Dewberry was awarded a Jurors’ Special Citation Award for the 2016 Metals in Construction design challenge. Designers were invited to submit their vision for recladding New York City’s MetLife building (formerly known as the Pan Am building) while meeting Architecture 2030 Challenge requirements. They were asked to reimagine the building with a resource-conserving, eco-friendly enclosure—one that creates a highly efficient envelope with the lightness and transparency sought by today’s office workforce—while preserving and enhancing the aesthetic of the building’s heritage.
Dewberry’s design submission emulated the photonastic activity of the purple oxalis flower as it adjusts to its environment by blooming in the sunlight and collapsing into a bud in the dark. With the building being covered in photovoltaic cells, the façade presents an organic system of moving wall panels that open in response to sunlight. The panels change opacity and store energy for nighttime illumination, exemplifying the façade’s sustainable qualities and making it a beacon for harvesting clean energy.
“We chose this project for a citation award mainly because…it exhibited the thought leadership that a building can have a performing envelope that can actually generate its own energy and be responsive to the climate in ways that we need more projects to be thinking of and dreaming of. This one does it in a very poetic way, a very technologically astute way,” says Metals in Construction juror, Joshua D. Coleman.