Oculus - Spring 2011 - (Page 24)
(above) A three-foot-deep cavity between the new and existing façades will permit access for window cleaning and monitoring the concrete façade. (left) The building will be crowned with an illuminated “halo” of metal panels housing a photovoltaic array.
New Life for a Boomer Building
BY M ICHA E L J . C R O S B I E , A I A rom the moment it opened in 1968, the Peter W. Rodino Federal Building was falling apart. “The precast concrete panels were deteriorating from day one,” says architect John Woelfling, AIA, LEED AP, a principal of Dattner Architects in New York City. (In fact, the concrete panels were cracking before they were even installed on the 16-story structure in downtown Newark, NJ.) A multifaceted, $146-million rejuvenation of the building designed by the Dattner Architects team, which includes associate architect Richard McElhiney, incorporates security upgrades and energy-efficient strategies. Like many other “boomer buildings” constructed during the sweet years of cheap energy, this one was designed with little or no regard to high performance. The windows were single-pane and the envelope had little insulation. Repairs to the concrete exterior have been ongoing. The client for the retrofit, the U.S. General Services Administration (with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), wanted to improve the building’s performance, harden it for security, improve the interior acoustical performance, and upgrade its “presence” among the government buildings at Newark’s Federal Square.
A deteriorating, low-performing government facility in downtown Newark is undergoing a remarkable transformation into a new, energy-efﬁcient phase of life
Project Credits CLIENT: U.S. General Service Administration ARCHITECT: Dattner Architects
Joseph Coppola, AIA, Richard Dattner, FAIA, John Woelﬂing, AIA, LEED AP
Richard McElhiney Architect, Richard McElhiney, AIA
Tocci/Driscoll Joint Venture with KlingStubbins, Architectof-Record
MEP/FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEER:
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER/ BUILDING ENVELOPE:
Robert Silman Associates
Domingo Gonzalez Associates
The biggest challenge was dealing with the chronic concrete problems. Woelfling explains that several scenarios were developed to combat the crumbling panels, including stabilizing the deterioration, repairing or replacing the concrete panels, and installing a completely new curtain wall system. The scheme that made the most sense in terms of life-cycle cost, performance, and continued use was to cover the existing concrete envelope with a new high-performance glass curtain wall. This will boost energy efficiency while allowing the numerous government agencies housed in the 526,609-square-foot facility to remain there during retrofitting. In a move that Woelfling describes as “what Christo might do,” a new curtain wall will wrap completely around the building (except for an area on the south façade containing the core, which will be clad in metal panels). A three-foot-deep cavity between the new and existing façades will permit access for window cleaning, servicing the ventilation system, and monitoring the concrete façade. The new façade’s double-glazed windows with selective low-E coatings (depending on orientation) will aid thermal comfort and energy conservation. The existing singlepane glazing will stay in place, effectively creating a double-wall thermal system. Estimated energy use will be reduced by a third; a LEED Silver rating is being sought for the retrofit. The building will be crowned with an illuminated “halo” of metal panels housing an array of photovoltaic panels to help offset electrical consumption. The cornice is also part of the new curtain wall’s structural support. A combination of laminated glass, applied film, and a beefed-up glass support structure will provide the required blast resistance. Mechanical systems will be upgraded, including a new variableair-volume under-floor supply system that will improve comfort and energy performance. The design team is now coordinating with the selected design-build team of Tocci/Driscoll Joint Venture with architect-of-record KlingStubbins. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the project is already winning awards. In January the GSA recognized the project with an On-the-Boards Engineering Citation in its biennial Design Awards program. ■ Michael J. Crosbie, AIA, is the author and editor of more than 30 books, including Boomer Buildings: Mid-Century Architecture Reborn (2007) and the forthcoming New York Dozen: Gen X Architects (2011).
Bovis Lend Lease
Oculus Spring 2011
Design for a Change: Buildings, People, Energy
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2011
Oculus - Spring 2011
A Word from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: A Critique of Pure Sustainability
Testing Green Ideas
New Life for a Boomer Building
School Back in Session After 30-Year Recess
It Takes More Than a Village
What Every Architect Should Know About NYC’s New Energy Laws
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Spring 2011
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