It is no secret architects have an affinity for glass. The sheer number of full-glass buildings emerging all over the United States speaks to the material’s panoptic appeal and its ability to create openness and connectivity to the outdoors. Most of our time—approximately 90 percent—is spent inside, meaning an exposure to natural light and a visual connection with the outdoors is more important than ever.
Rising above Boise’s skyline to become the tallest in Idaho, the Eighth and Main building prominently features a unitized glazed curtain wall and sunshades. The $76-million, 18-story mixed-use building opened last February, and is pursuing Silver through the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
Custom curtain wall assemblies provide an excellent way to create a true architectural signature on a building. These systems are most often used to make a key statement at the entrance or podium level, and to convey the design language of the building. The ‘investment’ made in them is as much about the firm’s design reputation, as it is about actual project budget.
Building owners, architects, lighting designers, and engineers must work together so a project’s design can be maximized to bring in as much light without causing excessive glare or heat gain. While skylights work for a building’s top floor, most of the daylight in commercial building comes through windows.