Bent Pool in Miami Invites to Reflect on Climate Change

Scandinavian art duo Elmgreen & Dragset have been collaborating on architectural and sculptural installations for the last 25 years, transforming public spaces with smart and thought-provoking art interventions.

An empty oval swimming pool bent is an inverted u-shaped arch standing upright on a two-tier plinth located in Pride Park in Miami. The sculpture is a reminder of the city’s endangered future due to global warming. “The whole city’s landscape is in flux. Bent Pool encourages us to think about how we normally interact with our surroundings: how accessible or inaccessible they appear.” explain Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.

The monument is also a tribute to Miami Queer culture. The park itself is named in acknowledgement of the gay community’s historical contribution.

At first sight it might recall ready-made artworks, but on closer inspection one will discover that this is a carefully crafted object. Identified by details such as its ladder, its diving board, and pool lamps.

Our team did the engineering for the initial installation at Rockefeller Plaza and continued with the flooring design when the sculpture was relocated to Miami.

Photos from Archipanic & NY Times

Life, Wisdom, and Organic Growth – Speaking Willow

Designed to create an immediate interaction with visitors entering the Planet Word Museum in Washington DC, Speaking Willow is a 18-foot-tall electronic tree that is animated by lighting and audio recordings in different languages.

Designed by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the willow tree is a fitting metaphor to celebrate the word’s rich linguistic diversity. Lozano-Hemmer is known for transforming intangible traces of human experience-voices, movement, touch, heartbeats into monumental displays of light, imagine, and sounds. The bell-shaped speakers installed directly beneath the tree’s branches are activated by passers-by. Each speaker has been programmed with sample recordings of a different language. Our team at Laufs ED provided a structural engineering services.

Photos from Rebecca Murdock & Public Art Fund

Little Island on the Hudson to open Memorial Day Weekend

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Mathews Nielsen LA, Little Island at Pier 55 creates an incredible leisure and arts space filled with foliage. The landscape is supported by precast concrete “pots” that taper to piles driven over 100 – 250 feet each.

Working with several types of brass and steel, our team provided structural calculations plus shop and fabrication drawings for Mariani Metal’s complex custom metalwork and Situ Studio’s organic timber seating. Because of the flowing landscape of the park, we worked with tighter tolerances and provided extra coordination support.

Photos from the NY Times & Dezeen

Mennica Cable Wall is Largest in Poland

The new Mennica Legacy Tower three-story lobby façade in Warsaw is Poland’s largest glass cable net wall, opened in 2019. Class A office space inside the highrise tower can be entered via the one-way cable wall system, which has partial curved areas and utilizes a transparent glazing that “blurs the boundary between interior and exterior space” (Goestsch Architects, Chicago). LED provided full proof engineering structural & façade detailing review, including 1:1 IGU glass warp tests and 1:1 cable deflection & tension tests to assure high safety of the locally edge-clamped glazing and cable end fittings.

3 WTC fully open to the public – 10,000 glass panels later

With the completion of the tower in 2018 came the opening ceremony in June of this year.  Full access to the lobby and transit hall have just been permitted after scheduling conflicts have all been resolved. You can now come in from the Fulton St station by train and walk through the Oculus and up into the transit hall of 3 WTC, all in one continuously conditioned space.

We are proud to have worked with Tishman and Mariani Metal on this full-service project (calculations-shop-fabrication) and have designed and engineered the transit hall/lobby curtain walls with blast-resistant building design throughout. Although LED worked together with Mariani Metal to complete almost all metal-related fixtures and assemblies in the transit hall, (w/ calculations and shop/fabrication drawings for these items) the brunt of the work relied on bomb-resistant glass wall design for the massive curtain walls and top hung 3-level glass floor system with intermediary bridges. The use of Duplex Stainless Steel was a key design element when engineering the curtain walls, mullions, transoms, brackets, and even nosing connections. Careful collaboration between Mariani and LED also allowed for a smoother and faster fabrication process which allowed for more installation time on-site.

