Beauty, Function and Artistic Details

Announcing the Winners of the Third Annual USGlass Design Awards

Structural glass was the clear winner in the USGlass magazine third annual Design Awards. Three projects in the structural glass facades category stood out to our judges. These three projects are unique, innovative and beyond the norm—they combine beauty, function and artistic detail—the type of building that one judge said, “makes me want to get on a plane and go see it.” With this in mind, the judges took a new direction in recognizing the winners, and selected three structural glass projects as the overall winners. Winners were also selected in four other categories:

• Art Glass;
• Facade Retrofit/Renovation;
• High-rise construction (more than 75 feet); and
• Low- to mid-rise construction (under 75 feet).

The competition was open to all members of the architectural glazing industry, including contract glaziers, glass and metal fabricators and suppliers, architects, developers, owners and building envelope/façade consultants. The judges scored the projects based on design innovation; aesthetic achievements; and technical difficulty. USGlass magazine would
like to thank and recognize our esteemed panel of judges: Adrian Betanzos, Innovation Team, Tech Company, Cupertino, Calif./guest lecturer, UC Berkeley Department of Architecture; Richard Green, Green Facades LLC; Mic Patterson, Facade Tectonics Institute; and Chris Payne, Gensler.

Submission information for the 2022 awards will be available this spring. For an entry form contact Ellen Rogers at

Overall Winners

Cube Berlin

Berlin, Germany
Completion Date: February 28, 2020
Dimensions: 42.5 meters (139.4 feet), all sides
Architect: Mats and 3XN Architects Denmark
Glazing Contractor: GIG Fassaden GmbH
Glazing Consultant: Drees & Sommer
Structural Engineer: Remmel + Sattler Ingenieurgesellschaft
Glass Suppliers: Guardian Glass (primary glass); fabricators Reflex (interior skin); BGT (outer skin)
Additional Glazing Suppliers: Eastman Chemical (interlayer)

With its placement on the busy Washingtonplatz, Cube Berlin was designed to be a show-stopping sculpture simulating a sparkling block of ice. Exterior walls feature angular recesses that give the building a look of movement.

The all-glass design, however, also presented multiple challenges such as energy concerns and structural requirements. Attention to detail during product selection helped ensure the right glass product would provide the solar control necessary to avoid heat gain/loss, as well as be structurally sound. The solution was a double skin façade incorporating coatings and PVB interlayers in a unique combination. To address the building owner’s strict energy requirements, the glass and interlayer suppliers selected, tested and utilized reflective solar coatings on the outer skin of the building while adding a solar-absorbing PVB interlayer to control solar heat gain in the cavity. Normally, these products are used on the inner skin. In essence, the team created a solar-absorbing and solar-reflecting effect in a single laminate. Through expert knowledge and rigorous testing and modeling,
the team recognized the impact of merging structural and solar PVB technologies. The novel approach of utilizing dual technologies had to be approved by Zulassung im Einzelfall ZiE, a national standards board.

Sculptural beauty aside, Cube Berlin is also a “smart building,” designed to meet stringent IT security, energy efficiency and green building certifications, both today and in the future. Drees & Sommer developed a highly digitized, Artificial Intelligence platform that links thousands of sensors throughout the building with technological equipment enabling the building to adapt to its occupants’ needs.

Structural Glass – Facades

East End Gateway

New York, N.Y.
Completion Date: December 31, 2020
Square Footage: 3,250
Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill
Glazing/Metal Contractor: seele Inc.
Structural Engineer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in association with AECOM; Schlaich Bergermann Partner (canopy structure engineer of record)
Glass Suppliers: Sedak (flat glass); Sunglass Industry S.R.L. (curved glass)
Additional Suppliers: Fatzer (SS cables)

