Glazing performance and uniformity at university building

The basics: The Virginia Commonwealth University Molecular Medicine Research Building is a $71.5 million, 125,000-square-foot research facility and the latest addition to the VCU Medical Center. This highly technical biomedical research facility was inserted into the urban fabric of downtown Richmond. The eight-story building reinforces the streetscape of the surrounding historic structures, while also creating a transition to the larger structures of the hospital complex. The laboratory floors were designed with an open layout that encourages interaction among researchers across disciplines. This project is currently registered with the United States Green Building Council and is seeking Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

The players: Architect, Ballinger, Philadelphia, Commonwealth Architects, Richmond; general contractor, Skanska USA, Durham, N.C.; glass manufacturer, Guardian Industries Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich.; contract glazier, New Izon, Raleigh, N.C.; glass fabricator, Glass Dynamics, Stoneville, NC.

The glass: Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 54 on clear. With 54 percent visible light transmission and a low 0.28 solar heat gain coefficient, the glass provides more natural light, less heat gain and greater energy savings, according to a Guardian release. Ben Patane, project architect, Ballinger, says the glass was chosen because it also was compatible with the overall palette of the façade materials. “The client had an interest in maintaining uniformity in the façade’s exterior materials and a respect for the adjacent historic architecture,” he says.