2024 Design Brief

Metals in Construction 2024 Design Challenge

Curtain Wall Design for Longevity

The tenth annual iteration of this international ideas competition continues the tradition of calling for design strategies to help shape the welfare of our citizens and cities through the built environment. This year, the challenge focuses on the design of a curtain wall constructed with the highest possible efficiency properties, serviceability characteristics, and recyclability of constituent parts.

Your challenge: Design a curtain wall façade system as defined herein for a mixed-use building located at 1710 Broadway in Midtown Manhattan. The curtain wall system design should embrace a planned service life of at least 75 years—service life will be a primary design evaluation criterion. Design of the curtain wall should focus on an optimal balance of resilience and sustainability attributes, including but not limited to the following: lifecycle operational and embodied carbon performance, service life, serviceability (maintainability/repairability) characteristics, end-of-life disassembly, and reuse and/or recyclability of constituent parts. The consideration of system adaptability—its adaptive capacity—in response to rapidly changing climatic and social conditions over the defined service life of your design is also relevant. Along with these criteria, transparency and overall aesthetic characteristics must be given substantial consideration in your design.

Modeling and data: The system’s operational and embodied lifecycle carbon emissions should be clearly accounted for and displayed, accompanied by a description of the methodology used in their calculation. (Note the comment on the time-value of carbon below.) You are welcome to submit supporting data beyond that included in your proposal (as defined below), but this is not a requirement.

Building context: For the purpose of this competition, the proposal is for the vertical extension of the existing six-story, 104-year-old structure located at 1710 Broadway, at the southeast corner of West 54th Street, in New York. The redesign should be at least 50 stories in height and suitable for a mix of residential and commercial uses. Assume that the load-bearing capacity of the building site and existing podium are sufficient to accommodate an exclusively steel-framed structure.

Lifecycle thinking: Lifecycle performance will be the context for evaluation of your design. Entrants should focus on designing the most carbon-efficient curtain wall possible, including both embodied and operational carbon emissions modeled over the full building lifecycle, explicitly defining the lifecycle carbon footprint of your curtain wall solution. Modeling of the steel structure and interior program is not required for the purposes of this competition.

Curtain wall system performance declines over time. In addition to an initial level of performance for your curtain wall design, define a rate of performance-decline over time, as well as a minimum level of performance at which point some form of rehabilitation will be required. Clearly indicate the plan for any system maintenance and renewal required during the service life you’ve specified for your curtain wall system design, as required to maintain the minimal level of performance you’ve defined. Account for any additional embodied carbon, as well as operational carbon improvements, associated with these activities over the full building lifecycle. Entrants should also document resilience considerations, if any, incorporated in their design to mitigate the potential impact and cost of storm damage, power outage, flooding, etc.

Other considerations: In addition to insulating the building, the curtain wall’s large surface area may also be activated to beneficial effect, such as through harvesting solar and wind energy. If such capability is included in your design, the net carbon impact must be explicit. The time-value of carbon should drive these considerations, meaning near-term carbon emission reductions should be prioritized over lifecycle carbon footprint, or otherwise justified (i.e., by providing other resilience or sustainability benefits that justify the increase in carbon emissions).

Scalable solutions with the potential for broader adoption in the urban environment will receive some preference in the final evaluation, but innovative and novel concepts are also valued.

Prize: A $15,000 grand prize will be awarded to the design deemed by the jury to be the most innovative and aesthetically appealing while meeting the above goals.

Deadline for submission: 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Submission process:

The submission process is composed of two parts:

  • Proposal Visualization – Up to 10 pages may be submitted to represent the proposal. This attachment should be one (1) multi-page PDF file (max. 10 pages) formatted at 11”x17” (ledger) and can include supporting backup data, calculations, and commentary to supplement the images. Do not link or embed objects. Links to any video or animated components may be pasted into the “Notes” field. Maximum file size is 20MB.
  • Entrant Information – Contact information of the individual or team submitting. This will not be shared with the jury and is only for contact purposes. Enter additional team names in the “Notes” section of the My Competition Entry page. You may also paste a link to any animated visualizations in the “Notes” field.

All materials are due by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Once you register via this site, you or your teammates may log in and edit your competition entry as many times as you like until the deadline. This competition is sponsored by the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York, which reserves the right to suspend or amend the cash award if deemed warranted by circumstances.