I can’t pass an older brick building without looking for a painted advertisement on its side. Sometimes this mild obsession is rewarded by a view of a mural. Either way, this is one way for me to connect a [hi]story of the building to its place in the community. Often, these narratives are destroyed when a building is replaced. But now there’s a different technology, and it’s called direct-to-glass printing.
The Sample:
HHC by HOK & Studio JTAOn a recent visit to NYC, my friend and colleague Bob Coles shared his recent project with me, the Ronald H. Brown Ambulatory Care Pavilion (a joint venture of Coles/URS). While visiting, we also viewed the adjacent Harlem Hospital Center by HOK in association with Studio JTA. The Lenox Avenue facade boasts a gigantic sparkling replication of a historic WPA(Works Progress Administration)mural previously housed in the center’s campus. The murals were initially commissioned in 1936 as a part of the depression-era program to employ artists nationwide, and were the first major US government commissions awarded to african-american artists. Now the five-story fritted glass facade displays the vibrant transparent images integrated with sustainable, high-performance curtain wall. This innovation available here through General Glass International creates a way to pay homage to a community’s iconic roots [the then] while still leaning forward [now & later].