A Creative Remodeling of Alvin Ailey

A Creative Remodeling of Alvin Ailey

Completed in 2004, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has announced a planned three-story expansion atop its headquarters at 405 West 55th Street, located on the corner of Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. The new space is dubbed the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation Education Wing, and will expand an already amazing building.

 

Alvin Ailey
Photo Courtesy of: www.ibarchitects.com

 

Founded in 1958, the Alvin Ailey Theater was initially comprised solely of African-Americans and sought to interpret and express their experiences through a style-based as much in spirituality, soul, and social commentary as it was in technique and innovative movement. Completely redefining dance in America, Ailey’s most prominent work with this group, entitled “Revelations,” quickly established them as the one of the most creative set of dancers in the country.

 

Rendering of Alvin Ailey
Rendering Courtesy of: ChelseaNow.com

The space was quickly bursting at the seams so the foundation required a new expansion adding approximately 10,227 square feet of space, up from 50,786. It will feature four new dance studios, two classrooms, and offices on the current 8-floor structure that highlights glass curtain walls to show transparency to the city. The current building already houses 12 dance studios; a 5,000-square-foot black box theater with flexible seating for 295; adjacent green room and concession stand/boutique; dressing rooms and warm-up areas; archive and library facilities; costume shop; physical therapy facilities; lounges; and administrative offices. In addition to all of these areas, the building also features long-distance learning capabilities in various studios and the performance theater.

 

The original architect, Gramercy-based Iu + Bibliowicz Architects has already been tapped as the architect of record for the expansion. The architects understand the space is integral to the success and creativity of the students. The original structure highlighted large-scale curving Teflon “veils” on top off the structure and serve to mask the building’s mechanical equipment on the roof. These forms were drawn from Ailey’s signature dance “Revelations,” referencing the “Wade in the Water” section that uses large, billowy, white and blue fabric stretched across the stage to symbolize a river. These forms are repeated in the canopy marquee over the entrance to offer an inviting welcome into the building at street level.

 

Working with Iu + Bibliowicz Architects are structural engineers from Gilsanz Murray Steficek and the general contractor Structure Tone. The team knew just as important in keeping the consistent look and feel of the striking exterior was hiring a firm that knew how to seamlessly make the expansion meld into the current structure. They have tapped nationally-acclaimed installers from W&W Glass to make it happen.

 

Since this is an expansion and not an original building, W&W Glass is going to carefully remove 2,400 square-foot of existing curtain wall at the lower three floors prior to installing 7,400 square-foot of new curtain wall onto the existing structure and new addition atop the building. They will set unitized curtain wall panels connected onto the existing portion of the structure via existing embed anchors and new ones on the addition.

 

Alvin Ailey W&W Glass

 

W&W Glass has selected Erie Architectural Products’ Enviro Facades™ unitized curtain wall system for the project. Well-engineered and rigorously third-party tested, the EF Series™ proves to be the product of choice for high-performance custom facades. It is the ideal solution for conditions requiring exceptional thermal , air, water, and structural performance all while meeting the distinct architectural requirements of the project for remodeling and new construction.

 

The panels are a combination of four-sided and two-sided structural silicone glazing. The maximum panel size is 100 inches x 288 inches. The insulating glass units feature an Interpane Ipasol Neutral 70/37 high-performance low-e coating with a custom silk-screened frit pattern on clear glass fabricated by BGT (Bischoff Glastechnik AG) in Germany. The maximum insulating glass unit size is 98 inches x 170 inches. Glass was sourced from Europe due to the oversized nature and high quality level required.

 

Approximately a third of the new installation occurs at a courtyard which is inaccessible from the street. One unique aspect to the appearance of the curtain wall is a silk-screened “wave pattern” of frit resulting in a custom pattern for each unit affected. The building’s core spaces, enclosed by red brick, are a subtle gesture to Manhattan’s Clinton District with its numerous tenement brick buildings.

 

Completion of the expansion is expected in the fall of 2017. Not only is Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater the home for members of its company and school to rehearse and take classes, but they have an extension program that allows for anyone at any level of expertise to take a class taught by one of Ailey’s incredible teachers. The stunning views of the surrounding area from the upper floors of the building serve as quite the backdrop for the dancing that takes place within. There are a wide range of classes offered including Salsa, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Latin Jazz Fusion, Horton, Zumba, Samba and Afro-Brazilian.

 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” has performed for over 23 million people in 48 states and in 71 countries on 6 continents, celebrating the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition.

