Philadelphia Tower’s “Stairway to Heaven” Starts With A Tall Glassy Base
Like a stairway to the sky, Philadelphia will soon have a new tower hovering over the city, adding new definition to the skyline. The Comcast Technology Center is already planning for early tenants to move in later this year and all the numbers associated with this new skyscraper are as massive as the tower itself. When complete, besides being the tallest building in the city, the 60-story building will top off at 1,121 feet (342 m) and be the ninth-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Located at 1800 Arch street, it is adjacent to the existing 58-story, Robert A.M. Stern-designed Comcast Center, the headquarters of Comcast Corporation.
Comcast and its partner, developer Liberty Property Trust, hired the world-renowned British architectural firm of Foster + Partners to design a soaring glass tower that would add a signature building to the City of Brotherly Love. Foster created a design intended to signify the city’s emergence as a technology hub while incorporating a factory-style loft feel and intimate decorative details as a nod to the city’s industrial heritage. Some of the details are displayed in the use of punched stainless steel panels along the “urban room,” and a public reception space that links to the subway station beneath. They draw inspiration from the 1930s-vintage Streamliner stainless steel passenger rail cars produced by the former Philadelphia-based Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company. In addition to Comcast and other office tenants, the mixed-use complex will include the 222-room Four Seasons Luxury Hotel on its upper floors. The new iconic structure is linked to public transit and intended to cater to the walkable urban lifestyle that is favored by millennial generation tech talent.
Some of the most interesting features of the building are: the soaring structural glass glass lobby façade, featured all glass elevators located at the building corners with extraordinary views of the city, several three-story glass atrium “sky gardens”, and a top floor restaurant that will boast a 360-degree view of the city. W&W Glass, LLC was tasked by the main facade contractor Enclos with making the ground floor grand entrance functional, feasible, and memorable.
Everything from the ground up on this project, including the elegant entrance, was designed to be massive, thereby creating a statement. The lobby design called for an ultra-clear, Pilkington Planar™ glass fin wall system that was engineered and installed by W&W’s glazing professionals due to their extensive expertise on projects like this across the country. The 143-foot wide x 58-foot tall wall used high-performance Pilkington 66/33 ProT low-e coated Pilkington Planar™ heavy-duty, low-iron insulating glass units anchored with Pilkington 905 series fittings off of suspended triple-ply SentryGlas® laminated glass fins.
Upon completion in 2018, there will be approximately 1.57 million rentable square feet, including 1.33 million rentable square feet of office space, 230,112 square feet of hotel space, and 2,682 rentable square feet of retail space. Eventhough the building is large, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be wasteful in terms of its carbon footprint, however. Foster’s design is aiming to achieve a LEED Platinum certification for energy efficiency under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system devised by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Without a doubt, this iconic tower certainly will be a “Comcastic” addition to a rejuvenated city for years to come.
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.