneven peaks, did not meet the aesthetic standards of a building that would compete in height with the city’s most famous towers. And who, after all, wants to be responsible for ruining the most famous skyline in the world? Still, the notion of treating the Midtown skyline as a museum piece is more disturbing. The desire of each new generation of architects and builders to leave its mark on the city, to contribute its own forms, is essential to making New York what it is. The soaring height and slender silhouette of Mr. Nouvel’s tower not only captured the spirit of Midtown — the energy and hubris that transformed this island into a monument to American cosmopolitanism — it also brought that spirit forcefully into the present. Mr. Nouvel’s design was conceived as a giant spire, like the Empire State’s but without the boxy building. Supported by a matrix of interwoven steel beams reminiscent of a spider’s web, it tapers jaggedly as it rises, evoking a shard of glass. The beams are flush with the building’s glass surface, giving it a taut muscular appearance; an underground restaurant and lounge, visible from the sidewalk, root the structure to the site. The design’s beauty stemmed from its elegant proportions, particularly the exaggerated relationship between its small footprint and enormous height. Seen from the street, its receding facades would have induced a delicious sense of vertigo. Ms. Burden’s objections were directed at the top of the building. “Members of the commission had to make a decision based on what was in front of them,” she said. “The development team had to show us that they were creating something as great or even greater than the Empire State Building and the design they showed us was unresolved.” It’s true that aspects of the design had yet to be developed fully. The three peaks were too symmetrical, which gave them a slightly static appearance. And they could have been sharpened to finer points. But Mr. Nouvel, one of the profession’s most creative forces, would have been more than capable of dealing with these issues. With the new height restriction in place, though, his original design concept will surely be diminished. And the loss of as much as 150,000 square feet of floor space could also lead to cuts in the design budget, which could mean cheaper materials and more cramped interiors. Or, just as bad, it could push Hines, the building’s developer, into finding a way to pack more space onto the lower floors, which could further distort the building’s proportions. But the greater sadness here has to do with New York and how the city sees itself. Both the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, built during the Great Depression, were celebrated in their time as emblems of the city’s fortitude. The Freedom Tower, our era’s most notable contribution to the skyline, is a symbol of posturing and political expediency. And now a real alternative to it, one of the most enchanting skyscraper designs of recent memory, may well be lost because some people worry that nothing in our current age can measure up to the past. It is a mentality that, once it takes hold, risks transforming a living city into an urban mausoleum. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/arts/design/10building.html?_r=1
  5. Hot new Vdara hotel might be a little bit TOO hot Bill Pintas was vacationing in Las Vegas when he decided to stay at the swank new Vdara hotel, a curvy 57-story tower owned by MGM Resorts. He was sitting at the pool when he encountered something alarming. He recalls, "I'm sitting there in the chair and all of the sudden my hair and the top of my head are burning. I'm rubbing my head and it felt like a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine what it could be." Like an ant under a magnifying glass, he remembers running to an umbrella, but being unable to escape the hot light. He recalls, "I used to live in Miami and I've sat in the sun in Las Vegas 100 times. I know what a hot sun feels like and this was not it. My first inclination was thinking: Jesus we've destroyed the ozone layer because I am burning." Speaking with employees, he was alarmed to find out that the hotel staff was aware of the situation. He recalls, "They're kind of giggling and say: 'Yeah, we know. We call it the death ray." The "death ray" appears to be created by the glass surface of the hotel itself -- acting as a concentrating parabolic dish -- similar to those used to heat water to a boil in solar power systems. The dish concentrates light on a 10-foot by 15-foot hot zone moving across the pool. Temperatures in this area spike 20 degrees Fahrenheit -- or more. Bill Pintas saw his plastic newspaper bag literally begin to melt. The bag -- composed of polyethylene -- is designed to withstand temperatures of up to 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. And the employees recall seeing plastic cups -- which have a melting point of 160 degrees Fahrenheit – actually melting. Other guests, including newspaper reviewers, have also observed the burning beam. The hotel management doesn't call it a "death ray", they prefer the more friendly distinction "solar convergence phenomenon". Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Mirage says the hotel is addressing the problem, and comments, "Because of the curved, concave shape of that hotel, they sometimes get isolated pockets of high temperatures." The hotel is baffled by how to solve the problem of the "death ray", though. When initially constructing the building, they anticipated the issue and put a coating over the glass that absorbs 70 percent of the daytime sunlight. However, that was not enough to reduce its painful effects. And the ray sweeps across a wide area, making it hard to protect a specific region. Comments Mr. Absher, "This is quite literally an astronomical challenge," Absher said. "We are dealing with a moving target." The mishap in architecture isn't as glaring as some of history's most notable mistakes -- such as the 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but it is pretty extraordinary. It serves as a reminder that while many take the science and engineering of designing massive skyscrapers for granted these days, it remains a tricky business. It looks like the Vdara may have exposed the wrong guest to the death ray, though -- Mr. Pintas is a Chicago-based lawyer. http://www.dailytech.com/Hotel+Accidentally+Makes+Solar+Death+Ray+Burns+Lawyer/article19756.htm
