The project undertakes to reinterpreting the facade at 63 Madison Avenue, a 675,986 sq. Ft. Office building to considerably improves the internal efficiency of the offices, opens up the facade to the street, enhances the work conditions through the creation of semi-outdoor spaces within the building plateau. We enable people to reconnect and breathe fresh air during their workday in this typical midtown corner.Our choices purposefully limit waste generation by conserving most of the existing structure and introducing new technology ETFE inflated air membranes, resulting in a low carbon footprint for this building upgrade and a rapid offsetting thanks to extensive energy saving in daily operation.
Midtown avenues are subject to many extremes. Canyon effects make them freeze in the winter whereas urban heat effect turns them into an oven almost any day of the summer. Both weather conditions result in extreme energy consumption for many buildings. Midtown is also extreme for by-passers and workers. All year long, sirens, car horns, and low vegetation index increase their stress level.
Our proposal aims at buffering these extremes, for humans and for the environment. We upscaled the concept of the double-skin facade to the entire volume, creating a vegetated interface atmosphere. The new space “in-between” favors social interaction, offers a retreat from the street over-stimulation, and prevents the building envelope from extreme weather solicitations. Emerging from amidst the commercial buildings of the nomad, 63 Madison avenue is imposing and evidently distinctive. The first thing one would notice approaching the edifice is the building’s colossal brute concrete facade and piers. Our design exists within the space between the current building envelope and newly offsetted volumes carved out of the current slab. The project explores the space between the technical layers of a performance skin.
In response to the brief, Re-a.d aimed at creating a sustainable way to bring life and vibrance within the existing facade of a historic New York office tower. Named the Atmospheric Veil, Re-a.d's project proposed a solution to aging buildings while also making this particular office building attractive and suitable for modern-day living, by turning the outdoor spaces into socializing, dining and working spaces; something of which is particularly fitting as we imagine the world post Covid, when many of us will be returning to office work.
On the technical side of things, the objective was to create a renovation that would increase heat gain and heat retention during the winter while doing the exact opposite during the summer, by removing a few portions of the existing slab edges and installing ETFE panels. The results would also allow light penetrations and maximized greenhouse effects in the winter.
The project is both sustainable in its practice and function as all the materials used are recyclable and the space is designed to increase the well-being and productivity of those that work there. A project of this scale would be impressive for a large architecture firm, but is especially impressive for the competition finalists as Re-a.d was only a team of five!
This large-scale renovation on Manhattan Madison Avenue questions multi-layer performance skins. Many new office buildings use triple glazing, double skin, shading layers to help the building reach carbon neutrality, calculated on a yearly basis. They also pile up material, weight and tremendously increase their amount of embodied carbon.
The initial building’s façade is 60 years old. Our intervention limit waste generation by conserving most of the existing structure and introducing lightweight ETFE inflated air membranes, resulting in a low carbon footprint upgrade and an easy to replace solution for the next upcycling to the life of the building, another 60 years from now.
By providing space between the layers of our façade, we lean on the air stacking effect at the scale of building and open outdoor inhabitable space. Those spaces in-between favors social interaction, offers a retreat from the street stimulation, prevents the insides from extreme weather solicitations. This proposal was developed as a finalist entry to the Metals in Construction Challenge 2020 organized yearly by the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York.