 

W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

 

Evolution From The Past With a Vision To the Future: The Getty

In the fine dining world, a trend that is extremely popular is a technique known as “deconstruction.” In simple terms, it means taking a well-known classic dish, breaking it apart into pieces, and then using many of the same ingredients to create a new offering with a different look and intensified flavors to transform the dish into something that is delicious yet oddly familiar. That same concept can also be applied to architecture. The “deconstructionist” concept, pioneered in the early 20th century, is regaining popularity in the architectural and construction world.

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Take, for example, the new building in the center of New York’s West Chelsea renaissance located at 239 Tenth Avenue. Situated at the corner of West 24th Street, the property is located in this burgeoning art district overlooking the High Line, the park at the epicenter of new luxury apartment and condominium developments that have been underway for several years. Here’s our take on the deconstructionist concept if you will. This building is taking the place of an old Getty gas station, hence the new mixed-use building has been coined as “The Getty.”

 

The location of this building has a storied history. Not that long ago, the site of the former Getty gas station was once home to an art installation of fake sheep at 239 Tenth Avenue. It seems history is repeating itself. The site is now giving way to an abstract, art-inspired 11-story condo building designed by Peter Marino. 

 

239 Tenth was originally designed to house ten high-end apartments. But interest from a nonresidential tenant in the location, since it is in close proximity to many art galleries, led the developers to add more commercial space while reducing the number of residential units. Now, there will be eight totally unique units that stand on top of two prominent art galleries, and each will feature a private outdoor space, with residences averaging 4,700 square feet apiece.

 

The Hill Art Foundation plans to operate the museum on The Getty’s third and fourth floors showcasing the private collection of J. Tomilson Hill. Also planned to be displayed are multiple works by Francis Bacon, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. Joining the foundation in the building will be the third New York location of the Lehmann Maupin Gallery, which will occupy The Getty’s basement and first two stories.

 

When you are building a structure that is housing fine art, the statement needs to be made before a patron enters the building. Marino’s design for the building will open up the facade facing the elevated park, with much of the southwest corner of the structure sliced away, yielding to a staggered set of terraced balconies.

 

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Photo Credit: New York YIMBY

 

The project is a partnership of the developers Michael Shvo and the Victor Group. One of the most complicated parts of this project was to seamlessly integrate a mix of traditional elements such as stone, glass, and metal to create drama and contrast. Marino wanted to make a statement, so he made the decision to use a “checkerboard” of different components that feature glass at the forefront. The designers knew they needed an expert as part of the team so construction manager Lend Lease hired W&W Glass, one of the most renowned glaziers in North America, to assist with the façade design and installation.

 

W&W Glass had several design challenges. This building goes against the most of the rules of typical developments where you build things for optimization by repetition and economies of scale. Each glass section is a different size, so the unitized panels had to be custom made. The experts at W&W Glass decided to fabricate the 25,000 square-foot custom Wicona curtain wall in Northern Italy by AZA S.p.A. The final design called for powder-coated aluminum panels and over-sized low iron glass units with a maximum size of 22′ tall x 10′ wide with parallel opening operable vents that are 4′ wide and 10′ tall, motorized for ease of operation. Some of the truly unique elements are large one piece corner units over 22′ tall with 10′ wide returns. The unitized panels use a glass make up a 1/2″ outboard lite and 3/8″ over 3/8″ laminated glass on the interior for excellent acoustics and strength, fabricated by AGC Interpane of Germany. Other significant design elements include  over-sized Schuco sliding glass doors and custom hand rails.

 

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Marino achieved early fame as a designer, in the 1970s, for one of Warhol’s “Factories,” on East 66th Street. Through the years, he has enjoyed a roster of prominent clients, like Louis Vuitton, for which he designed a boutique on Fifth Avenue, and Stephen A. Schwarzman. Viewed from Tenth Avenue, the new building will prove contextual, and will appear to be roughly the same size as 245 Tenth Avenue, next door.

 

Even though combining dissimilar materials like steel, stone, and glass are nothing new to architecture, The Getty is taking this technique and reconstructing it into something new and exciting. Like a large-scale sculpture, perhaps, The Getty has been slow to take shape. It broke ground in November 2014 and is not expected to open until summer 2017.

 

W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

Honoring the Past While Looking Towards the Future

Trying to restore historical buildings while maintaining the character of the past is a common challenge designers and contractors often face today. Whether it is a skyscraper office tower or just a small, local storefront, the importance of preserving and honoring the past for future generations is a common theme these days. Renovating the Judicial Office Building for the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) in the center of Montgomery was an especially challenging but rewarding experience for all those involved. The renovated high-rise addition was built around the former Alabama Judicial Building to preserve much of the historic structure, such as the ceremonial courtroom, as well as the overall architecture of the former building.

