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At High-Tech New D.C. Office, Ignore The Tricks Behind the Curtain Wall

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The transparent rippling facade of 2050 M Street incorporates custom curved glass and a set of sophisticated visual tricks.

Known more for its Greek-inspired civic architecture than cutting-edge modern construction, Washington, D.C. will soon be home to an innovative and undulating new office building, according to Co.Design.

Designed by New York-based firm REX, the transparent rippling facade of 2050 M Street incorporates custom curved glass and a set of sophisticated visual tricks to create a new kind of curtain wall that promises to offer dramatically more lightness and transparency.

The main feature is the glass facade, 900 subtly concave panels supported entirely from their top and bottom edges. The four-inch curve adds enough structural strength to forgo the thick mullions typically found between panes on a standard high-rise. Because the protruding points of the glass are considered to be "architectural features," they can extend past the borders of a typical buildable lot, adding usable floor space.

The elimination of mullions adds to the building’s fluid appearance, but the tricks don't end there. REX cleverly tapered the thickness of the floors along the edges of the building, making the structure look lighter and thinner. Additionally, the building’s columns are pushed back more than twelve feet from its facade, creating the feeling that the building’s floors are floating.

Inside, the sleek glass structure is warmed up with a teak-lined lobby decorated with walls covered in natural cowhide.

REX Radically Rethinks The Glass Curtain Wall [Co.Design]

Architectural Reflections Captured by Photographer Vicente Muñoz [Curbed]