Rolex Tower

Rotating Shape That Rises From Natural Environment in Dallas, Texas

by Nathan McKenna, director of marketing & innovation, Vitro Architectural Glass

For over a century, Rolex® watches have been recognized as classic timepieces that feature high-quality design and precision timekeeping.  When it came time for the historic company to expand to a new office tower in downtown Dallas, Texas, it was only fitting that the new space reflected its values.  Rolex Tower accomplished its ambitious design goals with an eye-catching façade that features Solarban® 67 Optigray® glass by Vitro Architectural Glass, formerly PPG Glass.

         Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates of Tokyo, Japan, and Harwood Design Factory of Dallas, Rolex Tower rises from a multi-tiered garden of reflective pools, native plantings, and a hand-chiseled quarry stone wall that connect the company’s new headquarters to the natural environment.  This eight-story structure is abruptly staggered to maximize daylighting and city views and to accommodate its expanded outdoor terraces and garden sanctuaries.

         Rolex Tower achieves its captivating shape largely through its concrete and stone construction, but Solarban 67 Optigray glass plays a major role in accomplishing its striking fusion of nature and architecture.  According to Gregory A. Oehlers, executive director of architectural sales for Tristar Glass, Grand Prairie, Texas, Solarban 67 Optigray glass was selected for the project because of its ability to enhance views while harmonizing with the landscaping and foliage around the tower.

         “Solarban 67 Optigray glass possesses a very soft blue-gray exterior color, which is very pleasing to the eye,” Oehlers explained.  “It also has low exterior reflectivity and it is extremely energy-efficient, which suited the architect’s penchant for sustainable design.”

         Optigray glass is specially formulated to function as a substrate with Solarban solar control low‐e coatings, which provide excellent solar control performance and transmit and reflect colors with remarkably crisp fidelity.  When topped with a Solarban 67 glass coating in a 1” insulating glass with clear glass, Optigray glass offers visible light transmittance of 38% and a solar gain coefficient of 0.24.

         Tristar Glass, a member of the Vitro Certified™ Network, collaborated with curtainwall engineer Southern Glass and Mirror, Plano, Texas, through the Vitro Concierge Program™ to ensure timely glass delivery, which was sequenced to match the installation schedule.

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