Since opening in 1992, Mall of America® (MOA) in Bloomington, MN, has become the most iconic retail and entertainment destination in the United States. With hundreds of stores, top restaurants, a theme park, special exhibits and even an aquarium, there is truly something for everyone at the world-class MOA. So when it comes time to bring new, innovative features to the 4.9 million square-foot MOA, what can possibly be done?
In May 2014, MOA embarked on a $325 million expansion — the most significant construction project since opening in 1992. The expansion included a 342-room JW Marriott Hotel, an office tower, high-end retailers, new dining options and a tourist welcome center. Additionally, the new grand entrance on the north side of the mall featured an atrium and massive rotunda skylight, which looked beautiful, but posed a few significant solar control challenges.
The potential for harsh sunlight to flood into the new grand entrance and create a less than welcoming experience for guests caused the MOA to search for an alternative option to traditional glass for its skylight. The MOA team needed a solution that would control glare and solar heat gain to create a comfortable environment for guests, without having to install blinds or shades on the skylight. The perfect solution was being manufactured just 37 miles away in Faribault, MN.
MOA selected dynamic SageGlass® to be installed in the 3,500 square-foot skylight for its ability to darken or clear in response to sun movement throughout the day, deflecting solar heat and glare to reduce cooling costs and keep visitors comfortable. The skylight is composed of more than 300 individual panes of dynamic glass and it can be controlled automatically via light sensors or manually as needed. While the tintable skylight is truly unique in its everyday form, SageGlass took this project one step further.
The SageGlass team has the ability to tint each individual glass panel to create custom “scenes” for the MOA. For example, this past holiday season the MOA skylight featured a pumpkin, turkey and frosty the snowman to celebrate the season. Guests at MOA are pleasantly surprised when they look up and see not just blue skies, but a festive scene in the skylight. The skylight scenes are unique to MOA and they add one more wow factor to the already cutting-edge mall.
In addition to creating a memorable first impression for guests entering the complex, the SageGlass skylight brings many other benefits to MOA. The north entrance atrium provides a versatile special events space, and the SageGlass skylight keeps that space comfortable for guests year round. Additionally, SageGlass’ ability to block sunlight on hot days has also helped reduce the MOA’s energy costs.
SageGlass didn’t just add a unique wow factor to the MOA, it solved a functional problem of allowing for controlled sunlight in a retail environment, which is incredibly important. The more than 42 million guests who visit MOA each year now have an ever better and brighter shopping experience thanks to SageGlass.