Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center, New York University School of Medicine

Manhattan’s Eastern skyline has a striking new resident, the Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center on the New York University School of Medicine campus. The 235,000-square-foot, 16-story biomedical laboratory facility, built to support research involving cancer, cardiovascular biology, neuroscience and infectious diseases, was completed in May 2006. The first major addition to the campus of NYU Medical Center in more than a decade, it features 325,000 square feet of curtain wall with eight glass types, all manufactured by Viracon of Owatonna, Minn.

“We used glass extensively on the exterior to convey a sense of openness and to let the building act as a beacon, especially when illuminated at night,” says architect James R. Braddock, partner at Mitchell/Giurgola Architects in New York. “It also brings daylight deep into the interior of the laboratories and capitalizes on the remarkable views both toward the East River and back toward Manhattan.”

Most of the curtain wall is VE2-M, 11⁄16-inch high-performance insulating glass units consisting of 5⁄16-inch heat-strengthened clear outer glass with high-performance low-e coating on the number two surface, 1⁄2-inch air space and 1⁄4-inch annealed interior glass. Variations include tempered interior glass, line patterned ceramic frit outer glass and spandrel glass consisting of monolithic 5⁄16-inch heat-strengthened glass with ceramic frit on the number two surface. The curtain wall was installed by the Wakefield, Mass., office of Enclos Corp., Eagan, Minn.

The building also features a 26-foot-tall glass storefront with 15⁄16-inch heat-strengthened high-performance insulating glass units. “It makes the building lobby feel like an extension of the adjacent exterior courtyard and helps integrate the building into the NYU Medical Center campus,” Braddock says. Curtain wall consultant Robert Heintges of R.A. Heintges & Associates, New York City, reviewed designs and related issues, advised on code requirements and developed technical performance specifications for the curtain wall, storefront and entrances. Turner Construction Co., New York City, provided construction management services.