Smooth as Silk
Seek is one word you could use to describe the newly opened
Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania
(UPenn) campus in Philadelphia. The high-tech research facility and laboratory
features 18,000 square feet of glazing fabricated by J.E. Berkowitz (JEB).
New York City-based architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi of Weiss/Manfredi
designed the acid-etched and silk-screened glass-clad, 78,000-square-foot
building to accommodate UPenn’s work in nanotechnology.
According to project manager Todd Hoehn, of Weiss/Manfredi, “The crystalline
façade overlooking the central courtyard was critical to the project.
We were able to create a custom effect by combining five matching, but
offset acid-etched and silk-screened patterns in insulating glass units
“The most interesting aspect of this project was the fabrication and assembly
of the two custom components for each IGU,” adds Darrell Cherry, project
manager for JEB. “Each lite had to be precisely aligned to achieve the
desired window blind effect. The result is fascinating.”
National Glass and Metal Co. Inc. of Horsham, Pa., served as contract
glazier for the project. JEB fabricated the 1-5/16-inch IGUs with ¼-inch
interior lites featuring silk-screened patterns. The exterior lites used
acid-etched patterns by Walker Glass Co. of Herminie, Pa., which was laminated
with ¼-inch lites of high-performance low-E glass by Guardian Industries.
“The artistic glass façade created a building skin that appears to be
made of layers of glazing due to the use of acid etching and silk screening,”
says Chris Dolan, director of commercial glass marketing for Guardian
Industries. “The project used Guardian SunGuard AG 50 low-E on UltraWhite
low-iron glass to help reduce glare and solar heat gain while providing
a public space filled with natural light.”
According to a statement from R.A. Heintges & Associates, the curtainwall
consultant for the project which included a 30,000 square foot cladding
area, “The design for this new building housing a nanoscale research center
at the University of Pennsylvania utilizes a wall system of opaque metal
panels to wrap the delicate research laboratories at the north side of
the site. The interior includes a glass atrium that offers interaction
with the landscaped southern lawn, and an ascending spiral of multi-use
spaces that culminates in a public forum overlooking the campus.”
Completed in October 2013, the Krishna P. Singh Center has already received
design recognition by winning the Chicago Athenaeum’s 2013 International
Architecture Award and the 2013 American Architecture Award.
Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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