Glass atrium replaces underused courtyard at SUNY student union

Photos by William Lemke, courtesy of Super Sky Products Enterprises LLC. 

The basics: In an effort to revitalize the Student Union Building at the State University of New York at New Paltz, the existing concrete building and underused courtyard were transformed into a welcoming "winter garden" encased in glass and metal. The $13.4 million student union expansion and renovation was designed to meet Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Inspired by the regional landscape of the Catskill Mountains, the form and shape of the Student Union's new Atrium is abstracted from the Shawangunk Ridge. Additionally, the project meets sustainability goals, providing daylighting, outside views, thermal comfort and interior air quality.

The players: Architect, ikon.5 architects,; general contractor, Niram Inc.; glazing system manufacturer and installer, Super Sky Products Enterprises LLC,; glass fabricator, Viracon Inc.,; glazing system finisher, Linetec,

The glass and systems: 10,150 square feet of multifaceted, vertical, inverted and overhead glass in an aluminum frame and supported by an exposed steel structure. The glass is VNE2-63 insulating glass with argon fill and a low-emissivity coating. All of the aluminum framing and cladding components were painted with different colors on the interior and exterior—a Bone White 50 percent Kynar polyvinylidene fluoride resin coating on the inside and a Sea Foam Green custom two-coat mica, 70 percent Kynar 500 PVDF resin-based coating on the outside. The coatings are made through a process that removes almost 100 percent of the volatile organic compounds.