Proper Testing is Critical When Using Tempered Glass in Architecture

Proper Testing is Critical When Using Tempered Glass in Architecture

When scanning any skyline of a major city from a distance, a person’s eyes almost always gravitate towards the highest buildings. However, once inside the city, some of the most interesting structures that are even more aesthetically pleasing are those that contain large transparent decorative glass panels and unique facades made entirely of glass.  Glass architecture tests ones’ common sense on how something so beautiful (and seemingly delicate) can be strong enough to resist/suspend thousands of pounds of force, yet be resilient enough to weather extreme changes in heat, cold, and wind.

 

If it sounds complicated and highly technical to make a solid structure out of glass – it is. W&W Glass, one of the most highly regarded ornamental metal and glass installers in the country, has been engineering and installing architectural glass masterpieces for over 70 years.  They have worked on over a thousand sophisticated, ground-breaking buildings in New York City and throughout North America.  The professionals at W&W understand that using only the highest quality fabricated glass will be sufficient for some of the world’s most iconic buildings and skyscrapers.  More importantly, the W&W Glass pros know most of the issues and potential problems that can be incurred when it comes to designing with structural glass.

 

One of the most heated topics of discussion among architects and construction companies when it comes to point-supported glass structures is spontaneous breakage with tempered glass. There was an article about a point-supported glass application recently installed at the The University of Kansas (KU) DeBruce Center that has been attributed to nickel sulfide breakage of tempered glass.  

 

 

Spontaneous breakage of tempered glass is immediately noticeable because an initial crack exceeding a critical size (depending on its location within the thickness of the glass) causes complete fracture of the plate, typically into very small cube-shaped particles, also known as “dice”. Although the small glass fragments do not present a great threat, this can be a dangerous situation for point-supported applications as there are much higher stresses on the glass than with fully-supported systems like aluminum curtain wall.  Driven by designers requiring greater transparency, more applications utilize glass held in at specific points or glass members to support face glass. These are applications where engineers do not want to see a failure from a public safety perspective, even if it will remain structurally safe until temporarily braced or repaired.

 

 

So why do these lites break without warning?  There are multiple reasons why glass can spontaneously break.  One of the reasons can be from cracking incurred from glass to glass contact during storage or transportation. Large changes in temperature on tinted glass substrates, low-e coatings, ceramic frit paints, films, or uneven shading can cause uneven expansion on the glass (thermal shock) causing breakage as well.  Other reasons could be anything from a weld splatter to a hard impact to a deep scratch that penetrates the tensile strength zone.  However, a rare but increasingly more concerning culprit for spontaneous breakage is the expansion of nickel sulfide (NiS) inclusions.  These inclusions are imperceptible by the naked eye and can cause major issues, often being more prevalent with thicker, heavy tempered glass used for point-supported structural glass applications.  

 

Closeup photo of glass crack caused by nickel sulfide inclusion

(Above photo is a highly magnified close up photo of spontaneous breakage due to a nickel sulfide inclusion. The arrow points to the impurity where the break originated from.) Photo Credit: http://chicagowindowexpert.com/page/2/

 

W&W Glass relies on the time-tested materials and processes of Pilkington Architectural in St. Helens, United Kingdom when it comes to high quality point-supported structural glass systems and materials.  Officials at Pilkington explain the more technical definition of this phenomenon, since they are a float glass manufacturer.  They say that the NiS inclusions as very small, spherical shape, opaque solids, typically 0.1 to 0.5 mm diameter (0.005” to 0.020”) and which change their crystalline phase (Alpha to Beta) and size long after the tempering process.  This Alpha to Beta change makes them expand slightly.  When glass is tempered a NiS inclusion (stone) actually shrinks more than the surrounding glass during the quench cooling.  This sudden quench catches the inclusion in its smaller, hot, Alpha phase, not giving it time to make its usual transition to the slightly larger, cold, Beta phase.

 

You might ask why anyone would consider tempered glass for structural glass projects, especially since NiS inclusions can occur in any batch of float glass from any manufacturer.  Spontaneous breakage due to nickel sulfide inclusions can occur without any load being applied to the glass, at any time, even five or ten years after the glass has been tempered. It may not happen every time a nickel sulfide inclusion is present, however. Tempered glass has been the material of choice for many years in the construction industry for safety applications. It allows the glass to be much stronger to carry or resist greater loads, and to break into small pieces in lieu of sharp shards.  It is a very important product in the industry.  There is a very reliable scientific way to reduce potential for spontaneous breakage due to these inclusions and that is to put the glass through a process called “heat soaking”.  This process helps better insure that if there is an inclusion in the glass that could cause the glass to break spontaneously, it occurs destructively in the safety of a test chamber and not on the job site after installation.

