Glass pavilion

archinterest

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Has anyone here seen the interesting new glass house that Thomas Phifer designed for a client on Fishers Island off the CT coast? If not, here are links:

http://bit.ly/q4RFrN
http://bit.ly/cwc3yw

It's such an interesting design, different from the glass houses of Mies and Johnson, in that those use exposed heavy steel frames. This house seems to use aluminum storefront windows, which are never structural (or so I'm told). Does anyone have any theories on how this house stands up? If the entire perimeter is non-structural, and there are few interior walls (especially at the living room side of the house, see plan in the second link), how does the roof stay up?

I saw a fuzzy construction pic, which showed steel ceiling joists, and which seemed to show those joists aligning with the ribs between the barrel vaults in the ceiling (the joists seem to rest on the apparently non-structural window mullions). But that's about all I can tell. I'd love to hear thoughts on the engineering that went into making such a house possible. Thanks.
 

datadyne007

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I wish they published sections, but my best guess is that since those partition walls run to the barrel-vaulted ceiling, there are steel I-columns hidden in those walls. Based on the spacing of those partition walls as seen in the plan, their ability to span is reasonable for what we are seeing. I'm also suspicious that the exterior brise-soleil's structure provides interior support too (the edge of the span).
 

archinterest

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Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your thoughts.

I agree that there must be steel in the walls. What I don't understand is how the roof would connect with those walls, because the barrel vaults run parallel with them, so the joists do too. (The barrel vaults aren't interrupted by a girder in the middle, which is what I'd expect to extend from above the partition walls, with the joists connecting appropriately.) To give you a sense of scale, the windows are 12' high, and look to be about 6' wide, so the width of the house would be about 30'.

For what it's worth, I've looked at countless pictures of the house, and the brise-soleil doesn't attach to the structure.

I found a fuzzy aerial image of the house under construction, but I don't think that the forum permits image upload, otherwise I'd show you.
 

datadyne007

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Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your thoughts.

I agree that there must be steel in the walls. What I don't understand is how the roof would connect with those walls, because the barrel vaults run parallel with them, so the joists do too. (The barrel vaults aren't interrupted by a girder in the middle, which is what I'd expect to extend from above the partition walls, with the joists connecting appropriately.) To give you a sense of scale, the windows are 12' high, and look to be about 6' wide, so the width of the house would be about 30'.

For what it's worth, I've looked at countless pictures of the house, and the brise-soleil doesn't attach to the structure.

I found a fuzzy aerial image of the house under construction, but I don't think that the forum permits image upload, otherwise I'd show you.
It does, you can always also use tinypic.com or imageshack.us.

Also, a modernist house featured in ArchitecturalDigest!?!? Pigs must be flying. The reason I canceled my sub. to AD was the constant barrage of McMansions and mansions in general. (Yes, I know about Dwell, which I get) They just never seemed to feature modernism.

Edit: Allegedly, according to ArchDaily, the partition walls don't meet the enclosure, so that curtain wall may actually be structural. SOM were the structural engineers.

http://www.archdaily.com/78208/fishers-island-house-thomas-phifer/
 
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archinterest

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OK, here is the image via ImageShack (thanks for the tip):

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/546/picture1uwv.png/

I'm sorry that it's so blurry, but it's the best that I could get. There seem to be *tiny* (at least they seem tiny from the air) vertical members where the windows are, but everyone with whom I've spoken has told me that storefront windows aren't structural. And they look like storefront windows to me.

Thanks for your thoughts. I find the house fascinating.
 

datadyne007

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Aye, that picture just made my head hurt more. It really does appear that portions of the alleged "curtain" wall are doing the dirty work. What is even more peculiar though is that you can see the shadow of the brise-soleil structure.

Btw, that photo is from Bing (idk if you screencapped it): http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qw...8&sty=b&where1=Fishers Island, NY&form=LMLTCC

Here's more of a birds eye view: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qw...4&sty=b&where1=Fishers Island, NY&form=LMLTCC

Here's a rear view, which is quite telling: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qw...5&sty=b&where1=Fishers Island, NY&form=LMLTCC

Use the rotate buttons to orbit around the house.

(Btw - yes, I really just did search all north-facing coastline on Fishers Island for this house! I'm as fascinated and perplexed by it as you are!)
 
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archinterest

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LOL! Yes, Bing is great for aerial construction views. If only someone from SOM were on the forum, we might find out!
 

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