Meet Matt Kreilich, co-chair for Facades+ Great Lakes

Facades+ Northern Enclosure: Expert Takes from the Great Lakes, hosted by the Architect’s Newspaper with our co-chair Snow Kreilich, is a one-day event filled with tailor made presentations and robust dialogue on high level detailing of all things building skin. We invited leading speacialists to present their most innovative proejcts with a regional flair. Considering the demanding thermal needs that the northern seasons require, the program will go beyond architectural design and explore the many variables that are relevan to the improved performance standards and techniques applicable beyond the region. AN interviews co-chair and Design Principal of Snow Kreilich, Matt Kreilich, FAIA, to gain insight from behind the scenes of our upcoming event.


AN: What are your firm’s design methodologies and approaches to designing facades considering your large scope of your projects?

Matt Kreilich: I think one of the things that’s always kind of drawn me to the work, especially before I even joined Julie’s practice, was her exploration of the exterior envelope really, and a focus on detailing, on material assembly, on wall assembly. Both Julie and I love the larger ideas, the conceptual ideas that drive projects and really connecting them with place and sight. But I think equally important is the technical aspects of architecture. I think we sort of nerd out when it comes to the details. And I think it’s really important — it’s only becoming more important in this day and age where building energy efficient buildings that can last 50 to 100 years is really important. That performative aspect of architecture, which this whole discussion is going to be about is really exciting.

What are you most excited about hearing and seeing presented at Facades Great Lakes?

While I’m excited for everything, I definitely am curious on a sort of personal level about the Mollo project that Krueck Sextion is working on. We do a lot of work for GSA and actually competed for that same project, and they happen to win it. So I’m really excited to see where they took it, and what opportunities arose. I’m equally thrilled to hear about Todd and Billie Tsien’s practice and their current work — I’m very excited for that and all the speakers really. What’s great is we have this mix of both designers and engineers that come together from these disciplines that are absolutely critical to designing facades at the highest level.  You’ll hear from our studio as well, on the very recent completion of the Altmeyer Social Security Federal Building, their headquarters just outside of Baltimore, and the collaboration between our engineers at HGA. Our design team was sort of fluid and constant throughout. Without that really close-working collaborative relationship, we would not have been able to design the high performance facade that we ultimately ended up with. 

What do you think the audience will take away from attending F+ Great Lakes?

Hopefully, people will come out of this inspired. They’ll learn the stories that we all go through on projects like these. Every project has its struggles. And I think hearing those presented by both the engineering and the architect teams is going to be really interesting. What I’m kind of most excited to hear are sort of how those those disciplines work together to create the architecture that we’re going to talk about.

How do you think this event stands out and applies to the entire AEC industry even while promoting such succcessful regional projects?

One of the things I think that inspires and has inspired our work is the climate in which we we work in. While we now are working throughout the country, the practice really started working in the the plains — the northern plains of the Midwest. And this idea of connecting to this incredibly powerful landscape was really important in some of the early manufacturing facilities that Julie designed, but also the performance of the exterior envelope. We have extreme winters and summers. We can go from 20 below to 100 degrees plus across the year and incredibly humid, freezing — it can really damage buildings. It can, especially when we think about exterior envelopes. For us, I think the place that we come from has been really influential in the way that we think about building envelopes, the importance of sealing building envelopes. I recall years and years ago when I was touring, this was in college, through LA and looking at some of Eric Owen Moss’ buildings, and I remember I could actually reach my fingers up through sort of where the glass met the floor and sort of go inside this building and it kind of blew my mind when I think of what we have to do in our climate is really extreme. It’s difficult and you can’t stick you know your finger through the building in Minneapolis or you’re in trouble.


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