Robert Siegel Architects designed three new 90 feet diameter skylight structures to cover existing openings at SUNY Albany. The campus was designed in 1963 by Edward Durell Stone, a mid-century modern architect who also designed the U.S. Embassy in India, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Kennedy Center. The skylight structures Stone had designed were never constructed, and this project completes the openings by using radically different technology from what was available to him in the 1960s. Also, the additional skylights became necessary after extensive weathering of the exterior cast concrete plazas and stairs below.

While Edward Durell Stone sought out and employed innovative technologies during his career, we recognize that any modernization to this remarkable work of architecture must respect and complement the character of the campus. The design of the new skylight domes corresponds with the existing architecture in terms of it scale and traditional geometry, while utilizing new materials and technologies.

Our initial skylight designs included a laminated glazing units on a rolled steel tube structure. This was too heavy for the existing concrete building structure and resulted in many small pieces of glazing. We researched, tested, and designed ETFE glazing because of its high span-to-weight ratio and transparency, requiring less steel and thus allowing more design flexibility. The new skylight domes have a similar shape and framing pattern to that of the existing domes, but with a lower profile. The center dome is located over the primary pedestrian entrance to the podium and differs from the corner domes. Because of the dimension of the existing roof opening, the center dome has a smaller diameter, but more includes a large ETFE oculus at the center to maintain the sense of openness to the sky above.

For more information, see the SUNY Albany website.

Project Type

Delivery

Value

Modernization

Design-Bid-Build

$3,407,000

Building Area

Services Provided

19,000 ft

1,800 m  for 3 skylights

Architectural Design

2

2

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Construction

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Design

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