Vice President Edward Peck (right), who co-chaired the Facades+ Chicago conference, moderating a dialog session on innovative skin systems and the future of the industry between keynote presenter James Timberlake and the audience. ©Facades+ 2014
Thornton Tomasetti was fully immersed at the latest Facades+ conference, which was held in Chicago July 24-25. Not only did many of our professionals from across the firm attend the event, there were six presenters from Thornton Tomasetti, including Vice President Edward Peck, who served as its co-chair and moderator. Added to that, a kickoff cocktail reception was held in our Chicago office the evening before the symposium.
“Our participation in this and in previous Facades+ conferences has allowed us to engage in a dialogue focusing on innovative façade technologies and design that is pushing the leading edge of the industry,” Edward said. “The exposure that we get has also been critical in expanding our recognition as a leader in building skins. The participation by members of Façade Engineering, CORE and the Renewal and Forensics practices at this latest conference increased our exposure even further and showed the breadth of our expertise.”
Industry professionals gathered at our Chicago office during the kickoff cocktail reception on the evening before
the symposium. ©Facades+ 2014
Presented by The Architect’s Newspaper and façade specialty contractor Enclos, the annual Facades+ takes place in four cities (New York, Chicago, L.A. and Dallas), with a different theme each year. This year it was resilience, a new buzzword that, according to the event’s organizers, “has been referred to as the new green, and the successor of sustainability.” The event explored resilience and attempted to define it specifically in its relation to façades.
Held at the Art Institute of Chicago, the symposium—most of which was moderated by Edward—had a program packed full of speakers, who discussed everything from transforming a neighborhood through a façade re-clad, to the structural analysis of a 40-foot-tall glass fin lobby wall. Keynote speeches were given by James Timberlake, founding partner of Kieran Timberlake, and Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido, president at JAHN, who facilitated a dynamic discourse on emerging façade technologies. This was followed by a cocktail reception at the Louis Sullivan-designed Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room at the museum.
Sergio De Gaetano, principal, UK director and Building Skin practice leader, (left) at a cocktail reception at the Art Institute of Chicago following the symposium. ©Facades+ 2014
The program’s second day was split up into dialog and tech workshops. Participants got to choose between two workshops in the morning and two in the afternoon and picked one technical workshop from the four that were available. Building Performance-Forensics Principal Lance Parker led a dialog workshop titled “ReVisioning of Existing Façades,” with panelists Rachel Michelin, senior project architect, and Nick Aitken, senior engineer. Rachel gave a thorough overview of sustainable developments in the industry and Nick discussed methods for integrating new façade components onto existing buildings. Many ideas were shared during these sessions, as discussions were highly encouraged. This was further aided by Lance, who asked quiz questions and gave away Chipotle gift cards as prizes.
Panelists for Lance’s workshop also included Associate Jeannette Pfeiffer, who teamed with Angela Harper of Gensler to discuss the renovation of the Fletcher Jones Audi showroom in Chicago, focusing on the project’s load bearing masonry to glass and metal panels over steel stud framing. Senior Associate Kevin Jackson and Charles Young of Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) talked about the A.J. Celebrezze Federal Building overclad, designed to perform for thermal and blast loads.
Senior Integration Engineer Matt Naugle teaching a workshop titled “Advanced Façade Panelization
and Optimization Techniques.”
Senior Integration Engineer Matt Naugle and Senior Engineer Alloy Kemp conducted a workshop titled “Advanced Façade Panelization and Optimization Techniques,” during which they taught a class of approximately 20 architects, engineers and students of a wide range of experience and abilities how to use plug-ins for Grasshopper (itself a plug-in for Rhino) to optimize design. They discussed Galapagos (an evolutionary solver) and Brute Force Solver (developed by COREstudio), Kangaroo and Platypus (also a COREstudio developed tool) that streams and fetches geometry from the web. This was demonstrated by creating a Platypus session where everyone streamed their geometry, which updated in real-time. Everyone was really excited about this tool and was eager to suggest ways to integrate it into their current workflow.
Taking part in the dialogue workshops on the second day of the conference were (from left) Angela
Harper of Gensler, Associate Jeannette Pfeiffer, Senior Project Architect Rachel Michelin and
Krista Gnatt of Bulley & Andrews.
These workshops were a great way to meet leaders in the field of façade engineering and to make new contacts, as well as maintain existing ones. We were able to share experiences garnered on our projects and specific workflow knowledge of the more advanced programs we actively use. We found both workshops were a great success, as was evidenced by the many who stuck around to continue the discussion well after the scheduled end time.
We expect to see many familiar Thornton Tomasetti faces, as well as (we hope) several new ones, when Facades+ returns to Chicago next year. Now on to Dallas!
— Alloy Kemp, Senior Engineer
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