Great Glazing: The Mansueto Library

Photos by Matthias Reithmeier /

The basics: The Mansueto Library is Helmut Jahn's up-to-date extension to the existing Regenstein Library in Chicago. Buried deep in the ground is a fully automatic high-bay archives section. Above is the new reading room with a vast ellipsoidal glass dome of nearly 9,200 square feet. Library users enter the new building,  located directly adjacent to the current library, via a glass-sided, glass-roofed bridge spanning almost 100 feet between supports, according to Seele officials.

The players: Architect, Murphy/Jahn; general contractor, Barton Malow; dome component supplier (including steel, aluminum, and glass components) Seele, in Germany; glass installer, Seele Inc. in North America.

The glass and systems: The dome consists of a steel and aluminum framework. Elongated
rhombuses form the primary structure, composed of 150 tons of steel. Located on top of the primary structure is the aluminum framework for the glazing, adjusted by means of steel pins. Each of the almost 700 mainly trapezoidal insulating glass lites is fixed with two, black-painted point fixings on each edge. The glass features a solar-control coating applied directly to ceramic screen printing: dots that appear black from the outside and white from the inside. The dots were twice printed and dried, then heat treated using Dip-Tech Glassjet digitally printed ceramic frits to obtain the desired appearance and mid-day sun glare control.