Great Glazing: U.S. Embassy, Valletta, Malta

The basics: A translucent glass canopy fronts the new U.S. Embassy in Valletta, Malta. The site plan for the embassy compound is organized around Bronze Age and Roman archeological remains discovered during excavation, and the central courtyard features many of these found artifacts. The glass canopy presented an opportunity to introduce modern design elements to complement the traditional materials used on the exterior of the building. Contrasting in form, the smooth glass and sharp lines of the steel outriggers create a visual dichotomy against the rock-faced limestone fa├žade, according to officials from Washington, D.C.-based Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey architects.

Design and construction of the eight-building complex took 24 months.

The players: Owner, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Building Operations; architect, Karn Charuhas Chapman & Twohey; general contractor and glass canopy installer, American International Contractors Inc.; glass fabricator, Gulf Glass Industries; canopy hardware supplier, Sadev.

Glass and systems: The glazing canopy consists of 1-inch laminated glass panels and steel outriggers finished with a high performance coating. The laminated glass panels incorporate a fritted pattern laminate and translucent film on the underside of the glass. Glass panels vary in shape and size, but typically are 78 inches by 96 inches. The canopy features SS Spiders from Sadev's Classic series.