Glazing For The Future With Respect For the Past
It is no secret that there is a architectural renaissance going on in downtown Baltimore. As older iconic buildings change ownership or it becomes necessary to update them due to changing tastes or degradation, the downtown skyline and persona is also changing in the heart of the mid-Atlantic region. One such transformation is 100 Light Street.
Located adjacent to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the 100 Light Street plaza sits atop an elevated parking garage at the base of the former 40-story Legg Mason building (also known as Transamerica Tower). This building was designed as a classic 1960’s-style modernist office tower, rising 35 stories above a monolithic 1.3 acre granite plinth. The outdated building was 70% vacant, complete with a leaky underground parking garage, and facing new competition from the next generation of Class-A office buildings. To attract more tenants and stay relevant, the building’s owner Lexington MKP Management, L.P. decided to invest $12 million into a renovation to retrofit the existing 1970s “barren” plaza that would reaffirm 100 Light Street as the proud center of downtown Baltimore it once was.
Lexington MKP began the process with bringing on board the designers that would re envision this transformation, Design Collective Architects. After a thorough analysis, considering the overall significance to the city, the team balanced respect for the existing structure with innovative solutions to transform the existing plaza into an urban respite. The design team took an innovative approach to reposition the building, leverage available resources, and transform the dated plaza and lobby of one of Baltimore’s tallest building into a vibrant urban garden. With sustainability in mind, the team proposed salvaging and reusing oversized granite railings removed from the building facade and re-purposing the granite as raised walls and curbs within the landscape.
Design Collective knew the entrance needed to augment the plaza and set the stage for entering this rejuvenated building. The architect and ownership team enlisted noted local glass installers from Pioneer Cladding and Glazing Systems, in coordination with world-renowned structural glass specialists at W&W Glass, LLC, to help achieve the renovated lobby design. After demolition, the old glass fins from the previous curtain wall system at the base were re-purposed as illuminated glass pylons along the Light Street corridor. The new Pilkington Planar™ glass fin wall systems (surrounding the majority of all four sides of the building) feature expansive, clear insulating glass units on glass fins spanning over 32 feet tall flanking the podium. The surrounding buildings are crisply reflected in the low-e coated glass lites. The facade is very unique, sporting a point-supported all glass canopy on the side facing the renovated plaza. The canopy panels are suspended above the entrances, tied back through the facade with tension cables to tabs connected directly into the splice plates of the glass fins. There is no steel substructure to support the exterior canopy, which is a feat in itself.
For high energy efficiency, the exterior face glass of the vertical walls are made up of clear insulating glass units with Pilkington K low-e coating on the #3 surface. The highlight of the wall is a slim canopy made of clear SentryGlas® interlayer laminated glass with a full surface translucent simulated acid etch frit on the number #2 surface for shading. The wall and canopy system used standard Pilkington 905 fittings with the exception of portions of the entrance canopy supported by custom stainless steel tension rod hardware and Pilkington 902 series fittings.
Located on the plaza, perched above the adjacent streetscape, raised planters, specimen quality trees, a pristine lawn panel and a trellis work in harmony to reduce the scale of the plaza, creating an inspiring pedestrian destination.
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.