Manhattan’s inseparable duo

© Jack Hobhouse STEEL

Making an artistic virtue of steel shutters in London

An articulated steel facade has been created for a high-profile office and residential development for client Royal London Asset Management in central London, enhanced by a water-cut artist’s design. The two panels on the building’s

distinctive front elevation are predominantly polished stainless steel and have a stunning stencil-like design by artist Chloe Steele. Sheffield specialist engineering firm SCX Special Projects Special Projects supplied the panels, cut to the artist’s design using high-pressure water jets. They are 15 mm thick, measure 3 metres by 2 metres, and weigh over 800 kg each.

The company was also responsible for the mechanism used to create the facade. The engineering challenge “went further than mechanical,” says SCX, including electrical systems and ensuring safety


controls. Using hand-power alone, the panels can be lifted or lowered in just 15 seconds, safely held by mechanical locks while in the raised position. The doors function as security shutters when closed, and when raised they remain in full view above the entrance. SCX’s design cleverly integrates into

the slim metal framework, while the innovative counterweight mechanism is on display in the building’s foyer, behind polycarbonate panels. Danny Pickard, lead engineer at SCX Special Projects, comments: “We are seeing a trend towards more moving structures in architecture. It’s a new route for architects to take – no longer do buildings have to be rigid and static. The facade looks fantastic, and it was a pleasure to work with everyone involved.”

Opened earlier this year, a pair of eye-catching skyscrapers on the banks of the East River have interrupted the familiar New York skyline. The copper-clad residential towers are linked by a bridge 100 metres above the ground designed with a special metallic look for this project. Swiss specialists Glas Trösch developed double insulated glazing panels, internally laminated with a metallic web for a glossy finish. The facade cladding of the 41-storey and 48-storey towers is composed of copper plates, which will change from reddish brown to a matt green over time. By contrast, the three-storey Skybridge is wrapped entirely in shimmering glass, producing a “captivating, light, filigree effect”. The glass Skybridge, suspended with the help of an imposing steel framework, serves as a unifying piece in the project’s design. It acts as both the structural link between the two skyscrapers and the home of the building’s amenities, bringing the East and West towers together. Together, the American Copper

Buildings, developed by SHoP Architects and JDS Development Group, form an iconographic structure that combines sophisticated architectural design with intelligent engineering solutions.




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