Seeking to balance connectivity and transparency with productivity and privacy, facility managers and design teams increasingly are interested Tubelite interior framing systems for school classrooms, commercial offices, retail and hospitality spaces, government centers and other interior build-outs,

While the components are similar, these interior applications have different performance requirements than exterior storefront and framing systems. Other specification considerations for interior framing systems include ease of installation for fast-track construction, aesthetic flexibility and sustainable design criteria.

In Part 1, let’s begin with a look at typical interior framing applications.

The majority of application opportunities for interior aluminum framing systems are:

  • Full-height walls
  • Partial-height walls and partitions
  • Interior “punched” window openings installed in traditional metal stud and drywall partitions
  • Interior entrance systems
Project - Baker Center - Minneapolis, MN - Curtainwall, Storefront

Baker Building // Photo by Paul Crosby // The historic Baker Center in downtown Minneapolis encompasses more than 1 million square feet of office and retail space. RSP Architects designed the 21st century renovation to respect the 1920’s art deco structure, while introducing modern interior spaces. The building envelope’s energy efficiency was improved with high-performance thermal curtainwall and storefront. Interior updates included enclosed glass-walled conference rooms with aluminum framing finished in clear anodize.

Their primary purpose is to divide and define interior spaces. Using interior aluminum framing systems with glazing inserts provides physical separation, while maintaining visual connections. For example, these framed openings may be installed as interior entrance systems surrounded with side lites and transoms, long spans of glazing along a corridor, glass walls enclosing a meeting room, clerestory windows at the top of an interior wall, or as partial-height divisions between study nooks or workstations.

Translucent or transparent glass and glazing, reflective light shelves and other daylighting devices maximize the opportunity to extend natural light from the exterior walls more deeply into the building’s interior. Effective daylight design strategies reduce the need for electric light sources and associated HVAC loads, which saves on initial costs of light fixtures and equipment, as well as improves the building’s operational efficiency. Energy-efficient buildings conserve natural resources, have a smaller carbon footprint, benefit from lower utility costs and maintain a comfortable, consistent indoor temperature.

In North America, people spend 90% of their time indoors. Studies show that when they have access to daylight, views and a comfortable temperature, they are happier, healthier and more productive. Retailers with daylit stores generate higher sales than those without natural light. Students have better concentration and higher academic performance in schools designed with daylighting. Teachers and other employees with naturally illuminated workplaces report higher job satisfaction, lower absenteeism and perform tasks with greater accuracy.

Clear, transparent glass presents a full view and allows for the greatest amount of light. Tinted and translucent glazing, or dynamic glazing that switches from clear to tinted, balances transparency with a degree of visual privacy. Opaque glazing, fabric-padded panels, drywall or other solid inserts trade daylighting and views for the highest level of visual privacy.

In Part 2, we’ll address relevant performance considerations for interior framing systems.