The challenge was to not only give the building the kind of aesthetically-pleasing appearance befitting a former American president, but to do so with the environment and energy savings in mind.

Freedom Plaza (pre field finish)
Freedom Plaza (photo courtesy of the Foundation PM)

Officials from PPG Industries and Dallas-based Haley-Greer Inc. had a specific plan in mind for just that when charged with helping in the construction of the recently-opened George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. It took all hands on deck to pull off the massive undertaking honoring the nation’s 43rd president.

“I had like every metal or wood known to man on this job,” says Jason Wroblewski, the senior project manager for Haley-Greer, the project’s contract glazier. “It consumed my life for some two-and-a-half years.”

The New York-based firm of Robert A.M. Stern designed the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

PPG’s Solarban 70XL Starphire® glass was the low-E glass chosen to reduce the center’s energy consumption with its great balance of transparency and solar control. Its sleek look made it a perfect fit for the honoring.

“It’s a classical kind of look that integrates with new design features,” says Glenn Miner, PPG’s director of construction flat glass business unit. “It worked quite well with the architect.”

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) platinum-certified George W. Bush Presidential Center has proven a big hit since opening on May 1.

That was just the idea, Minor says.

“When you’re working on a project like a presidential library,” he says, “you want it to be perfect.”

Made with a triple-silver coating on a low-iron glass substrate, Solarban 70XL Starphire glass helps maintain a comfortable climate inside the center without compromising light transmission, Minor says.

In a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit, the Solarban 70XL Starphire glass has visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 that produces a favorable light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 2.37.

“This project needed to go green,” says Lisa Li, PPG’s Texas-based national architectural manager.

The Solarban 70XL Starphire glass used for the project was made at PPG’s factory in Carlisle, Pa., but coated in Texas, Minor says.

Though it can be found throughout the entire center, the Solarban 70XL Starphire glass is featured prominently in the center’s central orientation point in Freedom Hall, which is topped by a 67-foot, 50-by-50-foot glass and limestone lantern. Solarban 70XL Starphire glass enables daylight from the lantern to flood the core of the building and to appear as a soft-glowing beacon that is visible at night.

Window Mark 118-120 interior view
photo courtesy of Jason Wroblewski

Haley-Greer’s work appeared never-ending at times to Wroblewski and his colleagues, but they persevered. The company’s biggest contribution to the center came in the form of the pre-glazed oversized exterior windows that came from Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE). Wroblewski got ought both the metal and glass from OBE. He went to Hope’s Windows and Doors in Jamestown, N.Y. for the steel windows needed and to Ellison Custom Balanced Doors for the custom-made, bronzed and glass doors required for the center’s main entrance. Duratherm Windows were used on the interior wooden windows.

Haley-Greer was also charged with installing the banked glass handrail near the September 11 monument inside the center.

Wroblewski admits to being initially intimidated at the gargantuan task to befall him, but he never shied from the challenge.

“It was really neat to be a part of because it was a presidential center,” he says, “and presidential centers aren’t built near you very often.”

PPG’s Coraflon ADS coatings color and protect the center’s exterior metal trim and doors, while the company’s Seal Grip priming and Pure Performance paint covers the walls, millwork and trim in the replica Oval Office.

Li attributed the project’s overall success to effective communication at every stage, with “all parties involved understanding it’s an important project.”