Like a Symphony

Posted on July 24, 2017 Under Blog

The following blog post is courtesy of Walker Glass Co. Ltd.


ABB Campus


In the world of construction having everything just “come together” is very rare. There’s always an obstacle in the path of efficiency. Sometimes it’s beyond your control like the weather and other times it’s an unfortunate lack of collaboration and communication that can be the bump (or bumps) in the road. Sometimes though the project goes smoother than normal and in the end major players can look back with pride and feel great about what they accomplished. One such effort is in Montreal with the Architecture49 designed ABB Montreal Campus.

With every passing day more and more people see that the glass on a building is more than just something that has to be there for the view. Many glazing products are multi-functional and play crucial roles in the design needs of the project. The ABB Campus was a building that came to fruition to allow the company to combine into a single building instead of spread out through the community. Combining different processes can bring very different needs though and it was something that Viviane Zhang, Architect & Project Manager, and the team at Architecture49 had to work through from the start.

“Each department, or business unit had their own requirements and they were all coming together into one research and development building. The work they do is very sensitive and as such, most of the staff were accustomed to working in buildings with no natural light and no views for security purposes. Our goal was first and foremost, to improve their working conditions and allow them to have access to a lot of natural lighting and views without compromising security and sensitive material. Needless to say, the glass was a very important aspect to help us achieve this goal. We were also aiming for a LEED certification on this project, so apart from natural lighting and views, energy efficiency was also an important criteria.“

So the glass needed to be smart. It needed to allow natural light but not too much and it needed to offer privacy and give the occupant a feeling of security and safety. One of the key products used was one that is becoming more and more a choice for the exterior after being a common choice for the interior- etched glass. The ABB project featured Walker Textures® Opaque Etched Glass on Vitro (formerly PPG) Starphire Ultra-Clear™ glass.

“We see usage of the etched product on the exterior growing dramatically, said Marc Deschamps, Business Development Director of Walker Glass. The fact that this product serves so many needs has given it value well beyond the aesthetic.”

For Zhang one of the major keys was the way all of the parties communicated and allowed the best possible results to come out.

“I think in the end, it`s all about collaboration. As the architects, we sited the etched glass façade towards the north to get the most constant and uniform lighting as possible. Then, engineers worked with the glass to ensure that it is as energy efficient as possible. The glass manufacturer also got involved to help us get the right opacity. When it all comes together, it enables us to get natural lighting and views into a space that would have otherwise been an opaque box.”

So what happens when the communication and collaboration are pitch perfect? Zhang sums it up nicely:

“Everything coming together like a symphony. Every instrument playing a note and together, it`s music. So my favorite part is working with everybody, tackling the project from all sides to ensure we got the best solution possible for the end users of the building.”

Project Details

Name: ABB Montreal Campus
Architect: Architecture49
Glazier: Vitrerie, Montreal, QC
Fabricator: Multiver, Montreal, QC
Etched Glass Manufacturer: Walker Glass, Montreal QC
Etched Products Used: Walker Textures® Opaque finish
Glass Manufacturer: Vitro (Formerly PPG)
Glass Used: Starphire® Low Iron

About Architecture49

Architecture49 boasts a history spanning over half a century of profoundly significant contributions to cities and communities across Canada and beyond. Their people share a depth of experience in designing complex, high-profile projects around the globe. They create inspiring spaces that elevate the health, social vitality and sustainability of our communities.

From coast to coast, they navigate a broad spectrum of urban and rural contexts. Some cities enjoy a wealth of heritage properties, and benefit from a mindful approach to blending contemporary glass with two-hundred-year-old stonework. Other regions experience extreme weather that requires local expertise to craft gathering places which are built to withstand those conditions with longevity and relevance. Architecture49 responds to the unique character of the various regions, while maintaining a consistent vision of collaboration, quality, and creative design


About Walker Glass

Through seven decades, Walker Glass has grown, evolved and constantly adapted to an ever-changing business environment. Walker Glass is the North American market leader in decorative glazing substrates. While many things have changed over the decades, the most important things have remained constant. Adherence to our mission and remaining true to our core values are the trusted foundations of the Walker Glass of yesterday, today and the decades to come.