 

Retirement Systems of Alabama RSA Judicial Office Building - Photo 5

 

The existing historic courthouse became a hallowed piece of history in the Civil Rights Movement when Martin Luther King spoke on the front steps. This magnificent project celebrates the historic State of Alabama Judicial Building and offers spectacular views of Montgomery’s downtown, the riverfront, and the state capitol building from its landscaped terraces and private executive balconies. It offers covered executive parking, 24/7 security, advanced electrical systems and state-of-the-art climate controls. Its interior is comprised of fine finishes, including wood, limestone, granite, marble, and stainless steel. Paying homage to tradition, the Honor Court even features five life size bronze statues of past Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justices.

 

Retirement Systems of Alabama RSA Judicial Office Building - Photo 1 

The Retirement System of Alabama (RSA) Judicial Office Building is located just west of the State Capitol. The site contains an existing structure and a new 531,000 square foot office building which is the latest edition to the family of RSA buildings present in downtown Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Led by Bailey and Harris Construction, renovation of the new RSA Judicial Office Building began in 2008 and was completed in July of 2011. Named to celebrate the historic State of Alabama Judicial Building which has resided on the property since 1926, this $99 million project fully restored the existing building and encompassed it within a grand 50-foot tall structurally-glazed grand entrance topped by the twelve story skyscraper. The restored portions of the project have been adapted for premium executive office space and a multi-purpose conference center which features the original Supreme Court chamber and lobby.

 

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Photo credit: www.2wrarch.com

 

The RSA wanted to make a classic statement from the very beginning which meant shining a window into the world of historic Alabama. When it came time to execute the “big window” to the courthouse, nationally-acclaimed structural glass supplier W&W Glass was selected to make it happen.

 

The professionals at W&W Glass needed to make the new building the jewel of the existing Montgomery Courthouse complex. The architect 2WR Holmes Wilkins worked with W&W Glass to solidify the right design solution for this feature area. Using structural glass materials supplied by W&W Glass and fabricated in the United Kingdom by Pilkington, the project was glazed by Juba Aluminum Products with the Pilkington Planar system for the entryway curtain walls. The product used is a “point supported” glazing system in which the face glass is supported by stainless steel fittings that bolt the facade glass back to suspended tempered monolithic glass fins to provide the necessary structural support instead of having metal framing behind each piece of glass like traditional curtain wall. This allows an unobstructed view through the wall, looking both inside and out. Because of the vast opening size, the space frame piers visible through the Pilkington Planar wall were needed to support the building structure. The wall was glazed using insulated glass with high performance low-e coatings to minimize energy costs. Visitors are awed by the dramatic four-story lobby/atrium with its high limestone walls, grand staircase, and elevators covered in polished granite, glass, and stainless steel.

 

RSA-Ext-3

Photo credit: www.bailey-harris.com

 

For more information on this project and all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass, go to wwglass.com and look under the portfolio section.

 

W&W Glass, LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Is a “Must See” NYC Landmark

One of the most recognizable names in entertainment is Madame Tussauds and its chain of wax museums.  Their attractions are based on an obsession with fame and illusions. What started out as a humble museum in London is now one of the most popular wax museums across the globe.  The New York branch is in the heart of Times Square and is just one of six Madame Tussauds locations in the United States. The brand has spread globally as well with six in Europe, seven in Asia, and one in Australia.

 

madame-tussauds-museum

Although New York’s Times Square Madame Tussauds opened several years ago, the legacy of this hugely popular attraction dates all the way back to the 18th century. Anna Marie “Madame” Tussaud was born in Strasbourg, France. She moved to Paris as a child, where she learned the art of wax modeling from the renowned Dr. Philipe Curtius in the 1770s. As a teenager she became an art tutor at the Palace of Versailles for the royal family, but her career path took a macabre turn when she was forced to make death masks of executed aristocrats during the French Revolution. She eventually took her talents to London, where in 1835, she set up shop on Baker Street to show off her masks and sculptures in a permanent collection. Today, Madame Tussauds has become a global phenomenon.

 

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The Madame Tussauds New York location opened its doors in 2000 with 5 floors of attraction space and over 200 figures; it has quickly become a popular tourist destination in New York City.

 

The building designers at the architecture firms of Ohlhausen Dubois Architects and IMG had  a difficult task to make this museum standout in a city of sensory overload. The team relied on the glazing experts at W&W Glass to help make that happen with an iconic glass feature on the building facade.

