History of Innovation

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2006: Apple Store, New York City – Structural Glass

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Image Source: [1][2][3]

Innovation: Structural Glass
Location: Apple StoreFifth Avenue, New York City
Year: 2006
Architects: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Structural Glass Engineering: Eckersly O’Callahan

The iconic 90 paneled 32 foot structural glass cube of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store was created to enhance Apple’s retail brand and has since been patented by Steve Jobs. The cube is an entrance to the retail space below which visitors descend to on a circular all-glass stair or elevator. The store uses the strongest grade structural glass in the world that at the time could only be produced by Seele GmbH & Co. in Germany. During the design process, finite element analysis software was used to test the stresses and deformations present in the structure resulting from the vertical and horizontal loads. With the analysis focusing on its weakest points at the edges and corners, which are somewhat relived by the use of vertical fins. [1]

Structural glass is the result of laminating technologies that introduce flexibility and strength to the material along with shatter and UV resistance. Laminated glass has in internal thermoplastic material layers that hold the two surrounding layers together during high impacts. This is the same technique used in car windshields. The outer layers consist of annealed glass which strengthens the materials by allowing some internal stresses to be relieved [2].

The New York store was the first to include a cylindrical stair encompassing an elevator. The design had to consider seismic loads, foot-traffic, sound vibrations and fire-coatings. Here they used the titanium double grip system from the original San Francisco stair case, but this time they had to account for the 60 degree sloping stair on curved panels as opposed to horizontal treads [3].

As a result of this technology, structural beams, columns and other members can be made out of glass.`

Sources: [1][2][3]

Articles: Patented Structural Staircase (2002), Glass Structure from Seele

Video with more views of the Apple Store


Written by Hannah James

October 9, 2006 at 2:30 pm

2006: Revit MEP

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Image Source: 1 2

Innovation:  Revit Mechanical
Location: Cambridge, MA
Year:  2006
By: Autodesk

In 1987 AutoCAD AEC mechanical was released and acquired by Autodesk in 1990 [2]. This was one of few products with the capability of designing plumbing and HVAC in buildings. Revit was acquired by Autodesk Mechanical Division in 2002 for $133 million, and Revit MEP was released in 2006.

Today, the software is mandated by GSA and is a distinct platform in Building Solutions Division. Data from building systems can be compiled into a central file within the LAN to detect possible space interferences of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, therefore deterring expensive consequences upon construction. Revit provides engineers with a central form of communication in design, ultimately implementing easier collaboration. Designers spend more time designing and less time drafting. In addition, Autodesk Revit MEP tools help produce energy efficient building systems designs [3].

Web links: 1, 2, 3
autocad mechanical vs revit mep
Video: Getting Started with Revit MEP

2005: Metropol Parasol – Seville, Spain

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Source of Images and More Images of Metropol Parasol

Building: Metropol Parasol
Location: Seville, Spain
Construction years: 2005-2011
Architect: J. Mayer H. Architects (Jürgen Mayer-Hermann)
Structural Engineer: Arup

The Metropol Parasol has displayed a new innovative way to use timber in construction.  First of all, it is the largest wooden structure in the world.  The building spans over 10,500 square meters, encasing 5,000 square meters and standing about 26 meters high.  Not only that, but it also displays complex geometry rather than rectangular.  This waffle-like timber structure serves as a canopy while also housing multiple bars and restaurants.  The site called for a structure that would not ruin the historical grounds.  Therefore, Roman and Moorish ruins discovered on site are displayed to the public on a floor underground and the structure itself only connects to the ground in a few locations.  After many years of delay in construction, in order to accomplish these goals and make the structure stand, the timber and steel was bonded with high-performance polyurethane resin, a foam seal.  This “glue” was tested to ensure it could withstand the highest possible temperatures.  The structure stands on a concrete foundation with an interior of concrete, steel, and granite.

