1271 Ave of the Americas Reclad – Reinventing an Icon

1271 Ave of the Americas Reclad – Reinventing an Icon

Timeless Location & Design

Since the 1960’s the name Time-Life has been a staple in the country’s vernacular from the days of Time Inc.’s notable magazines and books, just as the Time-Life building has always been an integral building at the hub of the New York City’s Rockefeller Center. This icon of mid-century modern architecture, located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, has always been a symbol of inspiration to those who have passed this signature structure  as a tourist or tenant. But even icons need a facelift from time to time to keep pace with the changing needs of business and new clientele.  

 

The Rockefeller Group is behind the ambitious $600 million extensive top-to-bottom makeover to assure this world-renowned building will continue to turn heads well into the future. The 48-story building, located between West 50th and West 51st streets across from Radio City Music Hall, was the office tower and former home of Time Inc. It was originally designed by Harrison, Abramovitz, & Harris and built in 1959. World-renowned architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners is the design architect for this complete transformation. The impact begins from the outset as the comprehensive project will dramatically improve views and light with a new exterior facade, revive the plaza, and reimagine the lobby’s stunning design. The design team has stressed that the end result must reflect and glorify the majestic identity of the building, but give it a fresh modern feel.

 

Pei Cobb Freed 1271 Rendering
Rendering Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

 

The final vision demands attention to detail that extends from infrastructure upgrades to improved energy efficiency to creating a brighter, healthier, more pleasant work environment. With Turner Construction as the primary builder, the design calls for replacing the building’s entire curtain wall – all 450,000 square feet of it – to create a more transparent, light-bathed interior space. Elements of the project also include restoration of the lobby and installing new elevators.


The team decided upon updating the façade with windows that have a higher ratio of clear glass to opaque spandrel so more natural light floods into the building. Due to the intricate work and substantial experience required in retro-fitting large facades like this, the group hired noted design and glazing professionals from W&W Glass, Inc. of New York City. Other significant recladding projects W&W Glass has finished similar to this project are 655 Madison Avenue and 100 Park Avenue. Also, the firm recently ascended from #10 to #6 on this year’s New York Top Specialty Firms list.

 

1271 Avenue of the Americas Curtain Wall Rendering
Rendering of the renovated curtain wall. Courtesy of 1271 Avenue of the Americas www.1271aoa.com.

 

After months of collaboration and discussion, the team decided  to go with 450,000 square feet of Sotawall® custom unitized curtain wall, Erie Architectural Products Enviro/Facades™ custom-fabricated storefront systems and new all glass entrances. Incorporating Guardian Clear SNX-62/27 low-E glazing, thermal-breaks, and much larger window areas, the new continuous cladding areas provide 60 percent more vision area and enhanced energy performance while retaining the essential proportions of the original facade with vertical banded bays. The new facade, which includes a large multi-story podium, will have approximately 8,000 new curtain wall panels installed by W&W Glass. Typical panel sizes for the tower are 4’4″ wide by 12′ tall and the podium area utilizes over-sized glass and panels as large as 9’8″ wide by 19’8″ tall in some areas. The skin is being reclad as areas throughout the exterior facade are being carefully demolished, floor by floor, to make way for the new panels to be set as to not open up the building entirely while still occupied and to create enclosed spaces for leasing as complete. At present, the floors from 3-7 are fully set.  

 

1271 Avenue of the Americas - Transformation of Old to New
Transformation of old curtain wall to new on 1271 Avenue of the Americas.


An entrance renovation was also needed to bring in more natural light into the lobby, which will feature new artwork and special imported stone from Italy. Two large pieces of art depicting upper and lower Manhattan were created in artist Mark Bradford’s Los Angeles studio and will be on displayed. Each piece is roughly 22-feet by 22-feet.

 

Other features of the building, including HVAC, finishes, and distinctive Copacabana-patterned sidewalk outside the building, are also being upgraded and restored as part of the renovation. The renovation is slated to be complete for new tenant occupancy in 2018.

 

For more information on all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass professionals, please visit our project portfolio.

 

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.

W&W Glass Projects Win Multiple NYCxDESIGN Awards

Award Winning Work Illustrates Breadth of Talent and Consistency of W&W Glass

 

Firms must be truly talented and pay careful attention to detail to help create a project that wins a prestigious design and architecture award. To help more than one project win the same award in separate categories proves a company is elite. This was clearly illustrated when the NYCxDESIGN Awards were announced recently and world-renowned glass design and installation firm W&W Glass based in New York was involved in three projects that took home honors.

 

NYCxDESIGN brings together all the disciplines of design, commerce, culture, education, and entertainment with a full, varied program, including exhibitions, installations, trade shows, talks, launches and open studios. Interior Design and ICFF created The NYCxDESIGN Awards to honor the outstanding designs exhibited throughout the New York city surrounding area. The annual event celebrates outstanding talent across major areas of design such as architecture, interiors, furnishings, lighting, and technology, and unifies the more than 500 events taking place during New York City’s showcase of global design. Honorees for both products and projects were named in over 30 categories.

 

W&W Glass teams collaborated with several firms to produce amazing new buildings, renovations, and stunning entrances. One winning project was a commercial interior lobby renovation located at 195 Broadway for which Gabellini Sheppard Associates’ design won in the Commercial Lobby category.

