Dematerialized Facade

The dematerialized façade of the Q4 office building ads layers that seem to defy gravity. The cedar planks are suspended from steel cables. They shade the building from the sun without reducing views to the exterior. The use of shading on the exterior of the building deflects the solar rays before they reach the glass curtain wall. This lowers the heat load on the building.

This facade seems more about a decorative expression than function. It may have some affect on the buildings performance, but its strongest assets are its visual appeal. These broad gestures in architecture seem inspiring when they are new. The timber is used in a way I’ve never seen before, but is there a reason for that?

Without a proper treatment of the timber boards, the broad face of the board may collect and retain too much water, causing the timber to warp. The cables may help in preventing this or they may aid in stressing the boards to the extent that they would splinter.

As a design, this building is intriguing. The dematerialized facade breaks up the monotonous regularity of a curtain wall. The timber adds a warm and natural tone against a typical cool glass. The greatest success in this building is the diverse applications of wood along corridors, as window mullions, in the screening and along the street front. This material has a natural variation that plays well with the application of lighting in the hallway below. Peddle Thorp Architects can be applauded for their diverse use of a single material. 

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