Garmin Headquarters

When designing the new Garmin International headquarters in Olathe Kansas, architects Gould Evans prioritized the following criteria, based on Garmin’s operating and performance needs:

  • Visual and thermal comfort
  • Preserve views out of the offices to the newly created campus green
  • Shading the open workstations against the southeast glass
  • Privacy – protect from possible views into the space from the highway on the northwest end of the warehouse


To meet these criteria the Gould Evans design team chose Panelite ClearShade glazing in a proprietary TrueWhite color with a 10mm diameter for the honeycomb cell size. ClearShade units were installed in two applications: in vertical bands alternating with clear glass for the office building, and in a horizontal continuous clerestory for the warehouse building. Jayne Dreyer, Gould Evans Associate, explains:
“The larger diameter core was important in maximizing available views out from the interior spaces.  We chose a white core to give more visual definition on the exterior façade.  The vertical stripe pattern alternating from Panelite to clear glazing at the offices continues the vertical texture motif of the building façade and evenly distributes sunny and shady areas across the space.   A horizontal band of Panelite above clear vision glass at the dining and warehouse breakroom strikes a fixed line on the façade and provides shade at key times of day.


“ClearShade is a clever way to solve complex requirements for a facility where both views and privacy are a major consideration, as well as aesthetics.”


Seen from 60 feet away to 10 feet away, the ClearShade units provide continuous views and visual transparency. At a 10 foot distance, the viewer’s angle changes to look up through the units and once seen on an angle, the honeycomb blocks views outward. This is the same principle that provides privacy for occupants in the building from the viewpoint of the adjacent road.

ClearShade works particularly well in applications where solar heat gain control is required and daylighting is also a priority. As opposed to other solar heat control solutions such as shading devices or electrochromic glass, ClearShade maintains high levels of Visible Light Transmission even at peak hours when solar heat control is the most critical. As the chart below demonstrates:

  • At peak hours electrochromic glass and ClearShade will achieve similar SHGC values of 0.10 and 0.09 respectively.
  • At peak hours electrochromic glass will have a visible light transmission value of approximately 2% while ClearShade can achieve VLT of 23%.
  • This is critical both for energy savings (natural light reduces the need for artificial light) as well as for occupant comfort and productivity

SHGC charts with sun angle - cs lowe vs sb70 vs electrochromic

To learn more about why ClearShade’s performance varies throughout the day rather than remaining static, see Solar Heat Control: What is Angular Selective Glazing?

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Project: Garmin International HQ, Olathe KS
Architect: Gould Evans, Kansas City
Installer: JPI Glass
Photos and videos: Panelite