Architects 4 based in Moncton, New Brunswick, has been designing daylighted projects for over forty-five years across Atlantic Canada. For them, creating comfortable spaces that capture and control natural light is a core element of their architectural designs.
How does Architects 4 capture natural daylight in primary schools to office buildings without harmful glare, solar heat gain, or visual contrast issues that can be associated with uncontrolled daylight?
Educational spaces in schools including classrooms, libraries and gymnasiums require natural light for younger students to learn and grow in a comfortable environment. In 2009, Ecole St. Therese was the first LEED-certified school the provincial government of New Brunswick built with the requirement of natural daylight for regular occupied spaces including the gymnasium in this space. When sourcing a daylighting solution, they knew by capturing daylight it would benefit students more than avoiding it by using blinds or other bolt-on solutions. “Using Solera was important to ensure direct sunlight didn’t blind players in this space. Solera controlled the natural daylight and created a diffused environments for students in the gymnasium” says architect, Alain Malenfant.
Architects 4 were impressed by the light diffusion abilities of Solera, they placed the engineered daylight diffusers in other primary schools, Ecole le Galion des Appalaches and Ecole Arc-en-ciel. The idea was the same but in a cafeteria environment for students to have a comfortable space to eat by bringing in an equal and deep distribution of light, removing dark spots and visual contrast issues.
The success of these two primary schools, lead to the design team to include Solera in Crandall University and in a unique application of both translucent glazings and vision glass. This space was designed with student wellness in mind to create a calm ambiance for students to study and connect. This space was different from the other applications of Solera, as this space has a large exterior wall where there was concern of strong sunlight beaming in during the summer months which could create a problem for students and staff. “Using Solera in the top lights helped to distribute the harsh light during these months to create a comfortable space for students to be in year-round. Solera equally distributed the daylight deep into the space” says Malenfant.
The benefits of controlled daylight are not limited to educational facilities. In a different application, Architects 4 knew natural daylight would be a welcomed workplace benefit in the Gemtec Engineering building located in Moncton, New Brunswick. This office building has clusters of office in the center of the building with cubicles in the surrounding areas. Finding a way to bring daylight into these spaces without glare or hotspots, and providing a comfortable a comfortable place to work was important. “There were concerns with glare on computer screens and Solera was a solution for daylight and eliminating glare from this space” says Malenfant.
Why is using Solera engineered daylight diffusers important to Architects 4?
“We used Advanced Glazings Ltd.’s daylight modeling services for St. Therese school, our first project with this product, and it was a great help. The models played a major factor for the correct veil combination and optimal visible light transmittance, which is something you can’t guess at. By using these services, we were able to predict how Solera redirects sunlight to maximize its distribution in our designs, which is our main objective” says Malenfant. Advanced Glazings Ltd. offers complimentary daylight modeling to help architects and building owners envision daylight from the very start of their design.
“We want to keep using Solera in positive situations to remove glare and control daylight entering the space. This product is ideal for direct sunlight, especially in high windows and where a view isn’t needed. Solera and vision glass easily work together to provide building occupants with the best of both daylight and views” says Malenfant.