Offer Innovative Uses for Decorative Glass
When it comes to making an architectural statement, glass
products can offer many options, from color and texture to patterns, images
and even size. Architects increasingly have turned to glass and decorative
glass products as a means to bring a unique detail to their projects.
A variety of forms, styles and designs are available.
In this month’s photo gallery we take a look at two recently completed,
unique projects. One application shows us that industrial or mechanical
building projects don’t have to have a dull aesthetic, while another features
an innovative glass product that casts a unique light on an educational
University of San Francisco
Glazing Contractor: Alcal Specialty Contracting
Fabricator: Technical Glass Products
The University of San Francisco’s (USF) new John Lo Schiavo Center for
Science and Innovation (CSI) brings science to the forefront of academic
life. For NBBJ architects, the inspiration for the new LEED Gold building
stemmed from the faculty’s desire to bring passion to the study of science
within the USF academic curriculum.
“A key driver behind the CSI was to put science on display and create
buzz within the student body,” says Lilian Asperin-Clyman, principal at
In implementing the design vision, one challenge was to create an attention-grabbing,
garden-level façade that satisfies acoustic and thermal performance demands.
NBBJ chose to work with Pilkington Profilit™ channel glass from Technical
Glass Products (TGP).
The linear, U-shaped, cast-glass channels are self-supporting and mounted
in an extruded metal perimeter frame. In the case of CSI, they were installed
vertically, forming tight radii as they animate and follow the curve of
the building’s adjacent walkway. The combination of raked and curved channel
glass heads and sills make the size and positioning of each channel glass
piece unique, and allow the façade to transition between curved and straight
sections. The lighting strategy in which channel glass is used creates
a lantern effect that contributes to the character of the exterior spaces
after dark. At the CSI’s main-level entrance, a second layer of channel
glass mirrors a portion of the exterior channel glass façade to create
a glazed corridor.
“The glazed hallway adds dynamism to the building by highlighting the
silhouette of students walking inside,” adds Asperin-Clyman. “It also
improves safety on campus by allowing borrowed light to spill out from
the building on to an area frequently traversed by students, faculty and
Both the exterior façade and glazed channel glass hallway helped the design
team meet thermal and acoustic performance goals. The design incorporates
clear channel glass with a low-E coating in a custom-painted, thermally
improved frame with head receptor. In select locations, Lumira® aerogel
was used in the enclosed space between the channels to help enhance energy
performance and reduce sound transmission.
Ohio State University, South Chiller Plant
Architect: Ross Barney
Glazing Contractor: Blakely Corp.
Fabricator: Goldray Industries Ltd.
Who knew a chiller plant could look so good? Industrial or mechanical
buildings are typically very functional, with little attention paid to
aesthetics, but the South Chiller Plant at the Ohio State University in
Columbus, Ohio, puts architectural decorative glass to good use. It incorporates
tempered, laminated glass fins with a dichroic film laminated between
the lites of glass. The dichroic laminated glass was also used to make
glass boxes that sit on the outside of the building which are lit at night
to show an array of colors.
According to Cathie Saroka, Goldray’s marketing director, the glass fabricator
for this project, the Chicago-based firm Ross Barney Architects “was very
innovative in its design concepts, from the energy efficiency of the water
chilling plant to the unexpected beauty of the exterior.”
Likewise, the dichroic film made by 3M is a non-metallic, non-conductive,
non-corrosive and non-oxidizing film and can be used in exterior applications
without being held back from the glass edge.
“Since there are no visible moving parts, dichroic glass fins located
in the joints of the precast panels, will convey a sense of motion as
the colors change with the movement of the sun. The design incorporates
sustainable principals and will be integrated with the planning of LEED
certification of other district facilities,” says Ross Barney Architects.
Architects explain that the dichoric glass consists of heat-strengthened
glass laminated with a plastic interlayer and dichroic film. The typical
size of the fins is 3 feet wide by 5 feet high to ease the fabrication
and installation process. Consideration was given to use of tinted glass
and colored glass using various processes.
Saroka adds, “The colors of the laminated glass fins are constantly changing
with both the viewing angle and the movement of the sun, adding a surprising
aesthetic component to the building.
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