2010 AIA Convention - The New York Times Building

The New York Times Building: A Tool for Evidence Based Design--The Role of Research and Energy-Related System Databases in Informing the Design Process
William Maiman, Director of Marketing, MechoShade Systems & Adjunct Faculty Member, Fashion Institute of Technology
Bruce Fowle, FAIA, LEED AP Founding Principal, FXFOWLE Architects
Glenn HughesPresident, Glenn D. Hughes Consulting Associates

This was a very good presentation and very detailed. Lots of good ideas, references and a fascinating process of discovery through research and testing. The handout is very detailed as well and can almost stand alone without the narrative that went with it.
First speaker: William Maiman
Recommended reading: Evidence-Based Design for Multiple Building Types by D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA and David H. Watkins, FAIA
Started with a review of how evidence is gathered using the scientific method. “The basis of Evidence Base Design is research methodology Based on multiple techniques rigorous science, and scrutiny Begins with the “WHY” question, Usually has a “major “WHAT” component, Constructed with a “HOW” element. The results form basis of answers and can be proven by others.” He then talked about the complications, caveats and nuances to scientific research. For example, making sure the sample research time period is appropriate for the data being gather. An illustration of this would be making sure to collect lighting data from solstice to solstice.
He then talked about certain codes and standards. The example cited was ASHRAE Standard 189.1 Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. The main comment here was that standards will apply whether or not they are referenced or specified. This is because these standards are a part of the standard of care.
Second speaker: Bruce Fowle, FAIA
This portion of the talk was an overview of the physical building itself. Many of the stats are noted below.
  • Stories: 52
  • Height: 830 feet, 1046 feet including mast
  • Client: New York Times / Forest City Ratner
  • Gross AREA: 1,600,000 square feet
  • Tenants
    • NYT : 827,928 sq. ft.
    • Forest City Ratner: 606,181 sq. ft.
  • Completion: 2007
  • Core is 42.5' away from window wall for daylight penetration
  • Glass skin with veil of ceramic tubing
  • Exposed external structure
    • requiring intumescent fireproofing
    • required analysis of thermal affect of solar radiation
He then talked about the project team and some of the challenges of the building design. The key points are bulleted here.
  • Elements for Success
    • Clients Committed to Design Excellence
    • Clients Who Understand the Value of R&D
    • Resourceful and Creative Design Team
  • Team
    • Renzo Piano Building Workshop (architect)
    • FXFOWLE Architects (architect)
    • Gensler (interior architecture)
    • Flack + Kurtz (mechanical, electrical & plumbing)
    • Thorton Tomasetti Engineers (structural)
    • AMEC (construction manager)
Ceramic Tubing Research and Development.
This part of the presentation was very interesting. See pages 16-19 for images of the testing process of the ceramic tubing. They engaged materials experts to figure out the exact configuration of the ceramic materials. They tested multiple material configurations. Thermal and humidity was most important. They then gave the materials technology to manufacturers. This point was stressed. Materials research was conducted by the design team to be sure of design and performance. Then they paid a $50,000 stipend, directly out of the project budget, to 4 manufactures to do a 2 story mockup.
The result was:
  • Allowed Manufacturers to Develop, Test & Understand Solutions
  • Determined Real Costs / Eliminated Scare Factor Prior to Bidding
  • $250 -$300K Investment by Client for R&D
  • Saved Millions of Dollars in Buy-Out
  • Ensured Design Quality and Performance of Final Product
Third speaker: Glenn Hughes
Review of design research and post-occupancy performance. It is important to continue to do research during the project. The objective is creating a body of knowledge that was not previously there. The design team took advantage of many research organizations: CBE, LBNL, Lutron, NaturalWorks, AnyHere Software, WSP Flack+Kurtz, Loisos & Ubbelohde, DeMontford University, MechoShade Systems, Arizona State University, and funding sources: NYSERDA, DOE, CEC, NYT.
Point of the research is to prove that the design meets the requirements. It was stressed how important it is to establish a building performance database to reinforce the use of successful design.
The Mock Up
The mock up included final furniture and finishes. It was used as a test of “constructability”, get employee feedback, and as a lighting experiment that included solstice to solstice metering. Over 100 sensors were used tracking things like thermal comfort and glare. The result was optimization. The data gathered was used to inform the design. Now, all lights are dimmable, variable luminance based on tasks - 5 to 50 foot candles and all lighting and shading is tracked in a database. This provides evidence for future design.
Link to PDF handout

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