 

 

The unique exterior enclosure is comprised of various glazing systems, metal panels, precast wall panels, stone, and E.I.F.S. The facade also features exterior elevators and extensive exterior signage for the tenants. However, for the most interesting portion of the work, W&W Glass went with a tried and true system to create a Pilkington Planar™ system glass fin wall. The conical, spaceship-shaped structural glass curtain wall area was constructed out of Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron monolithic curved tempered glass. The different heights of glass and panel curvature is what gives the entrance a magical feel of flight and an air of grandeur. The monolithic tempered glass fins on the interior utilized Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron glass as well. This airy rotunda dramatically juts out over the museum entrance on 42nd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, offering a nice bird’s-eye-view of Times Square.

 

To add to the mystical feel, giant hands surround the front of the building at the top the elevator and the bottom of the glass enclosure, as if they were conducting a masterful puppet show. Madame Tussauds is a celebration of celebrity in all its waxen glory. More than 200 famous people – Oscar winners, sports champions, newsmakers, pop goddesses, and historical figures smile widely and willingly pose for photographs. Where else will you see Jimi, Janis, and Jagger all together? Or the Dalai Lama, the Pope, and Gandhi standing side-by-side! It’s a trip through time and a surprisingly educational tour of American pop culture with some amusement park-style extras thrown in for maximum fun. Most importantly, a visit to Madame Tussauds is all about the photo op, so make sure the battery is charged and the memory card is cleared.

 

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W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

225 East 39th Street in Murray Hill: Ahead of the Curve

New York City’s Murray Hill district is not exactly known for landmark architecture and design.  However, that is beginning to change thanks to a progressive endeavor by Fisher Brothers and Gemini Residential, LLC.  The 36-story, 372-unit residential tower being constructed at 225 East 39th Street, located on Tunnel Exit Street between East 39th and 40th streets in Murray Hill is highlighting the “curve” as a shape of things to come in residential building design.

 

225  East 39th  Street - Blog Photo 1
Photo Credit: www.yimbyforums.com

 

The owners chose Handel Architects to lead the design efforts for the building measuring 430-feet tall with 373,248 square feet of space in its entirety. This tower is a very unique project in many ways.

 

Inspired by the Fisher Brother’s vision, the designers at Handel Architects decided to highlight a glass tower featuring a curving glass façade, offering some visual relief to an area comprised of less remarkable residential architecture.  The glass entrance is set back from the street, and the gently curving form creates breathing room on the corner.  This reflective curtain wall, transparent base, and shallow plaza form a truly unique stature on the eastside of Manhattan.

 

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The owners and designers knew this was not going to be an easy facade to build, so construction manager Plaza Construction selected one of the best-known, successful firms in the city for glass facade installation, W&W Glass.

 

W&W Glass professionals knew it would take the utmost in creativity and design to make this project reflect the owner’s dream. The glazier selected a proven unitized curtain wall system for this application that could meet the challenges, the Sotawall® HYBRID-WALL® system. With a 25-year history, the Sotawall® HYBRID-WALL® system was originally developed as an alternative to traditional window wall systems. Window walls are typically limited in their architectural aesthetic and performance capabilities.  Sotawall® HYBRID-WALL® has greater flexibility in design to allow for larger expanses of glazing, flush external appearance (capless framing), greater adjustability in anchorage (no embeds required) and a variety of custom feature profiles and infill materials available.

 

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In order to have a continuous air and water barrier, these hybrid curtain wall systems span slab to slab similar to window wall, however, they have a built-in slab edge cover panel and are fully gasketed similar to a traditional unitized curtain wall providing much higher air and water penetration resistance and multiple levels of redundancy.

 

Another clever and unique aspect of this project is the use of large bands of the JURA stone product as a spandrel infill and accent. Widely used in making jewelry, JURA stone comes from the Jura hills in France and is a porous, light beige natural stone.  W&W Glass used curtain wall frames to hold the stone in panels that measured 4-feet by 10-feet and totaled over 153,000-square feet.  The technique is creative and the effect is magnificent.

 

Slated for completion in the spring of 2017, residents will be greeted by an expansive interior lobby with high ceilings, undulated slatted walls, and a spiral staircase leading to the amenity floor. Amenities will include a fitness center, yoga studio, game room, children’s playroom, lounge, library, swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna. Atop the building will sit a roof deck complete with cabanas and BBQ stations, and residents will find further outdoor oasis upon the terrace and inside the courtyard garden.

 

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For more information on this project and all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass, go to wwglass.com and look under the portfolio section.

 

W&W Glass, LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

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