Los Gatos Library: taking full advantage of glass

Los Gatos Library, designed by Noll & Tam architects, has glass as its most significant building material, which was used in a number of different areas in a number of different ways.

The new 30,000-square-foot Los Gatos Library in Los Gatos, Calif., designed by Noll & Tam architects based in Berkeley, Calif., takes full advantage of all that glass can offer. The library, which was completed in February 2012, aimed at creating a light and welcoming building, which led them to the idea of a lantern, glowing at night.
Glass was a significant building material both inside and for the exterior of the library, helping create a bright, open space. According to project architect Abraham Jayson, glass was used in a number of different areas in a number of different ways.
“On the exterior we were thoughtful about the various exposures of the building as well as cardinal points on the compass,” he says. As an example, “We made some thoughtful, minute changes in the glass from using PPG Solarban 70XL on the East, South and West to using Solarban 60 on the north. In some spots we had to be thoughtful on the corners and making sure they looked the same.”
The architects also worked with two contract glaziers: The Glass Man based in Alameda, Calif., and Silicon Valley Glass in Morgan Hill, Calif., with Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® as the glass fabricator. A number of glazing materials were also supplied by Kawneer, such as 1600 Wall System®1 curtainwall; GLASSvent® visually frameless windows; Versoleil™ sunshades; Trifab® VersaGlaze® 451T framing; and 190 narrow stile entrances.
The project features a large expanse of west facing glazing about 35 feet in height, which was designed thanks to collaboration between Kawneer and the architects, resulting in a custom solar shading system, which was integral to the curtainwall system. Significant daylight studies were also carried out using computer modelling to determine balance of daylight shade and visible light.
Glazing was also used for the entry canopy.
“We used laminated, translucent glazing, which has a spandrel band and colour-changing LED lights behind it,” Jayson says. “This allows for a wonderful diffused colour band, ranging from yellows to reds, oranges and sometimes blue.”
The library also features a sliding wall system, which was supplied by Sunflex Wall Systems of Naples, Fla.
Another unique detail about the library is on the south facing clearstory, which incorporates a laminated glass photovoltaic panel.
Glazing was also used significantly inside the library, adding to the light, openness of the structure.
“On the interior we used some decorative laminated glass from 3Form with their Seaweed interlayer. It tapers from full density at floor to get thinner as it rose to give effect of walking thought the grass, and we used that in the majority of the interior glass partitions,” says Jaysen.
A glass art piece was also created by artist Sheri Simons, who is also a professor in the area of sculpture within the Department of Art and Art History at California State University, and installed in the central atrium. The art piece consists of sandblasted, low-iron tempered glass, 44 panels all 3 feet wide and varying in heights of 2, 4 and 6 feet.