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Skylight System Provides Low-maintenance Costs

Skywall translucent panel skylights, by Skywall Translucent Systems, Terrell, Texas, were chosen as the covering for the Palo Alto Caltrain Station canopies. They have an extremely smooth surface that washes clean in the rain, providing almost no maintenance costs. They are also lightweight and virtually shatterproof and are protected by the new Acrylit erosion barrier system that provides protection against yellowing. The Skywall panels offer glare reduction and resist the effects of ultraviolet rays, while resisting oxidation and temperature variations. Skywall ATS aluminum skylight framing system holds together the Skywall panels, in addition to closure sheet-metal around the cable and strut penetrations.

The project consisted of three structural steel canopy structures, each with eight to 10 bays of Skywall segmented translucent canopy skyroof system. There are 28 canopy sections, with six panels each, for a total of 168 panels. The six 3-foot by 10-foot (0.9-m by 3-m) white translucent panels are placed over the arc at a 25-foot (8-m) radius. Each canopy area was 5,040 square feet (468 m2). The structural steel columns are placed 20 feet (6 m) apart and support curved 3-inch by 3-inch (76-mm by 76-mm) tube steel arches with diagonal braces that penetrate the panel array in a masted scheme.

The panels system is backlit by a computer controlled LED multicolor light display that can synchronize with music. Robert A. Bothman Inc., San Jose, Calif., was the general contractor and VBN Architects, Oakland, Calif., was the architect. Vogel and Associates Inc., San Carlos, Calif., installed the Skywall translucent panels.