Built in 1981, the Baltimore National Aquarium was designed to resemble a ship with a towering glass pyramid that mimics sails. Photo courtesy of Federal Hill Photography LLC.

Baltimore’s National Aquarium is an iconic landmark. Built in 1981, the building was designed to resemble a ship with a towering glass pyramid that mimics sails.

As distinct as the design was, the aquarium needed to improve the building’s efficiency and the functionality of the rainforest habitat. Doing so meant replacing the pyramid’s glass lites.

The renovation included Solarban 60 Starphire 60 glass from Vitro Architectural Glass. Officials said the glass helps replicate the rainforest environment. They explained that the glazing had to support temperatures of between 75°F and 85°F, humidity levels between 50% and 87% and light transmittance of between 54% and 75%.

According to Vitro, the new glazing combines transparent low-iron glass with a solar control low-E coating to produce a visible light transmittance of 74% and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.41 in a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit.

Officials said the glazing modules were 6 feet 1 inches by 3 feet 6 inches on the vertical sides for most rectangular and triangular-shaped sections and 4 feet 3 inches by 6 feet 1½ inches on the sloped side. The glazing also featured bird-friendly glass from Walker Glass.

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