A renowned Minnesota businessman and philanthropist, Gerald Cafesjian, established the Cafesjian Art Trust in greater Minneapolis to share his collection of modern art with the public. Cafesjian had a particular passion for the medium of glass, inspiring him to assemble an extensive collection of contemporary glass sculptures from artists, such as Victor Vasarely, Georges Braque, Joan Miro, Arshile Gorky and more.
When the trust prepared to move to a different building, representatives realized they were inheriting a structure not meant for the display of art. Built in 1977, the space included a warehouse and offices and came with a dated look. This meant that the building’s facade needed a substantial upgrade to better reflect the museum’s mission and its artwork. Mohagen Hansen Architecture | Interiors had a vision for a brilliant, colorful building exterior, brought to life with varying shades of blue using StoVentec Glass panels.
Contemporary Take on Modern Museum
The Cafesjian Art Trust sits in a quiet neighborhood in Shoreview, Minn. Designers sought a way to create a prominent and recognizable exterior for the building without disturbing the architectural balance of the community’s surroundings.
“We were inspired by the art inside the museum and how we could reflect and express that on the exterior,” says Neil Missling, associate at Mohagen Hansen Architecture | Interiors. “The different sizes and shapes along the building hint at the beauty inside the museum and make it visually interesting.”
The StoVentec Glass Rainscreen system is an open-joint drained and back-ventilated wall system. It incorporates StoVentro sub-construction, producing a fully compatible and tested solution for an advanced high-performance wall assembly.
StoVentec Glass panels in three shades of blue from the StoVentec Glass color collection—5002 (Ultramarine Blue), 5013 (Cobalt Blue) and 5017 (Traffic Blue)—allowed the architects to deliver a customized, visually compelling building facade that could be installed over the previous exterior walls. StoVentec Glass panels are manufactured by fusing colors directly into the glass before the toughening process to create a permanent color that will not wear, scratch, fade or incur water damage.
On the first visit to the site, the design team realized that the entrance to the building needed to be more prominent and recognizable. One goal of the design was to add an entry sequence and vestibule to clearly define the main entrance using I-beams.
StoVentec glass panels can be shaped to conform to any desired opening. The project team worked closely with Sto to craft custom shapes around I-beams that come through the walls. The use of StoVentec Glass allowed the glass to seamlessly connect to the adjacent material and clamshell around the beams.
As a retrofit project, the StoVentro sub-construction attached to the existing substrate with bracket connections, enabling the 1,700 square feet of StoVentec Glass panels to connect to a flat plate.
StoVentro sub-construction is an adjustable, thermally efficient structural system of brackets, rails, fasteners, and accessories for rainscreen wall cladding assemblies. The sub-construction absorbs wind loads and dead loads present on the facade and incorporates corrosion resistance.
“The solutions from Sto enabled us to keep the exterior envelope intact so we avoided energy and water intrusion concerns,” Missling says. “We were able to dress up the exterior without being invasive or labor intensive. The flexibility of the system allowed the freedom to choose sizes and colors to create our vision with a unique pattern.”
High Design, Simple Installation
Prior to the Cafesjian Art Trust project, United Glass had not installed StoVentec on a building façade. Kyle Paulson, vice president and project manager with United Glass, anticipated that it would take his crew as long as two months to complete the installation job.
“The building had two different facades to it. It had a precast concrete, and then it had a hollow brick facade, so we had to use two different anchor types,” Paulson reflects.
Instead, United Glass was able to complete the installation in about a month. Paulson credits the product design and Sto’s onsite support with accelerating the installation timeline.
“[Sto] sent two field guys out for the first two days of our installation, and they went through the entire project. They went through all the parts and pieces of the system, and they gave us tips on how they would do it,” Paulson says. “Once all the brackets and clips were on the wall, the hanging part was super-simple. Like electricians say, it was a ‘plug-and-play’ type of fitting.”
The new Cafesjian Art Trust museum opened in the fall of 2022.