The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami is using electronically tintable SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, to offer students a more comfortable and creative environment for music making while also achieving aggressive energy-efficiency goals.
Designed by architectural firm HOK and famed architect Yann Weymouth, the new LEED® Platinum-pending facility has over 40,000 square feet of acoustically-engineered and daylight-optimized teaching spaces. The twin-building complex unites more than 770 students and 125 faculty in what is recognized as one of the top 20 music schools in the world.
“The goal was to create a highly sustainable, state-of-the-art facility for teaching, learning, performing and recording music, as well as provide a beautiful gateway at the campus’ edge. To that end, the facility employs a light-harvesting, energy-efficient design that requires less than half the energy of comparable buildings,” said Alex Rodriquez, architect at HOK.
Arrays of triangular SageGlass dynamic glass windows framed in white concrete walls give the façade its distinctive visual statement. SageGlass is electrochromic glazing that tints automatically (or on demand) to optimize daylight, outdoor views and comfort while preventing glare, fading and heat gain. SageGlass helped enable HOK’s distinctive triangular window design since it is the building industry’s only dynamic glass available in non-rectangular shapes.
SageGlass also supports the unique light-harvesting design of the indoor space where each room is a “floating box” within a box, with no two rooms sharing walls, floors or ceilings to provide optimal acoustics for music creativity. SageGlass enhances the indoor environment by providing natural daylight and outdoor views to the beautiful lakefront campus throughout the day.
Dynamic glass is a good fit for South Florida buildings due to the amount of sunshine and the intensity of the sunlight. The Coral Gables campus sees the sun during 70 percent of available daylight hours, and the light in Florida is particularly strong due to the steep angle of the sun, so it receives a high level of ultraviolet radiation.
“Sustainable design, natural lighting and outdoor views create better learning environments as well as enhance the creative process of music. With SageGlass, we were able to maintain outside views and keep people comfortable inside, while simultaneously minimizing energy consumption to achieve the project’s LEED goals,” Rodriguez said.
SageGlass is one of a number of eco-friendly design elements that helped HOK achieve LEED Platinum-pending certification. The Frost School also features roof-top photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting cisterns, water-efficient landscaping, and precast concrete walls that sequester smog from around the building.
“Dynamic glass continues to gain momentum in higher education because universities are increasingly committed to sustainable design in new building projects. But they also understand the benefits of natural lighting for creating better learning environments,” said Alan McLenaghan, CEO of SageGlass. “The Frost School of Music is an innovative educational facility and is on the leading edge of using SageGlass for daylighting, energy efficiency and enhancing the academic experience of its students.”