SANF April 2017 : Page 97

HOW Opposite page, left: THE ADDITION OF 86 WINDOWS HELPED TRANS FORM A ONCE DARK RACQUETBALL COURT IN SUNNY VALE INTO A LIGHT FILLED OFFICE FOR THE PAYMENTS COMPANY CLOVER. Right: IN SAN JOSE, NOLL & TAM ADDED FOUR ROOF MONITORS TO BRING LIGHT INTO SEMICONDUC TOR COMPANY XILINX’S OFFICE. Above: GENSLER IS REVAMPING A TILT UP CAMPUS IN SAN JOSE WITH SHED ROOFS AND CLERE STORY WINDOWS. In their natural state, tilt-ups are badly insulated boxes made slightly more habitable with drop ceilings and office partitions. The low window counts and mazes of interior spaces pretty much guarantee a dark interior. When architects Noll & Tam got into the two-story tilt-up they renovated for semiconductor company Xilinx in San Jose last year, “the inside was just awful,” recalls principal Chris Noll. “It went on for hundreds of feet, this sea of high cubicles and very low lighting. It felt like this awful cave system you couldn’t find your way around.” Noll & Tam stripped out all the partitions and drop ceilings to start from zero. Seth Orgain, an architect at Gensler’s Oakland office, is a fan of the raw tilt-up. “Once you peel off the superfluous pieces, you have a simple, honest warehouse-type building ,” he says. EXCAVA TE 1 T O O VERHA UL A Built as a racquetball court in the early ’70s, 415 North Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale had almost no glass in it when Sharp Development’s Kevin Bates began an overhaul with the help of Integral Group engineers and Hillhouse Construction. The trio—who are basically the Property Brothers of tilt-ups—punched 86 windows in the structure. “ It’s a ridiculously large number of windows ,” says architect Tim Barnes, of Studio G Architects. To add that much glass without compromising the building’s structural integrity, the team ran a new shear wall through the interior and covered it with a green wall, among other measures. Skylights bring light down into a central atrium. Before the building was even completed in 2015, the payments company Clover snapped up the lease. PERFORA TE 2 Concrete walls are really inefficient if they’re not insulated. But add a layer of insulation to the exterior and suddenly the thermal mass of the concrete is working with you, not against you— trapping cool air on a hot day and warm air on a cold day . That’s the strategy architects AP+I Design used when they renovated their own office in Mountain View in 2015, with the help of Bates and his team of consultants. They insulated the facade with a layer of foam composite. “From the exterior, you don’t even know it’s concrete,” says principal Carol Sandman. And the facelift paid off, even before the windows went in. “When we were doing construction and there were just window openings and no air-conditioning, it was one of those 100-degree days,” Sandman recalls. “After I went about 10 feet in, the building was very cool.” INSULA TE 3 TIL TUP IN FIVE STEPS ITERA TE Part of Bates’s formula for tilt-up overhauls is achieving net zero energy—that is, making the project capable of producing enough solar energy to offset the cost of what it consumes. To pull it off, reducing overall energy use is key. That’s where building management software comes in. At 380 North Pastoria Avenue in Sunnyvale, a speculative office renovation completed last fall with WRNS Studio, the software controls the windows, lights, and air-conditioning to favor daylight and natural ventilation as much as possible. The level of automation takes tenants some getting used to. “ When our algorithm tells them to, the windows open, the skylights open, the fans go on ,” Bates explains. “All these things are going on, and nobody in the building’s doing anything.” A UT OMA TE 4 Most revamped tilt-ups still look like tilt-ups—just with nicer facades. But Gensler is pushing the tilt-up into new territory in a speculative office renovation about to start construction in North San Jose. Dubbed Assembly at North First, the project will transform the old LAM Research campus into an idyllic cluster of shedlike structures that recall Santa Clara Valley’s agrarian roots . The design preserves the original concrete buildings but extends them with a thin band of new wood-and-steel construction that introduces sawtooth roofs and clerestory windows. “When you combine some of the vernacular building forms with the industrial DNA of these buildings,” Orgain says, “you get a really interesting mix of big-volume spaces with light that comes in in ways that we just don’t get enough of in office spaces.”   5 GUTTER CREDIT HERE APRIL 2017 / San Francisco 97

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