High-performance glass adds to museum’s contemporary design and sustainability


Photo by Timothy Hursley, courtesy Taubman Museum of Art

“The most interesting feature of the Art Museum is its complex geometry. Ultimately, the inverted slopes and multiplanar transitions make the system a cross between skylight and curtain wall. The other unique aspect is that the system was conventionally framed with tension rod supports.” – Mike Maguire, chief operating officer, Architectural Glazing Technologies

The basics:

Randall Stout Architects designed the $44 million Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Va.,  with a faceted glass form that points skyward from the center of the building, emulating its mountain backdrop. The form provides a 4,300-square-foot interior atrium for information, ticketing, temporary art installations and museum functions. Natural light pools in the space during the day, and at night, lighting on the translucent glass roof surfaces makes the atrium glow. The project’s sustainable design components include modulated day lighting, radiant heating and cooling, thermal envelope, and computerized building management systems. Opened to public Nov. 8, the building received a 2007 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, Chicago, honoring the most significant new contemporary architecture, landscape architecture, interiors and urban planning in the United States.

The players:

Design architect, Randall Stout Architects Inc., Los Angeles; associate architect, Rodriguez Ripley Maddux Motley Architects, Roanoke, Va.; general contractor, Balfour Beatty Construction, Dallas; glazing contractor, Permasteelisa North America, Windsor, Conn.; glass fabricator, Viracon, Owatonna, Minn.; curtain wall/window wall design, Permasteelisa and Architectural Glazing Technologies, Sanford, Maine; curtain wall/window wall fabrication, Architectural Glazing Technologies; curtain wall consultant, Curtainwall Design and Consulting Inc., Dallas.

The glass and systems:

Viracon supplied about 25,000 square feet of glass including 14,000 square feet of 1-inch VE-40 on clear, VE1-40 on No. 2 surface, insulating glass used for storefront and clerestory; 4,200 square feet of 1-inch VE-40 on clear, VE1-40 on No. 2 surface, insulating glass with silkscreen for atrium curtain wall; 5,100 square feet of 1 5/16-inch VE1-40 insulating laminated glass for atrium skylight roof; 1,000 square feet of 1 1/8-inch VH11-40 insulating laminated glass and 800 square feet of 1 1/8-inch VE1-40 insulating laminated glass for other exterior curtain wall; and 50 square feet of ½-inch clear tempered for entrance doors. Framing engineering was a collaborative effort between Permasteelisa and Architectural Glazing Technologies using Randall Stout’s Rhino models to create 3-D system models and develop all layout points. AGT fabricated custom-designed clear anodized aluminum extrusions for Permasteelisa’s stick built installation. A tension rod and clevis system supports the atrium curtain wall.