Q&A: Robert Heintges on taking risks and the value of a curtain wall

Robert Heintges is an influential architect and teacher who has advanced envelope design through his eponymous practice, Heintges & Associates, and through his teaching at Columbia GSAPP and Rice Architecture. This interview is part of my effort to document how different forms of specialized design expertise inform multiple architecture practices at once, and produce unstable forms of architectural authorship.

Snøhetta’s book repository at Temple University tips its glazed hat to older campus buildings

In designing the Charles Library at Temple University in North Philadelphia, Snøhetta wanted to make a contemporary statement that would integrate harmoniously into the pedestrian core of a leafy, architecturally diverse urban campus that is still largely defined by historic stone masonry edifices. The resulting building, a research library clad in stone, wood, and glass and topped with one of Philadelphia’s largest

Rossetti lets light into the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center with sawtooth glazing

Detroit is undergoing something of a revival; the center of the city is registering consistent population growth and with it has come a spate of high-profile building projects including SmithGroup’s Little Caesars Headquarters and SHoP Architects’ Hudson Site tower. Rossetti, a Detroit-based firm with an expertise in sports and entertainment venues and a local and national footprint, has continued this

Elkus Manfredi Architects’ Pier 4 joins Boston’s Seaport with undulating massing

Boston’s Seaport District is no stranger to development; the 23-acre site lies east of the Fort Point Channel on the Inner Harbor, and over the last two decades has transformed from a largely barren deindustrialized waterfront to an effective extension of the city’s core. Pier 4, a 400,000-square-foot mixed-use project designed by local firm Elkus Manfredi

Ennead and Bora Architects’s Knight Campus takes shape with a double-glass facade

The University of Oregon’s Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is one of the most significant expansions to the Eugene campus following the construction of OFFICE 52’s Tykeson Hall and Hacker Architect’s Berwick Hall. The project is a collaboration between design architect Ennead Architects and architect-of-record Bora Architects, with Thornton Tomasetti acting as facade consultant, and will enclose state-of-the-art research

KPF’s One Vanderbilt soars with terra-cotta and glass

One Vanderbilt, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), is not a subtle project; the tower topped out in September 2019 and rises from an entire city block with a behemoth massing to a height of just over 1,400 feet. The tower is visible across the metropolitan region, from the New Jersey Meadows to the Bronx-Queens

The International Spy Museum is veiled in cantilevered glass megapanels

The International Spy Museum presents a striking figure in the relatively staid streetscape of Washington, D.C. The building opened in May 2019 and was designed by London-based Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) in collaboration with architect-of-record Hickok Cole, and replaced the original home of the Spy Musem that was constructed in 2002. The project is a demonstration of high-tech

UN Studio enlivens a storefront in Amsterdam with flowing glass

Completed in December 2019, The Looking Glass is a four-story mixed-use renovation for developer Warenar Real Estate that offers a thoughtful solution for merging contemporary design within the centuries-old Museum Quarter of Amsterdam. Designed by Dutch architectural practice UN Studio, the approach addresses both the contextual and use demands of the site with finely curved glass panels and well-crafted

Glass panels with the sky reflected

REX and Front’s 2050 M Street stands lightly with fluted glass

Set to open in mid-March, 2050 M Street is a novel commercial project located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. REX, an architecture and design firm based in New York, is the design architect for the project. In contrast to the imposing massing of Beaux-Arts, Brutalist, and droll mid-century Miesian bootlegs that dominate the capital,

Studio Gang’s MIRA Tower twists with alternating window bays

Located just south of San Francisco’s Financial District and blocks away from the bay, MIRA Tower is a housing development that grabs your attention with a highly detailed geometric form. The project joins a spate of recently completed and under construction towers in the Transbay Development Zone, including Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects’ Salesforce Tower and the Heller Manus Architects’ 181

MVRDV’s Depot houses a national archive behind mirror glass

The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (MBVB), located in Rotterdam’s 10-acre Museumpark, is receiving a striking new addition designed by MVRDV. Depot will house up to 125,000 of the museum’s artworks not currently used for exhibitions, with over 70,000 of the pieces being made accessible to the public in a semi-curated format. In response to the site and the

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects’ Centrale nods to the Jazz Age with chevrons of terra-cotta

Midtown East is a competitive Manhattan neighborhood to design a new tower; the skyline is crowded with an assembly of jostling skyscrapers and landmarks constructed over the last century. Completed in 2019, The Centrale is an 803-foot-tall residential tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and developed by Ceruzzi Properties. The building strikes a middle ground between the

BKSK and BuroHappold crown Tammany Hall with a glass shell

The neo-Georgian Tammany Hall located on the northeastern corner of Union Square has assumed multiple identities over the course of its nearly century-long existence: It has been the home of the notoriously corrupt Society of St. Tammany, a union headquarters, and a theater and film school. Now, BKSK Architects and BuroHappold Engineering are leading the conversion of the building into a

Safdie Architects-designed Changi Airport Jewel is enclosed by a sprawling toroidal dome

The Safdie Architects–designed Jewel Changi Airport is a 144,000-square-foot toroidal-shaped glass-and-steel pavilion looping around the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. After four years of construction, the $1.3 billion project opened its doors in April 2019 as a bid to deliver a “paradise garden” amid the cacophony of Singapore’s largest airport. The structural system of the canopy is based on a highly complex

Exterior photograph of citizens bank highlighting the sawtooth windows

Elkus Manfredi’s Citizens Bank headquarters zig-zags with ultra-high-performance concrete

The Citizens Bank Corporate Campus in Johnston, Rhode Island, is not a subtle complex—it’s composed of five sprawling buildings across a 123-acre site. Designed by Boston-based architectural practice Elkus Manfredi, the project serves as a new facility to accommodate approximately 3,000 financial services employees and all five buildings are predominantly clad with ultra-high-performance concrete and low-E glass laid over zig-zagging forms.

Detail image of the CTF Finance Center highlighting diversity of panel types

SOM’s Tianjin CTF Finance Centre meets the breeze with a biomorphic form

For what will be the eighth-tallest building in the world when finished in Tianjin, China, later this year, SOM didn’t want to do a by-the-numbers glass facade. Which is good, because the designers couldn’t have even if they wanted to—the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre’s convex and concave surfaces, along with its tapered shape, meant to help shed