Volume 43, Issue 9 - September 2008

Glass Designs

Reshaping the Miami Skyline

Soaring to 700 feet, Marquis, Miami’s second tallest building, was recently “topped-off,” and its completion adds a sleek and geometric addition to the metropolitan skyline.

Designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica, the Marquis features a unique grid of interlocking glass parallelograms. It will serve as a glittering beacon to the Arts and Entertainment District of downtown Miami, bringing new energy, sophistication and “six-star” hotel lifestyle to this already vital cultural center.

The single-tower, 67-story building—wrapped in glass—stands regally at the edge of the Biscayne Bay shoreline, and literally reflects the sunlight and water around it.

Arquitectonica’s founding principal, Bernardo Fort-Brescia, notes the structure’s angles and gemstone- like shine are pivotal design elements. “The building will appear to be a sparkling crystal stalagmite formation in the skyline,” Fort-Brescia explains. “Using the dynamic light and changing organic environment of Miami, the Marquis will bring a magical and artistic presence, offering the city its own architectural crown jewel.”

For the project, fabricator Viracon supplied 207,000 square feet of its 9/16-inch gray laminated glass and 47,000 square feet of its 9/16-inch gray laminated glass with white ceramic frit on the #3 surface as well as 11,800 square feet of its 9/16-inch laminated glass with an etched finish on the #4 surface.

Drama at the
University of Michigan
Since 2007, the Charles R. Walgreen, Jr. Drama Center has been the home for the University of Michigan’s Department of Theatre and Drama, including the Arthur Miller Theatre. Located near the entrance to the University’s North campus, students, faculty and visitors are greeted by the impressive structure, designed by KPMB Architects, as they arrive on campus.

Most notable in the design is the glass cube that encapsulates the Arthur Miller Theatre. The 250- seat black box theatre is wrapped in a translucent glass envelope and includes a 40-foot high interior that can be seen from the North campus quad. During daylight hours, the cube is a stately design, by night it serves as a magnificent glass beacon.

The glass is Guardian SunGuard SN 68 with a low-E coating that provides a neutral appearance without sacrificing energy savings. A total of approximately 21,000 square feet of glass was used for the project, allowing the architects to use glass and lighting to achieve an exterior that evokes the “transformative and illusory effects of theatre.”

Green in Greensburg
Greensburg, Kan., has made environmental sustainability its rebuilding goal after an F5-caliber tornado devastated the entire county seat. A community art center has been constructed using reclaimed wood, along with a protective glass wall that surrounds the entire structure.

The 3/8-inch thick Tintex glass allowed designers to create a unique aesthetic outer layer for the Art Center, while providing the desired performance characteristics needed for energy savings and UV protection of the exterior. It was important to protect the wood finished exterior, as it was created using reclaimed materials from the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, a local decommissioned military storage facility destroyed in the tornado.

Studio 804 Inc., a design/build program at the University of Kansas consisting of graduate architecture students and led by Dan Rockhill, JL Constant Distinguished Professor of Architecture, completed the overall building design.

The Tintex glass was produced by Vitro America’s parent company, Vitro, at the Mexicali, Mexico facility, and fabricated by Vitro America in Dallas.

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