Kapipane by Okalux
Jun 25, 2008

Architecture represents one of the most interesting and complex application areas for translucent materials. Below we report on a deployment that was highly instrumental in the project's overall success.

The extension to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City was designed by Steven Holl Architects and completed in June 2007. It is an ensemble of five milky-white glass cubes set next to the original Neo-Classical museum building dating from 1933. Thanks to the translucent glass facades used in the cubes the old and new buildings do not compete with one another in the slightest. On the contrary: thanks to their lightness and playful arrangement the glass cubes mitigate the austere symmetry of the old architecture.

Even though the main part of the museum extension is below ground the translucent glazing of the cubes permits the natural lighting of the subterranean exhibition areas. Indeed, the diffuse daylight produces a bright, pleasant atmosphere in the underground rooms but without exposing the works of art to UV radiation: a special capillary inlay of PMMA provides high light transmission.
Okalux insulated panes with capillary inlay ensure daylight is scattered deep into the room. Moreover, the transmission level can be adjusted to the special lighting requirements of the museum situation. The insulated glass provides excellent protection from the sun and glare protection not to mention excellent heat insulation.

Steven Holl Architects are delighted with the high quality of the white light, and have used the materials by Okalux on several previous occasions, the first time being in 1994 for a mock-up of the Museum for Contemporary Art (Kiasma) in Helsinki completed in 1998. Positive benefits apart from the excellent light transmission properties are the structure of the glass, not needing window posts, and the energy aspect. David van der Leer, an employee at Steven Holl Architects, compares the translucent light produced by Okalux with the traditional Japanese shoji screen, the difference being that the latter are much less durable.

In choosing this translucent material the architects place the emphasis on reduction to the essentials: in The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art spectacular attention-grabbing architecture was not wanted. Rather, the task was to create a space for art and place it in the appropriate light.

Kapipane in Material Edition "Translucency 1"

Employed across 350 m², the Okalux insulation glass contains a light-diffusing capillary inlay between the panes. Called Kapipane the inlay is available in various densities and versions. We are delighted that we were able to present this material in the Material Edition "Translucence 1".

The Materialworks Material Edition "Translucent materials 1" brings together over 60 different foils, corrugated panes, acrylic glass panels, glass, paper, non-wovens, wovens and metals in diverse versions and grades between translucent and opaque by more than 20 different manufacturers.

» Go to Material Edition "Translucency"