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Benjamin Franklin Museum, Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin Museum Brings architect’s Vision to Life

Glassolutions supplied customized glass solution for the impressive curtain wall at the Ben Franklin Museum’s entrance and an extremely wide bay window allowing expansive views from inside the museum, achieving the main goal of creating a more welcoming entrance to the museum.

 

 


Overview

The Franklin Court complex was designed by world-famous architects Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and John Rauch for the 1976 Bicentennial. In 2011, the National Park Service in Philadelphia made the decision to renovate the Ben Franklin Museum for the first time since the bicentennial and hired architectural firm Quinn Evans Architects. The aim of this retrofit project was to make the museum entrance more attractive and welcoming that better accommodates visitors and museum staff. The solution: replacing the fabric awning by a curtain wall helped create a foyer and easier access to the museum in the basement.


Products used

The Benjamin Franklin Museum re-opened in September 2013 after a two-year renovation project that included updates to exhibits and enhancements to the architectural design of the building. The glazing for the project was created combining extra clear DIAMANT glass, with customized SERALIT LITEX screen printing and low-e CLIMAPLUS ULTRA N II for optimum energy performance and maximum daylight transmission. A glass curtain wall has been designed in order to create an entrance lobby and improve access to the underground museum. The curtain wall recapitulates the Flemish bond pattern of Venturi’s brick garden wall The process of creating the custom glass began with photographing the original brick wall in order to create a pattern later applied to the other glass and developing physical mock-ups of the frit pattern during both the design and construction phases in order to emulate the texture of brick. With glass located at both the outer and inner plane of the curtain wall framing, a “shadow box” effect is achieved, further intensifying the play of light.

 

 


Outcomes

After two-year, the $24 million renovation project allows visitors to appreciate for the first time the exterior space once occupied by Benjamin Franklin’s house marked by the iconic “Ghost Structure” as inside the museum and as visitors exit the exhibit. Glassolutions provided the glass for the very large window designed to offer this unique view, the window is fabricated with two 2.4 by 4.8 meter pieces of low-iron laminated glass, each weighing approximately 545 kilos, that are joined by a single vertical sealant joint in the middle.

 


Products

Planitherm Ultra N

High performance thermally insulating glass (1.1 u-value), designed for the commercial market

“We searched for a special glass manufacturer that could bring our vision to life”

Carl Elefante, FAIA, Principal at Quinn Evans

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