Architects will present the faces of Denver’s rapid growth at Facades+ on September 21–22

Front Range Facades

Architects will present the faces of Denver’s rapid growth at Facades+ on September 21–22

Rift work: In its third American project, Beijing-based MAD Architects introduces a fissured facade that echoes the mountainous Colorado landscape. (Courtesy MAD Architects)

Facades+ returns to Denver on September 21-22 for its annual gathering of AEC professionals for an event featuring the latest in building enclosure technology and high-performance facades from around Colorado and further afield. Organized by AN 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 civic address from Christy Vera Collins,  High Performance Building Project Specialist for the City and County of Denver. Collins will give an overview of where building envelope design is headed in the Mile High City, with an emphasis on using building code to improve environmental performance at a large scale. The day will continue with six presentations, including a feature of MAD Architects’ One River North and a morning of virtual workshops on the 22nd.

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

a mass timber and glass structure
Platte Fifteen shows off its timber structure behind a tight glass-and-brick envelope, a reminder of the importance of a durable facade when considering energy costs. (JC Buck)

Reducing Embodied Carbon at Scale: Advancing Mass Timber System Facades

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 principal at OZ Architecture, and Feitel, team carbon unit director at KL&A, will present on the embodied carbon and life cycle considerations that went into designing a facade for a mass timber structure. Dillenbeck, an associate at RDH, will continue the larger conversation on facades for mass timber systems, emphasizing the importance of moisture management and the protection of timber structures. The conversation will be framed by O’Hara, founding principal at Studio NYL, who will discuss his firm’s work on panelization and glulam-supported curtain walls.

T3 RiNo in Focus: Wood for Good

Continuing the morning theme of timber, the multidisciplinary group behind T3 RiNo will present on Denver’s first fully mass timber building. DLR Group senior associate Jodelle Senger and Pickard Chilton associate principal Michael Hensley will join Hines director Alexandra Durkee for a full-perspective conversation on the hybrid timber office building. Durkee will offer the developer’s perspective, speaking on client demands for wood, particularly the wood-and-brick postindustrial aesthetic that has come to shape commercial and residential spaces in many regions. The project is Hines’s latest iteration of its Timber, Transit, and Technology (T3) model. Hensley and Senger will discuss the importance of factoring-in carbon calculations from the onset of the design process, and navigating building code regulations for a non-traditional office building. The panel will be moderated by SAR+ architect Henry Bestor.

Rending of a timber office building
Hines continues its model of timber facades and structures in River North. (Courtesy Pickard Chilton)

Advancing 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 complete the morning presentations with a look into the building envelope research taking place in Denver’s backyard. Bianchi will speak to the 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 principal Brandon Andow.

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

One River North

Jon Kontuly, senior architect with Beijing-based MAD Architects, will start the afternoon off with an hour-long spotlight on One River North, bound to be one of Colorado’s most unique facades upon completion next year. While the building is currently under construction, this presentation will be an opportunity for attendees to see the premier feature of the facade before it is built—a planted crevasse that runs up the building. Kontuly will present details on the complex construction process, the importance of design assist in curtain wall design, and the  collaborative effort that has made that successful to date, The presentation will be moderated by COBEC president and Martin/Martin associate Michael Schulz.

Renewing Altmeyer: From Midcentury to a Post-Carbon Future

The deep green retrofit of the Social Security Administrations Altmeyer Building is an example of an energy-forward retrofit of a midcentury government building. Although located west of Baltimore, the locally-based team of Studio NYL director Will Babbington, Snow Kreilich Architects senior associate Kate Van Nelson, and HGA mechanical engineer Sara Berseth will bring the project to a Denver audience. Attendees will hear about prioritization of design strategies relative to desired energy outcomes and the extensive modeling that allowed the recladding to elevate the Altmeyer Building up to contemporary performance standards. The presentation will include details on visual and performance mock-ups, as well as the importance of material durability within the larger embodied carbon conversation. Additionally, the panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities of working within the General Services Administration framework for federal projects. The panel will be moderated by HKS principal Brandon Andow.

Rending of an exterior of a sanitation building
The PWSD headquarters building is shaped by two overlapping rings that are built into the hillside. (Courtesy Perkins&Will)

GFRC Facade Innovations: Parker Water & Sanitation District Headquarters

Perkins&Will design director Robin Ault and associate Jamie Benallo will finish the day with a spotlight on the Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) Headquarters in the exurbs of Denver. The project, which is integrated into a hillside, stands out with its nine glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels inspired by the site’s archeological history. While the facade has a visual appeal that holds its own ground, it also provides an envelope for a technically intricate interior that will allow the PWSD to further its innovative sanitation practices. The PWSD headquarters, as Ault and Benallo will show, reminds us of the potential for stunning faces on civic infrastructure projects. The presentation will be moderated by COBEC president and Martin/Martin associate Michael Schulz.