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Visual mock-up of new education and research building glass on display at UMMS

UMass Medical School Communications

February 23, 2021

What looks like a wall of windows now standing on the UMass Medical School quad in front of the Lazare Research Building is a visual mock-up of the style and design of glass panels being considered for the exterior of the new education and research building under construction on campus.

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A visual mock-up of the style and design of glass panels being considered for the exterior of the new education and research building

“It’s important to see the glass at large scale, close to the location of the building, so we can observe the glass at different times of day, in different light,” said John Baker, associate vice chancellor for facilities management. “We’re looking at color, reflectivity, glare and patterns on the samples to narrow the options.”

The visual mock-up has four sections, built in a staggered profile, to represent the design of the “curtain wall system” that will eventually form the exterior walls of the building. In turn, each section of the visual mock-up has four panels of a sample glass product. Two panels in each section are “vision glass” for the windows and two panels are “spandrel glass,” which will cover structural elements of the building.

The samples have different colors and performance characteristics. They also have different patterns called “fritting,” which give texture and opacity to sections of the glass. Some of the fritting samples are vertical lines of varying width; other fritting patterns use arrays of dots. The color and fritting on the glass, and the aluminum frames that hold the glass, will define the visual presence of the building.

“Beyond the aesthetics, the curtain wall system is also a critical component of the building’s energy efficiency,” Baker said. “All of the samples are triple-pane glass, and the staggered sections of the curtain wall will cast shadows to help control the solar heat load on the building.”

The visual mock-up will remain in place for about six months. Over that time, panels may be switched out, as the design team evaluates the glass and explores other options. Once the final glass selections are made, a mock-up of the final curtain wall design will be built for performance testing in an off-site laboratory.

Related story on UMassMed News:
Nine-story biomedical research and education facility to be built at UMass Medical School