OVERSIZED 43’ (516”) Structural Glass Fins contributes to the Architect’s design vision while the install pushes boundaries to perfection

400 West Georgia, Vancouver, Canada

Designed by Merrick Architecture, the cube design of the building is inspired by a Japanese Noguchi lamp.  Each cube consists of four-storeys, triple-paned curtain wall, openable windows, large spans of column free space and glass floor. The building’s entire exterior is clad with glass.  Pre-construction and construction management services provided by EllisDon for local developer, Westbank.

Set to complete for Deloitte Summit & Apple anticipated occupancy:  February, 2022

PROJECT SCOPE & DESCRIPTION

The impact of our specialty glass truly contributed to the architect’s design vision at Vancouver’s newest and very unique 24-storey commercial tower.  The ground-level includes a four-storey lobby offering flow and functionality.  

The front entrance is inviting as the project was designed to include heavy oversized glass fins from 20 to 43 feet in length to allow light flow into the building.  This particular structural glass wall was a combination of laminated glass fins integrated with a curtain wall system.  Strength, durability and the transparent aesthetic beauty are contributing factors that make glass wall fins so appealing.

43’ feet (516”) Structural Glass Fins – Installation

SERVICES

On all specialty glass projects, G3E takes on a very customized hands-on approach. One size does not fit all as every project has its own unique set of specifications and construction details.  The relationship of trust in our factories to deliver exceptional custom certified products and services is at the core of what we do.  Trust and frequent direct meetings and conversations with our glazier partner, Alternate Glazing Systems (AGS), ensured that the installation was seamless, albeit challenging.  G3E’s direct involvement in this visually stunning project included procuring the specialty glass to match the required performance all technical specifications with one of our large glass unit factories meeting schedules, coordination between all parties, quality control & inspection management, sea transportation, port logistics direct to our customer.  For full transparency and the additional piece of mind, G3E facilitated a factory tour in Asia for the customer to do a preliminary inspection once the raw glass was procured and to perform visual QC check prior to shipping. The cooperation of all involved was key to the completion of a highly successful project to meet fully the design intent of the architect while adhering to scope of design considerations.  

Visiting the site for progress updates was exciting. The combined experience of the installers and the quality of products and services offered ensured that this project was a true commitment to excellence.

CHALLENGES

When shipping large/oversize glass pieces, for ease of loading/unloading our shipping preference is to use open top containers, so the secured crates can be hoisted safely from the top. Due to the massive size of the glass fins on this project, at 43’ (516”) – a challenge arose as steamship lines do not produce open top containers larger than 40’.  To overcome this, G3E worked closely with their partner factory to ship the glass in the largest ocean container (45’ closed top) and custom built a flat rack, with support stands and wheels, that held the glass in the container.  Upon arrival to the AGS warehouse, the entire flat rack was pulled from the container, and the glass was safely removed

To reduce risks associated with shipping, packing and handling of the oversized glass fins, Alternate Glazing Services (AGS) built customized ‘cages’ to protect, transport via flat bed and install each of the 15 glass fins.  

Projects of this scope challenge factory limitations, performance matched materials and current technology.

FEATURES

Fins: As the job encompassed a variety of lengths with the largest 43 feet (516 inches) the makeup included: 4 layers of ½” low iron tempered heat soaked, complete with holes and notches, 090 Trosifol PVB.  The total thickness of the glass fins was 2-¼” with a total weight of each fin at approximately 1700 pounds.  

Stairs: 320 pieces – 10mm Low Iron Tempered with Anti Slip Full Coverage on #1 & 2″ Dove Grey Frit-Anti Slip Color Band (Also on #1 Surface Applied After Full Coverage Anti Slip) / 060 Clear PVB / 10mm Low Iron Tempered / 060 Diffused White PVB / 12mm Low Iron Tempered – Flat Polished All Edges 

SOLUTIONS

Design Specifications – Called out for oversized glass, through G3E’s affiliated network of factories we were the ideal partner to source, supply and collaborate with.  In search of the right product, no North American manufacturer could technically meet, design and deliver on the size of glass required of 516”. Size constraints within these factories currently reach to a maximize size capacity of 130” x 300”. 

Timing – The owner, GC and contract glazier were able to plan well in advance by confirming size and makeup to avoid any potential delays in both manufacturing and shipment. The ability to order glass well in advance of any supply chain challenges today provided the opportunity to meet the schedules.

Installation – The large fins presented a challenge in that the installation required meticulous calculations. Additionally, obtaining appropriate City permits and temporary lane and road closures were required.  With a focus on assembly and installation, an appropriate ‘cage’ had to be created to not only protect the glass fins during transportation and installation, but aid in the lift/install. 

Installing oversized glass requires intelligent planning, precise timing, a highly experienced crew, perfection to perform with accuracy and excellence while meeting the highest quality, safety and appearance. Each of the fins demanded careful handling. The on-site logistics was managed with care and finesse by a very seasoned team at AGS.

Managing every step of the way and monitoring installation dates allowed G3E to capture the very challenging installation through photography and drone footage.

LINK HERE to experience the installation.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

G3E’s reputation for providing exceptional and transparent customer service is a focal point when helping our Glass & Glazing customers solve their glass and glazing sourcing and supplying needs.  Partnerships; from our factory/vendor reach to our glazing community; the reputation, perfection and operational installation through Alternate Glazing Solutions managed and handled this project with precision and grace. 

Glass 3 Enterprises (G3E) is a full-service supply, sourcing and sales solution for efficiency, quality and scheduling for all of your architectural glass requirements. Through our factory network across we can meet the most demanding specialized and customized glass specifications.