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February 24, 2016

Great Glazing: Jefferson Accelerator Zone, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia

GG_JAZ1The basics: A renewed focus on innovation led to the development of the Jefferson Accelerator Zone at Thomas Jefferson University, a space to foster collaboration and the exchange of ideas among faculty and students from different departments on campus. Completed in January 2015 and designed by Cecil Baker + Partners, the new facility provides users with a unique gathering space and enlivens the block with its open and illuminated façade. The fast-track project required zoning approval for its unorthodox bay window and non-conforming signage.

According to  university officials, “JAZ will serve as ‘command central’ for innovation activities at Jefferson [as well as] a platform to engage and unleash creative, entrepreneurial talent.” 

The players: Architect, Cecil Baker + Partners; structural engineer, Joseph B. Callaghan Inc.; general contractor, C. Erickson & Sons Inc.; contract glazier/ fabricator, Newman Glass; glass fabricator, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope; metal systems supplier, Independence Steel

The glass and systems: Central to the design is a dramatic projecting glazed façade that replaces the traditional brick oGG_JAZ2n a narrow two-story rowhouse owned by the university. The architect worked closely with the structural engineer, general contractor and glazing subcontractor to produce the unusual façade.

Architect Cecil Baker explains how glass supported his design concept, which both invites “new ideas from the medical community” and returns innovation to the city. “The image I had was of [Ben] Franklin’s kite” for the creative process. The glass, he says is by design, “Open and opaque (fritted) on the first floor, angled inwards. Clear and crystalline, reaching out, on the second floor.”

On the second story, the façade juts out to form a kite-like bay window that extends three feet over the sidewalk, the legal limit.

Newman Glass, Camden, New Jersey, the glazier and fabricator, made the custom fabricated aluminum curtain wall with tube steel structural support from Independence Steel.


Photos © Matt Wargo

Source: Glass Magazine