All images by Luxigon
New York-based architecture studio REX has revealed plans for a premium office complex to be constructed in Washington, DC. The scheme, located in the city’s ‘Golden Triangle’ business district, will host CBS’s Washington Bureau among other tenants. Set amid a context of heavy masonry and concrete buildings, ‘2050 M street’ employs a glazed curtain wall that offers abundant external views with minimal disruptions.
The façade’s approximately 900 identical, insulated-glass panels are subtly curved through a heat roller tempering process. The curve yields structural efficiency, which meets the wind load requirements and enables a thinner monolithic outer lite than normal — providing greater transparency. ‘Because of the curve’s inherent rigidity in compression, only the top and bottom edges of the panels are supported from the floor slabs, while the ‘mullion-less’ vertical edges are flush-glazed for a minimalist aesthetic that improves sightlines, while gaining useable floor area,’ explain the architects.
A high performance, low-E coating is applied to the glass within the insulating cavity to meet thermal performance requirements. Paired with the curving panels, it creates an unusual kaleidoscopic effect of repetitive transparency and reflection that simultaneously animates and dematerialises the façade. To emphasise the ethereal lightness of the skin, all perimeter columns are pulled in from the façade, while the ceiling is tapered to the depth of the structural slab as it approaches the exterior.
At ground floor level, the lobby has been conceived as a ‘warm oasis’ of cowhide wall panels that serve as a visual counterpoint to the crystalline façade. Wooden floors and ceilings extend throughout the reception area. The vestibule has also been enlarged to accommodate a site-specific piece of art commissioned specially for the building.