February 10, 2017

free lunch & tammany hall


BKSK recently launched our new in-house lunch and learn series, “free lunch &…” with a presentation about Tammany Hall.  Over forty BKSK attendees got an in-depth look at the process of designing an 11,500 square foot glass dome addition to a landmark building.

The Tammany Hall team – Todd Poisson, David Ettinger and James Wilson – talked about the challenges they faced in turning their 2012 competition entry into reality.  They shared their research of thermal, environmental and acoustical issues as well as analyses of different glass solutions like frit/tint variations, tectonic shading and dynamic glass.

Let our presenters and attendees tell you how it went!

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What part of the presentation did you like talking about and why?

“All of it!  It’s not often we get to combine deep background conceptual history with glass specifications in the same relatively short presentation!” – Todd Poisson (Partner)


Was there anything you had forgotten and reminded yourself about in preparing the presentation?

“Looking through the old renderings, I had almost forgotten where this design started before we went to LPC for the first hearing.  Seeing the big glass porticos from the competition was like seeing an old friend.” – David Ettinger (Senior Project Manager)


What benefits do you think there was in presenting to the office in a forum like this?

“I think it is definitely beneficial in the sense that it allows for the staff to practice presenting the office’s work to an audience other than the client and consultants. This allows for a more in-depth and thoughtful review of the research and design decisions that go into solving different design problems. It’s also beneficial in that it distributes knowledge throughout the office.” – James Wilson (Design Researcher)

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What part of Tammany Hall’s presentation did you like the most?

“It was nice to hear about the trials and mishaps (process) that led to the final solution.  It was more of a story than a presentation about the project.” – Pablo Kohan

“Seeing the process and research that went into ensuring the glass performed as needed. Also the integration and exploration of various technologies (like the Oculus) treads new ground for the office.” – Sheena Zhang

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Was there anything that surprised you?

“I think the careful consideration of the design really impressed me, from construction to acoustic environment as well as different types of glass and various methods for joint design.” – Zhiwen Zhang

I was surprised by how much on-site research the team did by visiting different types of glazed spaces.  They were able to experience firsthand the effects of light levels, glare and thermal comfort, and it was interesting to see how their design responded to their findings.” – Katie Como

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What lessons did you learn that you think you could apply to your own work?   

“That sometimes the low-tech solution is better than the hi-tech solution in terms of cost, but as well as achieving the desired result.  But it was useful to see the samples of what the automated [glass] systems could do.” – David O’Neil (Principal)

“One lesson to remember is the preferred frit selection: dark frit on the inside, white frit on the outside. The other lesson to remember is to try and find built environments that provide similar qualities to what your design is trying to achieve and figure out what makes them successful and what doesn’t.” – Alex Kiss