The East End Gateway is a new entrance to Penn Station on Seventh Avenue in New York City that brings light into the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) concourse for the first time since the 1960s, when the original station was demolished. It establishes an easily identifiable entrance and nearly doubles the vertical circulation capacity of this overcrowded segment of the station. The entrance is also set back 130 feet from the curb, making more sidewalk space for crowds and aligning directly with the Empire State Building to create views of the iconic landmark. These views are framed by a monumental glass and steel canopy, which marks the entrance’s urban presence and carries Moynihan Train Hall’s sky-lit aesthetic eastward. The structure rises in a gentle convex curve 40 feet above street level, with dynamic LED lighting that marks special occasions. Pre-tensioned steel cables, spanning from the base to the top, support the smooth, high-performance glass enclosure. Underground, a map of New York State rings the steel spandrels and situates travelers within the region.

For the new entrance, parametric form-finding and nonlinear analysis techniques helped shape the canopy structure, and the same parametric model was expanded to inform the design of the curved glass and connector elements. Two concepts guided the canopy’s design: natural lighting and wayfinding. The anticlastic shape of the canopy, with a strong directional form, draws travelers up to the street and establishes the entrance as a new landmark for Penn Station. The enclosure is composed of customized pieces of double-curved glazing in the back, while all panels in the front are flat. The glazing is ultra-clear, Class A safety glass with pencil-polished edges and a custom frit pattern printed on the interlayers. The types include double-curved hot bent glass, low iron glass, and annealed, chemically strengthened glass. At night, the glass appears as a luminous beacon; color-changing, LED luminaires are concealed into the steel frame of the structure and oriented upward to evenly wash and graze the curved glass form.

Kinder Building – Museum of Fine Arts

Completion Date: November 30, 2020
Category Entered: Structural Glass – Facades
Square Footage: 237,000
Architect: Steven Holl Architects
Glazing Contractor/Consultant: Josef Gartner Permasteelisa North
Structural Engineer: Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineers
Glass Supplier: ShenZhen ShenNanYi Glass Product Co. Ltd (tubes);
Guardian Glass (clear glass)
Additional Glazing Suppliers: Eastman Chemical (interlayer)

The entire structure of the new addition of the Kinder Building – Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) is an all-white glass tubing over an opaque white weather wall. Because daylight can change the brightness and color of art, artificial lighting is often a frequent choice of museums. This is why cultural arts buildings tend to be devoid of glass walls and windows. But the architects who designed the new addition had a distinctly different idea. Using a system of laminated, translucent glass tubes on the outside walls of the buildings, they found a way to control the light coming in while protecting the art inside. Punched openings in the weather wall are opaque and offer a different experience of light behind the glass tubes. Daylight also flows in from clerestory glazing, making the experience of visiting a naturally lit museum completely unique. At night, the glass tubes glow with a soft artificial light, creating a luminous streetscape.

The design also called for a “cool jacket façade,” which is a ventilated facade structure consisting of approximately 1,150 translucent glass tubes with a length of up to 6.50 meters. Nearly the entire building is wrapped with translucent glass tubes, which are located in front of opaque walls and large punched windows. A steel substructure with an invisible structural glazing connection supports the tubes. The glass tubes have an acid-etched surface on the outside with four translucent PVB interlayers, which precisely control the amount of daylight passing through them. The success of this project relied heavily on the meticulous selection of materials and forms, as well as through countless daylight simulations and mock-ups. During the construction documents phase, a full-scale mockup was built to measure daylight transmission. Over several months, temperatures were measured on the tubes with the results used in detailed thermal and structural analysis.

(For more on this project, see related article on page 62 in the March 2021 issue of USGlass magazine.)

Art Glass

Moynihan Train Hall
New York City, N.Y.
Completion Date: December 20, 2020
Square Footage: 600
Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill
Glazing Contractor: Genesis Architectural
Glass Fabricator: General Glass International (GGI)
Glass Artist: Stan Douglas

Commissioned by Empire State Development in partnership with Public Art Fund, world-renowned artist, Stan Douglas, utilized nine photographic panels arranged in three pairs and one triptych to reconstruct significant but little-known moments spanning the Station’s half-century lifespan. To recreate both the demolished building and these moments, Douglas undertook extensive archival research and restaged historical events by
posing and photographing live performers in period costume. The artist stitched together dozens of exposures to create each tableau using a computer-generated imaging process. These images were recreated by GGI using their Alice® direct-to-glass printing on ½-inch low-iron glass to display the truest color and detail. The nine individual scenes are connected by multiple narrative threads and introduce subtle details that reveal themselves upon close examination. Penn Station’s Half Century is the artist’s first permanent public commission in the United States.

