How Natural Daylight was used by Legat Architects to Create a Safe & Functional Aquatics Center at a Chicago High School

When designing the Niles North High School Aquatics Center in Skokie, Illinois, Legat Architects were mindful of their client’s desire to “create a functional and aesthetically interesting space, while improving safety for pool users” says Legat Architect’s Director of Design, Ted Haug AIA, LEED BD+C.

The client wanted two pools, one teaching pool and one ‘stretch pool’ for competition use. The competition pool needed to be flexible in size because of its heavy use from 5:30am to 10pm as well as serve the district’s 2,100 students and athletes. The project team at Legat Architects, required a daylighting solution that would “add functionality to the space by bringing in diffused natural daylight while simultaneously reducing glare, enabling life guards to clearly see the water at all times, ensuring the safety of all swimmers.” They also needed a product that could “deliver high thermal insulations to reduce condensation and control humidity in the space” says Haug.

When reviewing the product options available, the project team worked with Water Technology Inc. to help choose the right product that satisfied all their requirements. After reviewing all the options, both glass and polycarbonate, the team decided to go with a “glass-based product for its value, aesthetic, inherent longevity, durability and resistance to scratches” says Haug. It is for these reasons, we choose Solera® “because of its daylighting and thermal capabilities, plus it’s an all-glass product. Aesthetically and functionally, the product works fantastic in the space” continued Haug.

The project team wanted to use products that would help contribute towards the LEED Gold certification on this design and “Solera® helped us achieve this recognition for our project with daylighting” continued Haug. The design reduces energy use by 44% compared to a standard code-compliant building of similar size, resulting in annual energy savings of 31.5%.


The Niles North High School Aquatic Center is a well-known landmark with its’ “curved roof and at night its’ glow and can been seen from the highway thanks to Solera®. This is a great advertisement for the school and community” says Haug. This space is a highly used aquatics center for students throughout the day and for community members in the mornings, evenings and weekends.

“We wanted to create something interesting and responsive to the functional and safety needs of this new expansion. The client is extremely happy with the outcome of this space and they got exactly what they were looking for with the end design,” says Haug.

Students, community members and athletes love using the new aquatic center for training and competitions. “The Niles North Aquatics Center leaves a lasting impression on up-and-coming swimmers. The air quality, pool, and facility are exemplary” says Matt Grevers, Six-Time Olympic Medalist.

Advanced Glazings Ltd. is proud that Solera® was included in this award-winning design and to help Legat Architects achieve their goal of a safe, functional and aesthetic aquatics center with daylighting.

Photography Credits: © Legat Architects



Niles North Aquatics Center
Chicago, IL., USA.

Legat Architects

Product(s) Used
Solera® L
Shading Coefficient
0.47 Btu/hr·ft²·℉