AGC Glass Europe has opened a new research centre - AGC Technovation Centre - in Belgium designed by Assar Architects and located in the Aéropôle de Gosselies technology park. The building houses about 250 staff, including researchers, technical experts and engineers, and it was specifically meant to be a showcase for the R&D sector. Various types of architectural glass were used for the façade and the interiors, combining features like thermal insulation, sun protection and energy production. The intriguing convex façade, divided into two levels, has a double layer of glass, with an outer SunEwat panel (layered safety glass with incorporated photovoltaic cells) and an inner double-glazing of Stopray Ultra-50 on Clearvision with a triple silver coating. The elevation overlooking the inner courtyard has smart glass with variable light transmission - transparent to opaque - controlled by a simple button. The entrance lobby doubles as a display area for the entire range of AGC products, while a specific space, dubbed the Discovery Room, is for products being developed. The whole design has been built around glass and its potential uses, but it is also a working environment that was structured, following consultation with the people who actually work there, to encourage team work, exchange and interaction. As such, open-space offices are the order of the day, with a series of more private spaces for making phone calls and holding meetings.
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