 

Video Describing the Process of Heat Soak Testing provided by PRESS GLASS

 

Currently, there is not a United States standard for heat soaked tempered glass. The standard most often referenced in specifications is the European DIN Standard (EN 14179-1). This standard requires a heat soak test of 290 degrees Celsius (+/-10) for a minimum dwell time of two (2) hours in a heat soak chamber on every lite of tempered glass.  Pilkington Architectural takes it one step further for their Pilkington Planar™ structural glass systems by requiring an eight (8) hour dwell time on EVERY lite of tempered glass.  From their research, this helps them have even greater confidence that they have reduced the probability of spontaneous breakage due to nickel sulfide even further. There is no guarantee from any manufacturer that this will eliminate all risk. Some manufacturers may recommend statistical heat soaking to check one out of so many hundred or thousand lites, but this would not greatly reduce the chances of nickel sulfide inclusions being present, especially for low volume orders like that of structural glass where the fabricator may not know what part of run the issue may be located in. It may be missed entirely with this method.

 

When it comes to tempered glass for structurally glazed point-supported applications, architects, contractors, and owners have the ability to specify 100 percent heat soak testing with a the European DIN (EN 14179-1) Standard or better to help mitigate risk. A small percentage of the glass should not be expected to fail due to nickel sulfide inclusions.  There can be a slight upcharge for this testing from manufacturers, but if this testing is not done, there can be no way of knowing if nickel sulfide inclusions are present until it’s too late.  

White Plains Hospital: A Welcoming & Warm Healing Center

Photo Courtesy of http://www.wphospital.org/
 

 

Entering a hospital can be one of the most stressful and agonizing times for anyone.  A positive mindset and a sense of hope can be critical to the outcome of any stay in the hospital for patients and family members.  That experience begins upon arrival and reinforces why the exterior building facade, entrance lobbies, and greeting spaces need to set the tone for the experience and care you may receive at the medical facility. White Plains Hospital and community officials knew progress in enhanced care required an expansion to continue the quest to be a state-of-the-art facility for the region’s medical needs.

 

White Plains Hospital (WPH) is a 292-bed not-for-profit healthcare organization with the primary mission of providing exceptional acute and preventive medical care to all people who live in, work in, or visit Westchester County and its surrounding areas. It is a critical aspect of the community and WPH needed a widespread expansion to keep up with the changing world of oncology treatment and treatment services.

 

In addition to building upgrades, the new Phase Two West Wing Expansion was designed to add 42,000 square feet of clinical space and 22,000 square feet of renovations.  This six-story patient care building is part of the hospital’s campus-wide enhancements, which included the new patient tower with new operating suites, private patient rooms, lobby and entranceway on Davis Avenue, as well as an addition and expansion of the building for cancer services on the corner of E. Post Road and Longview Avenue still under construction.

 

White Plains Hospital’s patient-centered approach is reflected in the new building modernization and expansion. Amenities include a welcoming reception area, space for a café, boutique, complementary therapies, and a patient medical library, as well as office space for the program’s rapidly expanding staff of cancer clinical specialists.

 

 

Construction manager Gilbane Building Company hired W&W Glass, LLC to deliver the best overall facade solutions, installing a point-supported structural glass lobby enclosure with a steel blade back-up structure, and a unitized curtain wall system for the bed tower and sky-bridge connecting to the parking garage. The design and construction took almost 2-1/2 years after it began in 2013.

 

A major challenge on the project was the fact that the hospital couldn’t afford to shut down during construction. This proved to be an obstacle that had to be overcome.  Space constraints and logistics made it difficult to maneuver equipment, material, and manpower. This also impacted the hospital in terms of traffic, parking, and administration during the hospital’s 24/7 operations. The planning and execution associated with merging an active construction site with a round-the-clock medical facility required daily coordination and supervision of multiple trades, all working from the exterior, similar to that of a steel and glass ballet!

 

The lobby’s attractive, modern construction and design inspires confidence by sending a message that patients, families, and visitors will receive technologically advanced, compassionate care at the hospital. The 25-foot-tall structural glass walls bathe the interior with natural light, while noise-quieting tiles and beautiful artwork help to offset the stresses that often go along with a hospital visit.