 

After five years in the planning L&L Holding Company wanted to make a large statement so they selected GSA to complete renovation of the lobby and concourse-level installation of 35,000 square feet of new retail space. W&W Glass partnered with McLaren Engineering to come up with a custom system on the project. TriPyramid Structures, Inc. was commissioned to design and fabricate each of the custom bronze patch fittings, keeping them as minimal as possible, to sustain the massive load that the over sized low-iron laminated glass would impose.

 

195-Broadway-lobby-1See more of this project by clicking here!

 

The design separated the area into a leasable retail space from the main lobby entrance with a structural glass wall to be as unobtrusive and transparent as possible. The architect’s plan was to have single span glass in height with only three lites in each of the bays that varied from 17′-0″ to 17′-8″ wide directly behind the columns creating a “Galleria” from the North to the South end to divide the building. In the center of each bay would be a 9-foot wide by 10-foot tall vitrine to act as display windows and some as entrances to the spaces.

 

These windows also included glass roofed vitrines. There was a much smaller bay at the North End and a larger bay at the South End. The 10-foot high side walls of these vitrines act as fins that support the lateral load for the whole 30-foot tall glass wall. After concluding that it would be impossible to maneuver a single lite glass almost 30-feet high in this space, the plan changed to use 10-foot tall bottom lites as the vitrines and fins and upper lites as large as 19-feet tall in some instances.

 

In the Government/Institutional category, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) was the architect of record for the new Public Safety Answering Center II (PSACII). The center is designed to operate continually under adverse conditions and provide redundancy to the city’s primary call center. After the 911 attacks on New York, besides rebuilding, the second thing city officials concentrated on was security, a crucial requirement for this project. It required a highly-skilled glass design and metal panel enclosure installation team to make the owner’s vision a reality. W&W Glass was selected to engineer and install the main building façade, in addition to the glass lobby entrance and interior blast and fire-rated curtain wall.

 

Public-Safety-Answering-Service-Center-II-PSAC-II-Photo-8See more of this project by clicking here!

 

Due to its versatility and reliability, the company also installed a Pilkington Planar™ vertical entrance wall system. The components selected for the exterior face glass were Pilkington Planar™ Intrafix (concealed fittings inside the units) and standard Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulating PVB laminated glass units. Pilkington Intrafix 902 fittings along with Hatfield stainless steel spider castings were used to secure the units. The interior glazing assemblies were made of SaftiFirst Fire and Blast resistant curtain wall.

 

Finally, in the NYCXDesign X-Factor category, the New York City Library was the hands down winner! Designed by principal architect Enrique Norten and his firm TEN Arquitectos, the library is a subterranean mix of old and new, combining printed literature and technology, and the solitude of being social. The new space features an amphitheater and an auditorium with TV screens for programs and events, high ceilings, and modern décor. Though two of its three floors are below street level, the library feels bright and spacious, thanks in part to its glassy façade.

 

unnamed (2)See more of this project by clicking here!

 

W&W Glass worked hand in hand with the architects and engineers, to construct a transparent jewel box allowing lots of light to stream into the library. The designers selected Pilkington Planar™ structural glass systems with a mix of support structures. Cantilevered laminated glass fins highlight the main front wall and steel substructure backs the interior structural glass walls. The face glass is made of Pilkington Planar™ Optiwhite low-iron SentryGlas® laminated glass. To anchor the glass back to the structure, glaziers used Pilkington 905 series countersunk bolt fittings. The glass wall face glass extends up in front of an upturned concrete slab at the top and employs an insulating laminated glass return at the head of the wall thus providing a transparent closure. It allows the visitor to look right down through the top of the monolithic wall.

 

Submissions began filtering in beginning in February and the entry deadline closed in mid-April. After several weeks of careful scrutiny, the winners were announced at a gala in New York on May 20th. Click here to see the entire list of winners. For more information on all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass professionals, visit our project portfolio.

 

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.

Minnesota Orchestra Hall Renewal

Glass Curtain Walls Highlight the Minneapolis Orchestra Hall Renovation

 

Any performing arts venue exists to provide the public with the magic that happens in the hall at showtime, but what happens in the lobby can be just as important to the experience of patrons and to the bottom line. The Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis, originally opened in 1974 and has now completed a major renovation.

 

Since its opening in 1974, Orchestra Hall has played a vibrant role in the cultural and civic life of Minneapolis. The renewal project continues this tradition by making a dynamic contribution to the transformation of the south downtown. This $52 million project saw KPMB Architects turn cramped, dated lobbies into civic spaces that have doubled the orchestra’s event revenues and created valuable community outreach.

 

Minnesota-Orchestra-Hall-Photo-5

 

The expansion of the lobby with a dramatic new glass addition engages the Hall with its urban context, particularly Peavey Plaza and Nicollet Mall. The transparency of the new architecture showcases the activity of audiences and patrons within, infusing new energy into this civic neighborhood.

 

Built by Mortenson Construction, the renovation included new structural glass curtain walls areas, custom sunshading, and a conventionally glazed aluminum pressure-wall system. The design team knew that this type of work required a highly specialized group of designers, engineers, and glaziers to pull this off so they looked to the team from Empirehouse, Inc. and W&W Glass, LLC for design and installation support.

