618 S Michigan Avenue Façade
The design solution aims to mediate between the historic context of the Michigan Avenue street wall and the contemporary building to the north of the property. Our goal is to expose the building’s past in a modern way. To achieve this, we have utilized the digital ceramic printing process to overlay an abstract image of the original facade of the building onto a new energy-efficient curtain wall system.
The Image to Abstraction
All that remains of the original facade are a few photographs. The team mainpulated these photographs digitally to create an abstracted “ghost” image of the buildings past to appear on the facade.
Patterns from Typologies
The team went through a rigorous process of developing and testing a series of pattern typologies.
It became critical that the pattern could be read at different scales and offer different meanings. The overall pattern conveys the image of the historic facade, but on a closer reading, the pictogram pattern of the bird speaks to the context of the building and it’s adjacency to Grant Park and Lake Michigan, a major migratory route for songbirds. The bird is a symbol representing nature, but it also acts as a protective screen to migrating birds.
The pattern was tested at various scales, opacities, tones, and on various media.
Mock-ups of the final pattern and color combinations were tested in situ. The frit covers approximately 46% of the glazing area, reducing the overall solar gain of the facade significantly. The pattern is also optimized to make the facade more easily detectable by migrating birds.