Adding a seven-story curtainwall to three 1900s-era bank buildings in downtown Boston, local architect Arrowstreet sought a lightweight material to contrast the structures’ original granite and limestone facades.
The firm’s solution is reflected in the sparkling jewel box, fabricated with Solarban® 60 Starphire® glass by Vitro Architectural Glass and featuring a trendy soffit design, that is now perched atop the newly conjoined office buildings.
“We felt strongly the materiality and massing of the new addition needed to be distinct from the existing buildings to preserve their original character,” explained Jason King, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C, senior associate, Arrowstreet. “The custom unitized curtainwall system incorporates ultra-transparent Solarban® 60 Starphire® glass, providing striking views into and out of the building and allowing the addition to feel lighter above the weightier masonry building below.”
To integrate the 24-foot cantilevered glass box, the design bends inward along Congress Street, adjacent to Post Office Square, at the exact point where the 1904 and 1906 building façades connect beneath it. The faceted, angular design then extends downward through the existing building on the north façade, forming the building’s second entry point and connecting it to the popular boutiques and cafés located along Quaker Lane.
“While coordinating these faceted curtainwall panels with the existing structure was challenging, the result is a wonderful moment where the juxtaposition of old and new is no longer experienced from afar,” King added.
Arrowstreet’s soffit scheme, which is a custom-designed fiberglass reinforced plastic with a gold finish, conveys a deep, rich texture that enables the glass to float gracefully above the century-old masonry and complement the existing cornice line.
In addition to the glass box, Solarban® 60 Starphire® glass was installed in two-story curtainwall sections adjacent to the buildings’ historical main entrance on Water Street. Because the original street-level windows were dark and faced with decorative metal grillwork, the beautifully crafted details of the interior lobby were hidden from public view.
“By introducing Starphire® glass at the ground level, we were able to showcase those historical elements and re-brand the building from dark and uninviting to bright and welcoming,” King said.
The Congress Square renovation consolidated three sets of elevators, restrooms and stairwells from three separate buildings into one central elevator core. By replacing the lightwell, previously obstructed by surrounding buildings, with Solarban® 60 Starphire® glass, the lobby was transformed into a bright, daylit, energy-efficient space.
The project features exterior roof decks on levels five, 10 and 17, providing beautiful garden-like spaces where tenants can work, meet and take breaks while enjoying fresh air and majestic views of Beantown. While indoors, employees also are afforded striking city views through the low-e-coated Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass, which is 87% less green than ordinary clear glass.
When coated with Solarban® 60 solar control, low-e coating, Vitro Glass’s premier low-iron glass delivers visible light transmittance of 74%, while blocking 59% of the sun’s heat energy, helping it to deliver an ideal balance of energy-saving daylighting and solar control.
For more information about Solarban® 60 Starphire® glass and the rest of Vitro Glass’s full line of architectural glasses, visit www.vitroglazings.com or call 1-855-VTRO-GLS (887-6457).