The University of Alaska Fairbanks planned a 34,000-square-foot addition to and renovation of the Wood Center to expand the dining facility and create a campus destination.

Architect Perkins+Will wanted to create a building that was visually interesting and inviting to passers-by while so comfortable, occupants were happy to stay put. Therefore, the glazing solution had to be high performance, well insulated and offer as much daylight harvesting as possible. In addition to focusing on daylighting, Perkins+Will focused on another kind of light: The Northern Lights.

The resulting two-story curtain wall, anchored by Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 glass,honors the aurora borealis and gives the building a colorful, inviting exterior appearance. SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 glass on the #2 and #5 surfaces in triple glazed units provides  a visible light transmission of 52 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.32.

“This glass performance makes it an excellent solution for the Alaska climate,” says Brian Schulz, Commercial Product Manager, Guardian Glass North America. “Temperatures range from below zero to the 90s. SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 glass helps ensure students seated near the glass curtain wall are comfortable regardless of the season.”

“Not all of the glass is colored; only about 30 percent,” explains Carsten Stinn, Senior Project Designer, Senior Associate at Perkins+Will. “The rest is clear. In those areas, we wanted to offset the color with real views of the exterior – the true landscape, which is what SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 provided – not a glass that was tinted grey, or provided an alternate image. We wanted the best of all worlds.”

Independent Guardian Select fabricator Hartung Glass Canada was tasked with making sure the glass was ready. “Triple IG units with two lites low-E and one custom-colored Vanceva interlayer is quite complicated,” explains Bruce Butler, General Manager, Hartung Glass Canada. “We had to ensure monolithic production and lay-up was perfect or performance and the visual appearance would be affected.”

“Guardian, Hartung and glazier Bucher Glass made the best combination of aesthetics and price point we could find,” Stinn says. Thanks to the team effort, the result is a campus destination that invites students in and keeps them there by offering a comfortable space with beautiful views year-round.

“We interviewed one student who said he stopped going to the library to study. He just comes to the Wood Center,” says Devin Kleiner, Project Architect, Associate at Perkins+Will. “Between the outdoor view and the daylighting coming in, it’s all about creating pleasant spaces. I thought that was really interesting that the library is being replaced. The students can see what is going on inside and want to be there.”

The Guardian SunGuard glass product line for commercial applications offers excellent solar control and a wide variety of colors and performance levels. SunGuard glass products provide innovative, leading solutions for appearance, economics and energy efficiency, and are available through an international network of independent Guardian Select fabricators.

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