Gensler FrameWorks | ARKTURA
The designers at Gensler’s office in Dallas wished upon a Serpentine steel screen consisting of hundreds of perforated cells for their corporate client’s office in Houston. With the help of Arktura, a design engineering and fabrication team based in California, this dream came true: ‘FrameWorks’.
“Gensler wanted something that was really elegant and light but very architectural. They wanted it to have spatial qualities,” director of project design and development at Arktura, Sebastian Muñoz said explaining the design concept. To achieve this, Arktura’s main approach was to develop customized software solutions to get the lightness without sacrificing on structural stability.
The Serpentine screen is made of 260 unique steel boxes, laser-cut and sculpted on an 18-axis metal forming machine. Once molded, these metal boxes needed to be aligned perfectly to permit the inside of the ribbon-like enclosure to appear as a single continuous unit. Also, the outside cells were allowed to protrude on one end, poking out slightly like serpent scales. The object was manufactured in nine separate modules before being shipped to Texas, and being assembled on site. In its entirety, 9,500 rivets with 14,000 points of alignment were used. Although the massive steel screen cleverly appears to tiptoe on a raised floor, it is fastened securely to the concrete slab beneath on custom footings.
Gensler’s initial concept stayed unchanged despite of numerous stages of redesigns, but getting it right required a tremendous amount of flexibility. Muñoz explains, ” It’s in our DNA to allow a lot of flexibility when we’re working with design teams.” The final design ‘FrameWorks’ starts off vertically across one axis and then molds itself horizontally across another axis, lengthwise. This allows for the screen to wrap up and partially enclose a space in the lobby of Gensler’s confidential corporate client’s Houston office.
Customized software and clever fabrication techniques kept the project on budget while not compromising the design concept in any way. Shelves and lighting which were added after the installation helped to highlight vendors and exhibitors who sometimes prefer the use of this space to show off their goods. The tapering form of the screen provides a natural space for a retail desk.
This is one serpent-like structure you’ll absolutely want to look at closely!
By: Priyanka Shah