Marist College Lowell Thomas Communications Center
Making a Magnificent Entrance at Marist
While many firms tout their expertise in new construction installations, it takes a specialty firm for consultation and erection on high profile renovation projects. Renovations can test the creativity and expertise of even the most sophisticated firms more than new builds due to existing unknown issues and restrictions (often only uncovered upon building probes and demolition). Schedule on these types of projects can also be tight due to the need to limit the duration of time the exposed building area can be open to the elements, current occupancy requirements, and having limited installation time available. These renovations may drastically change the look and feel of the building through repositioning… thereby adding a new entrance, completely remodeling the interior, or dealing with necessary modifications/improvements to meet updated building codes and standards.
W&W Glass is one of the few companies that developers, owners, and architectural designers seek out for both new builds and renovations. One such renovation project that W&W’s glazing system expertise was compulsory on was for the glass lobby entrance renovations at the Lowell Thomas Communications Center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2014. The Lowell Thomas Communications Center originally opened in 1987 and is named after the broadcast pioneer, explorer, and longtime resident of Dutchess County himself who had received an honorary doctorate from Marist in 1981. The Center provides space for communications, math, and computer science studies.
All of the classrooms on the ground and first floors were redone with a modern look and outfitted with modern technology. Each was upgraded to provide a dedicated computer that came with a projector screen and other media outlets. All of the rooms also now have a lighting system which allows for dimming and other selective lighting inside. The ground floor houses Marist College’s radio station, WMAR, which was also renovated for students to use throughout the year. The second floor lobby and outside of the building were upgraded (like many others on the campus) to match the visual design standards of the rest of the buildings with specific types of brick/stone cladding. For the entrance renovations there was a strong desire for more natural light. Working with Hibbs Architects in the Hudson Valley, W&W Glass was selected by the school to aid in design and installation of the transparent Pilkington Planar™ structural glass systems to bring in more natural light and give the entire building a new focal point.
W&W Glass’ team used Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulating glass units with “K” low-e on the #3 surface for the exterior façades on the East and North of the building. Optiwhite low-iron monolithic fins were used to support the face glass on the East wall main entry mounted with Pilkington Planar™ 905 series stainless steel fitting hardware. One of the most exquisite features of the renovation was a new 18-foot wide by 7-foot deep vestibule with a glass roof and canopy that seamlessly integrated into the all glass facade.
The tempered glass fins were made of monolithic glass while the roof, glass beams, and canopy glass used SentryGlas® laminated glass panels for additional strength and stability. The glass vestibule hardware is a combination of standard Pilkington 905 fittings, 902 fittings, spring plates, and custom connections. One of the biggest challenges was the clean integration of the door panic hardware and pivots into the glass roof. Custom stainless steel door headers and close coordination was required to make this area work together. Another major challenge was to support the glass roof/canopy of the vestibule jewel box. This was accomplished using tempered glass sidewalls cantilevered from the ground and laminated glass beams spanning across the interior overhead to connect to the fins coming to the ground.
The North wall entry featured a pair of doors alongside free-spanning, 6-foot by 9-foot tall insulating structural glass units supported in perimeter channels only.
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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