Vitro Architectural Glass

Health education building at University of Kansas glazed with Solarban® 70, Solarban® 72 Starphire® glasses by Vitro Glass

Transparent low-e glasses central to lantern box design and glass-enclosed bridge

PITTSBURGH, August 23, 2018 — Solarban® 70 (formerly Solarban® 70XL) solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) glass and Solarban® 72 on Starphire® low-iron glass by Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) are key components in the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center Health Education Building (HEB), an interdisciplinary, multipurpose academic facility.

Designed through a partnership between Helix Architecture + Design and CO Architects, the five-story, 171,000-square-foot facility creates an “educational zone,” serving as the primary teaching facility to support inter-professional education for the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.

Balancing the use of glass, metal and brick to create an iconic presence on campus, the building features a four-story glass “lantern” box design glazed with high-performance Solarban® 70 glass and fabricated by Insulite Glass, a member of the Vitro Certified® Network. Flexible learning studios and state-of-the-art clinical skills labs “float” within the box to show off the core of the building’s curriculum to the public.

A 250-foot-long glass-enclosed bridge featuring ultra-transparent Solarban® 72 Starphire® glass passes through the center of the structure and connects it to adjacent buildings, providing 6,000 square-feet of lounge, meeting and student-activity space. The exceptional clarity of the glass met the architects’ design requirements for transparency, connectivity and identity.

A three-story skylight system that allows ventilation between floors is supplemented by the energy-efficient glass configuration, featuring Solarban® 70 glass, which limits heat gain while enhances occupant comfort. A large cantilevered glass “cube” highlights the medical simulation and clinical skills floors as the “heart” of the building. Decorative wooden slats encase the inside of the third and fourth floors, folding in to form a “rib cage.”

Opened in July 2017, the HEB supplants aging infrastructure on the medical school and KU Hospital campus. The project design also accommodates a 25 percent increase in class sizes, enabling the KU School of Medicine, the only medical school in the state, to help meet the growing demand for health care professionals. Other technology-enhanced environments for experiential learning include active classrooms, mock exam rooms, a medical simulation center, study areas and spaces that enhance the social and collaborative aspects of learning.

With center-of-glass visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 in a standard one-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), Solarban® 70 glass helped to deliver the abundant natural daylight, provided ample exterior views and fostered a sense of openness to the education process that the architect was seeking.

Formulated with the industry’s most advanced triple-silver coating that is engineered for use on Starphire Ultra-Clear® glass, Solarban® 72 glass has visible light transmittance (VLT) of 71 percent with a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30 and a light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 2.37.

To learn more about Solarban® 70 or Solarban® 72 Starphire® glasses, or to locate a member of the Vitro Certified® Network in your area, visit or call 1-855-VTRO-GLS (887-6457).

About Vitro Architectural Glass

Vitro Architectural Glass, part of Vitro, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV: VITROA), is the largest glass producer in the Western Hemisphere, manufacturing a range of industry-leading, energy-efficient, high-performance products such as Solarban®, Sungate® and Starphire Ultra-Clear® glasses. Committed to continually raising the industry standard for sustainability, Vitro was the first U.S. glass manufacturer to have its entire collection of architectural glass products earn Cradle to Cradle Certified® status and the first North American manufacturer to publish third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for flat glass and processed glass products. Additionally, as of April 2024, all Vitro architectural glass products meet the Top 20% Low Embodied Carbon (LEC) material Global Warming Potential (GWP) threshold the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) established pursuant to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and related guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Vitro operates seven glass production facilities across North America, four residential glass fabrication plants in Canada and one of the world’s largest glass research and development facilities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit

Vitro Architectural Glass

Media Contact:
Robert J. Struble
Vitro Architectural Glass