Stunning Restoration and Expansion of Art Deco Theater with Solarban® 70 Optigray® Glass

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The Alberta Bair Theater, located in Billings, Montana, is the sole performing arts center in the Northern Rockies region that can host major touring theater companies and artists. The theater, originally opened in 1931 as the Fox Theater and partially financed by the 20th Century Fox Corporation, was recently restored and expanded with accessibility upgrades, preservation efforts, and a stunning “glass box” facade featuring Solarban® 70 glass (formerly Solarban® 70XL glass) from Vitro Architectural Glass, which helped earn the project a Metamorphosis Award from retrofit magazine for excellence in renovation.

The restoration and expansion efforts were led by architectural firm Cushing Terrell, which carefully preserved the Art Deco style of the original building while also making it more accessible to all. A second addition, a glittering 4,800 sq. ft. two-story glass box facade, has been added to the building exterior to provide additional space for ADA access, improved vertical circulation, and an expanded lobby and box office area.

To achieve a specific aesthetic, the architects selected Solarban® 70 Optigray® glass from Vitro, which was coupled with Optigray® glass to give the historic theater a light gray, subtly moody facade. Solarban® 70 glass is renowned for its transparent, color-neutral aesthetic and unprecedented solar control and visible light transmittance (VLT) that strike the right balance between form and function. When combined with conventional clear glass in a one-inch insulating glass unit (IGU), Solarban® 70 glass outperforms any other solar control low-e glass on the market today, boasting a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 and VLT of 64%.

Optigray® glass, on the other hand, is designed to eliminate the green cast typically found in conventional clear glass formulations and produces a warm, ultra-neutral, light-gray aesthetic that brings crispness to vision glazing. When paired with solar control low-e glasses such as Solarban® 70 glass, Optigray® glass delivers advanced solar performance and produces light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratios of up to 1.96, with VLT between 29% and 50%, depending on the specified Solarban® glass.

Solarban® 70 glass has become the most commonly specified triple-silver-coated glass in the entire industry due to its clarity, consistency, and solar control performance, with more than 300 million square-feet shipped in the past 10 years. To learn more about Solarban® 70 glass, Optigray® glass, and Vitro’s full line of architectural glasses, visit or call 1-855-VTRO-GLS (887-6457).

Source: Vitro Architectural Glass with additional information added by Apazone

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