Mark Meshulam is a consultant and expert witness for windows, glass, glazing and building facades.
Want to do something unusual with glass?
The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas has dazzling glass wherever you look!Las Vegas rarely provides a truly relaxing vacation – there’s just too much to do and see! Try being a construction guy or a window dude like yours truly, and the mind’s eye never gets any rest whatsoever. My “vacation” last week at the truly amazing Wynn Hotel provided such a visual feast, such a highly refined sense of design, and such an adroit mastery of construction, that the more I looked, greater became my admiration, and the less my relaxation. Highest compliments to what must have been an army of architects and designers who worked on the Wynn Hotel. They have obviously expended many man and woman-years creating a wonderfully unique yet coherent hotel experience. Whereas a typical Vegas hotel design concept could be described as: “cover every square inch of floor, ceiling and wall with gaudy shmuntz”, the Wynn Hotel carves its own path. Here the design concept seems to be “cover every square inch of floor, ceiling and wall with really beautiful stuff, wonderfully coordinated, to create visually exciting – and welcoming – environments. And make sure there is plenty of glass”
The Wynn Hotel and Encore Hotel in Las Vegas design & construction team General Contractor & Construction Manager: Marnell Corrao Associates Architect of Record for Show Venues: Marnell Corrao Associates Architecture: Butler/Ashworth Architects and Wynn Design & Development Interior Design: Roger Thomas of Wynn Design & Development, Todd-Avery Lenahan of ABA Design Studio, and HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates Curtainwall: Enclos CorporationGiven my glassy speciality I could not help but notice the wonderfully varied use of glass at the Wynn Hotel. Let’s start with the exterior facade, an elegant unitized curtainwall segmented at a radius so broad that it reads as one smooth sweeping curve. The two hotels are nearly identical, and they are placed at an intriguing angle to one another, creating warm, glassy spaces interesting from any angle. The glass at the Wynn Hotel is dark bronze insulated with a high performance Low-E coating on the #2 surface. The color is somewhat chameleon, sometimes reading nearly black, sometimes glowing a rich brown or copper. This is probably due a moderately reflective nature of the Low-E coating. As the sky and weather change, so changes the glass, but subtly. Creme colored slab covers create sleek horizontal lines at every other floor. All other mullion expressions are dark to blend with the glass. The glass did a great job of reducing solar heat gain as the afternoon desert sun shone right into my window at the Wynn Hotel. Although it was bright in the room during the afternoon, I would not have traded for a darker glass, agreeing with the glass specifiers that the excellent daytime view should not be obstructed. To that end, the glass runs full height, floor to ceiling. I felt somehow proud that glass and metal could be made to express such a broad range of impressions at the Wynn Hotel, especially when artfully coupled with other materials such as fabric, stone and light. Is it weird to feel proud of a material? Speaking of light, natural light is arguably one of the most powerful design elements a building can utilize. Sunlight is much brighter than typical electric lighting. Sunlight adds richness by bringing out color, especially for colorblind guys like me. Natural daylight connects people with the outdoors. Designers of the Wynn Hotel took these ideas to heart by creating experience after experience where sunlight is brought indoors through the use of glass. Time after time, the designers of the Wynn Hotel don’t stop at simply providing skylights. They then go on to add one or more layers of texture, color or pattern to further play with the light. They squeeze every last photon out of the natural daylight for environmental effect.
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