One of the many aspects of architecture is finding creative solutions to design problems regularly encountered during the design process. Sometimes the answer to a problem is a particular material or product.
During the design phase of a recent project in our office, this was exactly the case.
The challenge was to create an open feeling multi-purpose space with plenty of natural light, limit solar heat gain caused by harsh summer sun, all while providing a durable surface that could withstand the possible impact of sports balls and rowdy children. As you could imagine, that last requirement all but eliminated any kind of glass!
We believe one solution to this design challenge is a product called Kalwall. Hardly a new product, Kalwall was invented in 1955 by Mr. Robert R. Keller. Consisting of a thermally broken aluminum grid system and a translucent insulation sandwiched between two fiber-reinforced polymer panels, the result is an insulated, translucent and impact resistant panel that can be used in wall or even roof applications.
Viewed from the inside of building during the day time, Kalwall has a frosted glass appearance. That is, frosted glass capable of absorbing the impact of a 90 mph fastball delivered from an average college baseball pitcher. And at night, Kalwall lets the interior light radiate outward from the interior of a building, creating an attractive glowing effect.
Overall, we believe this system provides an excellent solution to our design challenge! Be sure to keep an eye on out for its use on our future projects!