Choosing the Correct Glass

First, before I move onto my topic for this week, I just have to announce that as of Monday I can officially call myself an architect. I received my license to practice architecture in the state of Texas. For a while it felt like the day would never get here, but now that is has I’m both excited and thankful the process is over! Now, onto other matters. Last week, a colleague and I sat down with a glass rep to pick our glass for the library project I’ve been working on.

We are using a horizontal line fritted glass for all glass above a certain height. Half of this glass occurs where we have a ceiling, so we want to conceal what is behind it and the other half opens into a tall open space that we want people to be able to look through. There will be two spots in the building where the different types of glass will be sitting next to each with only and 2 ½-inch mullion between them. The question becomes how do we get these two types of glass to look the same from the exterior.

We have come up with two possible solutions and are waiting on samples to determine what we think will work best. The first option is to use a spandrel glass. Now usually the color is applied to the number 2 surface but since that’s where our frit is, we will be applying it to the number 4 surface. Our big question here is what color to use. We are going to experiment using black, white, gray, and a green since the glass we’re using has a green tint to it. Hopefully one of these options will achieve the correct look. We were a little surprised when experimenting with a glass sample we had in the office that it appears the white isn’t going to work well because it blends in with the white frit and the pattern doesn’t read very well.

The second option is to use a satin finish. Since this allows shadows to be visible through it, we would have to paint the studs and insulation behind it so that we don’t read the rhythm of the studs behind the glass. Again the question arises about what color of paint should we use. The satin gives a softer look and makes everything a little more obscure.

I personally think that the spandrel will look better but my colleague believes that the satin will. When we get the samples in we will set up a mock up and use natural sunlight to determine which will look best. I look forward to finding the verdict.


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