Glass-way to Heaven - Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal

Glass-way to Heaven

September 17th, 2013 | Category: Featured News
Photo by James Steinkamp

Photo by James Steinkamp

Looking for absolution? Designing the glass for a campus ministry may be the way to go. Guy Kemper, a commissioned artist who recently worked on the decorative interior and exterior glazing for the Sykes Center for Faith and Values at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., says the architecture served as a spiritual guide for his design.

“The architecture always guides the design,” he says. “Those tall thin windows in the mediation chapel are very meditative and lift your eye, and hopefully spirit, up.”

Kemper adds that the architectural design elements of the building shaped his direction for the project. “The door surrounds are purely architectural. The building had a truncated, Gothic arch. That geometry is throughout the entire building, so I took that same curve and angle and that is the shape of those door surrounds,” he says. “You don’t really notice it as that, but it feels right. They’re beautiful pieces of decorative glass.

“I’m a painter and that’s my design. I drew those openings on a piece of paper,” Kemper adds. “After examining the entire architectural dynamic, the placement of the opening in the building, psychological contact of the art in the space, the pallet of the interior furnishings, I put all of those into my design response. Then I paint the design, and Rahmi Schulz translates that design into blown glass. The glass looks just like the painting.”

Photo by Bob Thompson

Photo by Bob Thompson

Schulz, of Derix Glasstudios in eastern Germany, served as the glass fabricator, translating Kemper’s paintings into acid-etched, blown glass.

“Guy Kemper’s projects are always difficult to realize, because his designs work on different levels. It’s always a three-dimensional situation to show in glass. I used the etching technique to etch the flash from the antique glass. I also paint enamel on top of the glass and Silverstain on the back of the glass, which includes several times of firing the glass in our kilns,” says Schulz. “When we think everything is fine, which we can say after seeing it on the lighting table, the project goes in the glazer room and the antique pieces go in the next productions steps.”

TVS Design Atlanta served as the architect and interior designer and Peter Brown Construction of Clearwater, Fla., served as the general contractor.

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