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Old 09-22-2016, 07:51 AM   #1
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New Smithsonian Museum, design constraints

From an interview in the New York Times, with David Adjaye, the lead architect of the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

.... I thought bronze was perfect for the panels on the outside. The thing is that the Smithsonian has this extraordinary thing of wanting its buildings to be guaranteed for 50 years. You could make a bronze building cost-effective, but the problem was that we couldn’t get anyone to guarantee it would have no problems for 50 years. Bronze was not a price issue. The problem was that the weight of bronze is onerous. This is a mechanically fixed system: trusses support these things, and they all have mechanical fixings. It was the potential failure of the fixings that posed the challenge. You have to be able to access any of those panels, meaning you have to be able to get to each panel, be able to take it off and not disrupt the functionality of the building or its safety. Aluminum solved the problem. With these panels, four men can basically unbolt a panel and take it off.

By comparison with bronze. They are in the safety limits of allowing four strong men to be able to fix one — like glass, like the weight of a big, heavy double-glazed panel of glass. Whereas, bronze would be 10, 20 times as heavy. We talked with foundries and they said, “Look, recycled aluminum is incredibly sustainable. And we can use a bronze alloy finish that is exactly the same as bronze.” So we said great. And on a sunny day — I will show you an image, you’ll freak — people go, “It’s on fire!”
A man gazing on the stars is at the mercy of the puddles in the road
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