 

Minnesota-Orchestra-Hall-Photo-2

 

The final choice was the tried and true Pilkington Planar™ system. Some advantages of the system are that it is fully customizable, has superior roller-wave distortion control, and is fully tested and fabrication is controlled by the manufacturer (Pilkington in St. Helens, United Kingdom) for all aspects of quality. Pilkington has been at the forefront of design in structural glazing since the invention of the Pilkington Planar™ point-supported structural glass system in the 1960’s. The combined experience of one of the oldest and largest glass makers in the world with one of the largest glazing contractors in the United States in W&W assured a safe and successful result. The Pilkington Planar™ structural glass wall assemblies incorporate approximately 3,400 square feet of top-hung structural glass fin-supported walls using countersunk stainless steel fittings to support the glass panels. Some lites were very large exceeding 6’4″ by 11’8″ inches in size. In addition to the glass fin-supported wall systems, the plaza level façade includes approximately 4,500 square feet of custom aluminum bar stock fin-supported glazed wall system.

 

The main exterior glazing component includes approximately 23,400 total square feet of conventionally glazed aluminum pressure-wall system. This system was specifically engineered for the required high-span application, and a majority of the glazing is resting on an engineered carbon plate which provides the appearance of a suspended cantilevered wall system. The initial design required a +/- 5/8″ allowable movement at each attachment, which was only possible with the use of custom horizontal extrusions. The movement requirement also created the need for complicated independent loading connections.

 

Minnesota-Orchestra-Hall-Photo-1


Like a well-written concerto, the mix of materials offer a nice modern contrast with the traditional red brick walls of the theater volume behind, while still allowing the old local flavor to shine through from the exterior. However, the new lobby radically differs from the old. The 1970s scheme divided attendees onto a series of terraces, limiting capacity and circulation. The new design more than doubles the lobby size, up from about 16,000 square feet to around 30,000, partly by eliminating terraces between floors and their accompanying stairs. This helped the building become fully accessible and ADA-compliant.

 

The image of transparency is matched with a feeling of openness and ease of access and movement through the space. A newly-installed escalator leads patrons directly from the skyway entrance, the Hall’s most popular entrance, to the main level. A series of new staircases and elevators is both more visible and accessible. Bars and restrooms are now provided on every level. This project exudes beautiful harmony with every step.

 

Minnesota-Orchestra-Hall-Photo-3

 

Project Highlights:

  • Location: 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Building Type: Civic + Cultural
  • Architect: KPMB Architects
  • Owner/Developer: Minnesota Orchestra
  • Installer: Empirehouse, Inc.
  • Materials:

    Vertical Walls

    Exterior Face Glass – Clear Low-e Argon-Filled Insulating Glass Units w/ HP 70/39 Low-e on #2 Surface and Heavy-Duty Clear Low-e Argon-Filled Insulating Laminated Glass Units w/ HP 70/39 Low-e on the #2 Surface

    Fin Glass – Clear Monolithic Fins

    Hardware – 905 Fittings

     

For more information on all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass professionals please visit our project portfolio.

 

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.

 

*Special thanks for contributions from KPMB Architects, Mortenson Construction and Empirehouse, Inc.

Seattle Landmark Receives Modern Facelift

There is a special responsibility when it comes to renovating iconic buildings. With that responsibility often comes special challenges. The building formerly known as Seafirst Bank, which is now still partially occupied by Bank of America (the company that took over Seafirst), has completed a total transformation after taking on a $46 million dollar renovation which included dividing up the space further to accommodate more tenants, upgrading the lower 5 floors of the facade, and repositioning the lobby area.

 

Completed in 1981, 800 Fifth Avenue forms a glimmering silhouette with its silver aluminum anodized skin and large windows. It is a 42-story, Class A office tower located at 800 Fifth Avenue, bordered by Fifth and Sixth Avenues and Columbia and Marion Streets in Seattle, Washington. The building has a total gross area of over 1 million square feet, of which approximately 934,800 square feet is rentable office and commercial space. The complex also contains a landscaped public plaza, 17,000 square feet of retail space, and includes parking for 612 cars below street level. It’s still one of the tallest buildings in Seattle.

 

bank-of-america-seattle-signature-shot_hres_web

 

Three years ago there was a fast-moving trend in Seattle to renovate iconic older buildings due to the high volume of unoccupied office space in the city and across many parts the nation. Even though the building has been able to retain a minimum of between 90-98% occupancy since it was opened, the owner Hines Investments joined the wave to improve older buildings in various ways to compete with customers looking at newer, more modern towers downtown. This is where the renovation story of 800 5th avenue begins.

 

The renovation designed by LMN Architects of Seattle, called for the removal of the 24-foot tall curtain wall entrance area to allow for the new all glass feature wall. They also expanded the lobby by more than a third. In addition, the design called for remodeling of all of the bathrooms throughout the tower and upgraded the elevator cars. The contractor GLY Construction of Bellevue, hired Washington Glass and Glazing of Lynnwood to install the glazing scope who in turn selected W&W Glass to supply the structural glass entrance system for the project.

