Case study: System illuminates fieldhouse without glare

The new fieldhouse at Grayslake Community High School, Ill., has become a showcase for this district 25 miles northwest of Chicago. The 54,817-square-foot structure houses physical therapy and training rooms, offices for the athletic director and district administrators, four classrooms, a concession area, a wood center court for basketball and volleyball, and a 13-lap-per-mile synthetic-surface running track.

The fieldhouse uses a curtainwall system from Kalwall. It provides indirect lighting that minimizes shadowing and has a clerestory of translucent glazing to bring in diffused daylight without shadows or glare. Even on cloudy days, an even balance of usable natural light fills the interior.

Light transmission in the fieldhouse is 20 percent.

The system "provides sufficient daylight inside the field house so that on most daytime occasions, the electrical lighting system need not be turned on," says Linda Turkstra of Legat Architects, which designed the project. "The transmitted daylight is consistent and free of shadowing."

The system also provides the illusion of a floating or lighter roof and allows the building exterior to be a beacon at night.The thermal properties of the curtainwall system also provide significant energy savings.

During the manufacturing process, the panels can be infilled with various densities of translucent spun glass "batt" insulation.

The focal point of the fieldhouse's interior design is a monumental stairway, off the foyer and leading to the football field below. An exterior cast-in-place stairway at the northeast corner of the fieldhouse draws spectators into the complex, while creating a separate entry for the district administration offices.

"A grand foyer on the fieldhouse's south side provides a connection for future growth and a glazed overlook to the football field," says Turkstra. "It also contains a showcase for the school's trophies."

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