Architects Present the Faces of Denver’s Rapid Growth at Facades+

Facades+ returns to Denver on September 21-22 for the annual gathering of AEC professionals for an event featuring the latest in enclosure technology and high-performance facades from across Colorado and beyond. Organized by A and the Colorado Building Enclosure Council (COBEC), this year’s event will showcase a new wave of facade design in the Mountain West.

The full-day symposium on the 21st begins with a public address by Christy Vera Collins, High Performance Building Project Specialist for the City and County of Denver. Collins will provide an overview of where building envelope design is headed in the Mile High City, focusing on using building codes to improve environmental performance on a large scale. The day continues with six presentations, including part of MAD Architects’ One River North and a morning of virtual workshops on the 22nd.

Below is a sample of Facades+ Denver’s action-packed lineup. You can view the full agenda here and register here today.

Platte Fifteen shows off its wood structure behind a sleek glass and brick shell, a reminder of the importance of a sustainable facade when it comes to energy costs. (J.C. Buck)

Reduction of embodied carbon at scale: advances in mass facades of timber systems

Joseph Anastasi and Alexis Feitel, part of the team behind Platte Fifteen, will be joined by Chris O’Hara and Andrew Dillenbeck for a panel on carbon-conscious design. Anastasi, a director at OZ Architecture, and Feitel, team carbon unit director at KL&A, will give a presentation on the embodied carbon and life cycle considerations involved in designing a facade for a solid wood structure. Dillenbeck, an employee at RDH, will continue the larger conversation about facades for solid wood systems, emphasizing the importance of moisture management and the protection of wood structures. The conversation will be led by O’Hara, founder of Studio NYL, who will discuss his company’s work on glulam-supported panels and curtain walls.

T3 RiNo in focus: wood for good

Continuing the morning theme of wood, the multidisciplinary group behind T3 RiNo will present Denver’s first all-solid wood building. DLR Group senior associate Jodelle Senger and Pickard Chilton associate principal Michael Hensley, along with Hines director Alexandra Durkee, will conduct a full perspective discussion on the hybrid wood office building. Durkee will provide the developer’s perspective and speak on customer demand for wood, particularly the post-industrial aesthetic of wood and brick that has shaped commercial and residential spaces in many regions. The project is Hines’ latest version of its Timber, Transit, and Technology (T3) model. Hensley and Senger will discuss the importance of CO2 calculations from the very beginning of the design process and navigating building codes for a non-traditional office building. The panel will be moderated by SAR+ architect Henry Bestor.

Tearing up a wooden office building
Hines continues his model of timber facades and structures in River North. (Courtesy of Pickard Chilton)

Advanced Building Sciences: On the Next Decade of Sustainable Technologies

Marcus Bianchi, senior research engineer at the Golden, Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), will wrap up the morning presentations with an inside look at the building envelope research taking place in Denver’s backyard. Bianchi will speak about NREL’s research on retrofits, which focuses on residential buildings and their code considerations, and electrification, including work on heat pumps, HVAC and their impact on the building envelope. The presentation will be moderated by HKS boss Brandon Andow.

View of a planted terrace
The landscape of One River North has been carefully planned for Denver’s volatile climate. (Courtesy of MAD Architects)

One River North

Jon Kontuly, senior architect at Beijing-based MAD Architects, kicks off the afternoon with a one-hour spotlight on One River North, which will undoubtedly be one of Colorado’s most unique facades next year. While the building is currently under construction, this presentation gives attendees the opportunity to see the main feature of the facade before it is built: a planted gap that runs through the building. Kontuly will present details about the complex construction process, the importance of design assistance in curtain wall design and the collaborative effort that has made it successful so far. The presentation will be moderated by COBEC President and Martin/Martin Associate Michael Schulz.

Renewing Altmeyer: From Mid-Century to a Post-Carbon Future

The Deep Green Retrofit of the Social Security Administrations Altmeyer Building is an example of an energy-efficient renovation of a mid-century government building. Though located west of Baltimore, the local team of Studio NYL director Will Babbington, Snow Kreilich Architects senior associate Kate Van Nelson and HGA mechanical engineer Sara Berseth will take the project to a Denver audience. Attendees will hear about prioritizing design strategies related to the desired energy outcomes and the extensive modeling that has enabled the recladding to elevate the Altmeyer building to today’s performance standards. The presentation will include details on visual and performance modeling, as well as the importance of material durability within the larger carbon conversation embodied. In addition, the panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities of working within the General Services Administration for Federal Projects. The panel will be moderated by HKS boss Brandon Andow.

Tear-up of an exterior of a sanitary building
The PWSD headquarters is formed by two overlapping rings built into the mound. (Courtesy of Perkins & Will)

GFRC Facade Innovations: Parker Water & Sanitation District Headquarters

Perkins&Will design director Robin Ault and collaborator Jamie Benallo will close the day with a spotlight at the Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) headquarters in suburban Denver. Integrated into a hill, the project stands out for its nine panels of glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC), inspired by the archaeological history of the site. While the facade has a visual appeal that holds its own, it also provides an enclosure for a technically intricate interior that allows the PWSD to further its innovative sanitary practices. The PWSD headquarters, as Ault and Benallo will show, reminds us of the potential for stunning faces in civil infrastructure projects. The presentation will be moderated by COBEC chairman and Martin/Martin collaborator Michael Schulz.

Leave a Reply