To shelter students and faculty from bad weather during training and sporting events, engineers at The Ohio State University, Columbus, decided to connect the natatorium and the gymnasium. Mike Whitehead, university engineer, wanted a quick solution, but something that was architecturally appealing.
He decided that the best solution for linking the buildings was a solarium walkway. The university selected the Righter Company for the project. It assigned the project to Commercial Sunroom Products (CSP), the commercial division of Patio Enclosures.
The main challenge of the project was that the walkway was to be on the third floor. The construction manager determined where the structural steel was found on the roof so workers could build the base walls to receive the new solarium. Core samples of the roof were taken to ensure the integrity of the roof system.
Special-order laminated glass was needed to complete this walkway. Because of the nature of the installation, certain framing sections of the solarium needed to be installed before the fabrication of the glass.
The all-glass curved solarium walkway spans more than 150 feet between the natatorium and the gymnasium. It was completed in 90 days, in February 2000. The combination of freestanding and lean-to walkways greatly enhanced the aesthetics of the project. The design incorporated thermostatically controlled ventilation fans to maintain proper air circulation and comfort.