Beatty Center, School of Business and Economics
A four-story glass atrium welcomes students and visitors to the new Beatty Center School of Business and Economics at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.
Located in the historic district of the city, the atrium’s point-supported glass walls fit snugly between the structures on either side, replicating the piazzas between many of Charleston’s oldest homes, according to Ken Harkins, associate principal for project design firm LS3P Associates Ltd. in Charleston.
“We are in a historic city and all of our architecture needs to be sensitive to that. But, we’re not trying to design period architecture,” Harkins says. “[The center] is very modern, but the materials and proportions are of scale.”
To further emulate the design of the 1800s-era Charleston single house, the long and narrow building includes balconies and windows looking out onto the atrium interior. Inside the “piazza” space, designers also added glass-sided staircases, Harkins says.
The atrium’s glass wall of 36 lites measuring more than 1,000 square feet allows ample daylighting into the structure. The environment serves as an inviting place for students to meet and relax, says Robert Pitts, business school dean. However, it’s during the night that the glazing really shines, he says.
“At night, you can see right through the atrium into the offices and meeting areas. It’s really quite spectacular,” Pitts says about the lantern-like effect.
The glass wall features about 13⁄16-inch-thick laminated glass to stand up against the sometimes hurricane-force high winds that hit the area. Mero Structures Inc. of Menomonee Falls, Wis., provided the point-supported system installed by CEI Engineering Associates in Huntersville, N.C. Prelco Inc. of Quebec supplied the glass for the atrium.
Cartner Glass Systems Inc. in Charlotte, N.C., installed all the interior and exterior windows, with 1.3-inch insulating and laminated glass from Owatonna, Minn.-based Viracon.
The 40,000-square-foot building, with total project costs at about $9 million, was completed in April. Newton Builders Inc. of Charleston served as the general contractor on the project that took almost two years to complete.