Presidential Glazing

FreedomPlaza_tmbGlazing takes center stage at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. One design challenge was to not only give the building the kind of aesthetically pleasing appearance befitting a former American president, but to do so with the environment and energy savings in mind. Those involved with the project say they had a specific plan in mind for how glass could help them achieve just that when charged with aiding in the building’s construction. It took all hands on deck to pull off the massive undertaking honoring the nation’s 43rd president.

“I had like every metal or wood known to man on this job,” says Jason Wroblewski, senior project manager for Haley-Greer, the project’s contract glazier. “It consumed my life for some two-and-a-half years.”

New York-based architectural firm Robert A.M. Stern designed the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

PPG’s Solarban 70XL Starphire® glass was the low-E glass chosen to reduce the center’s energy consumption with its balance of transparency and solar control. “It’s a classical kind of look that integrates with new design features,” says Glenn Minor, PPG’s director of construction float glass business unit. “It worked quite well with the architect.”

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) platinum-certified George W. Bush Presidential Center has proven a big hit since opening on May 1.

That was just the idea, Minor says.

“When you’re working on a project like a presidential library,” he says, “you want it to be perfect.”

Minor says the glazing, which features triple-silver coating on a low-iron glass substrate, helps maintain a comfortable climate inside the center without compromising light transmission

“This project needed to go green,” says Lisa Li, PPG’s Texas-based national architectural manager.

Though it can be found throughout the entire center, the glass is featured prominently in the center’s central orientation point in Freedom Hall, which is topped by a 67-foot, 50-by-50-foot glass and limestone lantern. The glazing enables daylight from the lantern to flood the core of the building and to appear as a soft-glowing beacon that is visible at night.

Haley-Greer’s work appeared never-ending at times to Wroblewski and his colleagues, but they persevered. The company’s biggest contribution to the center came in the form of the pre-glazed oversized exterior windows that came from Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE). Wroblewski got both the metal and glass from OBE. He went to Hope’s Windows and Doors in Jamestown, N.Y., for the steel windows needed and to Ellison Custom Balanced Doors for the custom-made, bronze and glass doors required for the center’s main entrance. Duratherm Windows were used on the interior wooden windows.

Haley-Greer was also charged with installing the banked glass handrail near the September 11 monument inside the center.

Wroblewski admits to being initially intimidated at the gargantuan task to befall him, but he never shied from the challenge.

“It was really neat to be a part of because it was a presidential center,” he says, “and presidential centers aren’t built near you very often.”

Li attributed the project’s overall success to effective communication at every stage, with “all parties involved understanding it’s an important project.”