Westfield’s New Garden State Plaza Entrance Aims to Impress

Westfield’s New Garden State Plaza Entrance Aims to Impress

Westfield Keeps It “Glassy” with New Entrance at Garden State Plaza Mall

 

Westfield is a leader in building, managing, and marketing large retail shopping centers. They are known throughout the world because of their innovation in design, process, and understanding their customers. Westfield’s Garden State Plaza is a two-story, upscale shopping mall located in Paramus, New Jersey at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 17 near the Garden State Parkway, about 15 miles west of Manhattan. With 2,118,718 square feet of leasable space and housing over 300 stores, it is the largest mall in New Jersey, the third-largest mall in the New York metropolitan area, and one of the highest-revenue producing malls in the United States. The mall has sales of more than $600 per square foot which is about $320 above the national average. Garden State Plaza is one of the most profitable malls in the country. To keep it that way, Westfield knew it would have to continue to renovate and modernize.

 

 

Garden State Plaza (GSP) is one of Westfield’s 16 flagship properties and one of 9 around the world with retail sales greater than $1 billion, drawing about 20 million visitors a year. This puts the Plaza squarely in the company of other elite shopping centers, such as King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania and Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California.

 


Westfield wanted to make a statement so it would continue to be on the forefront of creating truly unique and memorable shopping destinations for its tenants and guests. In many ways, this process of revitalization exemplifies Westfield’s strategy to elevate experiences for consumers with fantastic dining, hospitality, events, entertainment, and technologies all playing essential roles. Aside from this entrance, the design team’s plan also featured a new dining hall with an “urban bistro” concept, interior renovations focusing on digital interactivity, a new valet parking area, and upgrades to various external entrances.

 


Kenneth Park Architects (KPA) was retained by Westfield as Executive Architect to renovate some of the exterior facades and to create the new transparent, structural glass (number seven) entrance at GSP. Adjacent to the entrance, a new pedestrian-friendly site plan would create easier access. Combined, these transformations would help reinvigorate the complex for shoppers and both new and existing tenants.

 


To signal a refreshing and new experience in shopping, the design and construction team’s goal was to let in as much natural light as possible, which meant glass had to be a staple of the overall plan. Westfield worked with an extremely reliable and capable installation partner, W&W Glass, whom they are also currently working with on a massive structural glass skylight renovation and expansion project in San Jose, California called the Westfield Valley Fair Mall Renovation and Expansion. In fact, the two main entrances on the new Valley Fair Mall expansion require many of the same engineering parameters, design features (with signage connections), and elements of the Garden State Plaza entrance wall.

 

For GSP, W&W Glass supplied and installed a Pilkington Planar™ point-supported glass system with clear insulating glass units with a “K” low-e coating on the #3 surface for the vision glass areas and added a custom silk-screened vertical line ceramic frit pattern for the upper lites and areas where the wall met the roof. Structural glass fins supporting the face glass were made out of 19mm clear monolithic tempered glass. Pilkington Planar™ series 905 countersunk fittings secured the face glass to the fins thereby transferring all dead load and wind load. Custom connections and detailing allowed the Westfield signage to be seamlessly hung in front of the wall with the loads transferred back through the fittings to the fins.

 


Besides the new exterior entrances and introduction of new state-of-the-art digital media screens, the mall rebuilt the east parking garage, expanding it to five levels and 1,800 parking spaces. Adjacent to the garage, a new guest services office and a valet lounge was constructed as well. A year later, the mall added a 55,000 square foot wing at a cost of $160 million known as the “Fashion District” that has 22 stores and restaurants. Tenants in the Fashion District include: Microsoft Store, Michael Kors, LUSH, Armani Exchange, Au Bon Pain, and Urban Outfitters. This crown jewel of a mall is now perfectly positioned for continued success to meet the growing demands of consumers for the future.


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.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre

Yorkdale Shopping Centre Creates an Iconic Look

 

North of the border, the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Canada is one of the premiere shopping centers. The mall contains over 250 stores, including many luxury retailers. Over a dozen international companies have opened their first retail locations in Canada at Yorkdale, including Apple, Microsoft, Tesla Motors, White House Black Market, and The Cheesecake Factory. Even though the 90-acre shopping mecca was first constructed in the 1950s, Yorkdale remains the third largest retail outlet in Canada. The owner, Oxford Properties, knew they had to keep pace and stay modern with current trends over the years so they initiated a $52 million expansion that was completed in 2005 to transform the complex into a more open shopping environment. They wanted it to have the feeling of bringing an outdoor environment inside with lots of natural light, all under a barrel-vaulted, all-glass roof.

