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World renown architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe taught at Illinois Institute of Technology and left behind him several buildings of his design and several other that were built using his methods.  Mies van der Rohe was considered one of the fathers of modern architecture and was critical to the development of the glass curtain wall buildings that are now commonplace in American urban architecture.  These buildings known for their ability to be built in factories and assembled in the field, radically changed the urban landscape.  Most of these buildings, however, were built at a time when energy was cheap and seemed to be limitless. 

That was then, this is now.  Univerdant member, Syntropy Building Systems was called in to passively reduce the temperature of the Life Sciences Building on the IIT campus, one of the Mies van der Rohe-inspired buildings on its Chicago campus.  The building was getting so hot that the air conditioning system was generating excess air pressure in a losing battle to cool down the building.  The air pressure was so high in the building that on more than one occasion it blew out twelve foot wide, quarter inch thick plate glass windows creating an enormous safety hazard for anyone entering the building during a hot summer day.

Syntropy, a distributor of Halcyon Shades, a metalized reflective film product made in St. Louis, Missouri, designed over sixty large shades with special magnetic brackets.  These shades literally could be taken out of the box and snapped in place in less time than it took to move the ladder used by the installer.  The magnetic brackets were necessary to avoid drilling into the steel window frames designed by Mies van der Rohe so as to avoid allowing corrosive moisture into the frame.  In the photo above, you can see the new shades installed by Syntropy (dark bronze) side-by-side with the old venetian blinds that had been used in the building for years.  The new Halcyon Shades allow building occupants to take in in the view of the surrounding campus while rejecting nearly 70% of the heat.  Consequently, head pressures on the air conditioning system can now be lowered thereby eliminating the threat to the glass and reducing energy demand substantially.

10/22/2015 03:15:34 pm

Wow beautiful these buildings known for their ability to be built in factories and assembled in the field, radically changed the urban landscape.

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