Glass Magazine Awards 2015: Redefining What's Possible

Glass Magazine Award winners push the envelope of aesthetics, efficiency and performance

Most Innovative Curtain Wall or Enclosure Project

The Corning Museum of Glass Contemporary Art + Design Wing
National Enclosure Company LLC

The new 100,000-square-foot, $64-million addition to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, is encased in an innovative and unique structural glass rainscreen façade system. National Enclosure Company LLC completed the design, engineering and installation of the façade for the museum’s Contemporary Art + Design Wing.

“This innovative façade system incorporates the use of a structural stud back up system to provide the structural and thermal protective component of the rainscreen façade, while relying on the opaque laminated portions of the glass to act structurally in the non-rainscreen portions,” says Bob Gray, project manager for NEC.

The entire glass façade carries its dead-load to the ground via a special base channel system which allows for micro adjustability, according to NEC officials.

“The most innovative nature of this façade is that both the opaque (rainscreen) functions and the fritted vision functions are integrated into the same jumbo structural laminated glass panels,” Gray says.

The majority of the lites span 10 feet 6 inches by 24 feet 4 inches and weigh 5,000 pounds. At the point of transition in the lite, a clear interlayer transitions to a white interlayer, which is all masked by a transitioning pattern frit. “Also occurring at this transition is a clever interior weather seal around the vision areas of the façade, which is hidden from view,” Gray says.

The glass is comprised of two layers of ½-inch low-iron laminated glass with a 60 percent dot matrix pattern on the No. 2 surface for the vision portions of the façade. At the rainscreen portions, the frit pattern was removed and replaced with a layer of Vanceva Polar White polyvinyl butyral.

“The simplicity of the design is triumphed only by the complex engineering that lies behind the glass, hidden from view, and only truly appreciated by those intimately involved,” Gray says. “The glass system itself is very unique in that all of the lites of glass are stacked upon one another, and all of the dead load is transferred to the foundation. The stacked lites of glass sit atop a thermally broken continuous aluminum dead load support system with vertical adjustability. The method of wind load transfer into the building is another unique characteristic of the façade. Solid aluminum wind load hooks are structurally bonded to the backside of the glass using structural silicone. These hooks engage wind load pins which are part of a vertical glazing channel system attached to the structural stud backup walls.”

The culmination of this unique design is having both the vision and spandrel glass on the same lite of glass, creating a stunning visual effect with a seamless transition, according to NEC officials.

Thiele Glas was the glass supplier. The general contractor was a joint venture between Gilbane and Welliver MCGuire. Thomas Phifer and Partners was the architect, and MBM Konstruktionen GmbH provided engineering and material support.

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Katy Devlin is editor for Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at