175 Park Avenue, home of Realogy Headquarters in Madison, NJ , designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and installed by APG International, is an example of how Boston Valley Terra Cotta collaborates with ceramic artists to create unique glazes, profiles and more. Featuring bold metallic glazes from Netherlands-based ceramic artist Christine Jetten, custom terra cotta components and custom engineered hanging systems, 175 Park Avenue demonstrates Boston Valley’s ability to solve unique design challenges.
Architect Hugh Trumbull chose three bronze and gold metallic glazes for the design, which were originally formulated by Christine Jetten in her studio. After nine months of testing and adjusting the glaze recipe, Jetten and our color lab successfully recreated the glaze for use in Boston Valley’s production kilns. As the glazes were very sensitive to temperature and responded dramatically to the plane in which they were fired, the columns had to be fired standing up and the baguettes hung inside the kiln.
Additionally, all three terra cotta components utilized custom extrusions; these included a triangular louver and two column segments. One segment is smooth and used at the bottom and top of the column assembly and the other is fluted and is comprises the middle. Column segments were extruded with cores for stability during the drying and bisque firing. These cores had to be removed before the columns could be attached to the fastening clips. They are not set in mortar but rather are hung from a custom-engineered rain screen fastening system developed by Boston Valley and Larson Engineering. The triangle baguettes feature custom aluminum splines, gaskets and end caps for sections that are cantilevered beyond the vertical support system.
While presenting many design challenges, 175 Park Avenue showcases Boston Valley’s flexibility and problem-solving abilities. The LEED certified building is an excellent example of how Boston Valley can collaborate with an entire project team to bring an architect’s vision into fruition. Following the completion of the building, Hugh Trumbull had this to say about the terra cotta: “Working in terracotta is absolutely fascinating – the material is so rich and powerful. I fully believe that understanding the process of creating the material, the fabrication, the science, the art, and of course the craftsmanship, unlocks terracotta’s true potential for any project seeking design excellence. At 175 Park Avenue, Boston Valley Terra Cotta and Christine Jetten allowed KPF to explore exciting glaze elements that defined the project’s iconic architectural features. This successful collaboration elevated the building quality as a whole.”