Architect: Legat Architects
Glazing Contractor: Lake Shore Glass & Mirror Co.
Product: Fireframes Curtainwall® Series frames and Pilkington Pyrostop® fire-resistive-rated glass
Ancient philosophers theorized four elements comprised the universe: earth, air, water and fire. The latter two of these figure prominently in the design of the Niles North High School Aquatics Center in Skokie, Illinois.
On behalf of its client, the Niles Township High School District 219, Legat Architects (Chicago) designed an "expansion and renovation of the aquatics center to improve competitive and educational swimming programs, promote community participation and enhance safety."
Designed to meet LEED for Schools Gold environmental criteria, a key aspect of the project was a 24,600 sq. ft. addition to the school's existing pool complex. The addition's defining visual features include a dramatically curving roof with clerestory over the new pool, and a glazed curtain wall rising up to match the roof's curve. The light-filled space creates the ambiance of an outdoor pool for student athletes and spectators.
While the water element is clear in the swimming pools, the fire element factors in with the use of fire-rated glazing systems from Technical Glass Products (TGP).
"We needed to provide a two-hour fire-rated separation between the existing building and the new addition, but we wanted the facility to read as a single aquatics center," explained Michael Maloney, LEED AP BD+C, design director for Legat Architects. "A visual connection between pools was crucial for the concept, as well as for safety and security. The Fireframes® Curtainwall Series frames and Pilkington Pyrostop® glass from TGP allowed us to meet the fire requirements, while maintaining the visual connection between the existing and new parts of the building."
Fireframes Curtainwall Series frames are available with fire-ratings up to 120 minutes, and feature narrow profiles to reduce sightlines. The UL classified and labeled steel frames enable large, multi-story expanses of glass in interior and exterior applications. Also available with up to 120 minute fire ratings, Pilkington Pyrostop glazing is impact safety rated and blocks the transfer of radiant heat.