Great Glazing: Denver Botanic Gardens

The basics: The Denver Botanic Gardens’ new education pavilion showcases ancient design with the latest in architectural technology. Designed to resemble a pyramid twisted at its core, the 5,500-square-foot Science Pyramid at the Denver Botanic Gardens houses an interactive exhibit of Colorado’s dynamic environment. The center spine of this sleek, black pyramid is fitted with electrochromic glass, which can be adjusted—depending on the exterior sunlight and interior lighting needs—to transform from transparent to 97 percent shaded. The dynamic glass pyramid ensures visitors are not bothered by heat or glare. In addition to occupant comfort, the structure offers greater energy efficiency due to the reduced need to cool the space, according to View officials.

The players: Architect, Burkett Design, Barton Harris with Studio NYL, Chris O’Hara; general contractor, GH Phipps Construction; contract glazier, Alliance Glazing; glass fabricators, View and GlassFab Tempering; metal systems supplier, Quanex

The glass and systems: The façade of the pyramid, covered in 4-foot-wide, hexagon-shaped panels of Swiss Pearl composite that resemble honeycombs, represents a micro system by imitating the way honeycomb shelters and protects the interior of the hive. An adaptive roof system protects the interior from rain, sun and snow, and a layer of rain screen allows the building to breathe. Using View dynamic electrochromic glass, the hexagonal units use electrochromic coating on surface No. 2 of the outboard pane and 6mmHS/.060PVB/6mmHS makes up the inboard pane, all tempered by GlassFab Tempering. A Quanex T-spacer with PIB primary seal and a silicone secondary seal finish the units.