Pearl Avenue library features photovoltaics in art glass

Photo by Lucas Fladzinski, San Jose, Calif.

“A true marriage of design and function came to life with the Pearl Avenue Library project resulting in a huge step forward for the practical application of combining art and solar technology in architecture in the United States.”—Peter Kaufmann, Peters Glass Studios LLC, Germany.

The basics: The Pearl Avenue Branch Library in San Jose features a permanent public art display that combines art glass and photovoltaics. The San Jose Public Art Program commissioned the piece, Solar Illumination I: Evolution of Language, that supports the San Jose Green Vision, a 15-year plan to help solve environmental problems and to grow the local economy. The artwork's imagery explores the evolution of alphabets as the foundation of the written word.

The players: Artist, Lynn Goodpasture, Los Angeles; art glass fabricator, Peters Glass Studios LLC, Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Portland, Ore.; glass installer, Pacific Glazing Contractors, Morgan Hill, Calif.; PV module fabrication, tempering and insulating glass unit assembly, GlasWulfmeier GmbH, Germany.

The glass: Four art glass windows, each 98 inches by 35 inches, embedded with PV cells. The triple-glazed IGUs feature an exterior, low-iron lite to maximize solar gain; a middle laminated pane with tempered lites sandwiching a PV interlayer; and a single interior tempered lite of art glass.