Former concrete structure remade into glass and terra cotta showcase of sustainability

A community eyesore for nearly 40 years, the Lawrence Public Library in Kansas was transformed by architects Gould Evans into a community showcase and an American Institute of Architects/American Library Association (AIA/ALA) 2016 Library Building Award winner.

Central to the building’s revitalization was a new façade combining a high-performing terra cotta rain screen and energy-efficient, transparent Solarban® 70XL glass by Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG glass). The materials, which envelop a 20,000 square-foot reading room wrapped around the library’s existing concrete façade, combine with open interior design and a more intuitive wayfinding system to reconnect the library to residents and the surrounding landscape.

Lawrence Public Library in Kansas. Photo by Mike Sinclair

Lawrence Public Library in Kansas. Photo by Mike Sinclair

With visible light transmittance of 64 percent in a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit, Solarban 70XL glass bathes the interior in sunlight, while the glass’s exceptional solar control performance makes it integral to the façade’s continuous insulation system. Despite being 50 percent larger, the refurbished structure consumes 50 percent less energy than before and was designed to achieve LEED® certification at the Silver level.


Editor’s Note

More information can be found at the  Vitro Architectural Glass Education Center, a comprehensive online source of glass-related information and educational content.