GreatGlazing: Chihuly Glasshouse
Artwork © Copyright, Chihuly Studio, 2012, all rights reserved. Photos by Ben Benschneider
The basics: Glass artist and Seattle native Dale Chihuly joined with the Seattle Center to create a glass installation located at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle. It includes the existing arcade building, which is now the exhibition hall, a sculpture garden and a glass house as the centerpiece of the project. Chihuly populated the space with a combination of artworks from early in his career and new sculptures, according to a Guardian Industries release.
The centerpiece of Chihuly Garden and Glass is the Glasshouse, the result of Chihuly’s lifelong appreciation for conservatories, according to the release. The design draws inspiration from Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London. The installation in the Glasshouse is an expansive, 100-foot long sculpture. Made of many individual elements, it is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.
The project is expected to receive Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
The glass: Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 62. The Glasshouse mimics a greenhouse, with minimal steel framing and 28,000 square feet of glass, coated with Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 62 on clear. Key glass aspects of the project included meeting the tough City of Seattle energy requirements, having NFRC-approved data, and providing the 8-millimeter low-E glass required to meet wind and structural requirements.
According to Guardian officials, Chihuly was very particular about the transmitted color of the interior art through the glass. He wanted to ensure the art showed its true colors through the glass and wasn't filtered, muted or changed. So, the design team spent a lot of time looking at the colors of the sculpture through the glass. There was also discussion about what the iconic Space Needle would look like when viewed from the interior of the building. SN62 is the only product that met all of the requirements, according to Guardian officials.
Also featured on the renovated exhibition hall glass, SN62 has a visible light transmission of 62 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient of .31.