Glazing Makes the Grade in Educational Project

The John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.,  spans 87,500 square feet and is home to classrooms, offices and community space. The facility uses Solarban 60 and Solarban 70 glasses by Vitro Architectural Glass to contribute to its sustainable design and is LEED Gold-certified. The facility is also one of the first and largest cross-laminated timber academic buildings in the U.S., according to the company. The façade also incorporates electrochromic glazing, occupancy sensors, automatic daylight dimming, operable windows, manual shades and a green roof.

Local architects Leers Weinzapfel Associates (LWA) considered the site, solar orientation and placement of an interior courtyard to maximize daylighting and reduce demand for artificial lighting. According to Vitro, these qualities helped lessen the electrical load for the structure by 54% compared to an average university building.

Triple-silver-coated Solarban 70 glass delivers visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64% in a clear 1-inch insulating glass unit (IGU) on the south elevation. The offices on the north-facing façade feature tall and narrow IGUs fabricated with Solarban 60 glass, which breaks up the anodized aluminum rainscreen system to deliver a high-performance envelope with an insulation value of R-31. A double-silver-coated low-E glass, Solarban 60 glass contributes VLT of 70% and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.39.

The departments of architecture, building construction technology and landscape architecture and regional planning are brought together in a skylit central commons. Studios, maker spaces and classrooms surround the central space, glazed with Solarban 70 glass, which opens onto the street to showcase indoor activities and the structure’s relationship to the surrounding landscape.

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