Specialty at all Scales

Across the a/e/c industry, Enclos is best-known for its completion of large scale and predominantly unitized curtainwall systems. What is lesser known is the rich history of specialty systems we have completed that fall outside the mold of unitized curtainwall. For some projects, there is a specialty feature—perhaps a glass jewel box element or feature lobby wall—that is within the enclosure scope of work that is in addition to the curtainwall. On other projects, the entire scope is solely a specialty system. Whichever the case, whatever the scale, if it is a challenging structure for a project team that values quality and technical excellence, Enclos is up to the challenge.

Understanding the importance of being able to offer clients the full range of enclosure systems, Enclos committed to bringing this expertise in-house with the acquisition of Advanced Structures Inc. (ASI) in 2007, the launching of the Advanced Technology Studio in 2009 that emphasizes specialty systems and material research, and the addition of kinetic system experts.

What is Specialty?

Specialty, if defined as non-traditional projects, is becoming increasingly more common! Often the unique quality is due to a desire to maximize transparency, minimize structure, create a complex architectural form or effect, or innovatively integrate materials, new or old.

System types that fall within Enclos’ specialty expertise:

  • Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS)
  • Cable Structures
  • Grid-shells
  • Kinetic Features
  • Specialty Interior Structures
  • Structural Glass Facades
    • Frameless
    • Glass Fin
    • Point-supported Systems

Maximizing Transparency

The desire to eliminate the barrier between the interior and exterior has been prevalent for a long time. Glass is an ideal material to make this connection. With the advent of low-iron glass and the increased use of frameless structural glass, the presence of a back-up structure can virtually be eliminated, at a cost, of course. Other system types that have high transparency and minimal structure are glass fin walls as well as cable structures, the latter of which can impose significant loads back to the primary structure. Understanding the nuances of the structural engineering behind the range of systems is a competency embedded in our technical team.

Celebration of Structure

Specialty structures tend to leave nothing to the imagination. The structure, connections, and finishes of all components are visible, making establishing expectations early a critical step for the project team. A common example of this is defining the level of architecturally exposed structural steel required. Attention to detail is the name of the game. Excellent examples of this are the 34th Street MTA Canopies as well as the Howard Hughes Research Institute.

Complex Geometry and Tools to Adapt

Excellent examples of complex geometry at a large scale include Chase Center Arena, The Spheres at Amazon, and VIA57 West. Parametric models are used from design through construction on these projects as they provide flexibility to apply design logic to infinitely unique panel variations. In addition to different modeling tools, these enclosure systems require different manufacturing processes, quality control precautions such as laser scanning, and extreme education of field crews to install these systems with precision safely. 

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Parametrically-driven architecture requires an integration of advanced 3D tools at every step of the facade’s delivery. The Amazon Spheres‘ enclosure utilized Rhino and Grasshopper to automate drawing development. In manufacturing of the AESS steel frames, laser scanning was employed to ensure precision. Ultimately, this accuracy in process allowed field crews to install mega-pentagonal frames with the glass already mounted on the steel for a dramatic installation sequence.

Emerging Materials

Despite Enclos’ association with aluminum and glass curtainwall, at the core is truly a company focused on custom enclosures, indifferent to any one material or approach. We understand the need to be adaptable and have taken the initiative to have on-going research into emerging material technologies. For example, this initiative was a differentiator in our collaboration to introduce the largest architectural fiber-reinforced polymer in North America at the time in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Maximizing prefabrication, along with safe, efficient installation, are the top priorities for Enclos. When architects imagine enclosures that go beyond glass and curtainwall, the results can be facades of distinction.

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Simulated Manufacturing of Unitized FRP

Emerging materials have the ability to take shapes not readily achievable with glass. Such is the case with fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) that is a molded material that, when combined with CNC milling technology for the molds, leads to endless geometric possibilities as a rain-screen panel for architects. The SFMoMA feature wall creates an organic, ripple effect that was the largest architecturally application of FRP in North America at its time of completion.

No matter the material, no matter the scale nor complexity, a spirit of rising to the challenge has positioned Enclos to bring your next specialty vision to life.

Fulton Center

Orange County Performing Arts Center

34th Street Canopies

300 New Jersey Avenue