  6. A new headquarters facility for the Los Angeles Police Department is set to open this summer. Designed by AECOM (formerly DMJM) in joint venture with Roth + Sheppard Architects, the new 11-storey, 500,000 square foot building occupies an important civic block in downtown LA across the street from City Hall and near the Los Angeles Times and new Caltrans buildings. The project provides for a main police administration building and public plaza with below grade parking for 300 cars and an off-site vehicle maintenance garage and fueling station with parking for 800 vehicles. The design challenge was to meet the functional needs and rigorous security requirements of one of the busiest police stations in the nation while also providing greater transparency and openness to the community. In a nod to the civic nature of the site, AECOM pulled the public functions out of the building, as, for example, a 200–seat café and 450-seat auditorium, and located them in the plaza for greater public access. The park and low-rise auditorium to the North (facing City Hall) offer a street scaled entry to the building and green space for passersby, visitors and building occupants. Built of precast, glass and stone, the building is linked to the existing civic center buildings with its vertical grain, massing and lightness of color. The new headquarters is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification and utilizes energy efficient mechanical systems, day-lighting, drought-tolerant planting, a “cool roof” system, high-performance glass, water clarifiers and recycled or renewable building materials. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11267
  7. March 15, 2009 KEY | SPRING 2009 By JIM LEWIS New York is the capital of glass, the city of windows. Other cities get their gravitas from marble or stone, but New York is made of silica, soda ash and lime, melted to make this vitreous stuff: transparent, translucent and opaque; reflective, tinted, frosted, coated, clear. The slightest shift in the angle of sun fall can hide or reveal entire worlds, and as evening comes the city gradually turns itself inside out — the streets go dark and the buildings open up, offering their rooms like stagelets upon which our little lives are played. 25 Cooper Square: The Cooper Square Hotel Completed: 2009 Architect: Carlos Zapata Developer: Sciame Photo date: Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009 As old as the material is, glass remains a mystery. No one quite knows what goes on, down where the molecules bind — whether it’s a slow-moving liquid, an especially mutable solid or something in between. Still, new compounds appear regularly, with new qualities that promise new possibilities. The substance has never been exhausted, and may yet prove inexhaustible, an endless inspiration to architects and designers as it grows stronger, lighter, clearer and more flexible. 731 Lexington Avenue and 1 Beacon Court: Global headquarters for Bloomberg L.P. and other offices, as well as retail and residences Completed: 2005 Architects: Cesar and Rafael Pelli (Pelli Clark Pelli Architects) Developer: Vornado Realty Trust Photo date: Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 For this issue, In Sook Kim, an artist with a special interest in intimacy and display, photographed five buildings in Manhattan — chips in the kaleidoscope of the city and homes to some of its most emblematic activities: business, the arts, putting up tourists and, of course, staying in for the night. 405 West 55th Street: The Joan Weill Center for Dance, home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Completed: 2004 Architect: lu + Bibliowicz Architects L.L.P. Photo date: Friday, Jan. 16, 2009 For each photograph, Kim, who is based in Germany, lit interior rooms with colored gels and arranged the occupants of the buildings in everyday tableaux. She then parked herself across from the buildings with a large-format camera, the glass of her lens facing the glass of the facades, creating portraits of the city as a crystalline beehive, always bright and always busy. 48 Bond Street: Condominium residence Completed: 2008 Architect: Deborah Berke & Partners Architects Developer: Dacbon L.L.C. Photo date: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/realestate/keymagazine/15KeyGLASS-t.html?ref=keymagazine&pagewanted=print
  8. Five-stars for Foster design Luxury Heathrow hotel given Mayoral seal of approval Foster + Partners’ design for a new five-star hotel on Bath Road, close to Heathrow Airport has been approved by the Mayor of London. The only five-star hotel in the area, it will offer a range of services, including the most extensive conference facilities of any London hotel, to serve the local community and businesses, as well as passengers using Heathrow. The hotel, developed by Riva Properties is characterised by a distinctive layered glass shell, which floods the public spaces with daylight. Articulated as a 13-storey structure, several levels are sunk into the ground, keeping the building’s profile low in response to the immediate surroundings. The rooms are contained within six pavilions, linked by bridges and wrapped in a unifying glass envelope, which acts as a barrier to aircraft noise. The entrance lobby has a floating glass deck with views down to the sunken restaurant level, shallow pool and waterfall. This restaurant floor is accessed via a timber walkway and incorporates a business centre, as well as a variety of venues to eat and drink. The double-height