Rafael Moneo + Belén Moneo and Jeffrey Brock
Architects: Rafael Moneo, Davis Brody Bond and Moneo Brock Studio
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Client: Columbia University
Project Area: 188,000 sqf
Project Year: 2010
The architects adopted a curtain wall system based on vertical panels hung from the floor slabs, a solution that offered greater freedom for developing the façade in every direction. They chose aluminium as a material appropriate to the scientific program of the building.
The typical structural bay of the façades, 6m wide x 5.7m high, is sibdivided to obtain four panels measuring 150 x 570cm. Each panel consists of an aluminium frame with stainless steel reinforcing and spaces for thermal breaks. The columns and beams are made using half-profiles, which are completed when the adjacent panels are installed.
The structure was clad with a curtain wall system based on vertical panels hung from the slabs. The exterior face of the panels is finished in anodized aluminium, in the form of either flat sheets or extruded vanes or slats. The patterns traced on the façade are “idealized”, with lines marked by bands of aluminium and a uniform width of 46cm for all structural elements (horizontal, vertical and diagonal), and 69cm for the extreme borders of the façade.
The panels hang from their upper ends, and are fastened at two points with their corresponding anchors on the slab. Their position can be adjusted in all three directions. The panels were installed from bottom to top for reasons related to the installation process and for waterproofing, as each row slightly overlaps the row below.
In the first case, the aluminium fins run parallel to the diagonal brace to fill the triangular openings, while the diagonal member and grid elements (idealized to a constant width of 46 cm) were finished with a flat aluminium sheet, which was recessed to a plane behind that of the fins.
In the case of the diaphanous panels, the windows located in the central third of the panel allow to observe the city from inside the laboratories and bring natural light into these spaces. The upper third of the panel is also filled with translucent glass to admit light, although in this case it is protected on the exterior by horizontal fins.