SSB November 18, 2010

Thomson Optronics Factory


Renzo Piano


Section becomes something that takes care of many issus at once, the fundamental module. One reversed section: where the company cafeteria resides. Everything else faces a north light that’s reflected against the roofs.

Extremely light structure. Combination of bent members and tension members.

The diagram below shows how light is being diffused and reflected into the buildings. The rightward drawing shows the effect of artificial light over a larger area.

Genzyme Building, Cambridge

Architect: Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner


The project team and the client balanced aesthetics, cost, constructability, and reliability to create an environmentally responsible corporate headquarters. A number of environmental design strategies contribute to the LEED Platinum rating the building is expected to achieve and establish an open spatial atmosphere for the building occupants.

The building envelope is a high-performance curtainwall glazing system with operable windows on all 12 floors. More than 32% of the exterior envelope is a ventilated double-facade that blocks solar gains in summer and captures solar gains in the winter. Steam from a nearby power plant is used for central heating and cooling.

The building’s central atrium acts as a huge return air duct and light shaft. Fresh air moves into the atrium and up and out exhaust fans near the skylight. Natural light from the fully glazed facade and from the atrium (brought in by solar-tracking mirrors above the skylight) is reflected deep into the building.

The building uses 32% less water than a comparable office building by using waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, automatic faucets, and low-flow fixtures. Stormwater supplement the evaporative cooling towers and irrigates the landscaped roof.

Building materials were chosen for their low emissions, recycled content, or local manufacturing. Nearly 90% of the wood was FSC certified.”

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