 

800 Fifth Ave - Seattle - Old Lobby

 

W&W Glass has long-standing reputation of understanding the nuances of complex renovations and delivering high-quality system solutions on time and within budgets. This project was no different as W&W supplied and engineered the Pilkington Planar™ point-supported glass facade with a custom all glass vestibule door portal area integrated inside. The glass engineers and designers used high performance Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulated glass units with 70/40 ProT Low-e on the #2 surface and stainless steel spacer with argon-filled airspace to meet the city’s high energy performance standards without sacrificing clarity. The all glass facade was constructed with suspended low-iron tempered glass fins to support the face glass of the wall. An important consideration for suspending this wall in the Seattle area was the inelastic seismic drift movements. Pilkington Planar™ structural glass systems are designed to move (under specified code seismic events) without breaking glass in most cases. The metal door portal on the interior of the glass vestibule was required to brace the bottom of the glass fins and provide separation for the base loaded glass doors and the suspended facade. While the exterior glass of the vestibule was insulated for thermal performance, the interior vestibule glass was monolithic. Laminated glass beams span across the interior and exterior of the portal to help support the side walls and laminated roof glass. Many would agree that the new wall and entry area helps make the lobby more visible from the street and much more comfortable for tenants and visitors inside with a better connection to the surrounding environment.

 

800-5th-Avenue-Photo-1

 

It’s a remarkable transformation, especially in the expanded lobby, which has gone from a dreary pass-through space to a light-filled gathering place. Part of the second-floor exterior plaza was enclosed to create a mezzanine, with more seating and open conference areas. In addition, an old data center on two floors near the base of the building has gone from a mostly windowless space to 80,000 square feet of window-lined office space.

 

On the fourth and fifth floors, new glazing has also transformed this area into Class A offices, with high ceilings and natural light. New signage was added to improve visibility and wayfinding. Finishes include marble and stone, stainless steel curtain-wall, and accent pieces throughout.

 

Though Bank of America remains the tower’s largest tenant, it now has a new neighbor: Providence Health & Services has signed a 10-year lease for about 140,000 square feet and has recently moved it’s administrative staff in from a Renton office. Swedish Health Services, which is affiliated with Providence, will also move staff there out of One Union Square.

 

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.

Three’s A Charm at Three Alliance Center

Anyone who lives or travels to Atlanta will agree that it is a scenic and beautiful location. However, the connection to the beauty outside can sometimes be overlooked when thinking about an office environment. But not at Three Alliance Center. It’s situated in one of the most coveted locations in the Atlanta area known as Buckhead, just north of downtown. It is the perfect place to take in a full view of the Atlanta skyline. That’s where Three Alliance Center wants to capitalize on that landscape – both visually and commercially.

 

Three-Alliance-Center-Photo-1

 

Buckhead, one of the country’s largest and most affluent mixed-use communities, is often referred to as the “Beverly Hills of the East.” Buckhead has about 78,000 residents with a daytime population doubling to approximately 140,000. Many of those temporary visitors are commuting in to work at the limited office space in the area. The Alliance Center development, owned by Tishman Speyer, is one of those large employment hubs. Upon Three Alliance Center’s completion, nearly 10% of Buckhead’s 17 million square feet of office space will be located in the Alliance Center development.

 

Tishman Speyer’s Three Alliance Center represents the final phase of the highly successful Alliance Center complex. Designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Three Alliance will feature Atlanta’s first faceted glass curtain wall system with a multitude of angled “pop out” windows, offering tenants panoramic views of the property’s Buckhead neighbors and nearby submarkets.

 

As its name implies, the $175 million office tower is the third in the Alliance Center trio, which also includes the already-completed 20-story One Alliance and 30-story Two Alliance buildings. The new addition will be the largest office building built in the Atlanta market since 2008, with 500,000 square feet of leasable office space.

 

Aside from the impressive facade, there is no denying that the monumental structural glass curtain wall system at the lobby will be a major highlight of the building.  The glazing subcontractor for the project, Harmon, Inc., worked closely with one of their most reliable partners in W&W Glass to implement the spectacular custom design.

 

Three-Alliance-Center-Photo-6

 

The experts at Pilkington/W&W came up with a very unique concept that uses a base loaded, cantilevered fin wall with triple-ply laminated fins. The lobby is framed in with a 6,000 square foot Pilkington Planar™ structural glass wall with a high vertical span of 41-foot and a 12-foot deep glass roof return. The monolithic main wall panels were approximately 14-foot tall, stacked three rows high. They were bolted to the fins with small countersunk Pilkington 905 series fittings. In addition to the lobby face glass, there was also a horizontal laminated glass beam required above the entrance to provide a place for the load of heavy glass fins above the doors to transferred to the two outer fins coming to the ground. This allowed the design to forgo using a heavy steel door portal frame. In this way the transition between the doors and the fin wall stays very seamless and transparent. 

 

This project was one of the heaviest engineered structural glass projects that Pilkington has ever been involved with, as it is not common to design base loaded walls to this height. There must be levels of redundancy built in even if lites of glass are broken. Pilkington ran specific tests in their laboratory to verify the design integrity in the event of glass breakage. From an install point of view, there was also a challenge to stage the installation of the tall spliced vertical fins with temporary bracing before setting the face and roof glass. To support the large glass roof return, the system called for laminated glass fins to support the roof glass and these beams to also act as a lateral brace to transfer the loads of the base loaded fins cantilevered up from the ground. The corners of the last roof lites were supported directly onto the cantilevered fins and then had the lateral load transferred directly through the laminated roof panels back to structure. This was a very custom application, as it would usually require large, unsightly building structure to transfer this load. These corners areas were engineered to be very clean to meet the architectural intent. 

