The Emerald


Case Study
Claude Moore Medical Education Building, University of Virgina

Charlottesville, VA

Architect: CO Architects

Product: Pilkington Profilit™ channel glass system

Channel Glass Transforms UVA’s School of Medicine into a Flagship Building

The Claude Moore Medical Education Building (MEB) at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine is one of the nation’s largest learning facilities for the next generation of doctors. Designed by CO Architects, the building consolidates medical education programs and serves as a central entrance to the School of Medicine.

A defining feature of the Claude Moore MEB is an ethereal, translucent channel glass wall system that encircles the third floor lecture hall. Its elongated, curved form acts as a centering focal point, while diffusing soft, even light for students and faculty.

The striking Pilkington Profilit channel glass wall system, supplied by Technical Glass Products (TGP), consists of "U"-shaped, self-supporting cast-glass channels and an extruded metal perimeter frame. A stacked joint between the upper and lower sections is the only interruption to an otherwise fluid wall. The joint helps ensure the curved system is structurally stable while eliciting the effect of uninterrupted spans of glazing. Since the channel glass system does not require intermediate vertical mullions, it further adds to the wall’s seamless aesthetic while providing a greater surface area for glare-free light to enter the lecture hall.

To balance diffuse light transfer with views to the exterior, the Pilkington Profilit channel glass system integrates strategic vision lites into the framing. This was done in the radius sections of the multistory drum area, as well as in the straight spans of channel glass used throughout the facility. Vision lites grant students and faculty an unobstructed window to the outside and further light transfer. These integral daylighting design elements helped contribute to the project’s LEED Silver certification.

Channel glass’ sleek form also opens up a realm of design possibilities by enabling what few other glazing materials can—curved applications. The slender, linear nature of the cast-glass channels enable tight radiuses that allow architects to push the form of buildings in ways impossible with conventional glazing. In this case, they allowed CO Architects to create a striking glass wall with a drum-like look.

Today, the Pilkington Profilit channel glass system is the face of an iconic campus building. It gracefully blends UVA’s architectural traditions with a bold and modern aesthetic fit for a prestigious school of medicine.