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NXNC Lecture Series

10
Oct

Mark Sexton is a founding principal of Krueck+Sexton Architects. Together with Ronald Krueck, he designs and manages all of the firm’s work. Mark is responsible for the development and execution of design ideas and for the coordination of the project teams. He works on every level of a project, ensuring that his history with and dedication to craftsmanship, material and detail enables the firms’ built work to express the values of modern design with a timeless quality.

Mark believes that modernism isn’t dead and that they are the 2nd or 3rd generation and they are starting to take it in a new direction. The values of materials, structure, light and space are there and haven’t been completely explored.

One of their early projects was a residential project. The client’s inspiration was they wanted to live in a painting. Mark was skeptical, but since they didn’t have any work at the time, he thought ok, we can do this.

Mark and Ron claimed they would do one of every building type in the world and they even did one factory building. The client wanted to give his employees a great working environment. One feature is the factory floor and management offices are separated by a glass wall so that it minimized the separation and enhanced the feeling that they were all working together to make a great product.

After going through some of their early work, Mark focused on a very interesting art installation called the Crown Fountain, located in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The fountain was designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa. The fountain is composed of two 50 foot glass block towers, LEDs and water. The project required a lot of design work to bring all this together successfully. The block towers are supposed to look like they are floating on the water. They had to design the glass block and found some Czechoslovakian glass makers outside of Pittsburgh. The blocks are two inches thick and the glass is totally clear. There were 22,000 blocks and each one was hand cast.

Early on in the project, they created a mock up with wood blocks in a compression ring. It looked great until they moved it a quarter of an inch and every one of the blocks exploded out. After that they came up with a steel T-grid that holds the blocks instead of relying on the blocks to take any of the load. After working out the glass block issues, there were issues with the LEDs and the water. They didn’t want anyone drowning, so the water in the reflecting pool is only two inches deep. Ultimately the fountain opened in July 2004 and is very popular, especially on hot summer days. You can find additional information on this project and others at Krueck+Sexton Architects, by using this link: http://www.ksarch.com/projects/CrownFountain/CrownFountain.php

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