Leo A Daly
Projects to restore the contemporary building stock — in other words buildings constructed since the end of the Second World War — are becoming an increasingly important aspect of building activity. Rather than simply renovating the architectural image of buildings, these projects aim to anticipate forthcoming requirements in terms of energy retrofit protocols, environmental impact reduction, safety, accessibility, comfort and health. Given the complexity of the issues involved, a simple aesthetic makeover is insufficient. Instead it is necessary to analyse the characteristics of the buildings and adopt an integrated design approach in order to budget for various interventions on the envelopes and technical systems, taking account of the quality of the materials and finishes. Examples abound in both the residential and tertiary sectors. A case in point is the restoration project carried through by the firm Leo A Daly for the building located at 999 North Capitol Street, NE — Union Square, Washington DC. This large 9-floor building with a floor space of more than 321,000 square metres is part of an office complex consisting of two independent units facing onto a pedestrian square, underneath which there is a large car park. At present the complex is mainly used by District of Columbia government agencies. Built in 1972, the building was renovated in 1988 and more recently underwent a refit that was completed last year. This involved the construction of a new central lobby, renovation work on the common areas on all floors, lifts and bathrooms, and construction of a fitness area. The work enabled the building to gain Epa’s Energy Star label and LEED Silver certification from the Green Building Council. The tile collections supplied by Lea Ceramiche made a significant contribution to obtaining LEED credits and above all to improving the aesthetics, function and performance of the internal finishings. Slimtech BasaItina Stone Project, a large, thin sheet of laminated porcelain chosen in the Plus version with a thickness of 3.5 mm and reinforced glass fibre backing, was used to tile a large portion of the floors and walls. In the common and service areas, the bathrooms and the fitness centre, the designers chose tiles from the collections Tecnoquartz (which combines full body technology with double pressing to reproduce quartzite natural stone) and Stonehenge (full-body porcelain tile), both with a strongly textural appearance. The quality of the finished result won this project the Ceramics of Italy Design Competition 2012 for the commercial buildings category, presented during Coverings in Orlando (Fl, USA).