“The space requires no additional lighting during the day, while never compromising an even, glare-free experience. Additionally, being able to see both out during the day and in at night has offered a level of transparency that we are unaware of any other product being able to offer.” Jon Zellweger, Project Architect, Clearscapes
Raleigh Union Station is an intermodal transit station in Raleigh, North Carolina designed by local architecture firm Clearscapes for the City of Raleigh. Train service began on July 10, 2018. The main building serves as an Amtrak train station; a future adjacent building will serve as a bus terminus. The station is Amtrak’s fourth busiest in the Southeastern United States, after Sanford, New Orleans and Charlotte.
The video above shows the effect of directional transparency provided by the ClearShade honeycomb units: when the viewer is at a steep angle to the units they appear milky white, almost opaque. As the viewer’s angle shifts and becomes perpendicular to the tubular honeycomb the units progressively appear more transparent, allowing for dynamic views to the city beyond.
Below, Clearscapes project architect Jon Zellweger answers questions about the firm’s choice of ClearShade to feature prominently on the station’s facade in a series of vertical bands that amplify daylight, prevent glare and control solar heat, all while providing ample views to the city.
Q: What was the intent behind the choice of ClearShade?
A: During the design phase of Raleigh Union Station it was becoming increasingly clear that the existing building required a more significant, civic intervention to provide the light and view that was desired by our client and various stakeholders. Additionally, the configuration of the exterior wall of the Main Hall would have the responsibility of representing the Station in the broader context of the neighborhood and City. This new face of rail transportation also had the challenge of facing almost due south; great from a daylighting perspective, so long as we were able to address heat gain and glare. ClearShade became a viable solution when we started interrogating the cost and maintenance impacts of exterior light control components such as sunshades and louvers.
Q: Why did you select ClearShade?
A: The client accepted our recommendation to use ClearShade because they saw the value of ease of maintenance while offering the ability to control natural light from any altitude and azimuth. The unique visual experience – where visibility through the material constantly changes as one moves throughout the 250’ long room – was something we were also very attracted to from a design standpoint that reinforced our perceptions about rail travel.
Q: Has ClearShade met your expectations?
A: Absolutely. The space requires no additional lighting during the day, while never compromising an even, glare-free experience. Additionally, being able to see both out during the day and in at night has offered a level of transparency that we are unaware of any other product being able to offer.
Q: Do you have any information on energy performance or daylighting evaluations that were done or are planning to be done?
A: To date there has been no BIM modeling performed for this facility. However, the building is seeking LEED Silver certification and our building systems were designed in understanding the performance qualities of ClearShade. Operations began in July 2018. The City will have the responsibility to collect data and provide that to the USGBC in the next several months as part of that process.
Q: Any additional information you would like us to know?
A: Since its opening in the summer of 2018, the facility has been overwhelmingly embraced by the community. The conversion of this existing industrial “cathedral” into a civic hall required many things, of which, appropriate daylighting was no small part. ClearShade was absolutely the right choice for helping in that transformation.
View more ClearShade projects here.