Double glazed panels from Australian Glass Group were installed across all five levels of the historic RMIT University building to enable light and temperature control, and add to the sustainability of the construction.

Peter Elliott Architects, the architectural firm engaged by the University for the refurbishment involving the design and installation of glass panels on Building 2, tested a number of different materials and techniques before developing the clear, double glazed Low-E laminated glass product. The solution comprised of high performance Low-E laminate glass with the air space between the glass panels filled with custom-made UV stable polycarbonate sun control rings.

Architect Rob Trinca from Peter Elliott Architects explained that during the ring development stages, they had been committed to designing glass panels that combined pleasing aesthetics with high thermal benefits for the building’s occupants.

According to Mr Trinca, the translucent shade rings incorporated between the glass panels work naturally with the angle of the sun throughout the year to control the interior temperature of the building without the need for an external sun shade. The rings are designed in such a way that their depth and diameter refract the hot and high summer sun while allowing the low sun angles of winter to infiltrate the panels, thus increasing the temperature of the building’s interior.

Installing the glass panels to the ground level, which are suspended 1700mm above the ground presented a challenge for Peter Elliott Architects. However, AGG engineers worked with the design team to position the frame for the IGU glass panels, which was supported from the level 2 floor slab to allow for a column-free facade to the clear glass at the ground floor entry.

Installing the rings within the insulated glass units was another exciting challenge for the AGG engineers, who ensured a consistent pattern was formed determined by the window position.

Additionally, there is a constant moving pattern of light across the interior, giving the design of the panels a unique touch, says Mr Trinca.