Sources and more information:
General information
Photos, floor plans, and design models
Photos, detailed information, and a video

Written by Krista Seaman

October 7, 2005 at 8:51 pm

2005: Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, Texas

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Building: Cowboys Stadium
Location: Arlington, Texas
Construction years: 2005-2009
Owner: City of Arlington
Architect: HKS, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Walter P Moore and Campbell & Associates
General Contractor: Manhattan Construction

The stadium of NFL’s Dallas Cowboys is the largest dome in the world.  The roof has an area of 660,800 square feet with the highest point at nearly 300 feet above the field.  The stadium is centered about two main steel arch box trusses, anchored to the ground on each end lying 1,225 feet apart.  Two of the large panels connecting these trusses are retractable, creating an opening of 104,960 square feet in twelve minutes.  The world’s largest operable glass doors are located at each end zone of the stadium, spanning 180 feet wide and 120 feet high.  The main exterior shell of the building is fritted glass curtain wall with aluminum mullions.  This curtain wall is supported by vertical, rectangular steel tubes placed every 8 feet along the perimeter.  The arena seating is supported by over 700 concrete piers that are drilled 20 to 80 feet into the ground.  Combining these elements has made an aesthetically pleasing building that well serves its function. [1]  `

More information: 1, 2, 3

Written by Krista Seaman

October 4, 2005 at 9:45 pm

2005: Release of Revit Structure

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Source of Images and More Features of Revit Structure

Innovation:  Revit Structure
Location: United States
Year:  2005
By: Autodesk

Revit Structure is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software produced by Autodesk.  Shortly after the release of Revit Architecture, Revit Structure was first released in 2005.  There is much overlap in the two programs, but major differences are seen.  In Revit Structure, purely architectural elements such as color schemes, ceilings, rooms, and decal are not included.  Instead, Revit Structure favors the engineer, allowing access to rebar, trusses, loads, and the ability to run an analysis on the structure.  As in Revit Architecture, structures are built in members, not with lines.  The tools contained in each program cater to the knowledge of the intended user.  With the release of Revit Structure, structural engineers were able to work with more complicated and intricate designs since the computer was now able to analyze each member.  The engineer no longer needed to perform hand calculations, which saved a massive amount of time. [1] [2]

Written by Krista Seaman

October 4, 2005 at 8:35 pm

2004: Release of Revit Architecture

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Image Source and More Revit Architecture Features

Innovation:  Revit Architecture
Location: United States
Year:  2004
By: Autodesk

Revit Architecture is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software produced by Autodesk.  Revit was first released by Revit Technology Corporation in 2000.  At this time, its main competitors were ArchiCAD by Graphisoft and Microstation by Bentley Systems.  Revit was bought out by Autodesk in 2002.  The 2004 release was the first truly comprehensive BIM software, named Revit Building.  The name was changed to Revit Architecture after the 2006 release.  This software was the first of its kind, fully incorporating BIM into the 3D modeling program.  Rather than building with lines, Revit operates using members; for example, a door or window is all one piece, the designer simply specifies the material and dimensions.  Further, the creation of Revit Architecture allowed architects and building designers to create a task schedule directly linked to the respective parts, to easily identify collisions within the design, to link the members to specific products that will be purchased, to determine the occupancy level and ventilation loads for spaces, and overall to capture every aspect of a building in one database. [1] [2] `

Written by Krista Seaman

October 4, 2004 at 4:35 pm

2004: Burj Khalifa- Dubai, UAE

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Image Credits: [1] [2]

Innovation: Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world)
Location: Dubai, UAE
Architect/Structural Engineering: Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM)
Construction timeline: January 2004- January 2010

The tallest building in the world at 2,717 feet, the Burj Khalifa represents a collaboration between engineers, architects, specialists, and contractors from around the world at a magnitude never before seen.  More than 30 contractors from around the world had 12,000 workers on site per day that represented over 100 nationalities. Specialists from China worked on a cladding system that can withstand intense summer heat and significant wind load. Chicago-based firm SOM provided the architectural and structural design for the structure.

A reinforced concrete foundation containing 192 reinforced concrete piles buried 164 feet supports the tower, which is centered around a buttressed hexagonal concrete core with 26 helical levels that decrease in cross section higher in elevation. The setback structure of the building eliminates abrupt transfers in load and eliminates wind vortices by varying building shape at different heights. The core itself resists torsional movement while corridor walls resist wind shear and moments. Vertical columns in the wall system resist both lateral loads and gravity, making the Burj Khalifa an efficient structure. A spire made of 4,000 tons of structural steel tops the structure and had to be constructed inside the tower and raised with a hydraulic pump. Every 30 stories, an entire floor is devoted to MEP equipment and the tower holds the record for world’s tallest service elevators. `

Construction timeline and innovative construction techniques
Burj Khalifa facts and figures

Written by Meagan Wilkes

January 1, 2004 at 7:36 pm