 

 

 

 

The lobby walls are spectacular for those entering WPH, but posed a formidable challenge for the seasoned professionals at W&W Glass.  There were many discussions with the architectural design team at Perkins Eastman about using double or single steel plate beam blades with gussets to connect the stainless steel fittings and glass.  The end result, to use single solid steel plate beams, was determined by W&W engineers to be the most cost-effective solution to meet the project budget. As far as a technological challenge, out-of-tolerance concrete at the base and steel at the head created a unique hurdle for the Pilkington Planar™ system installation.  Supports needed to be redesigned after all the material was already on site, causing some delays, but the professionals at W&W Glass had the flexibility to create customized solutions to get the job done right. To keep schedule, the steel and glass system for the lobby was installed through the dead of winter under extremely cold and blustery conditions.  The W&W Glass team persevered through the elements to stay the course.

 

There were also some challenges with the unitized aluminum curtain wall systems.  Many different details had be to considered at perimeter conditions and slab edges.  It was especially important to consider the interface between the glazing systems to the adjacent stone and metal panel systems.  This required very close attention to detail by the project team to avoid air and moisture issues.

 

The lobby’s design connects visitors to nature, both through the newly planted streetscape, visible through the walls of windows, and the wooden planters generously distributed throughout the interior lobby. Natural materials are used everywhere; elegant wood flows from the building’s exterior into the lobby and wraps into the entranceway. A walnut feature wall, glistening terrazzo flooring, soft carpeting, comfortable seating, greenery, and noise-dampening ceiling tiles allow for quiet conversation, relaxation, or even getting some work accomplished while you wait.

 

Visitors in search of a meal, snack, or comforting cup of coffee will be delighted at the selection of delicious and healthy offerings at the lobby’s Everyday Healthy Café, with seating in the atrium. While many families and patients look forward to leaving the hospital after their visit, the new lobby helps set the tone for a positive outcome from the very start.

 

W&W Glass, LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry. The company is 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 consistently is the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

 

W&W maintains a full time estimating and engineering department ready to provide an engineered solution to your building enclosure needs.

 

Behind The Glass: 605 3rd Avenue

A Magnificent Entrance to a Timeless Building

 

605 3rd Avenue is a timeless classic in NYC’s ever changing skyline. Close to Grand Central Terminal, the United Nations Building, and central to the midtown and midtown-south business districts, this 1.1 million square foot tower between 39th and 40th Streets provides a highly visible, high-profile home to a prestigious list of corporate tenants. Like any older building, however, to stay current the building was in need of some upgrades to keep pace.  The building’s convenient location is now complemented by many great new features, including a completely renovated transparent glass entrance, a lustrous light gray limestone lobby floor, black mirror-clad walls, custom-shaped bronze interior panels, an on-site garage, and state-of-the-art security.

 

This NYC office building is home to many corporate tenants in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Major tenants at the building include the nonprofit United Nations Populations Fund, which has over 130,000 square feet at the tower, according to CoStar, and financial firm Neuberger Berman Group, which has just under 272,000 square feet.

 

 

 
 
 

These types of tenants need exposure combined with a sense of class. W&W Glass was awarded the contract from Plaza Construction to renovate the tall lobby entrance and interior glass of this prestigious building owned by Fisher Brothers based on their work on similar high-end lobby renovations like 650 Madison Avenue and 1290 Avenue of the Americas.

 

The outside is dramatic with crisp reflections of the surrounding buildings in high quality, massive glass panels. This new exterior enclosure, designed by Rockwell Group and engineered by facade consultant William Laufs of LaufsED, is a fully custom, point-supported structurally-glazed fin wall system. Unlike traditional point-supported glass system that can utilize more standard components, this system required every element to be manufactured specifically for this project.

 

 

 
 

One of the most challenging aspects, however, was procurement and installation of the oversized, jumbo low-iron insulating glass units and full-height low-iron tempered fins. These products had to be sourced in Europe to meet the design team’s size and quality specifications. The hardware to connect the fins to the structure, stainless steel patch fittings to connect the face glass to the fins, and perimeter channel framing had to be made to exact specifications.

