The cube’s Pantone-like color scheme and façade of punctured and laser-cut aluminum sets the building apart from its neighbors.
The project’s bravura formal element is an immense conical void that punctures the façade at its northwest corner and extends up through the roof, opening the interior out toward a bend in the river. The purpose of the cone is not merely visual. During the summer months, the internal atrium formed by the cone’s void pulls in cool air off the river, and then funnels it into the building, a natural convection that reduces the demand for air conditioning.
The Orange Cube actually has two façades, and yes, they’re both orange. The outer façade, or “veil,” is a screen of punched aluminum panels—each 4 millimeters thick and roughly 1.3 meters wide by 3.33 meters tall—designed to shield the building from the sun. Though the panels appear almost solid when viewed from a distance or at an angle, they are in fact just 35 percent opaque, and from close up are effectively translucent. The architects created 25 standardized panels that are repeated to form the veil, though specific panels had to be designed for the ground and top levels to account for programmatic requirements such as entries and viewing areas. Each panel was laser-cut, to give the screen its large, bubble-shaped apertures, and punch-pressed, to create the “micro-perforations” that give it translucency. After cutting, the panels were “thermo-lacquered” in their distinctive orange hue, a technique that entailed spray-coating the panels with paint and then baking them in ovens, similar to the process of curing enamel. The entire process was completed locally.
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