The researchers are really excited about working inside such a vibrant, dynamic and colorful research center." Waiter Bettio, ArchitectsAlliance, Toronto, Canada.
The University of Toronto's new Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (CCBR), designed by architects Behinisch, Behinisch & Partner of Stuttgart (Germany) in partnership with ArchitectsAlliance of Toronto (Canada), will provide the sophisticated laboratory tools to enable the university to build on its strengths in bio-molecular research.
According to Behinisch and Behinisch: "Arhitecturally, the building is conceived as a 12-storey-high transparent box (56m high x 57m long), elevated above a public concourse. The relatively shallow floor plan enables maximum use of daylight. The main, east -facing façade of 2,434m² incorporates seemingly arbitrary blocks of brightly colored panes of laminated glass incorporating DuPont™ SentryGlas® Expressions™ technology to provide a distinct visual expression to the research center."
Wafter Bettio, associate architect in charge of the project at ArchitectsAlliance in Toronto said: "The primary inspiration for this façade was to create a symbolic pattern consistent with genetic DNA markers. This facility will be at the forefront of Canadian genetic research and the use of the colored, decorative laminated glass will establish a vibrant iconic reference to that end.
"The colored decorative glass is located on the east façade of the building, adjacent to the laboratory area where the researchers will conduct their experiments. The modulation of the vision glass using SentryGlas' Expressions' technology serves to animate the sunlight entering the building by illuminating the floor and desk surfaces with ever-changing, colored light patterns that respond to the orientation of the sun.
"The idea for the main façade came from some digital readings we were shown - a "DNA X-ray" (the printout data used to read and communicate DNA results). To introduce this quite difficult design ideas into the façade we used laminated glass with SentryGlas® Expressions™ decorative interlayer on certain panes of the façade using 16 or 17 different colors in total. This gives the whole façade a visual distinction from the outside that is strongly related to its context. It reminds passers-by, using strong visual hints, as to what is happening inside the research building. From the inside it's quite beautiful as you walk along the research rooms of the east façade It's actually pretty amazing when you walk around a corner, for example, and you're surprised by these bright vibrant colors, particularly in the morning light. The idea for the colored glass was much appreciated by the researchers themselves when we discussed the idea with them.
"Technically, we believe that this is the first time that four or five different colors tones could be incorporated in a single interlayer, which is a special grade of Butacite® PVB. Use of SentryGlas® Expressions™ enabled us to create colored glass with depths of tone that we had not been able to achieve until now, with some sections of the same laminated glass panels staying completely clear when our design called for this.
"Alternative technologies would have obliged us to splice several PVB interlayers together, which would have made the overall laminated glass construction very thick, cumbersome, risky (because air could get trapped between the layers of film) - and expensive."
"Functionally, the use of different gradients of a color in one pane of glass allowed us to precisely engineer the shading effect inside the building. Researchers get maximum light failing onto their desks and onto the floors but higher up, at eye level, the color is darker, meaning that the scientists are protected from glare." Laminated safety glass is used for both the smaller, lower, and larger, upper panes of the floor-to-ceiling glazing in the research rooms of the east fagade. The laminator for this project was Prelco of Montreal, Canada. Prelco's Bill Marchitello said: "Because the architects were looking to achieve different grades of a single color into the same piece of glass we originally looked at using ceramic frit techniques. But the only samples the architects really liked were those using DuPont™ SentryGlas® Expressions™ technology. Walter Bettio and his team had a very distinct artist vision for the façade. DuPont™ SentryGlas® Expressions™ technology was the only way we could translate their digital designs into laminated glass to their unremittingly high design standards."
"This is the first external façade using the technology in Canada. We were concerned initially about the effects of weather, UV and aging on the colors of the SentryGlas® Expressions™ decorative interlayer, considering the country's harsh climate. It greatly encouraged us that DuPont's confidence in the stability of the inks used, the fact that the laminated glass using a special grade of Butacite® PVB interlayer is UV-stable and advanced weathering tests means that the company is backing up its technology with a five-year warranty against fading."
Laminated glass with SentryGlas® Expressions™ covers approximately 25 percent of CCBR's east façade and is mainly used for the lower panes with a typical size of 1,537mm width x 1,030mm height The insulated glass units (IGUs) contain an outer lite of 13.52mm laminated glass comprised of two litres of 6mm clear tempered glass plus a 1.52mm interlayer of SentryGlas® Expressions™ , a 13mm air gap with argon fill and a 6mm inner lite of clear tempered glass.