Vitro Glass: Solarban® 90, Starphire® glass transforms old building

Ultra-Clear, Low-E glass inside an artistic mosaic frame creates a hip mixed-use space

Named one of the ten best structures in Dallas by Dallas Morning News’ architectural critic Mark Lamster, 1217 Main Street – once a 1950s-era bank building – has been transformed into a mixed-use architectural gem in downtown Dallas, USA. Designed by 5G Studio Collaborative, Dallas, the adaptive reuse features a colourful handmade ceramic perimeter artistically framing a ground-level store front and four-story curtain wall system with Solarban® 90 Starphire® glass from Vitro Architectural Glass.

Josh Allen, partner, 5G Studio Collaborative, said it was critical for the six-coloured blue mosaic façade, designed by well-known artist and sculptor Jorge Pardo, to be paired with the right glass system. “Numerous options were considered and after reviewing them all in combination with the artistic tile on the building. Solarban® 90 Starphire® [glass] was selected because of its clarity, reflection and lack of colour,” he explained.

Starphire Ultra-Clear® low-iron glass offers industry-leading clarity while Solarban® 90 glass delivers high-performance solar control. United in a standard one-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), they block 77 percent of the sun’s heat energy and achieve a crystal-clear aesthetic with visible light transmittance (VLT) of 54 percent. “This allowed us to provide a building that is both alluring and efficient,” Allen added.

Complementing the seamless aesthetic, the individual ceramic tiles are held together with no visible control or expansion joints, panel or module seams. “To achieve this, a custom rain screen system was developed, which is a grid of vertical and horizontal aluminium t-shaped extrusions that support the 36,215 glazed ceramic tiles,” Allen continued.

The original 1958 Guardian Savings Bank survived two fires in the last couple of decades. Preserving the core and shell of the historical building, the design team transformed the dilapidated structure into an urban revitalization success. Passers-by can observe the flurry of activity within the ground floor’s bakery, café and commissary, and upper four levels of office space through the floor-to-window Solarban® 90 Starphire® glass. The top floor also features exterior balconies.

As a striking blend of art and architecture, Allen is happy to report the project achieved its intended vision and has become an icon in Downtown Dallas with its unique design.

An Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Award winner for Building Renovation, the magazine stated, “1217 Main Street has become a new landmark and operates as a gateway to Dallas’s revitalized Main Street.”