Designed by Seattle-based Owen Richards Architects, Chihuly Garden and Glass covers 1.5 acres and includes the project’s centerpiece, the Glasshouse, a 4,500-square-foot structure with 43-foot ceilings.The Glasshouse features a combination of Chihuly's art works from earlier in his career and new sculptures. The Glasshouse mimics a greenhouse, with a minimum of steel framing and 28,000 square feet of Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral (SN) 62 on clear.
The glass provided by Guardian had to meet Seattle's tough energy requirements, have NFRC-approved data and the 8 mm thickness of the low-E glass was required to meet wind and other structural requirements. The glass also had to withstand Seattle’s temperature and solar variations. The structural framing had to support five freestanding Chihuly sculptures. Each piece is suspended within the five structural bays at a weight of 2,500 pounds a sculpture, point-supported by cable supports from steel arched frames. In fact, one suspended sculpture is 100-feet long, made up of 2,000 pieces of red and yellow glass, part of Chihuly's Persian series.
Chihuly was very particular about the transmitted color and a very good color rendering index, so the art inside showed its true colors through the glass; not filtered, muted or changed by the glass. The design team spent a lot of time looking at the colors of the sculpture through the glass. There was also discussion about what the iconic Space Needle would look like when viewed from the interior of the building. Guardian SunGuard SN62 is the only product that met all of these requirements.
SN 62 has a visible light transmission of 62 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient of .31. In addition to the Glasshouse, Chihuly Garden and Glass includes the existing arcade building, which is now the exhibition hall and a sculpture garden. The glass was fabricated by Guardian Select Fabricator Hartung Glass Industries, Seattle and Avic Sanxin. Project glaziers were Guardian Glazier Connection member Eastside Glass of Kirkland, Wash. And Novum Structures of Union City, Calif. The project is expected to receive LEED Silver certification.
This is the largest Chihuly exhibit in the world and another great example of Guardian's significant contribution to the world's architectural landscape.