Learning from the best technology, culture, and hospitality projects in Texas at Facades+ Austin

2022-04-21 06:57:47 By : Ms. Mary Wu

Facades+ returns to Austin for its fifth event of the year. Following successful events in Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New York City, the Austin conference will highlight some of Texas’ most exciting new projects. Co-chaired by Lake|Flato’s Ashley Heeren, the program will feature three morning panels and an afternoon of workshops.

The morning symposium will open with the panel ‘Transforming Texas Design: Austin’s Dynamic Facades,’ which will feature the Austin Proper hotel and the work of W&W Glass. Josh Ishihara from Handel Architects will be joined by David Green and Andrea Hellerman of WJE to discuss Austin Proper, with a focus on bringing precast elements of construction to Austin. Meanwhile, Jeff Haber, managing partner of W&W Glass, will present on innovations in engineered structural glass, covering the engineering, logistics, and installation of W&W’s large-scale projects. 

Houston’s Ion and Menil Drawing Institute will take the program to the second panel, where the projects overlap on daylighting needs in two distinctive contexts. Joseph Welker from James Carpenter Design Associates will be joined by Rachel Callafell of Walter P Moore in presenting Ion, an intricate adaptive reuse of a former Sears building. Their presentation will highlight the design process behind turning the building into a home for innovation, and bringing natural light to the interior. Nicholas Hofstede, managing director at Johnston Marklee, will present his firm’s work on the Menil Drawing Institute, detailing the specific climatic conditions that influenced the building’s design.

The morning will round out with two projects that exemplify the possibilities of Texas’ favorite material: concrete. Ashley Heeren and Bungane Mehlomakulu will present House Zero, a 3D-printed house that pushes the limits of concrete fabrication. Michael Hargens and Burton Baldridge will be presenting their work on the ARRIVE Hotel—showing off the high quality of work that can be achieved with traditional construction methods. 

Attendees can stay the afternoon to earn 3 extra AIA HSW CEUs, with three options of workshop tracks led by STI Firestop, HKS, and The Beck Group.

Check out the full agenda here, and register here today!

With its mid-century throwback aesthetics, Lake|Flato Architects‘ House Zero doesn’t appear that radically different from the housing of the past. Clerestory windows, the prevalent use of natural wood, and integration into the surrounding landscape lend the single-story home a sense of comfortable timelessness—it’s a classic rambler redux. Yet 2,000-square-foot East Austin home’s nontraditional construction is also evident throughout, specifically in its curvaceous 3D-printed wall system made possible by ICON’s gantry-style robotic printer (dubbed Vulcan, a la Mr. Spock) and the use of Lavacrete, a proprietary construction material composed of Portland cement, fillers, supplementary cementitious materials, and what the company calls “advanced additives” that help its 3D-printed structures withstand harsh climatic conditions.

Lavacrete provides thermal mass that slows heat transfer into the home, an important consideration for oft-sweltering Central Texas. The combination of thermal mass, increased insulation, and an airtight wall increases the structure’s energy efficiency while reducing lifecycle costs. True to its moniker, the home was designed as a net-zero energy building.

While many old-timey Main Street department stores have met the destructive force of the wrecking ball, others, through forward-thinking developers and the skillful plans of architects and engineers, have been repurposed and reimaged for contemporary uses. One such project is Houston’s Ion, a former Sears department store, which was retrofitted and expanded by James Carpenter Design Associates (JCDA), SHoP Architects, and Gensler, and structural engineer Walter P Moore.

The near-surgical carving of the formidable concrete mass at both the facade and interior core provided the design team the wiggle room required to update building systems and incorporate a contemporary envelope system. Inside, the existing concrete structure is left exposed, as are the department store’s worn terrazzo floors. An atrium cut into the middle of the floor plates admits a controlled but consistent amount of daylight, which pours down from a skylight tilted to the south and outfitted with fixed louvers.

The lower level is where start-up entrepreneurs begin, engaging in workshops and refining their pitches. On the first level, in addition to the hospitality spaces, are an investors’ suite and a large makerspace outfitted with 3D printers and the like. The second level hosts a co-working office. On the third are smaller leased spaces for companies that have moved past the initial incubation phase. The fourth and fifth levels are reserved for large tenants. Throughout the stack, the floor area around the atrium is meant to remain publicly accessible, the goal being to create a lively buzz up and down The Ion’s core.

The low-slung, 30,000-square-foot Menil Drawing Institute building might appear simple—a single-story collection of rectangular volumes and three open-air square courtyards—but highly-specific technical details abound. Johnston Marklee deployed an extremely-thin metal roof, precisely-angled ceilings, and all-custom furniture, among other details, to further the institute’s goal of studying, conserving, and displaying contemporary and modern drawings.

Although it opened in 2018, this year the Menil Drawing Institute was one of 11 projects to win the American Institute of Architects’s (AIA) Architecture Awards, an annual program that “celebrates the best contemporary architecture and highlights the many ways buildings and spaces can improve lives.”