Pilkington has helped City of Tulsa to renovate its 50-year-old Central Library building – one of its best-loved landmarks – in order to bring it up to date aesthetically, energy-performance-wise and in terms of the visitor experience it offers.
The brief was to modernise the building without losing its period character. From a glazing perspective, this meant bringing more light into the interior while enhancing the building’s exterior appearance and delivering high levels of efficiency.
The most striking design addition is a series of glazed reading rooms on the second floor of the library, which take the form of protruding glass boxes. As well as creating new areas of well-lit indoor space that can be used all year round, these also let light flood into the whole interior.
To deliver the frameless “jewel box” cubes, the Pilkington Planar™ structural glass system was specified, using glass fins and sidewalls to support the glass roofs without any need for non-transparent structural elements breaking up the views afforded to users.
For the glazed walls, insulating glass units with a low-emissivity (low-e) coating on surface number 3 – that is, the outer face of the inner pane of glass – was used. This is topped with a roof comprised of laminated glass – also featuring a low-e coating – that makes use of a SentryGlas® interlayer in order to deliver excellent structural strength.
The structures are supported by laminated glass, and are connected by Pilkington Planar™ 905 and 902 series stainless-steel fittings, a low-profile system that minimises interruption to sightlines or distraction from heritage architectural features.
One of the central challenges when refurbishing a cherished heritage building is enhancing its usability and modernising its energy performance while maintaining its essential architectural characteristics, and this is one of the great strengths of structural glazing systems.
The renovation has turned the library into a multi-functional destination for a wide range of hands-on activities. Across 260,000 sq ft of space, it includes expanded meeting spaces, a revamped children’s play area, a 3-D printing station and a recording studio.