(For more on this project, see related article on page 32 in the June 2021
issue of USGlass magazine.)

Facade Retrofit/Renovation

The Assembly (Old Ford Building)

Indianapolis, Ind.
Completion Date: January 29, 2020
Square Footage: 20,016
Architect: Axis Architecture
Glazing/Metal Contractor: G2 Architectural
Curtainwall Supplier: Quaker Windows & Doors
Glazing Supplier: Cardinal Glass

This building was on the endangered landmark list in 2016 because of non-use and disrepair. Not so today. With just over 20,000 square feet of glass and glazing, this historical landmark renovation brought with it the challenge to revitalize a building that had long been boarded up and on the verge of demolition. To start, the team went back to the original design from 1914 and matched the existing sightlines and openings. Working to resemble the steel windows that were installed originally, Quaker Windows used customized 2- by 6-inch vertical mullions to accommodate the large sizes. The largest single window being 82 inches wide by 102 inches tall, and the largest bay of windows being six windows and measuring 353-3/8 inches wide by 100-7/16 inches tall.

The significance of the glass to the overall aesthetic is transformative, like being brought back to 1914. The large windows allow in natural light while still incorporating new age thermal technology through thermally broken frames and insulating glass.


Adrian Betanzos

Innovation Team, Tech Company, Cupertino, Calif.; Guest Lecturer, UC Berkeley Department of Architecture
Adrian Betanzos is a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley Department of Architecture. He also works at the innovation team of a known technology company in Cupertino, Calif., where he is in charge of developing new architectural materials, with a stronger focus on glass and its structural application. He has worked as a glass consultant for Vitro in Mexico City, a project manager for Permasteelisa North America and as a facade consultant at Front Inc. He has been an adjunct professor for the City University of New York and NYU, and lectured at various universities and other global technical façade gatherings. He is a returning USGlass magazine Design Awards competition judge.

Mic Patterson

Ambassador of Innovation and Collaboration, Facade Tectonics Institute
Mic Patterson, founder, officer and board member of the Facade Tectonics Institute, is a designer, researcher, educator, futurist, author, photographer and entrepreneur. He has concentrated his professional and academic career on advanced facade technology and sustainable building practices. He is also a lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Architecture, and is a former member of the Advisor Group for the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. He is the author of Structural Glass Facades and Enclosures (Wiley). He is a returning USGlass magazine Design Awards competition judge.

Richard Green

Principal/Owner, Green Facades LLC
Richard Green has been a global façade specialist for more than 30 years, working with curtainwall, glass walls, tension structures and more. He is the technical chair for the ASTM Structural Glass Committee and has an advisory role to Eurocode EC11. He is a member of the ASTM E1300 technical committee and was formally a member of the Australian Standard AS1288, Glass in Buildings technical working group. He is a professional engineer registered in the states of Washington, New York, Texas and Colorado and is a Chartered Professional Engineer in Australia, where he’s also a registered building practitioner in the State of Victoria. He is a returning USGlass magazine Design Awards competition judge.

Christopher Payne

Senior Associate, Gensler
Chris Payne is a licensed architect with Gensler, where he leads project teams through the process of design and delivery of projects, with particular expertise in innovative and high-performance building facades. As the signature exterior expression of a building, he is inspired by the way facades reduce overall energy consumption, impact internal occupant comfort, and provide a canvas for contextual material exploration. His built portfolio
includes academic, healthcare, cultural, office, and mixed-use projects, including New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. He is member of the Facade Tectonics Institute Special Advisory Council.

