Great Glazing: Decorative glass wall at RIT
Photos by Don Cochran, courtesy of Gong Glass Works.
The basics: A 54-foot-long curved decorative glass wall highlights the Rochester Institute of Technology's Administrative Services Building/Innovation Center, a LEED Platinum-designated building. The wall separates the administrative services lobby, waiting area and meeting space from the Innovations Center space, where a variety of activities occur, including exhibitions and presentations. "The objective was to create an etched glass wall which separates two large spaces to be used in two totally different ways, while providing a visual connection between the two," says Nancy Gong, glass artist, Gong Glass Works. "Another objective was to bring more daylight and a view of the outside in from the innovation side of the building into the administrative area." The piece, titled "Science and Life, What is the Question?", is 10 feet tall and made of etched and hand-chipped glass.
The players: Architect, CJS Architects; interior lobby designer, Bergmann Associates; general contractor, Welliver & McGuire; glazing contractor, Rochester Glass Inc.; glass artist, art glass studio, Nancy Gong, Gong Glass Works; glass manufacturer, PPG Industries; glass fabricator, Rochester Insulated Glass; glass etching, Miller Sandblasting.
The glass and systems: Thirteen lites of 5/8-inch clear tempered glass. Each lite is 4 feet, 6 inches wide and 10 feet high, weighing about 400 pounds. The framing system entails simple aluminum shoes mounted to the concrete floor, ceiling and side stone walls.
Gong prepared the design at the studio, and prepared the glass for etching with the assistance of Rochester Glass. The etching was completed under the supervision of Gong at Miller Sandblasting. The glass was transported to the jobsite and installed, still masked. Gong created the hand chipped texture on site in a multi-stage process. This process was done on site for several reasons: to retain consistency in a random texture due the nature of the artistic process, the logistics of the artist's handling and layout of a wall of this size, according to a Gong Glass release.