conference facilities, which have their own reception to allow separate access from street-level, encircle a top-lit atrium that brings natural light deep into the building and down to the lower levels. As well as a selection of meeting venues and breakout areas, there is a flexible 1,200-capacity ballroom, two auditoriums and a large conference room. The bowling centre that currently occupies the site will be reinstated within the new scheme at basement level and will remain a public facility. The hotel also incorporates a health centre with a pool, gym, saunas and treatment rooms. Grant Brooker, Executive Director at Foster + Partners, said: “This will be the first five-star hotel in the immediate vicinity of Heathrow and marks a key stage in the area's transformation. We have enjoyed great support and encouragement from local residents, businesses and the Borough of Hillingdon and we believe that the hotel’s wide range of facilities will ensure that it plays a vital role in serving both international travellers and the local community.” http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11465
  9. Why is it that TD is the only Canadian bank that has an actual branch in NYC. While BMO and RBC have branches but in different cities. BMO and RBC both have their wealth management in NYC though :stirthepot: OT: A while back Gothamist had a small article on TD seeing it wasn't like other banks, it was more friendly and there wasn't like bulletproof glass protecting the teller from people and stuff.
  10. Leeser Architecture wins competition to design 5 star hotel in Abu Dhabi The Middle East is ushering in some of the most provocative architecture being produced today. And Helix, a bold new hotel won in competition by Lesser Architecture, is no exception. The project which gets its name from its staggered floor plates resulting in an iconic spiraling form, will rest in the Zayed Bay next to Zaha Hadid’s Sheid Zayed Bridge, which is currently under construction. With Helix, Lesser Architecture has devised a new way to consider hotel culture in the Emirates, highlighting elements that are usually unseen and playfully enlivening those parts of the program that are traditionally static and mundane. The hotel contains 206 guest rooms and suites located around a helical floor. Rigid hallways and atria that characterize a typical hotel stay are here dispensed with and replaced with flexible public and guest rooms with unique configurations. As the helix winds upwards, the programmatic elements change from lounges and restaurant on the bay, to meeting rooms and conference facilities, to lounges and cafes, to the luxury indoor-outdoor track on the fifth floor, to finally the upper pool deck on the roof. The pool will have a glass bottom visible from the lower eight floors. Other dramatic features include a restaurant situated below the lobby that is so close to the bay’s waves that they lap onto the restaurant’s edge inside of the glass curtain wall. On its interior, the floors corkscrew around a large void, resulting in a form reminiscent of Wright’s Guggenheim. Leeser says the ramped floors suggest the curves a winding street would take through a bustling town. Though the void seems to offer unmitigated visibility, there will be enclaves for private meetings and guest privacy. Sharon McHugh US Correspondent
  11. C'est comme cool! Source USA Today Sears Tower unveils 103rd floor glass balconies CHICAGO — Visitors to the Sears Tower's new glass balconies all seem to agree: The first step is the hardest. "It's like walking on ice," said Margaret Kemp, of Bishop, Calif., who said her heart was still pounding even after stepping away from the balcony. "That first step you take — 'am I going down?"' Kemp was among the visitors who got a sneak preview of the balconies Wednesday. "The Ledge," as the balconies have been nicknamed, open to the public Thursday. RELATED: Ten tips for Chicago tourists The balconies are suspended 1,353 feet in the air and jut out four feet from the building's 103rd floor Skydeck. They're actually more like boxes than balconies, with transparent walls, floor and ceiling. FIND MORE STORIES IN: Sears, Roebuck and Company Visitors are treated to unobstructed views of Chicago from the building's west side and a heart-stopping vista of the street and Chicago River below — for those brave enough to look straight down. John Huston, one of the property owners of the Sears Tower, even admitted to getting "a little queasy" the first time he ventured out. But 30 or 40 trips later, he's got the hang of it. "The Sears Tower has always been about superlatives — tallest, largest, most iconic," he said. "Today is also about superlatives. Today, we present you with 'the Ledge,' the world's most awesome view, the world's most precipitous view, the view with the most wow in the world." The balconies can hold five tons, and the glass is an inch-and-a-half thick, officials said. Sears Tower officials have said the inspiration for the balconies came from the hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind on Skydeck windows every week. Now, staff will have a new glass surface to clean: floors. "It's very scary, but at the same time it's very cool," said Chanti Lawrence of Atlanta, adding that she's made her first step toward overcoming her fear of heights. Adam Kane, 10, of Alton, Ill., rushed to the ledge with his friends and siblings, and they each eagerly pressed their faces to the glass bottom. "Look at all those tiny things that are usually huge," Adam said. The balconies are just one of the big changes coming to the Sears Tower. The building's name will change to Willis Tower later this summer. Last week, officials announced a 5-year, $350 million green renovation complete with wind turbines, roof gardens and solar panels. With the ledge, visitors like Kemp said the nation's tallest building has succeeded in creating something they've never seen before. "I had to live 70 years for a thrill like this," she said.
