Let there be light Distinctive glass makes Novak Center pedway bright and efficient

    Workers harnessed to the scaffolding of a cherry picker are installing custom glass panes in the pedway of the new Novak Center for Children's Health on the Health Sciences Center campus.

    As construction continues on the University of Louisville Physicians Novak Center for Children’s Health at the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center, a distinctive feature is now complete: the third-floor pedestrian bridge – the “pedway” – that links the new building to the UofL Physicians Health Care Outpatient Center and to the Chestnut Street Garage.

    With soaring glass walls, the pedway provides a light-filled conduit between buildings. It is composed of 138 rectangular pieces of glass, each digitally printed with its own individual grid pattern of gray blocks, said Edwin Penna, project manager with Koch Corp. of Louisville, the company installing the glass. Workers are harnessed to a “cherry picker” – a crane with an attached scaffold – and rise three stories above the ground to install the panes into metal frames. No two panes are exactly alike, and seen from a distance, the panes of glass collectively compose an abstract design.

    Each pane is approximately 63 inches wide and 1 inch thick, and they vary in height from 47 inches to 120 inches tall, Penna said. After ceramic paint is digitally applied, the glass is fired in a kiln so the design becomes part of the panes. A low-emissivity or “low-e” coating is then applied. Low-e glass emits a lower level of radiant heat than non-coated glass without shading it, making it more energy efficient while still allowing light to shine through.

    The glass product is known as Digital DistinctionsTM and is manufactured by Viracon of Minneapolis, Minn. It is just one of a multitude of innovative products being incorporated into the Novak Center, making it both esthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly.

    The first new health care delivery facility constructed in the Louisville Medical Center in nearly a decade, the Novak Center for Children’s Health is a 176,000-square-foot building that will be home to the general, specialty and subspecialty pediatrics programs at UofL. This includes faculty physicians from UofL’s Department of Pediatrics as well as other faculty from the UofL School of Medicine, including those in neurology, oncology-hematology, cardiology, surgery, ophthalmology and more. Faculty physicians at UofL practice with UofL Physicians.

    Messer is construction manager for the Novak Center, which is on track for a summer opening. Photos of the pedway glass installation are available here.


    Jill Scoggins is proud of her role as an academic communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience with universities in four states. At UofL, she manages communications for several departments, divisions, institutes and centers within the School of Medicine. Her areas include women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine, geriatric medicine, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and oncology/hematology, among others.