Architectural firm Mithun designed the LEED® Platinum-certified Middle Earth Expansion, part of the University of California, Irvine’s living-learning community. The new mixed-use facility spans six stories and 215,000 square feet, and features Solarban® 67 Solexia® glass by Vitro Architectural Glass.

Photography by Tom Kessler

Thirty percent of the project’s façade is clad with glass. In addition, operable windows deliver natural ventilation to 80% of the spaces in the building. The high-performance glazing, south- and west-facing exterior sunshades and carefully placed operable windows combine to passively cool the facility.

Solarban 67 Solexia glass has a proprietary double-silver, magnetron-sputtered vacuum deposition coating. Solarban 67 transmits and reflects the tone and brightness of ambient light and color while delivering solar control. Combined in a 1-inch insulating glass unit with Solexia glass, it provides a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.25 and a visible light transmittance of 47%.

The facility also has a 50 kW roof-mounted, grid-connected photovoltaic system. Other day-lit spaces include the sky-lit 900-seat dining center, student gathering spaces, resource center, multipurpose classrooms and administrative areas.