This beautiful public library was designed by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. Architects of Minneapolis, with project construction by W. Gohman Construction of St. Cloud, Minnesota. This elegant work included a multiple radii curtain wall, asymmetrical clerestory windows, and irregularly sloped roof-to-glass connections.
Empirehouse faced several challenges with the complexity of the design and the intricacy of the multi-planed wall system. The specified curtain wall framing system was not custom. But, the unique design flared the radius walls and added extended wings, making the fabrication and installation more complicated. Multiple roof slopes were inserted where lites of glass met, while oversized, asymmetrical shaped lites flowed across the face of the building. To increase the difficulty, all of the exterior glass curtain wall openings were “virtually” measured before the completion of the physical openings. When the contractor finally built and prepared the structure to accept the materials, all the frames perfectly fit.
Performance and humidity control were critical for this project. Since ideal library conditions were expected by the owner, the delicate details and numerous ties to the air barrier system were essential to create the important humidity balance for the library. In addition, the glass wall system was to accommodate a deflection of 1-1/2′ in the frame system’s head while still maintaining the flexibility of the air barrier.
With the extensive use of glass in the architect’s design, energy was an important part of the design – but so was transparency and visibility from both the exterior and interior of the library. Marrying the design with low-E fritted glass allowed a high degree of transparency for maximum illumination in the library, and also provided the internal spaces with generous daylighting. Five different types of glass coatings and color complicated the work. Coordination and pre-planning was essential to guarantee that the correct glass was ordered and installed for each specific location. In addition, the architect designed the openings to extreme glass sizes, with some lites reaching 56′ x 163′ and weighing over 500 pounds each.
While the exteriors were complex, the interior glass walls proved to be just as challenging. The building interior was filled with all glass walled rooms within rooms, mullion-less butt glazed floor to ceiling glass room separators, all glass stair railings, all glass elevator enclosures, and all glass doors.
St. Cloud Public Library
Location: St. Cloud, MN
Contractor: W. Gohman Construction
Architect: Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. Architects
Glazing Specialty Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
Photo gallery: (click to enlarge)