Volume 49, Issue 6 - June 2014


Arresting Developments
Architectural Projects 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 facility.

Illuminating Options
University of San Francisco
Architect: NBBJ
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 NBBJ.

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 visitors.”

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.

Cooling Off
Ohio State University, South Chiller Plant
Ross Barney
Glazing Contractor:
Blakely Corp.
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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