Perforated perfection to satisfy civic sensibilities

How do you turn a “not in my backyard” kind of building into a “yes, in my backyard” masterpiece?

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September 05, 2018 |

The garage uses sun control “fins” to create a sustainable, innovative and iconic piece of urban infrastructure. 

When Dattner Architects, with WXY architecture + urban design, began conceptualizing a new garage for the New York City Department of Sanitation, their design team was faced with numerous challenges, including issues related to the building’s location in New York’s Lower West Side—a largely residential community dotted with several high-end condominiums.

For this public project, proprietary specifications could not be used and design details would have to be planned with the potential to be constructed by a range of manufacturers. What would eventually become the Manhattan District’s 1/2/5 Garage—a massive, five-level, 425,000 square-foot facility that would house three district garages and more than 150 sanitation vehicles, as well as a vehicle-wash, personnel, fueling and repair facilities—needed to employ sustainable design strategies while remaining committed to holistic design and civic architecture.

Construction Specialties engineers worked with the design team to develop a unique sun control solution that satisfied the extensive functional and constructability requirements while respecting the project’s requirements as a public effort, exemplifying a commitment to design excellence and sensitivity to the urban context.

The solution was a completely custom sun control system composed of 2,600 30"‑wide perforated vertical aluminum shades resembling fins, mounted entirely on the building’s glazed curtain wall with a custom bracket system and finished with CS’s 20-Year Powder Coating in El Cajon Silver. As a result, this industrial-scale structure doesn’t look so industrial to passing pedestrians, motorists and of course, the neighborhood’s residents.


The upper portion of the garage’s glazed curtain wall is enveloped by 2,600 30"‑wide perforated vertical aluminum shades from Construction Specialties. 


The fins wrap entirely around the double-skin façade that envelops the upper floors of the garage, floating above the building’s dark, articulated masonry base to create a pattern of rhythmic, vertical elements. Bold colors on the garage’s interior circulation further animate the façade from within and help provide an intuitive method for wayfinding throughout the facility.

For good measure, CS also worked with Dattner/WXY to detail a system that features fins angled on the South and West orientations of the façade, which remain perpendicular to the angle of the sun at all times to provide optimal sun blockage.

“CS’s expertise was instrumental in helping us select the appropriate pattern and in developing a custom support system to attach the fins only to the curtain wall,” says Gia Mainiero AIA, LEED AP BD+C and Associate Principal at Dattner Architects.

The fins not only help reduce heat gain and glare in driving and working areas to promote safety, but also create an ethereal wrapper that obscures  CS’s RS-7315 High-Performance Storm Resistant louvers and headlights from the outside on the East side of the garage, following the slopes of the ramps within. Meanwhile, a green roof softens views from neighboring buildings, protects the roof membrane and enhances storm water retention and thermal performance.

These striking elements, together, create a civic building that even discerning New Yorkers are content to have in their backyards. Today, this massive, LEED® Gold-certified facility sits at the corner of Spring Street and West Street, as a beacon for innovative civic architecture that is just as functional as it is beautiful.


To learn more about CS Sun Controls and access technical information visit

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