Adaptive Building Initiative



Current Work
Chuck Hoberman, Hoberman Associates
Craig Schwitter, Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
Introduced by Walter Chatham
Discussion following lecture with Walter Chatham, Chuck Hoberman, and Craig Schwitter

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
7:00 p.m.
The Great Hall
The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street

Click here to listen to the podcast of this event

Chuck Hoberman of Hoberman Associates and Craig Schwitter of Buro Happold Consulting Engineers will discuss their new joint venture, the Adaptive Building Initiative (ABI), which is dedicated to designing a new generation of adaptive buildings, which optimize their configuration in real time by responding to environmental changes.

Hoberman Associates is a multidisciplinary practice that specializes in transformable design — the development of products, structures, and environments that change their size and shape. The firm describes its work as: “We believe that a world undergoing accelerating change needs an adaptive, interactive approach to design. Whether that means inventing a rapidly deployable shelter, collaborating with architects to develop next-generation adaptive buildings, or re-defining portability for children’s products, our clients seek us out to shape change — and inspire it.”

ABI_Adaptive_Fritting_SequenceWhile adaptive strategies can be effectively applied to a wide range of building systems, the Adaptive Building Initiative has initially focused on adaptive facades and building envelopes. By controlling light levels, solar gain, and thermal performance, ABI’s adaptive systems reduce energy usage, enhance comfort, and increase the flexibility of the built environment.

ABI draws on a portfolio of proprietary technologies that are customized to deliver complete, comprehensive, and integrated solutions for specific projects. The venture provides design, engineering and analysis, prototyping, sourcing, manufacturing, and installation oversight throughout any project.

This work is based on decades of experience in developing and delivering movable structures, ranging from architectural scale to hand-held products. While an independent entity, ABI’s cross-disciplinary team combines the expertise of its parent companies – Buro Happold and Hoberman Associates. The team draws in structural and mechanical engineers, environmental analysts, architects, building information modelers, and industrial designers.

Chuck Hoberman is the founder of Hoberman Associates. Examples of his commissioned work include the transforming LED screen that served as the primary stage element for U2’s 2009 world tour and the Hoberman Arch in Salt Lake City, installed as the centerpiece for the Winter Olympic Games (2002). Other noteworthy commissions include a retractable dome for the World’s Fair in Hanover, Germany (2000); the Expanding Hypar (1997) at the California Museum of Science and Industry; the Expanding Sphere (1992) at the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey; and the Expanding Geodesic Dome (1997) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Hoberman holds a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from Cooper Union and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. He won the Chrysler Award for Innovation and Design in 1997.

Craig Schwitter is Regional Director of Buro Happold North America and has over 17 years of experience in the engineering design of complex buildings including educational, performing arts, stadia, transportation, and cultural projects. Schwitter founded the first North American office of Buro Happold in 1998. Since then the region has grown to over 200 staff based in multiple office locations including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Toronto. The North American offices offer a full spectrum of engineering services including structural, MEP, and façade, special projects engineering, lighting design, sustainability consulting services, and geo technical services. Schwitter holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a masters of science in civil engineering from MIT.

Walter Chatham is founding principal of Walter F. Chatham, Architect and currently serves on the Architectural League Board of Directors.

Tickets are required for admission to League programs. Tickets are free for League members; $10 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets here from October 21 until noon of the day of the program.

Co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union. AIA and New York State continuing education credits are available.

This program is made possible, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Images, top to bottom: Adaptive Shading for atrium of Audiencia Provencial (Appeals Court), Madrid Spain. Architect: Foster + Partners. Copyright: Foster + Partners; Adaptive Fritting Installation at Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2009, Cambridge, MA. Copyright Hoberman Associates.

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