Glass Canada

Features Contracting Architectural design
A lot of geometry

August 31, 2023  By Treena Hein

AT A GLANCE – Arts Square

  • Location: Sudbury, Ontario
  • Date completed: April 29, 2022
  • Architects: Moriyama & Teshima Architects and Belanger Salach Architecture 
  • Glazing contractor: Barrie Metro Glass
  • Glass fabricator: Viracon
  • Glass specs: low-E VNE-163 high-performance glass
  • DGL-1: One-inch overall thickness; outer lite 6 mm clear tempered with low-E on #2; 12.7 mm air space with stainless steel black spacer and argos gas fill; 6 mm inner lite clear tempered 
  • DGL-3: 17.5 mm overall thickness laminated; outer lite 8 mm clear tempered with low-E on #2; 1.5 mm clear PBV RA71 interlayer on inner; 10 mm clear tempered inner

A much-needed addition to the heart of Sudbury in northern Ontario, Place des Arts (now called Arts Square) has hosted over 125 shows and events attended by over 10,000 people since it opened in spring 2022. This centre of artistic and cultural excellence has garnered several awards, including one of the Rethinking the Future’s 2022 Architecture Construction and Design Awards. In addition to event spaces, the building also houses headquarters for seven organizations in alignment with the Greater Sudbury Downtown Revitalization Masterplan. 

To achieve an artistic flair, the three-storey, 3,716-meter-square building features a mix of heights, angular projections and terraces. The ground floor includes a bistro, bar, cafe, gallery, gift shop and public meeting rooms. Performing arts areas include a 300-seat theatre, a 120-seat multipurpose black box theatre, rehearsal spaces, green room, costume and dressing rooms and equipment and control rooms. The second level houses a designated youth studio, areas for children’s programs and a daycare with an outdoor terrace. 

Alumicor provided the building enclosure’s custom, aluminum-framed, high-performance glazing systems, with its ThermaWall 2600 curtainwall and FlushGlaze BF 3400 storefront along with windows positioned to optimize daylighting, views and thermal performance. A boom crane was used to lift and install the largest units on the building’s west elevation. Crane trucks were used for the glazing process of all the glass on the third floor and telescopic booms were used on the rest of the building.

Among the installation challenges, explains Barrie Metro Glass’ project manager, estimator and designer, Nelson Vanegas, was the allocation of the frames on the facade. He adds that “this is the first time, due to the integration of the north entrance with the soffit and the access doors being moved to the back, that we had to use a corner mullion (as proposed by the designers) in a horizontal application.” The corner horizontal mullion also had to integrate with other vertical corner mullions. Vanegas notes that there was “a lot of geometry at this location.”

The entire northwest corner was also one of the main challenges for BMG in terms of achieving the continuity of the building design through integrating three different levels and three different curtain walls. Vanegas says engineering the loads and movements of the curtain walls involved additional mullions, steel reinforcement, design and allocation of the steel anchors.

Among the other challenges, soundproofing one room meant that a commercial grade window frame facing west and another window facing north had to receive an additional layer of glass installed at the back of the frames.

Lastly, the west facade presented the need for lots of geometric problem solving. BMG utilized its 3D scanning system for all the site measuring process, having the frame and the glass in two different planes (diagonal shape and moving backward to the inside of the building from the south to the north). Vanegas adds that the second-floor frame is recessed at only one portion of the building and changes the plane in direction, which created yet another geometric challenge. •

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