 

Moving glass can be easy when you have a lot of space for equipment and staging. Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually apply in major cities like NYC. The end result is almost always lots of manpower and muscle, along with some simple chain fall lifting devices. The magnificent structure at 605 3rd Avenue demanded precision coordination by the W&W installation team. Robotic manipulating devices were not a viable option on the site. Human touch and control were paramount to safely maneuver and set the large fins and face glass. The glass was brought to the site as needed each day and had to be stored inside the work area, due to an active sidewalk on 3rd Avenue out front, leaving little room for staging.  Each lite of fin and face glass was installed with over twelve men, multiple scissor lifts, vacuum cups, and overhead chain fall hoisting equipment.

 

 

 

The vision of the designer and owner was to create a timeless, but modern look as patrons and their clients walked through the door.  W&W Glass installed the oversized 5’ 3” wide x 23’ tall low-iron IGUs on low-iron monolithic glass fins for the custom structural glass lobby enclosure.  In addition to the structural glass walls, on each side of the lobby they supplied two revolving doors with an all glass swing door in between.  Other dramatic elements provided in the lobby by W&W were black mirror, custom-shaped bronze metal panel wall cladding, and glass security turnstiles.

 

As with all stunning projects, 605 3rd Avenue hasn’t forgotten to provide a memorable touch. There is a unique feature for guests at the end of the hallway.  A viewing porthole in the wall will thrill curious guests as they look through to see a “kaleidoscope” artwork piece.

 

For more final updates, log onto W&W Glass’ LinkedIn and Google+ pages for updates, photos, and videos from this top notch renovation. The amazing entrance at 605 3rd Avenue is proof positive of another quality project completed by W&W.

 

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.

Behind The Glass: Finishing Touches Almost Complete for First Office Tower at Hudson Yards Development

Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center. It is anticipated that more than 24 million people will visit Hudson Yards every year.

 

 
 

Excitement has been growing as fast as one of the most exciting projects in recent New York City history is being completed. The updated complex project master plan includes over 16 skyscrapers and 17,400,000 square feet of office, residential, and retail space stretched across twenty-eight acres on the Far West Side. Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group have brought together a group of visionaries to develop an exceptional neighborhood that delivers 21st century office space and unparalleled amenities for the next generation of employees.

 

The Hudson Yards development is literally creating a complete neighborhood destination from the ground up. New large developments like this can certainly have their challenges, and this is no exception. Hudson Yards is seated directly above one of the busiest commuter rail yards in the country. Structure had to be put in place before any of the buildings could be erected without disrupting train services.

 

One of the earliest and most innovative buildings is 10 Hudson Yards. Initial work on this building, owned by Related Companies and designed by KPF, began in late 2012.  The transformation over the past 3 years has been nothing short of remarkable.

 

 

 
 

The southern facade of 10 Hudson Yards cantilevers over the 30th Street spur of the High Line, and the building’s main lobby entrances to the west are to be directly accessible from the elevated park. 10 Hudson Yards is a 52-story office building with 1,700,000 square feet of floor space, anchored by one of fashion’s most respected brands – Coach, Inc.  It will also be home to L’Oréal USA and SAP. Talk about convenience.  There will be access to Hudson Yards from the newly opened No. 7 Line MTA subway extension and the High Line, tying the recently repurposed, iconic elevated railway park together with the hottest new commercial office and retail area in the city that will truly redefine and reshape Midtown Manhattan.

 

The designers and owners knew that it would be no small feat to achieve the look and feel they wanted for their grand lobby entrance and high-span atrium wall. The previous structural glass work W&W Glass accomplished at AOL Time Warner Center (a Related Companies property), Bank of America Tower, and the planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History was taken into account. With a project this size, no one wanted to leave these elements up to chance; W&W Glass was the logical choice for this major undertaking due to their successful portfolio of work and expertise.

 

 

 
 

The vision was for dramatic expanses of ultra-clear, point-supported glass with a minimal back-up structure. The challenge at 10 Hudson Yards was creating an 82-foot tall Pilkington PlanarTM cable tension wall lobby facade with entrances, a trapezoidal 207-foot tall “Coach Atrium” Pilkington PlanarTM cable wall spanning from floors 6 to 21, and interior glass conference rooms (single-height and double-height) inside the open Coach atrium space.

 

To pull off sheer beauty and excellence is not easy. In the case of the Coach Atrium wall, there were custom steel kickers tying back every vertical cable to the horizontal steel box beams at every two floors (roughly every 27 feet) to help lessen the tension loads on the boundary structure. There were also two 82-foot tall structure-less corners that had to be engineered to work without the use of typical steel corner posts to meet the architectural intent. This was not an easy feat to accomplish due to the glass module being 10-foot wide and at the corner wind load zones of the skyscraper. Pilkington Planar™ systems often allow designers the opportunity to customize hardware to meet project-specific aesthetic and performance requirements as shown by the rectangular patch fittings on 10 Hudson Yards. Every application is unique, requiring engineering analysis and glass/hardware customization to ensure the best use of materials to provide the best overall value.

