Page N1.1 . 31 July 2002                     
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    Solutia Glass Awards

    by ArchitectureWeek

    The trend toward greater transparency in modern architecture is due in large part to recent developments in glazing technologies. Laminated safety glass frees architects from strict reliance on opaque structural materials. One of the manufacturers developing such applications is Solutia, which has announced the winners of its 2002 design awards program. The cited projects, from all over the world, are diverse demonstrations of the structural and esthetic benefits of these architectural glazings.

    One of the selected projects is the new Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Art Museum by architect Santiago Calatrava. The building has a curved, boat-shaped "prow" that inclines at a 45-degree angle toward Lake Michigan. The engineers were challenged to project the 800-pound (365-kilogram) glass panels over the lake. A glass "fabric" connecting and complementing the structure was made from "Saflex," laminated glass made with a plastic inner layer and two layers of clear glass. This "sandwich" of material provides a blue color, impact resistance, and ultraviolet light screening. "Calatrava soars," concludes one of the judges.

    On a less monumental scale, another winning project is a live-in garage in Sao Paulo, Brazil designed by architect Brunete Fraccaroli for a young man whose Maserati was the "object and desire of his passion." In this space, he cooks, studies, and receives his friends. Clear laminated glass in walls and ceiling offers a direct connection to nature. Fraccaroli, known worldwide for her work in color and glass, made this a study in translucency and transparency. A judge commented: "This is a beautiful project which gets the most out of the technology to express an idea and attitude."

    A third project is the Flemington Racecourse grandstand in Melbourne, Australia, designed by The Buchan Group. The building has been lauded for its dynamic design and its unimpeded sightlines for spectators. The long, glazed facade provides uninterrupted views of the track and city skyline beyond. Sections of the glazing can be opened in good weather. In confronting manufacturing challenges, the laminator, Don Mathieson Staff Glass Pty Ltd., created a test rig incorporating prototype glazing. In it, they tested not only the clarity of the tempered, laminated glass, but its resistance to high wind loads and water penetration.

    Solutia design award winners will receive an original glass sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly. The jury for the awards program included Mark Husser, HOK; Grace Corbin, Christner, Inc.; Blair Brown, RTKL; and Ron Johnson, Arcturis.

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    ArchWeek Image

    In the Milwaukee Art Museum by Santiago Calatrava, laminated glass was integral with the innovative structure.
    Photo: Timothy Hursley/ Courtesy Solutia Inc.

    ArchWeek Image

    In a dwelling space for a person who chooses to live with his car, the television screen, made from laminated glass, can be viewed from both sides.
    Photo: Courtesy Solutia Inc.

    ArchWeek Image

    The ends of the Flemington Racecourse grandstand are glazed, adding to the general transparency of the structure designed by the Australian firm, The Buchan Group.
    Photo: Courtesy Solutia Inc.


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