Glass-roof atria glow at United States Institute of Peace

Photograph Copyright Timothy Hursley.

The basics: The headquarters for the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., sits directly opposite the Lincoln Memorial and features sweeping glass-roof atria that form the shape of a dove and an olive branch, according to contract glazier Seele. White membranes span across the aluminum frames suspended below the roof glazing, causing the roof to appear white during the day, and to glow at night. The facility also features four glazed curtain wall facades. The roof and façade glazing meet blast-resistant criteria. According to Seele, the design for the building, by architect Moshe Safdie, was inspired by the limestone dome of the Jefferson Memorial.

The players: Architect, Moshe Safdie and Associates, Somerville, Mass.; glazing design, engineering, assembly and installation, Seele, with U.S. headquarters in New York City; glass fabricator, BGT Bischoff Glass Technik, Germany; metal system fabricator, Pilsen, Czeck Republic; general contractor, Clark Construction Group, Bethesda, Md.

The glass and systems: The free-form, self-supporting shell structures of the atria feature traverse beams of multiple-cranked steel sections, with aluminum glazing bars on top, concealed Sefix retainers and a continuous silicone joint. The roof glass consists of one lite of 8-millimeter, low-iron toughened glass; a 16-mm airspace; and a 13.52-mm laminated lite with heat-strengthened, low-iron glass and a matte-white interlayer. Half of the curtain wall glass and the clearstory façade glass consist of an 8-mm toughened, low-iron lite; a 16-mm airspace; and a laminated lite with heat strengthened low-iron glass, and a low-E coating on the No. 3 surface. The remainder of the curtain wall glass consists of a 11.52-mm laminated heat strengthened low-iron lite, a 16 mm airspace, and a 13.52-mm laminated heat strengthened lite, and a low-E coating on the No. 5 surface.