In basketball terms, when a team or a player starts to dominate a game, it can be called getting “in the zone.”

That basically means passes are connecting, shots are going in and all of those best-laid plans from the locker room are being carried out to perfection. When it comes to glass and glazing the same effects can be in play, with all trades working together to deliver an amazing building. In Toronto one such building epitomizes the theory of “in the zone”- the new practice facility of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors also known as the BioSteel Centre.

This innovative and high end facility has everything that the leadership of the Raptors could want in ensuring it’s team has the best in training, locker rooms, amenities and medical support.  It also features amazing glass products that provide multiple functions.

First and foremost the location of this new facility immediately had benefits, even before any glass was installed.  The architectural firm behind the amazing design was the legendary firm, Guernsey (Oklahoma City, OK).  They recognized pretty quickly what they had to work with.

“The building location and site orientation as well as the building form, provide unique opportunities for views of Lake Ontario as well as Exhibition Place. The upper level dining area and the adjacent roof terrace maximizes the view of Lake Ontario and provides a one-of-a-kind experience for the players and staff,” said Lindsey McBride, Associate AIA, Guernsey.

Glass is still and will always be the best product for enjoying a great view.  However there are many other factors that play into which products to choose.  How they perform in areas like energy, security, privacy, and decoration are factors that the design team has to take into account. For BioSteel Centre, the Guernsey team had to balance a few of those areas, and one of them, the ability to be “bird friendly” was a huge priority.

“The glass for the Biosteel Centre is a triple-glazed system with a high-reflective film.  Typically, we do not specify high-reflective glass because it is not bird friendly. However, in this instance, an important design objective was to protect the privacy of the players. Our solution was to modify the high-reflective glass using a 50mm x 50 mm dot pattern allowing us to achieve both privacy as well as maximizing views, and of course, being bird friendly. The modification also enabled the project to meet the City of Toronto bird friendly development guidelines without compromising the design.

The actual modification went to the Walker Glass AviProtek® bird friendly glass product line.  The design team chose the AviProtek® Pattern 215 placed on the first surface as their solution to the bird friendly code.  This unique pattern was etched permanently on to PPG Optiblue® glass and then insulated into a high performance unit.  For Walker Glass the commitment to bird friendly glazing has been a major one, so being able to serve a need like this was like a basketball slam-dunk.

“We are proud that our Walker Textures® AviProtek® line continues to be a product that meets the needs of architects and designers looking for bird friendly glazing,” said Marc Deschamps, Business Development Manager.  “In the case of BioSteel Centre it was a great opportunity to show that we can provide the patterns that work and apply them to glass substrates that may previously have been impossible.”

For those not familiar, “bird friendly” glazing is a very important measure that many cities and municipalities now demand with new structures.  However it’s a product line that has to meet certain criteria aside from the obvious protection of the species.

“There are numerous studies regarding bird-friendly glass and it is quickly becoming more widely used and required in environmentally friendly design. Building form, exterior shade devices, applied films, and fenestration patterns can be used to alter the bird flight path; however, all of these methods result in a loss of natural lighting. Natural light is a necessary feature of high quality design, therefore the bird-friendly pattern allows more flexibility in the design without limiting building form or envelope design,” McBride of Guernsey added.

BioSteel Centre was able to take advantage of everything that Guernsey intended and that Walker Glass could manufacture when it came to bird friendly glazing. And the look, the views, and the occupant comfort all were kept at the high levels that were intended when the game plan of this project was drawn up.

So in the end, the look, design and functionality of the glass products on the BioSteel Centre came off like the perfectly executed basketball alley-oop. The team from Guernsey got it all into position, then tossed the ball up for Walker Glass and the other players to grab and slam home.

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