Álvaro Siza’s first building in US fully unveiled – Hell’s Kitchen Tower

LED has successfully reviewed the ultra-luxury condo glazed facade for Pritzker Prize winner Álvaro Siza’s first-ever building in New York City, 611 West 56th Street, a unique 37-floor tall residential tower, developed by Sumaida + Khurana and Leny. This is also Siza’s first-ever building in the US.

“Siza is world-renowned for the sculptural characteristics and purity of his buildings. The intricately constructed 80-residence monolithic tower will be wrapped in four sides of Perla Bianca limestone and reflect the subtle and refined detailing that Siza is known for.”

Façade Contractor Aluprof developed, produced, and installed a bespoke unitized window wall system that seamlessly merges into the limestone skin with carefully placed joint lines. LED helped coordinate and PE-stamp all metal-glass envelope elements including all storefront facade types throughout.

Norton Museum of Art – Façade completed

The new addition for the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach has been opened to the Public this spring! Designed by Architect Sir Norman Foster from London and executed by USA specialty metal-glass contractor NEC, LED supported from NYC with detail engineering, full sets of shop and fabrication drawings for all specialty enclosure elements, from hidden glass edge toggles all the way to bespoke metal frames to support massive elegant entry doors.

More than seven years of planning, design, fundraising, and construction come to fruition with the grand opening of this total renovation. Our goal was to help detail- design a transparent, stringent weather-proofed feature facade that would provide ample amounts of sunlight into the museum spaces, while also securely protecting the artwork and sculptures inside from rain and debris, especially hurricane events. This included custom intensive 1:1 hurricane impact testing for structurally sealed jumbo-size & laminated safety glazing, including its visually minimized support conditions all around the panel.

“The Architects from Foster + Partners, including Norman Foster himself, immediately saw that the Norton needed to be ‘a museum in a garden’ and take advantage of the beautiful Florida sunrises and sunsets,”  The new building has been transformed in many ways, but the strategic addition of so many windows–big ones–as well as a giant oculus in the Great Hall allows natural light to stream into the building, adding to a welcoming ambiance and allowing visitors to gaze into the sculpture garden or out at the majestic Banyan tree.” – quote by Scott Bernarde, Norton Museum of Art Director of Communications

photos below by Nigel Young | Foster + Partners Photographer

2018 Honor Awards – AIA Seattle

The Seattle AIA chapter hosted its 68th annual Honor Awards for Washington Architecture on November 5 to celebrate excellence in design, where our principal Will Laufs was invited as a specialist juror. The panel’s choices of the three awarded projects displayed excellence in the categories of built, conceptual, and research/innovation. 


Our First Project in Africa – Côte d’Ivoire facade

Work is underway on our exciting facade for the new Orange Headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. LaufsED has collaborated again with architects and artist Elegant Embellishments Berlin to create an innovated bris soleil, wrapping the future construction in a double-curved parametric Penrose tiling pattern. Similar to our other project with Elegant Embellishments in Mexico City, here are two modules: an “X” and an “I”, that join together smoothly to produce the overall form. However, for this project we created adaptive metal detailing to allow the substructure to follow the Penrose pattern.

Under Construction – WTC3 updates

Progress is coming along nicely on the lobby of World Trade Center – Tower 3 with architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners as the design architects, Beyer Blinder Belle as project architects, and fabricators Mariani Metal implementing the transit hall space. In recent news, the MTA opened the subway entrance at WTC3 for the first time since the events of 9/11. We at LED have been working over the past two years to provide specialty detail engineering (bomb-blast resistant glazing) and bespoke metal components for a majority of the lobby/transit hall and interior. The project comes with unique challenges to realize the design architect’s detailed aesthetic vision and to satisfy the requirements of the Port Authority. When finished, the laser-welded, high-end stainless steel duplex components will elegantly support engineered security glazing to create a model of excellence for material usage, construction tolerances, and engineered design.