High-Rise Construction

One Hundred Above The Park

St. Louis, Mo.
Completion Date: November 4, 2020
Square Footage: 135, 000
Architect: Studio Gang
Glazing Contractor/Curtainwall Supplier: Ventana
Glazing Consultant: Studio Nyl
Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Glass Supplier: Shanghai Yaohua Pilkington (SYP)

This 518,000-square-foot Green Globes-certified residential tower was designed to provide views of Forest Park and the Gateway Arch. The 36-story, 316-unit tower rises 385 feet and contains 135,000-square-feet of glass. The angled glass façade improves energy efficiency, and each apartment features a corner living room with double exposures. Its scalloped façade and leaf-shaped design frames the western skyline of St. Louis. Its precisely angled expanses of glass reveal the first light of a waking city and the setting sun over the forest below.

Constructing the unique façade and floorplates on time required an aggressive schedule and complex glass work. Using BIM and GPS technology, the team completed one floor per week by installing the curtainwall glass on an upper floor simultaneously with metal panel walls on the floors below. The design’s angled edges create a condition, which, together with tilted glazing, not only capture more daylight but also self-shade when necessary and provide the opportunity for natural cross ventilation. The building’s design contains zero straight slab edges. Its glass curtainwall tilts outward and each floor cascades in different angles to resemble a maple leaf. Since the curtainwall had to be pre-manufactured off-site, pouring slabs to meet a stringent 1-inch curtainwall tolerance was the project’s primary challenge.

Ventana created a BIM model used by the concrete subcontractor to establish the slab locations of the building. The leans of the high performance, low-E insulating glass required a custom geometric design and install, contained zero right angles, and significant BIM services and Revit modeling. The BIM models created by Ventana were used by other trades to successfully complete the build. Ventana also designed custom laboratory-tested guardrail units to snap onto the curtainwall and match the look of the overall building.

Low- to Mid-Rise Construction

UC Riverside Plant Growth Environments Facility

Riverside, Calif.
Completion Date: November 20, 2020
Square Footage: 1,700
Architect: Perkins & Will; Stuppy Greenhouse
Glazing Contractor/Consultant: Giroux Glass
Metal Installer: Rutherford
Structural Engineer: Stuppy Inc. Greenhouse Design, Manufacturing &
Glass/Curtainwall Suppliers: Arcadia, Trulite, Stuppy Greenhouse
Additional Glazing Materials Suppliers: C.R. Laurence (glazing supplies); Ahern (boom lift rentals)

Greenhouses use glass to create an environment where non-native plants can survive. The floor-to-ceiling glass panels allow maximum sunlight to enter the structure during the day, absorbing heat that keeps the interior warm when temperatures cool at night. This structure is no exception, but its extremely large size sets it apart from the average greenhouse. It’s also unique because it was built as a research facility, specifically designed for studying plants. For this reason, the glass and framing had to be perfectly assembled to maintain a climate-controlled environment, ensuring that no air, water, or particulate from the outside made its way into the structure. The original greenhouse plans did not account for geographically-unique weather patterns. Cold, rainy winters and hot, dry summers would expand and contract the original glazing and frame materials, compromising the structure’s controlled internal environment. To remedy this, Giroux Glass adjusted the greenhouse’s design in order to make it completely secure. The team also administered multiple rounds of water tests to make sure everything was built to the highest standard.

Roughly 85% of the interior and exterior walls, as well as the roof of both the head house and greenhouse were comprised of glass components. The remaining 15% was clad with a standing seam panel. This large quantity of glass put Giroux in a unique position. The industry generally categorizes glazing as a finish trade, as glaziers usually perform their installations after the majority of other building components have been set in place. But because the glass in this building functioned as the interior and exterior walls, as well as the roof, Giroux became the leading resource for constructing this building. The glazing team worked very closely with the project’s two sets of general contractors: DPR, which oversaw work for the overall project, and Stuppy Greenhouse, which designed and supervised construction of the greenhouse system.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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