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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.

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