Opened in 1972, the Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) has served as an icon for both the university and the Murfreesboro community. Affectionately dubbed “The Glass House”, the arena is home to the Blue Raiders Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs and is the primary on-campus venue for ceremonies and special events. Over the last fifty years, the Murphy Center hosted concerts from countless music legends such as Elvis, Elton John, The Who, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, the Judds, Chris Young, and many more.
While the original design of the arena made for an eye-catching and distinct building, the all-glass façade created a number of challenges, namely glare and temperature regulation. Facilities deployed a number of solutions, including blinds, drapes and motorized shades, to mitigate the effects of sunlight but none provided an optimal or automated solution.
Nearing the 50th anniversary of the arena, many of the windows in the facility had begun to crack or experience condensation issues. In 2020, MTSU engaged Nashville architecture firm ESa (Earl Swensson Associates) Inc. in 2020 to design a new façade.
To modernize the historic arena while maintaining its original design character, MTSU selected SageGlass smart windows for over 33,000 square feet of glass, making it the largest dynamic glass installation in U.S. higher education. Smart Windows tint automatically in response to the sun, allowing the facility to maintain an all-glass exterior façade without the need for shades or other solutions to control glare and heat.
“For years, we have dealt with significant glare and heat issues due to the large amount of glass incorporated in the building’s original design. We have installed window blinds. We have installed sheets of black vinyl and we have deployed many measures to counteract the sunshine.” Said Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, President of MTSU. “In our efforts to address the problem and improve our facility, we selected the world class company SageGlass, an international company that owns and operates the largest and most advanced dynamic glass plant on the globe.”
Not only did SageGlass provide an ideal solution for replacing the Murphy Center façade, it also allowed the university to advance its sustainability initiatives. “Simply put, this project modernizes our historic facility for the 21st century, advancing sustainability and demonstrating our goals to be more resourceful and efficient through the use of cutting-edge technology,” added McPhee.
With SageGlass smart windows, the Murphy center provides an enhanced fan experience using state-of-the-art technology. Smart Windows allow the arena to take advantage of daylight while providing effective glare control. “SageGlass exceeded our expectations at delivering tremendous quality to the most iconic feature to the most iconic building on our campus and in our community” said Chris Massaro, MTSU Athletic Director. “The glass at the Glass House has made a dramatic improvement in the look and feel of our beloved building.”