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Unicel Architecture: Daylight In Schools Creates More Learning-Friendly Environment


The Woolwich School recently completed its $16.2 million, 66,000 square foot addition and renovation project for some 375 students in Pre-K through Grade 8. The project includes a 52,600 square foot, three-story classroom addition to the school’s existing structure to replace portable classrooms.

Project architects, Lewis & Malm Architecture, had a distinct vision to make the revamped school more green, energy efficient and learning-friendly – a school for the 21st century. They especially wanted to optimize daylight to help create a more stimulating environment for students.

High levels of daylight in educational environments have been proven to increase attendance and achievement rates, reduce fatigue and improve student health. With sunlight, however, comes solar heat and glare – both of which need to be controlled for the best daylighting results.

To help manage the impacts of sunlight, Lewis & Malm selected Unicel’s Vision Control® insulated glass units with integrated cord-free louvers and its exterior sunshading solution. This included:

  • Cafeteria Curtain Wall – Comprised of 36 Vision Control® units with 10mm low-E glass on both sides of a 2.5’’ airspace glazed into Unicel’s clear anodized curtain wall. These Vision Control® units are motorized to better filter daylight and control solar heat gain and glare.
  • Windows – Includes 24 Vision Control® units with 6mm low-E glass both sides of a 2” airspace glazed into operable sashes hinged at the top and opening outwards for maximum daylighting benefits. Given the design requirements for natural ventilation to help reduce HVAC costs, Unicel created the operable windows to ensure adjustable air flow. Unlike corded integrated blinds that typically sag in operable sashes, Vision Control® does not sag and remains perfectly aligned even in an open-awning position.
  • Classroom Forums Curtain Wall on Three Floors – Comprised of 90 Vision Control® units with 6mm low-E glass both sides of a 2” airspace glazed into Unicel’s clear anodized curtain wall. Again, these Vision Control® units are motorized to better leverage and control the effects of the sun.
  • Sunshades – Comprised of 36 exterior outrigger sunshades, extending 3’ beyond the face of the building, spanning all three floors – each composed of 4” louvers angled at 45 degrees. These sunshades filter sunlight into the building while minimizing the impacts of solar heat gain and glare.

The glassed-in cantilevered entrance captures the sunlight and filters it into the interior. Daylight is harnessed throughout the facility with louvers and sunshades to help reflect light into classrooms and create optimal day lit conditions for students. To conserve energy, monitors will automatically turn off the electric lights when enough daylight enters the interior spaces.

The new Woolwich Central School is slated to open in September 2012 on the site of the former school on Nequasset Road.

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About UNICEL Architectural Corp.

For over 45 years, Unicel Architectural has built a reputation for the most advanced aluminum and glass solutions. These solutions encompass louvered glazing, skylights and more, to enhance major global construction initiatives with utmost quality and reliability. Unicel combines its market leading know-how with great design to ensure optimal aesthetics and sustainable performance.

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