Translucent Wall System Serves Boathouse Project Well

Photo: William Zbaren Photography / EXTECH

Energy efficiency and daylighting were key principles in the newly opened Eleanor Boathouse at Park 571 in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood The $8.8 million, 19,003-square-foot, one-story, two-building facility was designed by Studio Gang Architects.

The larger of the Eleanor Boathouse’s two buildings features a translucent transom supplied by Exterior Technologies Inc. (Extech) using its LightWall 3440 interlocking polycarbonate translucent wall system. Anthony Roofing installed 2,288 square feet of Extech’s system in less than three weeks despite its complex geometry supporting the project’s schedule, aesthetic, performance and sustainability goals.

Photo: William Zbaren Photography / EXTECH

The Eleanor Boathouse was designed and constructed following the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system for new construction. The project is pursuing Silver certification.

“Viewed from above, the facility looks like boats going through waves and the Extech system resembles the shape of the rowing shells,” says Tony Orlando, Anthony Roofing’s project manager. “The architect and owner’s consultant said it was exactly the look they wanted. It’s a very appealing building.”

Extech director of product application and development Kevin Smith says that the system, “which does not require framing members within the field of the glazing, met the architects’ clean aesthetic to emphasize the unique roof form.”

Supporting energy efficiency and LEED Silver criteria, Smith adds: “The diffusing characteristics of the cellular polycarbonate reduces dependence on electric lighting and reduces solar heat gain into the building envelope, as well as reduces light pollution emanating from the building. Because it is a dry-glazed system, VOC emissions also are reduced.”

With just two people on site, Anthony Roofing’s team installed the substructure and entire system in three weeks. “For our guys in the field, it was a dream job,” says Orlando. “… It’s a very simple system, once you understand the components. It installs easily and went really well for us. The guys genuinely enjoyed putting it in. The polycarbonate system is so lightweight, yet heavy duty. One man can lift a 15- to 20-foot-long panel by himself and it’s not so fragile that you have to worry about every step you take.”

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