When Paul Asteris of FKP Architects first conceived the signature façade of an expanded Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, his vision was to have the glass and metal framing mimic the protective framework of an arbor. Solarban® 70XL glass and a by-chance discovery of Azuria glass, both by Vitro Architectural Glass, helped make that idea a reality.
Located in Wilmington, Delaware, Nemours/duPont hospital has undergone a series of expansions since it was founded in the 1940s. The latest 450,000-square-foot addition is designed to maintain the facility’s legacy of world-class treatment by drawing on the latest health care design principles including child-friendly patient rooms; healing gardens; and large, light-filled spaces.
As lead architect for the project, Asteris sought to appropriate the “playful elegance” of the gardens surrounding the neighboring duPont family mansion by placing a vast atrium at the center of the hospital and designing a bright arbor-patterned curtainwall for the exterior façade.
A combination of brilliant blue-green metal coatings and a timely recommendation for tinted Azuria glass helped achieve those aims and kept the project on schedule too.
“The glass we were first looking at had a blue-gray tint and was coming off a bit flat,” Asteris said. “By chance, a Vitro Glass representative visiting our office saw the renderings and offered to help. He came back with samples showing Azuria [glass] with some spandrel tones and it had the color punch we were looking for. That really helped us get the project back on track, as we were in danger of going off schedule.”
The aqua-blue appearance of Azuria glass is complemented throughout the hospital by tall panels of glass and skylights fabricated with Solarban® 70XL glass in the central atrium. Both glasses were selected to maximize daylighting into occupied spaces.
The colorful curtain wall also is integral to the energy management system, which helped the hospital achieve LEED® certification at the Silver level. “We chose glass products that would meet the current energy code then improve it by 10 percent,” Asteris explained.
Solarban® 70XL glass has visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 with clear glass in a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit (IGU). The resulting 2.37 light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio makes it one of the highest-performing products in the industry. Even with its rich aqua-blue color, Azuria glass has VLT of 61 percent in the same configuration, along with a SHGC of 0.39.
To date, the feedback Asteris has received on the hospital’s design and performance has been universally positive. “The intent was to create a facility that would set Nemours apart from other children’s hospitals. The administration wanted this to be a place where families could bring their kids to get the best care available, so we needed to create spaces that would foster a family-friendly healing environment. Anyone who visits the hospital will sense that truly is the case.”
To learn more, visit www.vitroglazings.com.