Great Glazing: National Academy of Sciences Headquarters, West Court


All photos are courtesy of Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences

The basics: Located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the West Court of the National Academy of Sciences’ headquarters underwent a renovation project with a mission to create a building using sustainable preservation practices. The building integrates modern systems, materials and infrastructure within the historic fabric of the building. Skylights enclose three courtyards to create new pre-function, display, dining and meeting spaces. 

The players: Architect, Quinn Evans Architects; general contractor, Gilbane; contract glazier, PCC Construction Components Inc.; glass manufacturer, Glasfabrik Lamberts; glass fabricator, Bendheim Wall Systems Inc.; thermal insulation interlayer, Wacotech.

The glass and systems: As a design solution, Bendheim Wall Systems provided double-glazed Lamberts Rough Cast glass, with its 60 percent recycled content, moderate translucency and light scattering properties. The channel glass installation incorporates the company’s SF60 frame system in 10 vertical openings. The glass features a low-E coating and a 100 percent recycled Wacotech TIMax GL thermal insulation interlayer providing optimal energy performance for the building. The glass brings in daylight, but screens the rooftop mechanical equipment that would otherwise be visible.  

The project received the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award at the 2013 District of Columbia Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation and the Award of Excellence in Historic Architecture from the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.