 

Three-Alliance-Center-Photo-4

 

The enclosure called for ultra-clear glass to be perceived as transparent as possible. The vertical laminated glass fins utilized three layers of 12mm Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron tempered and heat soaked glass with two layers of Trosifol SentryGlas® interlayer for strength, but the roof beams only required two layers of 12mm glass with one layer of interlayer. The vertical wall face glass panels were 12mm low-iron tempered and heat soaked glass. Most of the overhead roof glass return was comprised of 18mm low-iron laminated glass, however, the end roof glass lites were required to have three layers of low iron glass with two layers of interlayer, identical to that of the vertical fins, to support the tremendous amount of load being transferred from the fins below.

 

Facade technology isn’t the only advancement that went onto this building. Additional features include the latest in digital technology integration such as antennae located throughout the building to enhance Wi-Fi data reception throughout, even in the elevators. Tenants and visitors will also enjoy an onsite state-of-the-art fitness center, conference center, 24-hour security, and covered parking located underneath the building for convenience. The office complex has access to over thirty dining options, Atlanta’s top hotels, world class retail, and mass transit all within a short walk from the office. It’s the perfect location for work and play.

 

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.

 

195 Broadway

When renovating a historic space for a new use, one large challenge for architects, developers, and owners alike is to be mindful of the architectural significance of maintaining certain character and details. It can be very challenging to strike a balance between old and new. A recent example of this artful dance is the lobby renovation at 195 Broadway, a location many New Yorkers know as the 100-year old AT&T Building.

 

195 Broadway lobby (1)

 

Designed in the vein of Greek and Egyptian temples the building’s first-floor interior was intended to signify “quality, durability, and permanence,” reflecting the phone company’s “commitment to public service,” according to documents prepared for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The building, constructed between 1912 and 1922, served as AT&T Inc.’s Headquarters until 1983, according to city documents.

 

Sold to investors just four years ago, the buyers acquired the majority interest in the 29-story “wedding cake” office tower and say its value is immeasurable due to the proximity to the World Trade Center. It is 100% leased to office tenants including Omnicom, HarperCollins Publishing, and Thomson Reuters Markets. The remarkably beautiful structure has polished stone walls and floors and 4-foot diameter fluted columns 17-foot on center. The coffered ceiling towers 30 feet above with intricately decorated, inset painted plaster panels.

 

After five years in the planning, L&L Holding Company wanted to make a grand statement for its tenants and their clients upon entering the building. Their aim was to modernize it for multipurpose use without losing the heritage. The plan was to call for a complete renovation of the lobby and concourse-level installation of 35,000 square feet of new retail space.

 

They wanted a tried and true design using stone, steel, and glass. The nationally-acclaimed experts at W&W Glass partnered with McLaren Engineering to manage the project. TriPyramid Structures, Inc. was commissioned by W&W to design, engineer, and fabricate each of the custom bronze patch fittings, keeping them as minimal as possible yet able to sustain all the heavy loads jumbo size glass panels would impose.

 

195 installation

 

 

Due to the landmark requirements, the walls, floors, and ceiling needed to have minimal disturbance or modification. Originally, the building was built in two phases – the southern half was mostly built in terracotta for both the wall and arches for the floor slabs and the northern half had steel structure. Anchorage for the new walls needed to accommodate both scenarios. In short, this would take not only take a very well planned design but also careful logistics.

 

Since this magnificent lobby was mostly unused space, due to the strict security requirements now as required in the NYC buildings, the plan was to separate it into a leasable retail and restaurant space separate from the main lobby entrance. They partitions would utilize floor-to-ceiling, ultra-clear structural glass walls to be as unobtrusive and transparent as possible.

 

The architect’s original intent was to have large, single-span vertical glass lites with only three lites across at each bay (bays varied from 17′-0″ to 17-8″ wide) directly behind the columns creating a “Galleria” from the North to the South end to divide the building. In the center of each bay would be a 9-foot wide by 10-foot tall vitrine to act as display windows with some as entrances to the spaces. These vitrines also included a glass roof. The 10-foot tall side walls of these vitrines act as fins that support the lateral load for the whole 30-foot tall glass wall.  

 

After concluding that it would be impossible to maneuver a single piece of glass, almost 30-feet tall in this space, the plan changed to use 10-foot tall bottom lites as the vitrines and fins with a large upper lite as tall as 19-feet in some instances.

 

W&W’s project manager Maria Colucci-Hudgins explained that since this space was leased to be a restaurant, the entrance not only needed to be an egress door but also ADA compliant. On the other hand, the second wall was to include two glass elevator enclosures within the wall.  One was very close to the main Galleria wall, which created a severe logistical consideration due to lack of space for the installation. These changes not only challenged the design and engineering of the glass for the wall, but also the custom hardware patches to support the glass. There were 23 custom patches developed by TriPyramid using aluminum, stainless steel, and bronze. 

 

195 installation machine

 

 

As the renovation continued, the architect, engineers, and installation crews had to be in constant contact to figure out solutions as a myriad of issues came up. For instance, the installation required a machine installation with a specialized glass lifting device called a Jekko to lift glass lites weighing 1900 pounds. That meant the installers needed to add two layers of plywood to the existing layer of protection so as to distribute weight of machine when moving around in building to not damage the stone flooring. After the machine was set up to lift glass, workers added beams under each leg to make sure each of the four legs were spanned across floor beams to ensure there were no points loads on specific area of the floor.  