 

Completion of 10 Hudson Yards is planned for May 2016. Designers and construction companies alike continue to rely on W&W Glass’ reputation for executing the finest craftsmanship and construction to meet project schedule and budget requirements. Their performance on this unique project is just one more reason why.

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.

The Prism Tower: The Shining Crown Jewel on Park Avenue

Depending on whom you talk to about the newest crown jewel building of New York City’s “NoMad” neighborhood, the label is either “The Prism Tower” or sometimes “the fortress of glassitude”.  What everyone agrees upon, however, is that the new 40-story building is nothing short of spectacular and an ocean away from ordinary.

 

 
 

Not unlike another New York landmark, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 400 Park Avenue South disrupts the urban pack with an unexpected, and exceptionally beautiful, sweet surprise: a tall, rock candyesque crystalline edifice of glass rising up from the ground.  Legendary French architect Atelier Christian de Portzamparc began designing the building in 2003, and the end product, administered by Handel Architects, remained virtually unchanged.  Like many projects in the middle of the decade, the $400 million was slowed by the economic times and eventually purchased by Equity Residential and Toll Brothers City Living in 2011. The majority of the construction, overseen by Lend Lease, began in 2013 and is now completed.

 
 
          
 
 

It’s obvious where the tower got its name.  Besides the obvious “prism” shape, the multi-faceted design floods light into the unique floor layouts while optimizing views to the streets below. This provides an interesting perspective, while taking into account the necessary zoning recesses towards Park Avenue South. The Prism Tower is a glass phoenix rising from traditional square apartment buildings.  It’s this geometry that breaks the phalanx of typical apartment buildings along the avenue. Everyone involved at the onset of the project knew that the complexity and proper balance of technology, performance, value, and beauty in a custom unitized glass enclosure system could only be handled by the region’s leading union glazing contractor, W&W Glass.

 
 

 

 

In true irony, the aesthetic appeal of the building also represented its major obstacle.  On the physics and technology side, this structure is a unique curtain wall design that breaks away from the usual and expected “square box” neighboring buildings.  While it might appear that is was a relatively simple glass wall design, several facades of the building have an inclination angle between 10 degrees up to 60 degrees. That was just from the outside.  Inside, this project features a completely custom unitized curtain wall system from Sotawall®. Rather than stepping back the mass to comply with zoning laws intended to bring light down to the street, the design simply inclined the leading edges of the prisms to open a path of travel for sunlight. Instead of using terraced setbacks to respond to code, the design uses fragmented and angled façades. There were many in and out angles, degrees of splay, and glass shapes that had to be accommodated on all sides of the facade using custom extrusion dies and silicone gaskets. These help to keep the system fully air and water-tight while allowing the signature crystalline shape from de Portzamparc’s vision to be achieved.

 

 

 
 

Not all glass is created equal.  The Prism Tower required more than six different types of glass, many with custom gradient silk-screened frit patterns, to clad the building. It was imperative to work very closely with the glass fabricator Viracon to execute the project. Additionally, at the “pod” areas above the Park Avenue South entrance, there are complex intersections of six inclined walls and several architectonic details.  Those details were primarily located at terraces and soffit conditions in addition to the integration of oversized operable vents into the curtain wall.

 

There were also logistical hurdles that needed to be overcame for this 40-story icon due to it being a mixed-use property.  The first 18 floors house 265 commercial tenants while the other 22 stories are residential.  Add in some first floor retail space and a new subway entrance out front to this combination, and another level of complexity regarding budget, coordination, and scheduling arose.

 

Read Architect Magazine’s Project Profile  

 

Any construction project, especially one that is creating over 435,000-square feet of commercial and residential space is a massive feat. Construction as an industry evolves extremely slowly. The Prism Tower is unique. It makes the dramatic leap forward in design, raising the bar on visual appeal.

 

W&W Glass, LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry. The company is 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 consistently is the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

 

W&W maintains a full time estimating and engineering department ready to provide an engineered solution to your building enclosure needs.

