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Q&A: A River View Retrofit

Jun. 28, 2017

SageGlass dynamic glass was installed in the lobby of the Museum of Science, Boston, to solve sun glare issues while saving energy and improving the visitor experience.

Paul Ippolito, Director of Facilities at the Museum of Science, Boston, offers insight into how SageGlass helped the museum maximize its previously underutilized lobby space and maintain a connection to the iconic Charles River.

Q: What were the main challenges the Museum of Science, Boston, confronted before installing SageGlass?

A: The rear lobby space, one of the most prominent locations in the museum, which has been in place since 1968, suffered from severe southwest sun exposure. As a result, the space was underutilized due to glare and indirect light reflecting off the iconic Charles River. Visitors standing in the lobby looking out the window would experience intense direct sunlight as well as glare reflecting off the surface of the river.

Q: What solar control options did you consider before choosing SageGlass?

A: We commissioned Cambridge Seven Associates to conduct a glazing study to evaluate potential alternatives to solve the problem. This study evaluated a variety of solar control options, including mechanical rolling shades, retractable covers, canopies and architectural light shelves.

Since we wanted to use the Charles River as a backdrop to tell our story of human impact on the natural world, we needed a solution that eliminated the glare and improved building performance but did not block our iconic views.

Q: How has the SageGlass installation helped to improve the Museum of Science, Boston?

A: The SageGlass installation has really helped to improve the visitor experience by eliminating glare issues without compromising the iconic views of the Charles River. The installation also helps with the lobby’s thermal efficiency.

Additionally, utilizing SageGlass’ state-of-the-art technology is very much aligned with the museum’s mission to transform the nation’s relationship with science and technology. At the museum, we are always trying out new building technologies when we are able. At the time of the installation, the larger dynamic glass sizes were relatively new, and we were excited to get on board!

Q: Are there any exciting exhibitions/events that resulted from this installation?

A: With a solution to our glare issue in place, we were able to feature our newest exhibit in this space, the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River. This world-class exhibit and program features the use of highly visible, cutting-edge interactive technologies. We would not have been able to position this gallery in the lobby without solving sun glare issues. The space is also utilized for nighttime events, including cocktail receptions. Additionally, we no longer hear complaints from visitors about glare, and donors love the SageGlass solution because they like seeing the technology in action.

Q: What was it like working with the SageGlass team on this installation?

A: We had a good experience working with SageGlass. We worked with our architects to determine the best solution and even visited the SageGlass manufacturing site in Faribault to see its capabilities in action. The SageGlass team supported us during the installation, working with installers, architects, engineers and general contractors to ensure a seamless installation process.


Paul Ippolito is the Director of Facilities at the Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts for the past 10 years.  Mr. Ippolito has responsibility for the strategic direction of the Museum’s physical facilities, building renewal projects, building management systems, facility maintenance, engineering, grounds management, and for managing energy efficiency programs.  Prior to joining the Museum, Mr. Ippolito was the Facilities Manager at MKS Instruments, Inc. a global provider of process control solutions that control and analyze critical parameters of advanced manufacturing processes to improve process performance and productivity.