 

Moving the machine and setting it up was very labor intensive as the men carefully transported the plywood from the back of the machine forward as it progressed. The tight space between the columns and the weight of the glass required the machine to be upright and centered on the location of the glass. This was extremely time consuming since the machine had to be relocated for practically for every lift.

 

There was a code requirement that the walls that divided different tenant spaces would need to be fire-rated. The designers didn’t want to sacrifice transparency, so to be in compliance they eliminated using silicone in the joints. This required the joints to be as minimal as possible between glass and perimeter metal. This resulted in a very tight tolerance availability for manufacturing and installation for these massive glass panels. W&W Glass craftsmen were able to maintain a 3/8-inch joint between all glass panels. To complicate logistics even further, there was also a requirement to make sure there wasn’t any live load deflection of the floor above of 7/8 inches. To accommodate this, a bronze continuous closure at the sill was introduced to be as minimal as possible.

 

195 upward view

 

No detail was left uncared for in trying to make the renovation as seamless as possible to preserve the history of the existing structure,  which is why antique bronze finished fittings were used to match the existing building finishes.

 

During installation, glass had to be spread out all over building because of distribution of weight onto floor areas and beams below. Each structural column could only hold a maximum of 3 crates that were extremely long and deep. 94 crates holding 178 lites had to be staged very carefully for installation because of the size and weight of the glass.

 

A significant amount of time was dedicated to logistics and coordination of many different specialist trades and other crew. Transportation of massive amounts of steel and glass took intricate scheduling and expertise. All this work had to be done in this very tight space with minimal disturbance to the decorative plaster ceiling.

 

If you asked anyone on the design, manufacturing or installation team, all the hours, weeks, and months were worth honoring the history of the building and the future that lies ahead.

 

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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.

 

Investing In A Lasting Impression: Charles Schwab Lone Tree Offices

When looking for a firm to invest with, your first impression means a lot. Professional. Successful. Confident. These are all traits associated with the Charles Schwab brand. When the company decided to consolidate multiple Colorado offices to one location, they knew there were many options to consider to ensure future growth potential with clients and employee satisfaction.

 

The Schwab campus in Lone Tree, Colorado was designed to create a sustainable, visually appealing identity within the community. Situated for optimal solar orientation, the campus’ new buildings would be nestled into the existing site topography to optimize views of Mount Evans, Indian Peaks, Longs Peak, and the downtown Denver skyline in the distance. Landscaping would reflect the natural Colorado landscape, with native grasses, plants, and trees that tie into the surrounding prairie. In short, the company wanted the buildings to reflect more than just the brand. They wanted them to reflect the atmosphere and culture of the surrounding region.

 

The multi-national investment firm hired Fentress Architects to come up with a design that would not offend the natural beauty, use eco-friendly materials, and be highly functional for the 1,900 employees that would be using the 47-acre facility.

 

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One of the unique touches on the campus design was the use of a specialized, cable tension-supported jewel-box glass design for the facade of the main retail branch at the front of the premises. This portion of the project required a high degree of system engineering, coordination, and design due to the loading involved. The original subcontractor for the glazing was replaced on the project with the project team of Harmon Inc. (installer) and W&W Glass, LLC (structural glass system provider) to provide the expertise to supply and install this type of system.

 

Charles Schwab Lone Tree Office Campus - Photo 14For this project, the team utilized the Pilkington Planar™ system to create the tension cable wall and all glass vestibule that defines the look. These types of systems are different from average structurally-glazed aluminum curtain walls in many ways. One of the biggest differences is in the way the glass is supported. Aluminum curtain wall designs must be held together on all sides by a cap or from behind with structural silicone bonded back to vertical and horizontal mullions, whereas the point-supported structural glass systems are anchored only at specific points. Silicone is only used for a weather seal between the joints of point-supported glazing. Aside from enhanced clarity with the change in structure from aluminum box mullions to cables, there are other technical reasons why these systems are so different.

 

The stainless steel tension cable supports at the vertical joints are strung to the head and sill of the boundary structure to create locations to connect the point-supports to that will anchor the glass in place for dead load and limiting deflection under wind load. The main challenges with this type of system, versus traditional curtain wall, are resolving these high tension load forces into the building and limiting the edge deflection of the insulating glass units at the spacer to maintain a hermetic seal. This requires close coordination with the structural engineers and the glass engineers. The specifications on this project were to use a clear insulating glass units with HP 50/27 Low-e coating on the second surface (to provide high thermal performance) held in place with Pilkington Planar™ 905 Fittings. 

 

Charles Schwab Lone Tree Office Campus - Photo 3

 

 

W&W Glass frequently pushes the envelope beyond typical “glass in channel” type entryways that use glass side walls in framing and an opaque roof or exposed steel cage vestibule structure. They have the ability to create vestibules that can be seamlessly integrated into many types of point-supported structural glass wall systems to not detract from the highly transparent applications. Vestibules are the small interstitial spaces or passage ways that connect the exterior and interior environments. They serve as a transitional barrier from the weather outside. As contract glaziers, W&W Glass professionals recognize the important functionality of the vestibule and the desire by architects to make them as clean and transparent as possible, while being engineered to meet all structural loading and code requirements. 

