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Viracon Glass Brings The Comfort Of Natural Light To Michigan Children’s Hospital


Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Pedestrian Bridge Clad with 102,046 Square-Feet of Glass


OWATONNA, MN – Distinguished by its cylindrical design and curtainwall of blue Viracon glass, the new 440,000 square-foot Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI comforts children and families with abundant daylight and expansive outdoor views.


The $286-million, state-of-the-art facility features 206 beds and utilizes a curtainwall system comprised of 92,500 square-feet of Viracon VE 11-2M glass, changing the appearance of Michigan Street’s “Medical Mile.” The 14-story children’s hospital is clad with high-performing, Arctic Blue™ glass panels that draw the eye vertically from the three-story base.


The curtainwall is made up of hundreds of custom-sized fitted glass panels, providing a uniform, smooth appearance. A custom 50 percent frit pattern lets daylight in and offers views of downtown Grand Rapids while minimizing solar heat gain. VE 11-2M is a Low-E glass that provides 45% visible light transmittance.


To create a healing environment that allows patients and families to feel comfortable, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is the first hospital tower to feature 100% vision glass in all patient rooms. The various shades of blue glass pay homage to the region’s beautiful waterways and sky while allowing patients to enjoy natural light.


The 14-story hospital’s lobby is connected to the parking garage via a 194-foot long, glass-enclosed bridge that spans a four-lane highway. The pedestrian bridge was constructed with 628 unique pieces of Viracon VRE 11-38 glass, totaling 12,000-square-feet. VRE 11-38 is a radiant Low-E insulating laminated glass that provides 23% visible light transmittance.


The U.S. Green Building Council awarded Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital LEED Gold certification. Only two other dedicated children’s hospitals in the United States have earned this designation.


Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital opened in January 2011 and received LEED Gold certification in April 2012. The project team included architects Jonathan Bailey Associates, Dallas, and URS Corporation, Grand Rapids, MI. The general contractor was Wolverine Building Group, Grand Rapids, MI. Glazing contractors included Visionwall Corporation, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Architectural Glass and Metals, Byron Center, MI.


About Viracon, Inc.
Viracon is based in Owatonna, Minnesota, and has facilities in Statesboro, Georgia, St. George, Utah and Nazaré Paulista, Brazil. Viracon produces high-performance glass products, including tempered, laminated, insulating, silk-screened and high-performance coatings, for North American and international markets. The company is a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG). Apogee, headquartered in Minneapolis, is a leader in technologies involving the design and development of value-added glass products and services. For more information, visit


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