The future of folding glass walls is here (and before long, everywhere)
Park City Residence
Among the best-known architects for miles around Salt Lake City is Otto/Walker Architects, based in the science resort town of Park City. The firm is led by a Utah native, Mark Walker, as well as Rick Otto, who moved to Park City in 1979. Since then, the firm has earned awards and wide recognition for their majestic yet naturally inspired private residences, including homes of 10,000 square feet and larger, as well as high-end multifamily and commercial works.
Opening up to Beautiful Mountain Views
One of their recent houses presented Otto with dramatic views and a choice site. Using a mix of raw timbers and chunky, native stones, Otto developed a concept that responded to the client’s specific wishes.
“The materials are intrinsic to the area, and it’s still a bit of an Alpine feel that just seems to make sense there,” says Otto. “The client wanted lots of views, and indoor/outdoor living was also a component. Everybody wants to do some cooking outdoors.”
In this case, the use of an opening glass wall was “kind of program requirement,” says the architect. “The owners definitely wanted a large opening in that location – it was a deck.” Otto / Walker specified the highly weather-resistant NanaWall WA67, a thermally broken, aluminum folding panel system – in part because it was the right door for the application, but in part because the client knew the NanaWall name.
With these bona fides and a strong architectural concept, the choice was a natural one. Otto / Walker specified the thermally broken NanaWall WA67 because it was the right door for the application
“The client had built before in Salt Lake, but not in Park City, so there was a bit of a learning curve for them, but it wasn’t like they had no experience building a home,” says Otto. “They had interest in the NanaWall – it was one of the things they had seen and liked, and the general contractor also had a connection with NanaWall.”
The lifestyle choice behind NanaWall was a familiar one for the Otto / Walker design team. “There’s often been interest to varying degrees in indoor/outdoor spaces in every house we’ve worked on, such as a deck or patio,” says Otto. “Sometimes we only do what the law allows us to do. Everybody wants to do some cooking outside, from barbecue areas to more elaborate outdoor kitchens, but we haven’t worked on anything huge like that.”
The Preferred Choice
For some projects, there is time spent on comparing solutions for the glass openings, says Otto. “We’ve done our fair share of big sliding glass doors,” he says, noting that often cost is an issue. “In general, we try not to make things any more complicated than they need to be.”
In this case, however, they needed no hard sell for the NanaWall: It was preferred by the owner and encouraged by the contractor to some degree, according to the project team. The NanaWall WA67 is carefully engineered to provide an opening glass wall or storefronts for monumental openings – up to 39 feet wide.
Cold Weather Performance
The WA67 is highly suitable for residential applications where higher levels of resistance to air and water infiltration are desired, so it is ideal for a cozy yet spacious mountain house in a cold-weather resort town.
With the firm’s unique yet straight-shooting philosophy – “designing structures which fulfill the aesthetic as well as practical desires of its clients while utilizing all the attributes a building site has to offer” – a NanaWall system is the perfect way to harvest such “natural gifts” as “expansive views, generous solar exposure, mature vegetation and topography which can help to enhance a design.”
“To be successful in a mountain environment such as Park City, Utah,” the firm writes, “these two key goals must be achieved while also providing a beautiful project which endures the test of time.”