For an interior courtyard surrounded by the double-height, floor-to-ceiling glazing of the General Services Administration Office Building in Albuquerque, N.M., Page (formerly Page Southerland Page) senior principal Larry Speck, FAIA, and his team designed a suspended system of transverse wooden slats that serves the building’s site-specific shading needs, while allowing natural light inside.
Speck variably spaced his 2x6 western red cedar slats, which come in lengths of 5, 10, and 15 feet. In order to place the boards in the most effective and economical layout, the designers superimposed sun-tracking data onto its 3D building models in Autodesk Revit. By looping simulations of the sun’s movement throughout the day and year, the designers added slats accordingly and omitted them in locations where the building self-shades the courtyard. The resulting pattern is intended to look randomized for aesthetic reasons, but is in fact quite purposeful.
Note: This article has been modified since first publication to reflect the architecture and engineering firm's updated brand name, Page.
journalist Logan Ward has written about architecture, design, and innovation
for The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Garden & Gun, Preservation, Popular
Mechanics, and many other magazines. Ward is the author of See You in a
Hundred Years, the true account of the year his family traded digital-age
technology for the tools of his great-grandparents’ era.