 

Charles Schwab Lone Tree Office Campus - Photo 1

 

To keep exposed structure as minimal as possible, the sidewall glass and roof was constructed out of Pilkington Optiwhite™ Low-Iron SGP laminated glass panels cantilevered from the ground and supported by Pilkington Planar™ 905 fittings. A custom 316 stainless steel plate beam box door portal was installed to provide a place to connect the cables to above the door area only. Large loading is transferred from the portal header into the vertical legs and into large base plate anchors and embeds below the ground.

 

To complete the overall impression and reinforce the brand, the exterior signage was attached to Pilkington Optiwhite™ Low-Iron SGP laminated structural glass that was suspended from low-iron, laminated tempered glass fins. 

 

These facades are a sharp-looking solution to make the transparency of glass the stand-out feature. The site and buildings all incorporate sustainable materials and systems, targeting LEED Gold certification. In the end, these techniques allowed for the opportunity to turn the architect’s vision into something special… that crisply reflects the highest level of quality and the beauty of nature in the glass.  

 

Check out our profile on this project here

BizJournals.com also featured an article on this build – Read it here!

 

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.

Queens Plaza Towers Rising and Renewing A Neigborhood

With a long rich heritage that is documented back to the early 1900s, the area known as Long Island City has a new neighborhood called Queens Plaza. This area is sprouting a small metropolis worth of skyscrapers, ushering in thousands of new residents, hundreds of hotel rooms, and a few hundred thousand square feet of office space. Once the site of the 18th-century village called Dutch Kills, Queens Plaza straddles the western end of Queens Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens, between 21st Street and Jackson Avenue and is surrounded by elevated subway tracks and the Queensboro Bridge.

 

With the neighborhood’s quick access to Midtown and now the up and coming Hudson Yards development, it’s no mystery why the plaza is turning into Manhattan’s newest bedroom community. Of more than 30 new projects underway in the district, the newest residents will get to call a trio of buildings their home when completed in 2018. Owned by Tishman Speyer, the large scale glass-wall structures will sport over 1,800 new luxury apartments.

 

The project has actually been on the books since way back in the last days of the Giuliani Administration, when FXFOWLE Architects designed a 4.2 million-square-foot development called “Midtown East Queens.” The $1.4 billion scheme, which would’ve been a trio of crystalline-shaped towers, fell through after September 11th. However, in 2004, The New York City Economic Development Corporation signed a deal with Tishman Speyer for a 99-year lease on the city-owned property that stipulated that Tishman would have to start building no later than 2015.

 

With the notice to proceed, the final design was conceived by AJLP Consulting, the architecture team of Goldstein, Hill and West, and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects for the project to have three different construction companies build each tower simultaneously – Turner Construction (Building A), Hudson Meridian (Building B1), and Triton Construction (Building B2).

 

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For the intricate and sophisticated glass design, W&W Glass was selected to supply curtain walls for all three buildings. W&W Glass was chosen due to their vast experience with extremely tall glass-dominated towers. These towers are higher than average, with Building A rising up 48 stories while Building B1 and B2 tower up 57 and 47 stories each.

 

The professionals at W&W Glass chose Sotawall® Hybrid-Wall®, a high performance unitized curtain wall system that is specially designed for hi-rise residential buildings. Viracon insulated glass was chosen for their high quality fabricated glass products and their capability to supply the large volume of glass required within the tight schedule. The structurally-glazed system was comprised of floor to ceiling glass with spandrel glass and zero-siteline operable vents integrated in. Most vision glass panels were typically 5′ wide by 10′ tall, with overall glass for the project totaling up to more than 700,000 square feet. The glass towers were designed as a group to have a unique pixelated appearance from a distance with alternating vertical bands of dark and light glazing. This gives the development a cohesive signature appearance. 

 

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Aside from the new apartments, the $875 million trio will contain roughly 3,000 square feet of retail space and a 2.5-acre central park. The new buildings are directly adjacent to two new towers that are earmarked for commercial space as WeWork and Macys have committed to locating there. Tishman was prepared to build the complex on spec, but ended up pre-leasing nearly half of the $700 million development, or more than 800,000 square feet–250,000 to WeWork Cos. and 550,000 to Macy’s Inc. Looks like there is much more to come in this bustling neighborhood.

 

To learn more on the progress of these buildings, click here.

 

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.                                                            

 

New Elmhurst Library To Be One of the Busiest in the Nation

Elmhurst Library W&W Glass install

The three year wait is over for bookworms in Elmhurst, New York and the wait was worth it. The major renovation and expansion of the new Elmhurst Library is finally complete and open to the public!

 

The new 32,000 square-foot Elmhurst Library building doubles the size from the previous building and is expected to attract over 1.2 million visitors a year  – making it one of the busiest libraries in the nation. The new facility is a part of the Queens Library network. It provides state-of-the-art technology and inviting, comfortable spaces with careful attention to curb appeal. With the addition of many new amenities, it is one of the most user-friendly libraries in the New York City area.

