Under Cover

With glass, sometimes it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The use of architectural glass and glazing on the interior of buildings continues to expand as the architect and design community realizes the material’s potential. Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal takes a peek into some recently completed projects that feature glass as a key component of an inside space’s design.

Voxman School of Music

Iowa City, Iowa

The University of Iowa Voxman School of Music building has gotten plenty of praise for its glassy exterior, and for good reason. The building is wrapped in curtainwall and windows that connect the performers inside with passersby—while maintaining acoustical integrity, energy efficiency and optimal daylighting.

With that said, the glass and glazing in the interior of the facility deserves its share of credit, too.

Transparency throughout the School of Music was clearly a priority for design firm Neumann Monson Architects, working in collaboration with LMN Architects. On the building’s interior, they specified a half-dozen different glazing systems from Avanti—and some of them in a big way.

Installed by glazing contractor Architectural Wall Systems (AWS), Avanti’s Elevare Stacking Double Glazed system was implemented on one of the entrances. It consisted of stacked lites totaling 24 feet high, and the system also integrated a panic door.

In all, the system weighs close to 5,000 pounds. Structural engineering ensured the weight could be handled and anchored into the floor and associated side walls. While the system itself is designed to support the glass panels, the floor and side-wall anchors were engineered to support the weight.

In another area of the school’s interior, 15-foot-high insulating lites were installed along with a double-glazed mullion system from Avanti, which also incorporated double panic doors. Acoustics played a major factor in product choice throughout the project, which included laminated glass.

Horizontal structural steel support was included in the design, aluminum framework was finished with a metallic silver powder coating, and the door fittings and hardware had a brushed stainless steel finish. Other glazed partition systems were implemented in the building’s office suites. Those spaces used 3/8-inch-thick glass that’s white, frosted and opaque, gradually changing to clear.


CSU Health and Medical Center

Fort Collins, Colo.

Colorado State University’s new medical center boasts an expansive circular glass railing that required the help of laser technology to meet a tight construction timeline.

Trex Commercial Products was called in on a compressed schedule to supply 720 linear feet of its Vista stainless steel and glass railing for the Bennett Wagner Grody Architects-designed project. Adolphson & Peterson was the general contractor, and ISEC-Colorado installed the railings, which included a point-supported glass smoke baffle. Glasshape North America L.P. supplied the glass.

According to Trex, the original railing supplier was unable to complete the work it had started. In order to keep things on track, Trex used a 3-D laser scanning system to design and produce the remaining railing, so it could be integrated with the existing work as seamlessly as possible.

The process, known as High Definition Surveying (HDS) or Reality Capture, used a 3-D scanner tool to produce mapping of the project’s design and geometry. Multiple scans were taken of each floor, data points were collected, and Trex created submittal drawings off of the project scan. According to the company, this eliminated the need for field dimensioning post-architectural approval.

The circular staircase features a fascia-mounted railing application, and a top-mounted installation was used for accompanying overlooks.

1000 Sansome

San Francisco

A four-story adaptive reuse ware-house-turned-office space in San Francisco, tabbed 1000 Sansome, underwent a massive facelift.

The original building was dimly lit, featuring low ceilings and a second-floor entrance. Lundberg Design & MacCracken Architects opened up the space and increased ceiling height, using glass to boost daylight throughout and create a contemporary design.

The architects opted for large lites of interlocking glass in the lobby, specifying Pilkington Profilit channel glass from Technical Glass Products (TGP). According to TGP, the linear, U-shaped, cast-glass channels are self-supporting and mounted in a custom framing system fabricated by Chris French Metal and designed by MacCracken Architects.

“Not only does the channel glass act as a beautiful divide between rooms, it also offers the durability we needed in place of solid walls,” says Daniel Robinson, principal at MacCracken Architects. “We were happy to have found a product that helped us reach the desired aesthetic, as the glass allows light to diffuse into each part of the building.”

On the Out

The Voxman School of Music’s exterior façade features curtainwall and window systems from Wausau Window and Wall Systems and finished by Linetec. AWS installed the glass, fabricated by Viracon.

The systems supplier and glazing contractor collaborated closely to accomplish the design intent of LMN and Neumann Monson. According to LMN, glass was specified to provide transparency between the public outside and the performers inside.

On the exterior of the building, glass lines a concert hall, wraps around to the main entrance and over the recital hall, where it spans 50 feet in height. The structure also features a unique shingled curtain-wall in which glass and metal units are layered.

As they were on the interior, acoustics were a key focus with the exterior glazing. Wausau constructed and tested units to verify the system would meet stringent Sound Transmission Class rating requirements, as laminated insulating glass with a 5-inch airspace was used in the curtainwall. Glass for the window system in the concert hall features a 3-inch airspace and SageGlass electrochromic glass.

Glass was a key feature of the building’s exterior, allowing for a combination of transparency, daylight and acoustical control.


Nick St. Denis is the editor of Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal. He can be reached at nstdenis@glass.com.

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