 

 

Designers from Toronto-based MMC Architects took on the challenge to create a point-supported glass roof without any heavy steel supports on the interior—a difficult proposition in Toronto’s cold and snowy climate. The skylight was the first of its kind in Canada. The roof was designed to be the landmark for the Centre as a ‘hung glass’ galleria supported by a structural system above the glass on the main mall. This creates an open and transparent image when viewed from below looking out to the sky and reinforces the brand image of the mall from the exterior.

 

 

MMC Architects knew they would need the best in the business when taking on this massive glass and steel project so they enlisted W&W Glass, LLC for their expertise and decades of glass design experience in structural glass applications like this. W&W supplied the system to Sota Glazing Inc. (now Sotawall®) for installation. Innovative engineering made this indoor, yet seemingly open-air, 56′ (17m)-wide by 328′ (100m)-long shopping ‘street’ possible. The large roof meets with two vertical glass sidewalls to round out the enclosure.

 

The consensus was to integrate the skylight lighting to blend with the exterior sky. To minimize reflection of light on the glass skylight, that can become mirror-like at night, the design team proposed blue colored lighting to match some of the natural tone of the night sky. Architects decided upon a Pilkington Planar point-fixed glazing system with insulating laminated silk-screened glass units with a SentryGlas® interlayer to enclose the space. The steel pipe purlin system that supports the glazing lies on the exterior of the roof, with the 4’6″ (1.37m)-wide  x 7′ (2.13m)-long, four-point supported glass panels suspended below from Pilkington  Planar905 series, 316 stainless steel fittings with 2″(50mm) diameter caps to hold glass in place in the event of breakage.

 

 

To achieve the desired look and performance, the skylight make-ups incorporate one exterior lite of 10mm clear glass with an HP Low-e on the #2 surface, a 16mm air space filled with argon gas, and an interior 18mm clear laminated lite with the SentryGlas® interlayer and silk-screened, graduated white dot frit on the #6 surface. The HP Low-e offers solar control while the white dot, custom graduated frit pattern offers shading. The argon fill in the unit provides additional thermal insulation. The glass for the 328-foot-long skylight was required to meet heavy snow-load specifications of 65 pounds per square foot. A total of over 18,000 square feet (1,672 square meters) of glass were used in the skylight that sits 60-feet above the 180,000-square-foot redeveloped 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.

The Mall at Millenia

The Mall at Millenia Entrances Entice Shoppers

 

Many people have heard the old saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. When it comes to retail, it’s right on the money. This same adage goes for simple storefronts and larger shopping malls alike. Shoppers these days need to be impressed to want to leave the comfort of their couch, where they have online retailers at their fingertips. A great example of a a mall creating that wow factor is The Mall at Millenia (commonly called The Millenia Mall or Millenia).

 

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Although Orlando is not at a loss for shopping malls, with nearly 7.7 million square feet of total mall space, the area didn’t previously have a truly high-end shopping mall experience before Millenia. This iconic shopping mecca outside of Orlando, Florida fills this gap as it is an upscale, contemporary, indoor shopping mall just off of Interstate 4 (exit 78) at Conroy Road near the northern end of International Drive. Opened in 2002, it has over 150 stores and is anchored by Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus.

 

The Mall is owned by The Forbes Company (in partnership with Taubman Centers, Inc.), which also owns The Gardens Mall (located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) and the larger Somerset Collection in Troy, Michigan. The Somerset Collection was used as a model for the Mall at Millenia. Like Somerset, the Mall at Millenia was designed by JPRA Architects and features award-winning lighting by Paul Gregory (Focus Lighting), glass elevators, and fountains. The 1.2 million square foot steel, concrete, water, wood, and stone mall contains some of the best luxury brands in the world. The idea behind the design of the mall was simple: to create a contemporary property that would be a recognizable and classic Central Florida landmark to attract shoppers. The glassy grand entrances entice locals and tourists alike as focal points for their experience.

 

 

Working with the architects at JPRA and glass installer Harmon, Inc., W&W Glass professional designers and engineers provided Pilkington Planar™ point-supported structural glass systems, which are a great solution for malls and other retail centers where owners want to create a highly-transparent entrance, elevator enclosure, atrium, canopy, or skylight.  

 

The Mall at Millenia - Photo 5

 

For this project, the W&W team provided a clear monolithic 3/4″ tempered glass fin structure that had the ability to reach heights of up to fifty feet, allowing for two truly spectacular entrance lobbies that are awe-inspiring for patrons. The green monolithic tempered face glass panels were connected to the suspended fins with flush, countersunk Pilkington Planar™ 905 series fittings.

