A Lesson  
Glass ‘Ticks All the Boxes’ at Grammar School  
wego Elementary School, in New York State,  
was one of four Owego Apalachin Central School  
District buildings destroyed in 2011 during  
Tropical Storm Lee flooding. The damage at the  
facility and in the community was devastating, yet  
From the Inside  
Daylighting and views to the outside are a  
key component to modern educational building  
design, something the architect took to heart at  
Owego Elementary.  
half a decade later, as a symbol of the town’s resur-  
gence, the school is bigger and better than ever.  
Glass had a little something to do with it.  
The new 124,000 square-foot building fea-  
tures a breadth of glass in curtainwall, windows,  
entrances and other applications, which help  
achieve the design’s primary energy, security and  
occupant well-being goals.  
New York-based Highland Associates worked  
closely with Guardian on glass selection, settling  
on the manufacturer’s triple-silver Guardian  
SunGuard SNX 62/27 and SunGuard IS 20 prod-  
ucts. J.E. Berkowitz fabricated the glass, which  
was installed by contract glazier Forno Enterprises  
Inc., of Trout Creek, N.Y.  
More than 90 percent of the school’s occupied  
spaces have unobstructed views of the outside,  
enabling occupants to maintain a visual connec-  
tion with nature while reaping the benefits of  
natural light.  
Highland senior associate David Degnon  
says the majority of the school has a north-  
south orientation, with some classrooms turn-  
ing slightly east-west. A range of window con-  
figurations accommodated optimal daylighting  
in the classrooms.  
Glass was a key  
component in  
Highland Associates’  
design of the Owego  
Elementary School  
in New York State  
for many reasons,  
including daylighting,  
energy efficiency and  
“In the classrooms that are in the single-story  
wing, and on the second floor, we provided clere-  
story windows at the corridor side of the room  
with a classroom ceiling that slopes from the win-  
Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal  
in Designby Nick St. Denis  
dow wall to the corridor side,” he says. “On the  
first-floor classrooms, this was not an option, so  
we did the opposite. We sloped the ceiling from  
the corridor up to the window wall and provided  
the classroom with a larger window to maximize  
the amount of daylight provided.  
On the north side of the building, the spaces  
are flooded with wonderful northern ambient  
light. The complicated glass compositions, cou-  
pled with shading devices, allow the remaining  
orientations the same benefit of natural light.”  
From the Outside  
Glass makes up a significant portion of the  
façade, putting a premium on color and appear-  
ance. Degnon says the neutral cast of the SunGuard  
SNX glass complemented the palate of exterior  
building materials, which includes bluestone,  
continued on page 16  
Spring 2017  
limestone and brown, blue and copper metal panels. Engineering a glass that ticked all of the boxes was  
A Lesson  
We designed with the thought that the day-to-  
a key factor in our selection.”  
in Design  
night appearance, color and transparency of the  
glass was an expressive façade material,” he says.  
Energy Considerations  
The design team initially considered triple glaz-  
ing to increase thermal performance. However, this  
would have increased the cost of the façade radically  
continued from page 15  
This building is used extensively after hours as  
well. There is a gymnasium, an auditorium, a caf-  
eteria, and a library that are used not only by the  
district but by the community as well. The use and due to the custom curtainwall system that would be  
placement of glass on the facades allows the build- required for a complex laminated glass make-up.  
ing to glow and expose its inner activity, and be a  
lantern to the community.”  
Instead, it settled on an Argon-filled insulating  
glass unit with the SunGuard IS coating, which  
can help bring the U-value performance of dou-  
ble-glazed units near that of a triple. The glass com-  
bination used on the project combines a 60-percent  
visible light transmission and a 0.26 solar heat gain  
coefficient for a light-to-solar gain ratio of 2.34.  
Multiple Functions  
Highland Associates needed to design a build-  
ing with a high-performing envelope in order to  
meet LEED requirements, and one that would  
qualify for the enhanced acoustical performance  
credit. While the building team naturally exam-  
ined high-performance, low-E glazing options,  
it also knew that incorporating laminated glass  
would greatly reduce the amount of outside noise.  
And the laminated glass selection played a key  
Collaborative Effort  
The design team worked extensively with  
Guardian architectural design manager Eddy Scott.  
“By having Guardian involved early in the pro-  
cess, it helped us avoid any challenges that may have  
role in the most critical design goal: occupant safety. otherwise manifested themselves during the design  
Security was the primary reason we selected  
and construction phases,” says Degnon. AGG  
the makeup of the various types of glass on this  
project,” says Degnon. “In light of recent events,  
security and schools have become synonymous.  
Nick St. Denis is the editor of Architects’ Guide to  
Glass & Metal. He can be reached at nstdenis@glass.com.  
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