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D4COST Software

  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.

The new skywalk connecting the Donaghey Plaza buildings in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, was designed as an architectural complement to the structures, resulting in an unusual integration of translucent polycarbonate and glass.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.†

Travel between the buildings is a comfortable and convenient experience for visitors, who enjoy diffused daylighting overhead plus an unobstructed view."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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