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Translucent Skywalk Is Single-System Solution|
Downtown Little Rock sports several skywalks. The design team from Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Architects wanted a fresher, lighter look for the elevated structure connecting their new 200,000-square-foot Donaghey Plaza South with the existing Donaghey Plaza West.
Appearance was only one key issue. Economy and solar control were also important factors for the 54 ft. barrel-vaulted skywalk, which features lighting and heat-control louvers. Because the architectural team was open to innovative alternatives, they achieved all three goals using an unusual approach that integrated a translucent roof and glass walls.
Rob Young of ACE Glass Co., Inc., working with general contractor CDI Contractors, proposed a roof of twin-walled polycarbonate structured sheet (PCSS) connected to clear glass sidewalls in structural aluminum framing. The single-system solution was engineered by Duo-Gard Industries Inc., a leading design/build maker of translucent daylighting systems.†
To complement the aesthetics of new Plaza South, the glass and the skywalkís translucent roof feature a light green tint. The 6063-T5 aluminum framing has a clear anodized finish and a smooth, flowing architectural profile with concealed fasteners. The 10mm PCSS roof transmits 50% diffused natural daylight. Lightweight and flexible for design versatility, the PCSS easily cold-forms to create a curve. Itís also shatterproof and low-maintenance with UV stabilization co-extruded right into the sheet to protect against color change.†
"While translucent fiberglass is well-known here, PCSS is a new product for our market," says ACEís Rob Young, "and it appeals to architects who want to explore the advantages of alternative technology. It filled our requirements for a lot of light with a little shade."†
WD&Dís president, Tom Adams, says the team is "very pleased with the skywalk system. We havenít worked much with PCSS. This gave us an opportunity to look at it in a different light. We liked Duo-Gardís approach of putting structure and glazing into a single system, which proved economical and attractive. And at night, the skywalk makes a striking connection between the buildings." Adams says the technical support provided by Duo-Gardís engineers proved very helpful.†
A second Duo-Gard skywalk, which matches the first and connects the new Donaghey Plaza South to its parking structure, is near completion.
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