What are the unique requirements that must be met when constructing a school? It is to protect the students and provide an effective learning environment. Unfortunately, a solid brick enclosure is the solution that is all too often chosen for security. This solution almost entirely eliminates the ability to have natural light into the school for a pleasant and healthy learning environment.
However, there is a glass material that provides security for the students while letting natural light wash into the school. That material is Glass Block.
Glass Block will provide security by protecting against physical threats, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, and unforeseen catastrophes, such as explosions outside the building by perpetrators. Glass Block also meets Daylighting and LEED guidelines. As an added bonus, Glass Block is graffiti resistant, which can be very important in highly populated urban settings.
An example of Glass Block meeting the unique requirements of schools is River Crest Elementary School.
Having seen assorted glass block patterns used in a divider wall at a Thai restaurant in Madison, Wis., Catherine Cruickshank, Senior Project Designer at Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc, was inspired to experiment by twisting and turning the glass blocks to create waves and ripples consistent with the River Crest theme while achieving a balance between daylight and privacy.
With sustainability and privacy a guiding factor, Cruickshank added glass blocks to the Guidance office, computer room and story area, and cafeteria. The glass block allowed natural light into the areas providing bright spaces that restrict noise and offer improved visual capability teachers rely on when caring for children. “Initially we were concerned about the acoustics in the guidance office, but the glass block worked out great,” said Cruickshank. “It let light into the space while providing privacy for conversations in the guidance office.”
There are many Glass Block products available that can be chosen for different applications. For instance, THICKSET is a glass block from Eastern Glass Block that is manufactured by Pittsburgh Corning and is ideal for use in schools. These Fire Rated Glass Block products include the Thickset 60 and the Thickset 90. All THICKSET 90 (thick-faced) and solid glass blocks have fire ratings of up to 90 minutes, and the THICKSET® 60 glass blocks have fire ratings up to 60 minutes, when used as window assemblies and when permitted by code.
THICKSET Glass Block include;
- superior sound transmissions ratings,
- a range of visibility options from clear to opaque depending on your privacy needs,
- graffiti resistant with easy to clean and durable glass surface,
- Fire Rated by Underwriters Laboratories.
Another great product for security is LightWise Architectural Tornado and Hurricane Resistant window. This window has successfully passed the highest standards of performance for FEMA 361 “Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms”, meet the large missile impact tests referenced in the International Building Code, and Dade County Approval Protocols. The window provides effective protection against air pressure and flying debris caused by tornado-force winds.
To learn more about Glass Block as an excellent glass building material to enhance the learning environment of a school, while also providing safety and security for the students, contact Eastern Glass Block. We have over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial Glass Block installation services. We love to share our knowledge.