Most innovative commercial skylight

Gettysburg College Recreation Center, Super Sky Products, a Vitro America company

Super Sky Products, Mequon, Wis., designed, manufactured and installed a custom skylight on the new 55,000-square-foot Center for Athletics, Recreation and Fitness athletic facility, “The Center,” at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Designed by Cannon Design, Arlington, Va., the center earned Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 80-foot tower measures 50 feet along each side of the base. The skylight shape is based on a triangular footprint twisted approximately 15 degrees at each level. The resulting geometry creates 17 triangular facets that are glazed with 230 pattern cut lites of glass. Each facet is divided into a 5-by-5 grid aligned with all adjacent facets.

“The tower geometry is the most unique feature of this skylight and that demanded special planning for the installation,” says Curtis Groeschel, project manager, Super Sky Products. “Each facet of the tower is aligned with its neighbors and had to be set in place carefully, so that these alignments were maintained as the tower was erected. Our supervisors for the project, Jeff Farley and Cary Beaven, had to take great care to set each frame section correctly without the benefit of grid or reference lines.” The array of grid lines and complex faceted geometry required the skylight frame and steel support structure to be coordinated in 3D modeling programs.

“Super Sky’s extensive engineering process was a challenging aspect in developing the glazing system for the tower,” Groeschel says. “The tower consists of 10 separate frames requiring special layout and detailing for each frame member, clip, glass lite and metal cladding panel. This careful layout required hours of three-dimensional CAD modeling, so that each unique component could be fabricated to its exact shape and size. The final CAD model is a complete virtual image of the tower that allowed us to work out all of the complexities before any metal or glass was cut, thus avoiding costly delays on site to rework material.”

The aluminum is finished with a 70 percent PVDF Mica paint to match clear anodize, and the glass is a 1 5/16-inch insulating make-up utilizing Solarban 60 Low-E and a laminated inboard lite, supplied by Oldcastle Glass, Perrysburg, Ohio. There is a total area of 5,500 square feet of glass with sizes varying from 10 square feet to 40 square feet. Each pattern lite was ordered per the modeled dimensions and delivered to the small work area on site as needed for installation into its unique opening.