The project, informally called the “Connection,” is an indoor pedestrian route between the University’s Memorial Library, the Centennial Student Union building and the rest of central campus.Approximately 5,000 people visit the library and 9,500 people visit the student union building daily. The Connection is part of a campus master plan to create a more pedestrian-friendly campus. A majority of MNSU’s central campus is currently using indoor walkway systems to help visitors avoid the harsh Minnesota weather.
The idea for the Connection was first conceived when a disabled student expressed concerns about getting to the library during winter months. The walkway provides a handicap accessible route to the library and student union building. While it was built mostly underground, the west side of the Connection faces a large, open amphitheater sloped like a bowl that is used for outdoor performances.
The western exposure of the windows would create a significant glare problem for the people inside if left untreated. “It would have been blinding during afternoon hours if we had used conventional windows,” said Paul Corcoran, director of planning and construction at MNSU. “The electrochromic glazing provides subdued natural daylight at a comfortable level.”
The Connection was designed by international architectural/engineering firm, LEO A DALY. According to the Director of Design, Bill Baxley, “We always saw the Connection as having multiple narratives. We loved SageGlass’ transformative quality to support the many ways the campus wanted to use this project. It allows light, while at the same time it can be a backdrop for a
The $1.2 million project includes a nine-panel curtain wall of SageGlass to control the sun without resorting to shades, blinds or other view blocking mechanisms. SageGlass is electronically tintable dynamic glass that maximizes daylight and outdoor views while controlling glare and heat gain. SageGlass operates automatically in the walkway in response to light sensors, changing tint as the sun intensifies and wanes throughout the day. Tinting can be controlled manually as well.
Heat gain was another important design challenge for the project since it was largely a walkway area getting its air conditioning and heating comfort from the adjoining two buildings, said Corcoran. “We needed to reduce the heat load during the summer since we didn’t have a lot of excess HVAC capacity in either the library or the student union to condition the air. SageGlass’ ability to control the heat gain throughout the day is saving money on energy and HVAC costs,” he said.
About SAGE Electrochromics, Inc.
SAGE Electrochromics is the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced dynamic glass that can be tinted or cleared to optimize daylight and improve the human experience in buildings. SageGlass controls the sunlight and heat that enter a building, significantly reducing energy consumption while improving people’s comfort and well-being. SageGlass can reduce a building’s cooling load by 20% and HVAC requirements up to 30%. It is a smarter, more elegant solution than conventional sun controls such as mechanical window shades, blinds and louvers. Now celebrating its 10th year anniversary shipping commercial SageGlass, the company was founded in 1989 and is headquartered near Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., in the heart of “the Silicon Valley of the window industry.” SAGE is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain of Paris, the world’s largest building materials company.
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