Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville was looking for a “transparent” solution that would provide a view into the new four-story 129,000-square-foot engineering building and demonstrate its structure, engineering and function. Wanting to assimilate design characteristics of the existing campus and, at the same time, express an individual identity as the School of Engineering, the view reflected exhibits a dynamic aesthetic.
Students refer to this end result as the “blue jewel” because of the more than one acre of blue glass that was used as a three-story wall that spans from the first floor to the roof.
System 5600 Pressure Curtain Wall, manufactured by EFCO, is a 47-foot-high, 28-inch-deep free-span system that is unique to the project. The biggest aluminum plate truss system that had been used before was only 37 feet high.
This presented an unusual engineering challenge. The company worked with the building team to construct and test a 47-foot-high, 20-foot-wide mock truss system to ensure that it would be able to sustain wind speeds of 70 mph or more.