 

 

When the mall first opened there was not a lot of businesses in the surrounding area, but that has changed over the last decade. Apartments, condominiums, single family homes, and corporate offices now surround the mall. The mall was a major catalyst for local development and continues to spur on neighborhood growth while keeping pace with the current shopping trends in the market.


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 Twelve Oaks Mall Rejuvenation

The Twelve Oaks Mall Rejuvenation

 

Originally built in 1977, Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Michigan was a showplace for upscale retailers in the Detroit area. But after 30 years of traffic and severe weathering, not to mention the vast changes in shopping and shopper preferences, Twelve Oaks desperately needed a facelift. The renovation was no small undertaking and came at a price. The final tally was $63 million to make the needed expansion and transform the interior and exterior into a modern, welcoming place to spend an afternoon shopping.

 

The goal of the upgrade was to provide new shopping destinations and enhance the existing building to attract customers looking for luxury brands. An overview of the project renovation and expansion included adding 97,000 square feet of leasable space to the existing mall on two levels, a new 167,000 square feet Nordstrom anchor building, and the addition of 60,000 square feet to Macy’s. In addition to the two level expansion, all four main mall entries were renovated along with extensive interior upgrades and major site work.

 

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The architecture of Twelve Oaks Mall is unlike the other local malls. Its interior offers wood railings with steel bars, terrazzo flooring, and sculptures. There are also a number of modern art pieces and trees. The entrances needed to augment the feeling of the interior. The renovations to the mall included adding an elevator, seating areas, new flooring, and much more. The mall’s owner selected noted retail design expert Neumann/Smith & Associates as the architect of record with renowned mall development partner The Taubman Company taking the lead in construction. The Neumann/Smith design was highlighted by redesigning and updating all the entrances and adding a new luxury wing entrance with a grand glass canopy above the valet area. They chose W&W Glass to engineer and supply the structural glass fin wall entrance and canopy system.

 

W&W Glass has had decades of experience with providing a variety of glass entrances like the one on Twelve Oaks mall. The entrance utilizes a Pilkington Planar™ clear monolithic structural glass fin wall system with countersunk 905 series fittings. 

 

Twelve Oaks Mall - Photo 16

 

In addition to glass walls, glass canopies are a great way to make any outdoor area or lobby entrance stand out while providing virtually transparent protection from the elements. Structural glass canopies are a versatile application that can use a variety of minimalistic steel backup structures or laminated glass fins (as in the case for this mall entrance) to provide support to overhead or underslung sloped structural glazing. It was the perfect design choice on the front of the Twelve Oaks façade to keep the canopy extremely transparent, while providing shading and protection. Laminated glass fins were used in lieu of adding more large structural steel canopy purlins for support. It helped to create the illusion of the canopy “floating” above the base.

 

 

Prior to Pilkington laminating the glass canopy panels in the fabrication process, they were silk-screened with ceramic frit paint so the patterns would help conceal dirt and bird droppings until cleaning can occur, while allowing for architectural expression and shading of occupants from direct sun. One important consideration for ceramic fritting of canopy glass is the effect of the frit as related to heat buildup in the interlayer. Due to extensive testing and knowledge, the W&W/Pilkington team checked the pattern coverage and color of the frit with the glass substrate to assure there were no issues with discoloration of the interlayer due to extreme heat. Results can be very different, as they depend on: glass tint (color), color of ceramic frit paint, project location (historic maximum temperatures), and angle to the sun. Horizontal ceramic fritted surfaces can get twice as hot as the surrounding temperature due to reflectance or absorption and angle to the sun in different locations.

 

Twelve Oaks Mall - Photo 13

 

A unique benefit of the Pilkington Planar™ canopy system is that it requires a very low slope to shed water. A minimum of three degrees of slope is required to eliminate ponding of water in the middle of the laminated glass panels, allowing for very flat canopies. Additionally, Pilkington Planar™ laminated glass is typically bonded with SentryGlas (formerly DuPont SentryGlas Plus) ionoplast interlayer that is warrantied for exposed edge stability (as the interlayer is water-resistant) to provide even more design flexibility for the architect. This project utilized the SentryGlasⓇ interlayer for the canopy and glass purlins. This interlayer is much stiffer than PVB, which allows for the two lites of glass to act as a composite piece of glass, keeping the glass make-ups as thin and economical as possible. The wide range of fully customizable design options available for glass canopy applications combined with the technical know-how of W&W Glass/Pilkington helped create a truly iconic entrance.


Fun Fact: The mall actually sets on a site of an old gravel pit. The development plans began in 1971, and construction began in 1975. The mall was partly built to stop a landfill from being placed in the old gravel pit. 


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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