Simmons discusses façade projects at Harrison Lecture

November 15th, 2012 Comments Off on Simmons discusses façade projects at Harrison Lecture

Marc Simmons talks to School of Architecture student David Lewis. (Photo by Haley Whiteman)

Marc Simmons was the final Harrison Lecturer for the fall 2012 semester.

Simmons, founding partner at Front Inc., briefly discussed his company before detailing three projects he has worked on.

Simmons described Front Inc., which he helped start 10 years ago, as a multidisciplinary design/engineering firm that includes professionals with a hybrid of backgrounds. The firm has locations in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Hong Kong.

Simmons said he and his partners started Front Inc. “to engage in the execution of good work on our own terms.”

“We are interested in our clients, the people that have a cultural need and desire to build,” he said.

He said the company is proud of its ability to work with and listen to clients’ needs and wants on a project.

“We’ve become skilled at interpreting the context of a project,” he said, “and that is likely going to develop into a successful outcome.”

Next, Simmons explained some of those projects and the processes that went into designing and building them.

The first project he discussed had a unique challenge; for security purposes, the façade had to be 100% blast resistant.

After precedent research, drawings, tests and mock-ups, Simmons and his team created a design that met the challenge and included a large, diagonal steel grid.

Simmons next discussed a project he worked on near his office in Brooklyn. Front Inc. was asked to provide a structure to enclose a 1922 fully restored carousel.

He showed an image from his office of the team working on a giant white board.

“It all starts here,” he said, explaining that his office is full of these boards and that great ideas come from these team brainstorming sessions.

The team came up with several ideas that included a pavilion that could move sideways, projections of images from the carousel onto walls and full acrylic walls.

The final design, however, ended up including seven acrylic sheet panels that fold and have joints made out of Velcro and sailing fabric, which Simmons described as having a “Terminator 2 liquid metal aesthetic.”

Simmons and his team are currently working on an extension to the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas.

He detailed the current state of the project, and ended the lecture with a question and answer session.

Walter Hood, a professor at the University of California, Berkley, will present the next Harrison Lecture on Feb. 1 at 4 p.m.

View the full schedule.

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