Denver International Airport Westin: Only The Rockies Stand More Majestically

Want proof that good things come to those who wait?  Just look at the new Westin Hotel and Conference Center at Denver’s International Airport.  Accentuating the gateway and progressive attitude of the West, the DIA-Westin takes a newcomer’s breath away and stands toe-to-toe with the majestic Rocky Mountain setting. Envisioned even before Denver International Airport opened in 1995, plans for a hotel at DIA were delayed not once but twice — when 9/11 occurred and when the airport’s largest carrier, United Airlines, declared bankruptcy.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of www.frontporchstapleton.com

 

Designed by Gensler of San Francisco, The Westin and transit center will feature three key components: the hotel and conference center, a transit center, and a public plaza. The outdoor plaza will become Denver’s newest venue for arts, entertainment, and relaxation. The 82,000 square-foot open air facility will create a community connection between the airport and downtown Denver through special event programming. The plaza’s square footage is equivalent to the size of one football field and two basketball courts and can handle up to 2,000 people during a normal day and up to 4,500 for special events. This unique space will allow passengers to enjoy Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine, great views, art, entertainment, and food.

 

Many design challenges were overcome in order to bring this project to fruition.The hotel had to be inspiring and impactful, but had to address height restrictions imposed by the FAA and fit into the restricted access due to runways.  The structure is comprised of three integrated components all located just 200 yards from the terminals. Coordination with adjacent trades, specifically concrete, HVAC and metal panel, were particularly challenging on a complicated three-dimensional grid.  

 

The aluminum and glass-clad curtain wall is exquisite and has great attention to detail. The amount of glass used on the exterior of the hotel is equivalent to four football fields. The architect’s vision for the hotel was “a bird in flight”. The upper area of the design represents the movement of a bird’s wings in flight above the “head” of the curved canopy.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of www.frontporchstapleton.com

 

The new landmark hotel and transit center, estimated to cost between $540 Million and $590 Million, is highlighted by a large Pilkington Planar™ point-supported structural glass cable wall façade.  With over three decades of structural glass experience combined with the extreme complexity of an irregular cone geometry, W&W Glass was hired by the installer Harmon, Inc. to engineer and supply the system. Another reason W&W Glass was utilized on this project was their unique experience working in, on, and around airports.  While the whole project was delayed almost 20 years, W&W Glass spent over 18 months in schematic design and production, and then invested over 9 months in project administration and construction with Harmon.

 

Beyond the complicated geometry, there was an extremely tight space provided between the structure and the glass facade to develop aesthetically and structurally appropriate connections.  This was the case at all boundaries — specifically head, sill, and both jambs.  The superstructure was concrete, which has an uncertain long-term creep deflection component that had to be factored in. This was exacerbated by the wide variety of temperatures in the Denver area.  This made the pre-stress calculations particularly challenging. Lastly, the installation of shaped glass on an inclined flexible cable system required extensive planning, surveying, and checking.

 

Working with S.A. Miro, Inc., the structural engineer of record, the experts at W&W Glass determined it was necessary to utilize Building Information Modeling (BIM) to model the design.  It was used extensively to coordinate between trades on the complex three-dimensional geometry.  Solid modeling enabled the the team to break down, study and communicate interferences and other conflicts in an understandable way that led to coordinated resolution. Another key component was the machined longhorn rod fitting with articulated ball that connected to the cables.  This made for clean detailing on the interior of the system.  This minimal fitting, often used on standard flat cable facades, was able to accommodate both the complex geometry and system movements in a straightforward, elegant fashion.

 

The windows, including that of the cable wall area, give guests an impressive view outside…snow-covered mountains to the west, the airport’s tent-covered terminal to the north, planes on the runways to the east and the new transit center to the south.  While some people say the hotel blocks the view of the airport’s iconic tented roof structures, in reality, it actually adds another view of them. The tents from the terminal are now reflected in the hotel’s exterior when standing inside the terminal looking out.

 

It took this kind of specific expertise, creativity and craftsmanship to help create a key feature on a striking building that stands adjacent to the natural beauty and surroundings of the Rockies.

 

W&W Glass, LLC is a family-owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry. The company is 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 consistently is the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

 

Behind the Glass: 21 West End Avenue (Riverside Center Building Two)

As the skyline of New York City continues to evolve and change, our construction techniques do as well. We’re completing work on 21 West End Avenue (Riverside Center Building Two) located at Riverside South – Riverside Center. Unlike Hudson Yards, which was built above an active railyard, the Riverside Center projects are being built atop a former railyard. The eight-acre parcel on the upper west side will include a variety of housing complexes, retail centers, and restaurant establishments. We recently completed another building at Riverside South called One Riverside Park (Riverside South Building K1).

