flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

Fire rated switchable glass provides privacy and fire protection at the University of Chicago Medical Center

Sponsored Content Fire-Rated Products

Fire rated switchable glass provides privacy and fire protection at the University of Chicago Medical Center

The University of Chicago Hospital Group reached out to Bill Zientarski of Hi-Performance Glazing Solutions and SAFTI FIRST’s architectural representative in Illinois for a solution that combined vision, privacy and fire protection in one glazed unit.

By SaftiFirst | November 3, 2016

The new 10-story “Center for Care and Discovery” building in the University of Chicago Medical Center’s campus is dubbed as the “hospital of the future” for its high-tech design and groundbreaking scientific work. At 1.2 million square feet, it is one of the largest buildings at the campus and has already transformed the skyline of Chicago’s south side.

Albert Kahn Associates designed the new inpatient spaces on the 3rd and 4th (medical/surgical) floors which included: single-occupancy patient rooms, intensive care and observation beds, nurse’s stations, visitor and family waiting areas and general support spaces. 

Several of these rooms required a nurse’s station situated outside of the room to monitor patients during their recover from surgery. There are times when privacy is required or desired as well, so the architects specified SwitchLite Privacy Glass for these rooms. In the past, curtains or external window blinds would have been used, but were not chosen because they were determined to be more maintenance prone and tend to accumulate and trap dust and other allergens. Glass with integrated blinds are also available, but the architects wanted the ease of control and the high-tech look of electronic privacy glass that goes from completely clear to complete privacy at a flick of a switch. 

Most of the patient rooms in the medical/surgical floor required the windows to have a 45-minute fire protective rating. The University of Chicago Hospital Group reached out to Bill Zientarski of Hi-Performance Glazing Solutions and SAFTI FIRST’s architectural representative in Illinois for a solution that combined vision, privacy and fire protection in one glazed unit.

To keep a uniform look between the fire rated and non-fire rated units, SAFTI FIRST combined the SwitchLite Privacy Glass with the SuperLite II-XL 45 product, which is a clear, fire protective glazing product that reduces sound, stops smoke/flames, limits dangerous radiant heat, meets hose stream and is CPSC Cat. II impact safety rated. SAFTI FIRST sent a sample of the SuperLite II-XL 45 with SwitchLite Privacy Glass to the architects and they found it to be just what they were looking for and it satisfied all code requirements. The fire rated electronic privacy glass units were manufactured in SAFTI FIRST’s facility in Merced, California and delivered to Glass Solutions Inc., who installed the units. 



While filmed wired glass, filmed ceramics or laminated ceramics could be used in this 45 minute application, only SuperLite II-XL 45 can deliver the optical clarity they requested – wired glass has embedded wires and ceramic glass (even the premium, polished versions) have an amber tint. In addition, SuperLite II-XL 45 provides sound and radiant heat protection that neither wire nor ceramics provided. Since SuperLite II-XL 45 uses tempered glass, it is not as prone to breakage and replacement, which would be costly. For side-by-side comparisons of 45-minute fire protective products available today, click here

SAFTI FIRST was proud to offer a solution that met the fire rated code requirements and the functional vision and privacy components of the application with sound attenuation. Using switchable glass instead of curtains or integrated blinds for privacy while coupling that with clear vision complemented the architect’s high-tech design for this new and unique hospital. 

Related Stories

Fire-Rated Products | Aug 14, 2023

Free download: Fire-rated glazing 101 technical guide from the National Glass Association

The National Glass Association (NGA) is pleased to announce the publication of a new technical resource, Fire-Rated Glazing 101. This five-page document addresses how to incorporate fire-rated glazing systems in a manner that not only provides protection to building occupants from fire, but also considers other design goals, such as daylight, privacy and security.

75 Top Building Products | Aug 7, 2023

Enter today! BD+C's 75 Top Building Products for 2023

BD+C editors are now accepting submissions for the annual 75 Top Building Products awards. The winners will be featured in the November/December 2023 issue of Building Design+Construction. 

Sponsored | Fire and Life Safety | Jul 12, 2023

Fire safety considerations for cantilevered buildings [AIA course]

Bold cantilevered designs are prevalent today, as developers and architects strive to maximize space, views, and natural light in buildings. Cantilevered structures, however, present a host of challenges for building teams, according to José R. Rivera, PE, Associate Principal and Director of Plumbing and Fire Protection with Lilker.

Sponsored | | Feb 6, 2023

SAFTI FIRST® Capabilities Overview

75 Top Building Products | Nov 30, 2022

75 top building products for 2022

Each year, the Building Design+Construction editorial team evaluates the vast universe of new and updated products, materials, and systems for the U.S. building design and construction market. The best-of-the-best products make up our annual 75 Top Products report. 

Resiliency | Nov 8, 2022

Oregon wildfire risk law prompts extensive backlash from property owners

A bipartisan bill aimed at protecting property owners from wildfires that was passed by the Oregon legislature has prompted a strong backlash.

Resiliency | Sep 30, 2022

Designing buildings for wildfire defensibility

Wold Architects and Engineers' Senior Planner Ryan Downs, AIA, talks about how to make structures and communities more fire-resistant.

Fire-Rated Products | Oct 21, 2021

Safti First Fights Through Assertions Made By Plaintiffs Ely Holdings Limited And Greenlite Glass Systems That Safti First’s Fire Rated Floor System Infringed On Their Patent

In a summary judgement dated February 3, 2021, Chief Magistrate Joseph C. Spero of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the patent infringement claims filed by Ely Holdings Limited (Ely) and Greenlite Glass Systems (Greenlite) against SAFTI FIRST, a USA fire rated glass and framing manufacturer, could not proceed to trial, finding that the SAFTI FIRST’s fire resistant floor does not violate Ely’s patent.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021