Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2004


Flag ‘Em Down
Announcing the Winner of the First Annual USGlass Glass Innovation Awards

by Ellen Giard Chilcoat

Last July USGlass magazine issued a call for entries for its first annual Glass Innovation Awards. We wanted to recognize a project that took glass to the next level; something innovative, creative and simply extraordinary. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. 

Here, we are highlighting the work of Baltimore architectural firm Richter Cornbrooks and Gribble, which entered our winner—the Star Spangled Banner Flag House Museum. (Editor’s note: As it is more seasonal appropriate, the Star Spangled Banner Flag House Museum will be featured on the cover of the June 2004 USGlass.)

Stars and Stripes Forever
The Star Spangled Banner Flag House Museum is a project all its own. The structurally glazed façade was designed as an exact replica of the original flag. The original flag measured 30 by 42 feet and so, too, does the museum wall, which features ¼-inch bands of colored, ceramic frit on low-iron, laminated, opti-white glass. Construction began in July 2002 and the museum was completed June 12, 2003. 

Mero Structures of Menomonee Falls, Wis., provided the glass and metal for the project and also served as the glazing contractor. The fritted glass was fabricated through Mero Wurzburg by BGT Bischoff Glastechnik of Bretten, Germany. Total glazing cost was $389,000.

What the Judges Say
There was no question that the project drew accolades from our judges.

Here’s what Kirk Osgood of CDC Inc. had to say:

“The use of glass to carry out the theme of the project dramatically achieved the intent of the architect’s design.” 

Greg Carney with the Glass Association of North America also found the project impressive.

“The design team and building envelope contractor did an outstanding job of using the available technology in fabricated, architectural glass products and point-supported glass wall systems to make a statement of the historical purpose and importance of the building.” 

What the Entrant Said
When it came to choosing a project to enter, architect Jonathan Fishman said the Star Spangled Banner Flag House was a natural decision.

“It was the most innovative thing we’d ever done with glass,” he said. “We had the opportunity to design with a system and technology that we’d never done before. It was an exciting result; to go through the process to develop a new use of material for us and see it executed.”

The use of colored glass was one notable aspect of the project. 

“The most exciting part was showing how much you can get out of using color in glass,” Fishman said. “There’s a lot of frit used in the United States, but it’s usually white. [So using color] opens up a lot of design possibilities.”

The colored frit, however, did pose a challenge. Because each lite of glass was so large, 6 by 8 feet, it was difficult to find a company that could fabricate the glass. 
“The color and finding someone who could do it [was challenging],” said Fishman. “At one point we almost abandoned the idea because we didn’t think there was anyone who could do the color, especially the red. We went through a long period of research and evaluation, and fortunately found the right people.”

Honorable Mentions
The two projects ranking just after the flag house were the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, by J.E. Berkowitz of Westville, N.J., and the Jewish Federation of Tulsa entered by Advantage Glass Inc., also of Tulsa. 

For the National Constitution Center J.E. Berkowitz served as the glass fabricator, providing acid-etched, low-iron and laminated glass valued at $500,000.

“The unique engineering and design included jumbo ¾-inch float glass, 9 by 26 feet high, double laminated, low-iron glass cut into parallelograms with intricate countersunk hole fabrication for suspended glazing, acid-etched glass for a barrel vault, etc.” said Arthur Berkowitz, president, in his entry statement. “We worked closely with the architect [Henry N. Cobb of Pei, Cobb, Freed] and glazing contractor [APG America] on one of the most unique projects in the Mid-Atlantic states, which just opened on July 4 [of last year].”

For the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, designed by Atkins-Benham, Advantage Glass served as the glazing subcontractor, installing curtainwall and green, insulating, low-E, argon-filled glass. The entire glazing project was designed and fabricated on site. Glass was valued at $60,000 and the metal was valued at $70,000. 

“This was a unique project, in that the curtainwall does not sit in a framed opening. A sill ledge was built, but no header or jambs,” said Jason Merritt, project manager. “All framing is attached to the outside of the building. ‘Overhangs’ were created at all jamb and head locations by using ¼-inch tempered glazing that is captured only on two sides.” He continued, “There were no shop drawings created for this project due to the strange nature of conditions.”

Your Turn to Shine?
Now that you’ve seen the winners, are you ready to show your stuff? An entry form will be available in the July 2004 issue of USGlass. Or, if you’re ready to enter now, you can download the entry form and guidelines from www.glass.com/glassawards. 


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