The New York Times Building located in New York City made a new use for ceramic: a built in sunshade. The structure in Midtown Manhattan was designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in conjunction with FXFOWLE architects. The project is renowned for its use of ceramic rods that overlay the clear glass windows. Each rod is 4 feet 10 inches with about a 3 inch diameter. These rods provide a sun damper without the need for shades inside the building. Piano’s vision behind the rods was to “not produce a ‘selfish’ building, where smaller windows or heavily coated glass were used to reduce heat from the sun. With this idea Piano thought the views would not be compromised for both pedestrians looking in and occupants looking out” (Penn State). There are approximately 186,000 rods totaling 894,000 feet that make up the secondary skin; enough to stretch from New York City to Providence, R.I.
Some of the rods, approximately 10 feet up from the New York Times sign, have been removed recently as a string of free climbers have attempted to ascend the building. To date four people have tried, two of which have made it to the roof. After the fourth climber police mandated a safety correction for the tower.
Piano also decided to extend the rods about 75 feet above the top of the building. The transparency of the rods lets the building disappear in a way into the NYC sky.
1). http://www.nytco.com/pdf/Building_Overview.pdf. New York Times Building Overview. Page 1-3
2). Dunlap, David W. After 3 Climbs, Facade at Time Building is Altered. June 9, 2008. Blog. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/after-3-climbs-facade-at-times-building-is-altered/
3). Penn State. NYT Building Statistics and Overview. 2008. http://www.engr.psu.edu/ae/thesis/BIM%202009%20-%202010/IPD%20BIM%20Thesis/stats.html