A New Kind of Space

By Jordan Scott

The Dow Planetarium was once a gateway to the stars in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Now, more than 50 years since it opened, the Montreal Planetarium has been reborn as an engineering school thanks to an extensive remodel that included updated glazing inside and out.

Space was the inspiration for the original design, with the dome’s exterior resembling Saturn and its rings. The remodel of the Ecole de Technologie Superieur building by Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes maintained that original aesthetic.

“The architect’s and owner’s desire was to provide space and light while preserving the heritage of the building. Glass was a perfect fit, and using curved glass allowed the historic feel of the building’s culture to be recognized,” says Andrew Forrest, owner and sales director at Glasshape North America LP based in New York, which fabricated the glass.

The exterior façade includes 860 square feet of glass, including 215 square feet printed to match the color of the framework.

“The perimeter of all units had a ceramic printed border on surface number two to exterior shield the spacer as there was no exterior framework in the glazing assembly,” says Forrest.

The exterior façade is made up of 1 ¼-inch thick tempered insulating units with a make-up of 3/8-inch Pilkington Optiwhite tempered glass plus ½-inch Quanex Tri-Seal and 3/8-inch Energy Advantage low-E tempered glass.

The interior includes 2,050 square feet of 5 /8-inch low-iron, bent tempered glass and 1,940 square feet of 7 /8-inch low-iron bent tempered glass. Glass was used for the interior partitions. The closed offices include 5/8-inch transparent curved tempered glass up to 12-feet tall. The offices, which sit below an open balcony, include 3 /8-inch clear curved tempered glass plus a 0.090 SentryGlas Plus interlayer and 3/8-inch clear curved tempered glass with VisionInk digitally printed ceramic inks to shield the ceiling/upper floor plate. These pieces are up to 16-feet tall.

“One of the main features was the over-height curved glass acting as both an interior wall panel and a failing for the second level,” says Forrest.

The curved units are up to 9-feet tall. Vitrerie RD, based in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada, was the installer.

“Vitrerie and Glasshape are strategic partners, so when this project came along it was a great collaboration,” says Forrest.

Now completed, the remodel has created new meeting spaces, allowing students to collaborate with a surrounding sense of space and light.

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