Exo Apartments | Architect: R2L: Architects, PLLC | © Mark Kempf Photography

Exo Apartments

Location: Reston, Virginia | United States
Architect: R2L: Architects, PLLC, Washington, D.C. | United States
Construction: John Moriarty & Associates of Virginia LLC, Arlington, VA | United States
Fabricator: Custom Walls & Windows, Inc., Jessup, MD | United States
Year of construction: 2018
Material: ALUCOBOND® PLUS Spectra Ocean

Consisting of two identical 16-floor towers connected with a single-story reception-area link building, the 530,000-square foot Exo is clad in ALUCOBOND® PLUS aluminum composite material in the Spectra Ocean color-shifting finish by 3A Composites USA. The ALUCOBOND® Spectra was selected as a complementary building material to the Exo’s color-changing smart glass technology that adjusts window tint to allow optimal natural light in.

R2L: Architects, PLLC, of Washington, D.C., was tasked with designing Exo for Greystar as the first multi-family residential community in the United States to feature View Dynamic Glass by View, Inc., of Milpitas, Calif.

“Our design was driven by smart glass technology,” said Sacha Rosen, AIA, principal, R2L: Architects. “This was to be a world demonstration project, serving as the first all-residential building using View Dynamic Glass. Incorporating smart glass technology required an extensive design process.”

Apartment residents can control the windows in their apartment through an app that lets in natural light while reducing glare, lowering energy costs and eliminating the need for shades or curtains. Apartment managers also have access to an overall building control for the windows.

To aid in this intricate window design, Custom Walls & Windows, Inc., of Jessup, Md., began work with general contractor John Moriarty & Associates of Virginia, LLC, based in Arlington, Va., and R2L: Architects in early 2017.

“It was Custom Walls & Windows’ suggestion to clad the building with ALUCOBOND® Spectra panels,” said Rosen. “The thought was: If the glass changes colors, why not use metal panels that change colors?”

The project features 150,000 square feet of 4mm ALUCOBOND® PLUS in the Spectra Ocean color-shifting finishing system. ALUCOBOND® Spectra colors allow architects to incorporate a unique, ever-changing color spectrum in the cladding of sophisticated building designs. ALUCOBOND® Spectra panels change colors as different wavelengths of light are reflected back to the audience, depending upon the viewing angle.

“The color of the overall design was generated by the smart glass, so the cladding color had to look good with the glass,” according to Rosen, who said the smart-glass technology offers residents’ four tints ranging from clear to darkening shades of blue. “Custom Walls & Windows suggested the ALUCOBOND® Spectra Ocean color. The color was perfect, so there was no need to pursue custom colors.”

“There are so many new developments on the market in the Washington, D.C., area, you have to differentiate your offering,” said Rosen. “The Exo is very contemporary and different from everything else out there. We used the building materials to make it striking.”

Custom Walls & Windows worked in conjunction with John Moriarty & Associates of Virginia to fabricate and install the ALUCOBOND® Spectra Ocean panels.

“They wanted something special for this project, so we suggested ALUCOBOND® Spectra,” said Alex Bennefield, vice president, Custom Walls & Windows. “We needed a panel color that would complement the color of the electrochromic glass, which darkens four shades. So, we suggested the Spectra Ocean because it wouldn’t be a dramatic change in color from the windows.”

Approximately 16,000 ALUCOBOND® Spectra Ocean panels were fabricated and installed with a male/female interlocking system by Custom Walls & Windows.

“The ALUCOBOND® Spectra fabricates easily just like standard ALUCOBOND® panels,” said Bennefield. “The owners are very happy with the Spectra panels, we’ve heard more comments about these panels than anything else on this project. The color shift really follows you.”

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