Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reflections on mirrored glass: ’70s bling buildings still shine

May 17, 2012 By: Steve Brown The Dallas Morning News
The traffic on North Central Expressway slowed to a crawl one afternoon in the early 1970s — and not for the usual fender bender.
Commuters were checking out the latest fashion in Dallas architecture in the form of the gold-clad Campbell Centre office tower at Central and Northwest Highway.
Sure, there had been a few other mirrored glass buildings constructed in the Dallas area.
But when Campbell Centre went up in 1972, it caused a stir because of its prominent location and the tower’s glittering gold looks. The glass panels use a microscopic coating of real gold for their bling.
The tower, and its twin built a few years later, are still the bane of drivers, who are caught in the glare of sun reflected from the tower.
That reflectivity was one of the selling points that developer Sanders Campbell used to market the 20-story office high-rise. Since 90 percent of the sunlight was reflected, the project was touted as an “energy saver.”
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With renewed emphasis on energy efficiency and green construction, reflective glass is enjoying something of a renaissance. Granite and concrete soak up a lot of sun.

Among the ’70s mirrored buildings, the Hyatt, designed by Welton Becket, has to be the best of the whole bunch.
An earlier design for the big hotel and observation tower used a concrete exterior instead of the silver glass.