 

21 West End Avenue will be a mix of market-rate luxury rental apartments, affordable housing units, retail space, and a public school. The client is the Dermot Company, Inc., and SLCE is the architect. The podium curtain wall and punched windows were designed and supplied by Erie Architectural Products, Inc. with 1-⅜-inch glass manufactured by Viracon and installed by W&W Glass. The project broke ground in early 2014 with an expected completion date during the summer of 2016.

 

 
 

Above, you can see the custom Sotawall® HYBRID-WALL® system panels, with 1-⅜-inch Viracon insulating glass units, being installed. This gives the building a classy, sharp aesthetic that defines recent trends in skyscraper design.

 

This project was unique because the top four rows of curtain wall at the crown of the building do not have any floor slabs to work off of (as you can see in the picture, there are only concrete beams creating a skeleton). This required unique staging and installation applications. In order to complete the project, a custom monorail had to be created, designed by Greg Beeche (GBL) and installed by W&W Glass. It follows the profile of the building and was used to complete the installation of upper rows on all all four sides all the way up to its peak.

 

 
   
 
 

Below is a photo of the facade nearing completion, rising above the Upper West Side of New York City. Notice how the facade goes all the way to the top of the building. W&W Glass was chosen for the project because of our ability to find solutions to unique challenges like 21 West End Avenue (Riverside Center Building Two). The world of glass is always updating and changing, and we keep up by using innovative technology to achieve the client’s goals.

 

 

    

 

 

Keep an eye on our website and social media outlets for continued updates on this and other projects we are working on at Riverside Center, as well as all the other monumental projects throughout the New York City area.

 

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.

Behind the Glass: 605 3rd Avenue

W&W Glass is proud to announce that another unique project is well under way located at 605 3rd Avenue.  This NYC office building is home to many corporate tenants in the heart of midtown Manhattan. W&W Glass was awarded the contract from Plaza Construction to renovate the tall lobby entrance and interior glass of this prestigious building owned by Fisher Brothers.


This new exterior enclosure, designed and engineered by facade consultant William Laufs of LaufsED, is a fully custom point-supported structurally glazed system. Unlike traditional point-supported glass that can utilize more standard components, this system required every element to be manufactured specifically for this project. The hardware to connect the fins to the structure, stainless steel patch fittings to connect the face glass to the fins, and perimeter channel framing had to be made to exact specifications.
One of the most challenging aspects, however, was procurement and installation of the oversized jumbo low-iron insulating glass units and low-iron tempered fins. These products had to be sourced in Europe to meet the design team’s size and quality specifications.

 

 
 
Recently, we set the 5’4” x 23’ tall low-iron insulating glass units onto the low-iron tempered fins. Check out this video of one of the large glass lites being lifted up and rotated into place in the facade opening!
 
 


 

Each lite of face glass was installed with over twelve men, multiple scissor lifts, vacuum cups, and overhead chain fall hoisting equipment. The glass was brought to the site as needed each day and had to be stored inside the work area, due to an active sidewalk on 3rd Avenue out front, leaving little room for staging. Moving glass can be easy when you have a lot of space for equipment, but more often than not on projects in major cities like NYC, you end up using some muscle… a lot of it in fact. As a result, precision coordination by the W&W installation team was paramount to safely set the fins and face glass.

 

 


 

In addition to the structural glass walls, we are also supplying two revolving doors with a center all glass swing door in between that will be installed below 15’2” tall insulating glass units on both sides of the lobby entrance areas.

 

 
 
Above, you can see the project lobby and corridors that have been finished with black mirrored glass. This same treatment will be applied to the interior of the new enclosed lobby space with the addition of custom tapered bronze paneling. There will also be a unique feature for guests at the end of the hallway.  A viewing porthole in the wall will thrill curious guests as they look through to see a “kaleidoscope” artwork piece.
 

Make sure to keep an eye on our LinkedIn and Google+ pages as we continue to bring updates, photos, and videos from this top notch renovation. How do you think it’s coming along so far?

 

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.

 

10 Hudson Yards: Project Update #2

10 Hudson Yards Cable Wall Progress:

 

A lot can change in a few months! Since our last update, our work at 10 Hudson Yards has made tremendous progress. The Coach Atrium cables have been fully tensioned and the fittings and glass have been installed. Caulking between the glass panels has begun. Check out the photos and descriptions below to see how it’s been done.

