Solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) glass and Solarban 72 on Starphire low-iron glass by Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) are key components in the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center Health Education Building (HEB), an interdisciplinary, multipurpose academic facility.

Designed through a partnership between Helix Architecture + Design and CO Architects, the five-story, 171,000-square-foot facility creates an “educational zone,” serving as the primary teaching facility to support inter-professional education for the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.

Balancing the use of glass, metal and brick to create an iconic presence on campus, the building features a four-story glass “lantern” box design glazed with high-performance Solarban 70XL glass and fabricated by Insulite Glass, a member of the Vitro Certified Network. Flexible learning studios and state-of-the-art clinical skills labs “float” within the box to show off the core of the building’s curriculum to the public.

A 250-foot-long glass-enclosed bridge featuring ultra-transparent Solarban 72 Starphire glass passes through the center of the structure and connects it to adjacent buildings, providing 6,000 square-feet of lounge, meeting and student-activity space. The exceptional clarity of the glass met the architects’ design requirements for transparency, connectivity and identity.

A three-story skylight system that allows ventilation between floors is supplemented by the energy-efficient glass configuration, featuring Solarban 70XL glass, which limits heat gain while enhances occupant comfort. A large cantilevered glass “cube” highlights the medical simulation and clinical skills floors as the “heart” of the building. Decorative wooden slats encase the inside of the third and fourth floors, folding in to form a “rib cage.”

Opened in July 2017, the HEB supplants aging infrastructure on the medical school and KU Hospital campus. The project design also accommodates a 25 percent increase in class sizes, enabling the KU School of Medicine, the only medical school in the state, to help meet the growing demand for health care professionals. Other technology-enhanced environments for experiential learning include active classrooms, mock exam rooms, a medical simulation center, study areas and spaces that enhance the social and collaborative aspects of learning.

With center-of-glass visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 in a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), Solarban 70XL glass helped to deliver the abundant natural daylight, provided ample exterior views and fostered a sense of openness to the education process that the architect was seeking.

Formulated with the industry’s most advanced triple-silver coating that is engineered for use on Starphire Ultra-Clear glass, Solarban 72 glass has visible light transmittance (VLT) of 71 percent with a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30 and a light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 2.37.

To learn more about Solarban 70XL or Solarban 72 Starphire glasses, or to locate a member of the Vitro Certified Network in your area, visit