Lanterns shine on energy efficiency at midtown Atlanta's Technology Square
Like the prow of a ship, the dramatic outcropping of glass on the
It’s about time. Ever since the interstate started wending its way through the center of the city 50 years ago, midtown
With an Eye on the Environment
Before any lines were sketched on paper,
In addition, the design, construction and operation reflect high levels of environmental sensitivity. Many aspects exceed “green” standards, and the building that houses the
Georgia Tech, says President G. Wayne Clough, wants “to define the technological research university of the 21st century.” He couldn’t do that by thinking old thoughts or using old methods. Rather, he explains, “We [had] to take a big leap.
Technology Square eschews the notion of university as ivory tower. Instead, it doubles as gateway and meeting ground, creating a space where members of the college and the business community meld into each other’s lives.
For example, in addition to the
The user-friendly facility comes replete with broad, tree-lined sidewalks, bike lanes and racks, benches, trolley, street lamps, and a 1,552-space parking garage. The
Jontyl Brown, a program coordinator with the
The sweeping vision for the project presented TVS with considerable challenges, explains Maria E. Bonau, associate principal and project architect. The exteriors needed to relate to the more traditional brick-dominated campus while fitting into the midtown location. “The buildings needed a 21st century face,” says Bonau. They had to “express the collective vision that this is not your grandfather’s university.”
Yet multipurpose uses undermined the creation of a visually unified complex: Retail and restaurant spaces, amphitheaters with varying seating capacities, classrooms, office spaces, hotel rooms and ballrooms all imposed conflicting requirements.
The demand for faculty offices with windows at the
Architects selected the vocabulary of brick, glass, aluminum and color to achieve continuity between the two campus extremes. Exterior walls of red brick recall the original campus and provide uniformity. To extend the connection, the top floor of each building is offset in white. This detail contributes aesthetically and pragmatically to the design, explains Bonau. It provides visual relief from the brick and, together with a shade overhang, defines the edges of the buildings. The white area cut costs by reducing the amount of brick used and energy consumed by reflecting light and heat off the roofs.
Generous use of glass and aluminum framing evoke modernity. These elements form the curtain wall on the front façade of the
As a transitional space, the lobby offers open walkways and stairwells with waist-high glass walls and aluminum rails. The stairwells appear to defy gravity; they float in the space and from their perch one can enjoy an unobstructed view of the cityscape.
On the exterior, the architects used a neutral Comfort ES72N (2), sputtered soft coat, low-emissivity glass made and fabricated by AFGD Glass in
Every office and classroom in the building benefits from daylight. Interior work, meeting and lounge spaces glow with light. The light reaches the interior spaces, explains Bonau, through clerestories, sidelites, glass doors and frit glass walls. Despite intense efforts to pull light into the building, observes Devlin, it fell short of LEED’s “daylight and views” credit requirements mandating that 90 percent of occupied spaces have a direct line of sight to exterior views and a daylight factor of 2 percent, excluding direct sunlight penetration, in 75 percent or 90 percent of all space occupied for critical tasks. The design did not receive LEED credits in this category. Nevertheless, Devlin “felt pretty good” because the design fell short of the goal by only 10 percent.
With an Eye on the Glazing
A signature feature are glass “lanterns.” These shafts of glass and light grace the corners of buildings that frame the main streets leading into
Interior spaces created by the stylized lanterns serve different purposes. In one building, the lantern houses a stairwell, another forms part of the campus bookstore, a third sheds light into a reading room and the dramatic promontory of the
The interior glass on the
“It was a complicated curtain to install, with compound angles that required the glass to be mitered,” recalls Chuck Morris, president and owner of Snellville Glass Co. in
The $4.1 million contract let to Snellville Glass was its largest ever, by far. Annual sales at Snellville Glass average $7 million and most of its projects do not exceed $800,000. The eight-month
Morris’ team had to stay on schedule because the interior work could not proceed until the curtain walls were in place. As a result, his employees worked longer days and Saturdays.
The entire project required a good deal of cooperation, coordination and compromise among the tenants, says TVS’ Ventulett. Each had their wish list of facilities they consider essential to their sites and missions. For instance, representatives of the hotel and conference center wanted a tiered amphitheater. But, he explains, that would have tied up a large space just for that purpose, whereas a flat-floored room could double as a convention hall and ballroom. And if an amphitheater is needed, there are now three in the nearby
With an Eye on Energy Efficiency
LEED certification requires attention to several categories: sustainable sites, water and energy efficiency, atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. The location and design of
The university revitalized a neglected part of the city and contributed to smart-growth plans. Wide sidewalks, bike racks, proximity to public transit and parking generated credits as a sustainable site.
Water fixtures, the building plant and irrigation system offer high levels of water conservation, says Devlin.
And contractors were required to be rigorous about recycling: Debris was not merely carted off to a landfill; more than 50 percent of discarded material was segregated, hauled and recycled according to whether it was drywall, wood or metal. Trees that had to be removed were dug up and moved to the main campus.
Seventy-five percent of the materials were acquired within a 500-mile radius––saving energy in transportation and exceeding the LEED minimum by a factor of four. Twenty-four percent of the materials were harvested locally, double the LEED requirements. The architects also boast about using 112 percent of the LEED requirement for recycled building materials. “Sometimes, [we identified] materials that were more energy efficient,” notes Devlin, “but they were not used because of their distance from the site.”
Architects ensured a healthy indoor environment by making extensive use of materials that emit low quantities of volatile organic compounds, whether they were adhesives, sealants, or carpeting and furniture.
Technology Square was completed in August 2003 and its grand opening celebrated on Oct. 23. At the occasion, a delighted Clough said, “At its most fundamental level, Technology Square did something some considered impossible, creating a cityscape replete with beautiful facilities and busy people in place of an area know for years for its abandoned buildings, vacant lots and human despair.”
The complex, he added, “carries a vibrant Georgia Tech across into midtown and brings midtown to us. It creates a highly visible, signature technology corridor for Atlanta and Georgia and it serves to give our campus its first real gateway entrance.”
Owner: Georgia Tech Foundation
Cost: $256 million; construction, $122 million
Size: 653,000 square feet in five facilities, including the
Architects: Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates; Thomas W. Ventulett, H. Preston Crum, Maria E. Bonau, James Devlin, John Stephenson
Contract glazier: Snellville Glass Co. in
Structural engineer: Walter P. Moore,
Mechanical and electrical engineer: Newcomb & Boyd,
General contractor: Holder/Hardin,
Development manager: Jones Lang LaSalle,
Snellville Glass Co.
Eighty percent of the business is new commercial construction and new residential construction. The company also operates a glass shop for its clients.
Owner: Chuck Morris, president.
Average annual sales: $7 million.
Top managers: Penny Morgan, senior project manager; Bill Moore, preconstruction cost manager.
Employees: 40 to 75.
Location: One location with a retail shop and a fabrication plant.
Glass: A neutral Comfort ES72N (2), sputtered soft coat, low-emissivity glass made and fabricated by AFGD Glass in Atlanta. AFGD’s insulating glass units are 1-inch thick. Silk screen units feature circles and squares by Prelco Inc.,
Door hardware: Schlage Lock Co., Jamboree, CO.
Window frames and curtain walls: Kawneer Co.,
Maria E. Bonau, James Devlin, Thomas W. Ventulett, Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, 2700 Promenade Two, 1230 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309-3591, 404/888-6600, www.tvsa.com.
Chuck Morris, Snellville Glass Co.,