Friday, April 06, 2007

40 Bond Dumpster Diving

The last time I snapped some photos of Herzog & de Meuron's 40 Bond in NoHo the building was awaiting its glass exterior and had mock-ups of the curved glass pieces that would cover the concrete frame.

40bond1.jpg

Walking by yesterday, over seven months later, it appears installation of the glass covers is almost complete.

40bond2.jpg

While the original design featured cast glass covers, the glass as installed is (I'm guessing) 1/4" curved laminated glass curved over reflective metal pieces. Unfortunately the caulk between pieces is gray and stands out more than it should, or at least did in the renderings, especially at the intersections.

40bond3.jpg

Before walking away I noticed something strange, one of the curved glass sections sitting in a pile of trash:

40bond4.jpg

Getting "up close and personal" with one of these pieces, I could look at the size, profile, and surface characteristics that aren't as apparent from a distance.

40bond5.jpg

While the piece is bigger up close than far away, and the profile is deeper than I expected, what was a complete surprise was the frit or sandblast pattern, a gradient from solid at the edges to nothing in the center. This pattern helps to isolate the sunlight reflections into a narrow profile, a la the renderings, while also minimizing the same reflections, which I'll admit were pretty strong when the sun poked through the clouds.

40bond6.jpg

And yes, I tried picking up the piece to see if my friend and I could walk away with it, but it was waaaay too heavy.

7 comments:

  1. not certain what you mean by cast glass, but it certainly looks like slumped glass to me, which is what they were planning from the beginning, as far as i know.

    the mock-ups done before construction show two layers of slumped glass, one with mirrored surface and the other fritted, and each taking a slightly different shape in order to create a gap and, i suppose, an interesting/particular pattern of reflection.

    what has changed from that early version?

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  2. Cast glass is a process whereby a form is used to cast different patterns, shapes, and textures (like this photo). Most likely, the intended effects would have been accomplished via thickness and transparency (thick/opaque at edges and thin/tranpsarent in the middle) rather than a frit or sandblast, though I'm only guessing at this.

    I'm not familiar with slumped glass. What exactly is that? Is that flat glass that is heated into a shape? And is the inner, reflective layer glass, too? A while ago it looked like metal (stainless steel?) when I saw it before the glass covered it, though from a distance who knows exactly what it is.

    The cast vs. slumped (or whatever it is) debate is kinda moot when one thinks about how one would go about rendering one vs. the other. Did HdM really render cast glass, or just glass in general? Meaning the architects probably had a look they were going for and eventually did what they had to do to pull it off as close as possible within (a probably big) budget. They started with glass and then that got value engineered to a cheaper version, a pretty typical process on a project like this.

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  4. i don't know if the interior piece is stainless or mirrored glass, but the outside is most certainly slumped glass rather than cast.

    cast glass usually is used to make thick pieces (of art, etc), melting rods or shards of glass in a kiln to make all kinds of funky shapes. It usually requires a lot of polishing and cutting in a cold-workshop to bring up to snuff as most surfaces are opaque when they come out of the mold.

    slumped glass is where a sheet of plate glass is placed over a shape and allowed to slump or sag down to match that shape as it melts slightly in a kiln. transparency isn't affected much in the process and can be done with mirrored glass as well.

    i rather like the building as it has turned out so far, and the joints don't bother me at all. only thing i find unnappealling is the perfection of the whole, if that makes any sense. same thing i felt with the prada building in tokyo. beautiful, but a bit soulless in its perfection...

    either way, am very glad you are there to take pics of it for us as it goes up. am looking forward to seeing it finished and the great images you are providing

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  5. I would have called more friends to take that to my place! to design someting.. a nice table.. for example!

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  6. it's too bad you couldn't take that piece home with you! what a find...

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