The Fireframes ClearFloor™ System lets light shine deep into interior spaces
TGP Adds New Product Specification Resources
To equip architects and designers with the necessary tools to specify and install TGP's most recent product offerings — the Fireframes ClearFloor™ System and the Fireframes® Aluminum Series — corresponding Web pages are now active with links to fact sheets, product specifications and detailed drawings.
Case Study: Art Institute of Chicago Modern Wing Relies on Fire-Rated Glass and Frames
Pilkington Pyrostop™ transparent wall panels and Fireframes® Aluminum Series frames
Built on the rubble of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, the Art Institute of Chicago embodies history. Today, the museum represents five thousand years of human artistic expression from around the world and continues to integrate Chicago's rich cultural history with avant-garde art.
To allow more comprehensive display views for the museum's growing number of visitors and increase educational space for students, the Art Institute of Chicago commissioned world-renowned architect Renzo Piano, founder of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, to design a "Modern Wing"—the museum's newest addition since 1988. In early 2001, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop teamed with the local architects of record, Interactive Design, Incorporated, Chicago, Illinois, to create the striking new addition.
Following the Modernist adage that form follows function, the new wing was designed with understated architecture, allowing elegant lines and spacious galleries to maintain art as the focal point. Just as important to the museum was the value of integrating the Modern Wing with the original buildings, as well as the vital city center, stunning Chicago skyline and neighboring Millennium Park.
The Art Institute of Chicago quotes Renzo Piano as saying: "My desire was to root the Art Institute's building deeply in this ground, but at the same time to give the Modern Wing air and lightness—to let it levitate. A continuation of an urban fabric, a flight into new experiences."
Located on the northeast corner of the museum campus, the complex, three-story addition appears simple. Double-layered curtainwall forms the exterior of the northern and southern façades, allowing natural light into the galleries and dramatic panoramas of the Chicago skyline and Millennium Park. Suspended above the building's glass, steel and Indiana limestone exterior is the "flying carpet," or rooftop canopy. This unique design element, which filters light into the third floor galleries through computer-modeled blades, is a trademark of the Modern Wing.
Inside, plaster and glass provide intimate gallery settings and clear views in and out to continually inspire artistic expression. A new education center includes activity rooms for children and families, orientation rooms, support offices and a teacher resource center. It is the space in which museum occupants can begin to prepare for what Renzo Piano calls the "sacred" part of the building — the experience of the galleries.
One challenge the architects faced was how to maintain clear lines of sight from historic Michigan Avenue through the space to the fresh landscape of the Millennium Park Courtyard. The interior walls for the education and boardrooms needed to be transparent from floor to ceiling, yet also meet fire and life safety codes. To meet their design goals, the architects desired a versatile, high-quality glass and glazing system.
Click Art Institute of Chicago to read how the architects solved this challenge.