  12. I have it from a very good source. My cousin who works for a major glass curtain wall company in Monteal was at my home last week and he gave me a scoop.The company is presently working on windows for the new additions at P.E.T. and apparently sometime in 2016 a new project to replace the 50 + year old windows on the main building will be launched. I am hoping that he is right. :shhh:
  13. Published on 16-03-2009 by Skyscrapernews.com Facing off against Norman Foster's U2 Tower on the other side of Dublin's Docks is this new design by Zaha Hadid Architects for major Irish developer, Treasury Holdings. Called North Wall, the scheme will stand next door to The O2 and overlooks the key East Link Bridge and replace existing plans for an underwhelming seven-storey glass block. Within there will be some 50,000 square metres of office space adding to the redefinition of this part of Dublin as a growing business district. It follows through some of the themes that are currently recurring at Hadid's practise, most notably a fluid elegance and unstated complexity that avoids straight lines, right angles and corners. The subtly curving glass surfaces form and flowing shapes that create a strong vertical emphasis, in this case they seem to go as far as almost creating an N on one side of the building. Flowing past the lower part of the building is a low-rise wing that cantilevers out into thin air. The design bears more than a slight resemblance to the Zaha Hadid competition entry for the U2 Tower itself which the firm failed to win, raising the question of whether Treasury Holdings fell in love with the design and had it ported over to their site with some changes made to fit their own brief. If the design does go ahead, what it potential means for Dublin is this stretch of the Liffey could become a new architectural gateway for the city with two towers by starchitects facing each other like ying and yang - the curves of Hadid's contrasting strongly with the sharp angle of Fosters.
  14. Owens-Illinois closing Toronto glass container plant, Last Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | 9:02 AM ET The Canadian Press Owens-Illinois Inc. is closing its glass container plant in Toronto effective Sept. 30, affecting 430 workers. The company said Tuesday that the closure arises from an "ongoing review of its global manufacturing footprint," and the Toronto plant's production will be shifted to other factories, including sites in Brampton, Ont., and Montreal. "This closing was driven by our global asset utilization process which identified the opportunity to shift our production to other O-I North American facilities, resulting in lower energy consumption and production costs while still meeting current and anticipated market needs," stated Scott Murchison, president of the 24,000-employee company's North America glass containers division. "The market impacts of a strong Canadian dollar, high energy prices and the recent activities of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario were contributing factors."
  15. Just follow the light: Traffic lines stay brighter going in one direction A recent study by North Carolina State University has shown that the stripes dividing our nation's roadways are brighter when they are applied in the same direction that traffic is flowing. In many cases, the twin center lines dividing opposing lanes are painted at the same time, making them more visible in one direction than the other. The issue seems to center around the glass beads that are mixed in with the paint. These reflective beads are most effective when properly oriented. Using a device called – we're not making this up – a retroreflect-o-meter, the team discovered that the difference in the reflective values of painted lines put down in the proper direction was great enough that they could sometimes last an entire year longer than if they were painted in the opposite direction. These findings indicate that the transportation authorities could save quite a bit of money if they go the extra step of ensuring the lines are applied in the correct direction. Additionally, safety would be improved since the lines would be more clearly visible at night. Other more costly alternatives include adhesive tapes with glass beads already embedded in the proper direction. Who knew? http://blog.wired.com/cars/2009/03/traffic-marking.html