Great Glazing: Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall at Carnegie Mellon University

The basics: The Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall is a 110,000-square-foot, $75 million research building on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A new home to nano fabrication, the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and the Biomedical Engineering Dept., the facility houses labs, office space, a cafe and a 10,000-square-foot cleanroom.

The architects chose high-performance glass products and unitized curtain wall in response to site logistics, performance and quality control for the 4-sided structural design.  

The players: Architect, Stantec/Office 52; general contractor, Jendoco Construction Corp.; contract glazier, D-M Products Inc.; glass suppliers, Schott, Viracon; metal systems supplier, United Architectural Metals

The glass and systems: Viracon's 1 ¼-inch VNE1-63 IG for vision and 1 ¼-inch VNE1-63 with custom silk-screen custom color No. 2 and ¼-inch custom color spandrel No. 4 adorns the building facade. The curtain wall system, a unitized system manufactured by United Architectural Metals, also incorporates dichroic glass from Schott for vertical horizontal glass fins that required close attention to the thermal transfer and air seal, as well as a unique silkscreened ceramic frit from Viracon. The glass for the silkscreened ceramic frit was 1 ¼-inch VNE1-63 with a custom color No. 2 surface.

The dichroic glass from Schott features reflections that change depending on the time of day and other environmental conditions. Viracon's varied silk-screen patterns, designed to look like nano organisms under a microscope, and the orientation of those patterns required labeling and a carefully coordinated delivery sequence for installation.

“The site was very tight and the curtain wall was inaccessible from two sides due to a large topography change. The unitized curtain wall allowed the installation to occur from the floor lines. It also allowed the deliveries to be made as needed to keep the small and congested site free from excessive material,” says Jake Gaddis, director of preconstruction, United Architectural Metals.