 

The original library was an Andrew Carnegie-constructed facility that opened in 1906 and many of the features from that building were woven into the heart of the new design. Those amenities include a memory wall, a learning garden, historic photographs and a children’s fireplace from 1906. The final plan included modernizing the facility to attract old and new visitors alike. The new building stands tall with the contemporary buildings, while engaging the small scale of historical structures from the early days of Queen’s villages with two glazed reading rooms. The Park Reading Room at the center of building visually joins the park and garden, while the Broadway Reading Room overlooks the activity on the street, engaging passersby with artist Allan McCollum’s 20-foot x 20-foot “Shapes” wall installation.  

 

 

Under the design management of New York-based Marpillero Pollak Architects and construction supervised by Stalco, the new library at 86-01 Broadway is four floors of knowledge. It features separate adult, teen and children’s library spaces, a computer work station complete with 43 desktops and 12 laptops, an adult learning center, an interior reading atrium, and a pair of gardens.

 

The architects and management team selected W&W Glass for the intricate exterior glasswork. The design professionals helped the architect to come up with a plan to use structural glass jewel-boxes as an attractive feature from the street, while allowing natural light to highlight the interior that houses more than 75,000 books and multimedia for children and adults in English, and 36,000 books and multimedia in nine different languages.

 

 

Glaziers from W&W installed Pilkington Planar™ point-supported structural glass comprised of heavy-duty Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulating glass units with HP 69/37 Low-e on the #2 surface and insulating units with added custom white, silk-screened “frit” vertical lines on the #3 surface to provide excellent thermal performance and glare control. For the roof return glass, the company selected Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron insulating PVB laminated glass with HP 69/37 Low-e on the #2 surface and white, silk-screened “frit” vertical lines on the #3 surface. The face glass was supported by cantilevered Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron SentryGlas® laminated glass fins as the main support structure.

 

Other features include terra cotta cladding, insulating metal panels, and brickwork as seen from the Broadway entrance. As a High Performance Pilot Project and Active Design Case Study, the building is designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating. 

 

Even though the delays were lengthy, the end result proves that when cities invest in libraries, they invest in the future of the boroughs and the city as a whole.

 

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 53rd Street New York Public Library

The 53rd Street New York Public Library – Not Your Grandfather’s Library

 

Photo courtesy of The New York Library System

Some have said this is the perfect place to be alone – together. The new NYC public library located at 18 West 53rd Street in Midtown, across the street from the Museum of Modern Art is located mostly below street level and features an amphitheater and laptop bar. They even allow you to bring food inside, so no need to leave for a snack. It could be easily mistaken for an upscale retail outlet or trendy SoHo boutique if it wasn’t for iconic lion in the library’s signature logo right inside the entrance. As the newest of the New York Library System’s 89 branches, it looks to the future instead of attempting to repair the past.

 

Replacing the famous Donnell Library Center, a beloved and heavily-used branch of the New York Public Library system, the new library is built below the Baccarat Hotel, a 50-story high rise that occupies much of the square footage where the Donnell Library once stood. The price tag for the new building is north of $23 million and is squarely focused on the ever changing needs of its patrons. Not that books are not important today, but libraries are now expected to provide many services such as classes, public programs, and access to electronic books. In short, this library is a departure from any other public library in the city.

 

Designed by principal architect Enrique Norten and his firm TEN Arquitectos, the library is a subterranean mix of old and new, combining printed literature and technology, and the solitude of being social.  The new space features an amphitheater and an auditorium with TV screens for programs and events, high ceilings, and modern décor. Though two of its three floors are below street level, the library feels bright and spacious, thanks in part to its glassy façade.

 

Early on, Norten and the general contractor, Turner Construction Corporation, knew the challenge of making a subterranean library appealing. Norten transformed the lower level space for the amphitheater to connect the below-grade spaces with the street above. To get as much daylight as possible into the main level below ground, Norten not only wanted the façade glazed, but added skylights and several openings in the floors at the rear of the lobby, so that illumination filters down below. The key was to use a hi-tech glazing system as not only a functional element, but also to make it appealing and not feel like it was a basement. The team chose world-renowned W&W Glass for their expertise in understanding both of these critical aspects.

 

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Photo courtesy of The New York Library System

The design professionals at W&W Glass worked hand in hand with the architects and engineers, to construct a transparent jewel box allowing lots of light to stream into the library. The designers relied on Pilkington Planar™ structural glass systems with a mix of support structures. Cantilevered laminated glass fins highlight the main front wall and steel substructure backs the interior structural glass walls. The face glass is made of Pilkington Planar™ Optiwhite low-iron SentryGlas® laminated glass. To anchor the glass back to the structure, glaziers used Pilkington 905 series countersunk bolt fittings. The glass wall face glass extends up in front of an upturned concrete slab at the top and employs an insulating laminated glass return at the head of the wall thus providing a transparent closure. It allows the visitor to look right down through the top of the monolithic wall.

 

Visitors enter the library from the vestibule on 53rd Street to find the lobby wraps around the amphitheater in a space 34-feet high; elevators are located at the rear to levels below. The grand stairway along the west wall of the stadium seating descends 17-feet to the main reading room. There, books, desks, and computers extend into the far reaches of this 11,000-square-foot level, which includes the acoustically paneled walls of an enclosed community room that can seat 120 people. A second, airy staircase, fitted with glass balustrades and open risers, takes visitors down to young-adult reading areas as well as an enclosed children’s reading room under the amphitheater. The prominence of this space clearly signals that this progressive branch creates more of a community center-type learning environment than a traditional library.

 

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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