For more than 30 years, architect Arquitectonica of Miami, FL, has been known for its audacious and colorful building designs. Both characteristics are on full display at Marina Blue, a vibrant condomium complex that artfully intersects two 60-story towers of glass and steel in a soaring edifice over Miami’s Biscayne Bay.
Designed as a companion to Blue on the Bay, another Arquitectonica project just down the shoreline, the building features many floor plans oriented in an east-to-west pattern, deliberately diagrammed to mimic the sun’s daily arc over the Atlantic Ocean.
Because sunlight and views are so integral to the building’s appeal, it is no surprise that glass is its most dominant architectural element. As Sergio Bakas, AIA, LEED AP, senior vice president for Arquitectonica explains, “There is lots of competition for condos of this type in Miami. The site of this building has a particular viewpoint that makes it an asset. We wanted to capitalize on our views of the ocean as well as downtown and the Intercoastal Waterway.”
Although Arquitectonica specified several types of architectural glass for Marina Blue, the vast majority of its multi-faceted façade is glazed with Azuria and Caribia glasses by PPG. These products, part of the company’s Oceans of Color® family of nautically-inspired tints, feature soothing aqua-blue and aqua-green tints, respectively, along with exceptional environmental performance.
According to Bakas, the look and the performance of the glass were both critical to the success of his project. “The color was important because we wanted it to create a distinct identity for the building,” he said. “We wanted it to look good from the outside, but we also needed to meet specific heating and cooling standards, not just for the sake of energy efficiency, but also to make the building a comfortable place to live.”
Color was also integral to Arquitectonica’s selection of exterior coatings, which complement and highlight the glass’ rich marine hues. Two PPG IdeaScapes products figure prominently outside the building. The first, Perma-Crete by Pittsburgh Paints, is a line of highly durable concrete and masonry coatings.
The second, Duranar Sunstorm fluoropolymer coating, was selected to protect and beautify Marina Blue’s countless aluminum mullions as well as the exterior storefront doors on the building’s retail level. Bakas said the choice was based on his previous experience with Duranar coatings in seacoast environments. “We have specified this coating in the past and found it to be the most affordable way to get the best performance we can in the UV and salt air of our tropical location,” he explained.
There’s even PPG color inside the building, where Pittsburgh Paints’ Speedhide paint was chosen by a local painting contractor to meet Bakas’ specification for the interior walls and trim.
The two PPG glasses, Azuria glass on the north tower, and Caribia glass on the south, offer an uncommon combination of transparency and solar heat control. In a standard, one-inch insulating glass unit, Azuria glass transmits nearly 70 percent of the sun’s available light, which is extraordinary for a tinted glass, while blocking nearly half its solar heat. That translates into a light to solar gain (LSG) ratio of 1.34, which is well beyond the minimum performance standard established by the U.S. Department of Energy for spectrally selective glass. Caribia glass has nearly identical performance characteristics. Together, they allow residents of Marina Blue to enjoy the benefits of abundant natural light without experiencing the ravages of high solar heat gain generated by the south Florida sun.
Bakas reports that while the building looks great outside, the most enthusiastic response has come from people on the inside. Each of the building’s 516 condominiums has transparent balconies or windows that stretch from floor to ceiling. Speaking of the views, he exclaims, “It’s as if the glass wasn’t there at all. The views are practically an extension of their living rooms.”
The project owner is Hyperion Development Group, Miami. The glass fabricator was Viracon, Owatonna, Minn. The glazing contractor was Gamma USA, Miami.
For more information on the full range of architectural glass, coatings and paint from PPG IdeaScapes, call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332) or visit www.ppgideascapes.com.