 

 

 

Here you can see glaziers on a swing stage platform in front of the Coach Atrium wall. Look at those crisp reflections of the surrounding buildings in the glass! Really sharp! Up to this point, the fittings and glass have been installed onto the tension cables that secure the 207 foot tall facade in place. The workers are preparing to caulk the facade joints with silicone for the final weather seal.

 

 
 
 
This image shows a close up of one of the stainless steel cast patch fittings that the glass is set on connected back to a Galfan link locked tension cable. With loads this big, stainless steel cable was not an option due to limitations in stainless cable diameter/strength available. Also, the designers decided not to use drilled glass; instead, it is clamped in place at the corners to allow a specific amount of flexibility and rotation in the patch thereby allowing glass lites to safely deflect with the cable over the spans between structural members. In the case of the Coach Atrium wall, there were kickers tying back at every vertical cable to the horizontal steel beams at every two floors (roughly every 27 feet). Pilkington Planar™ systems often allow designers the opportunity to customize hardware to meet project-specific aesthetic and performance requirements as shown by the patch fittings on 10 Hudson Yards.
 
 
 
 
This picture shows the tensioned cables on the lobby facade ready to be fitted with glass panels. This facade runs along a section of the High Line, the elevated park located on the West Side of Manhattan.
 
 
 
 
A worker caulks the space in between laminated glass panels on the Coach Atrium wall. This operation requires someone on the inside and outside of every lite of the facade to tape off the glass and make sure both sides are sealed evenly as the silicone bead is installed. After the joint is filled, the workers then tool the joints with spatulas and remove the tape to reveal a clean, smooth joint.
 
 

 
 

This is a shot from below of the entire Coach Atrium wall complete with glass and hardware. Notice the difference from last month when only the tension cables were in place. The glass has been clamped onto the properly tensioned cables that are connected to the surrounding boundary structure that supports hundreds of thousands of pounds of tension needed to sustain the system.

 

Dubbed the largest construction project of its kind, the Hudson Yards project masterplan will include over 16 skyscrapers and 17,4400,000 sqft of office, residential and retail space stretched across twenty-eight acres on the Far West Side. We’re proud to be a part of this project and are excited to bring you more updates as the project moves forward!

Next month, stay tuned for our update on setting the face glass and entrance portals for the lobby walls. Keep an eye on our LinkedIn company page and blogs for more exciting project examples and updates!

 

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.

Project Update #1: 10 Hudson Yards

It’s been over four months since we began installation at 10 Hudson Yards, and we’re excited to share some updates on the project! Most recently, the cables that will be supporting the glass panels were installed.

 

 
The above image shows the thickness and scale of one of the galvanized cables as they arrived on the site for installation. This cable will be one of five used for the Pilkington PlanarTM cable wall facade spanning from floors 6 to 21 of the Coach Atrium.
 
 

 
 
This image, looking up at 10 Hudson Yards, shows the cable being hoisted up the building for installation at the Coach Atrium wall. This cable wall area is a trapezoidal shape that is 207 feet tall at it’s highest point!
 
 

 
 
Above, workers begin tensioning the cables. Tension facades use high tensile cables or stainless steel rods to impose the loads of the facade on the main structure. This decreases the amount of solid structural elements visible on the project, therefore increasing the transparency of the facade.
 
 
 
 

This is what the Coach Atrium cable wall of 10 Hudson Yards looks like after multiple cables have been installed before the fittings and glass are put in place. A simplistic way of thinking of this procedure is that of stringing a tennis racket. A surrounding frame is built with cables brought across it and those cables are pulled tight and locked in place. These systems, however, impose tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds on the surrounding structure (depending on width of module and unsupported spans), often requiring large steel truss beams at the head and large reinforced embed plates in concrete or steel members at the base for tensioning off of.

 

Dubbed the largest construction project of its kind, the Hudson Yards project masterplan will include over 16 skyscrapers and 17,4400,000 sqft of office, residential and retail space stretched across twenty-eight acres on the Far West Side. We’re proud to be a part of this project and are excited to bring you more updates as the project moves forward!

In the next month, we’ll be setting fittings and installing the glass on this wall, as well as stringing cables on the lobby walls along located along the High Line. Keep an eye on our blog and social media for even more photos as we continue to work on this new historic project in New York City.


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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