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Stone-glass curtain wall: designing an outstanding facade in New York City


The new World Trade Center complex in New York City rose up into the heights during the last decade. Nine new buildings including 1776 ft tall One WTC and Calatrava’s sculptural Oculus Station cover the 60,000 m2 area in the world’s most outstanding construction site. One spot is still under construction and will host “The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center”—a new kind of multidisciplinary venue with an astonishing smooth facade made from exceptional stone-glass. The cube-shaped building is 49 × 49 m wide and 42 m tall. A steel roof cantilevers from the inner core and holds hot-rolled steel mullions to carry the curtail wall. The total span is 36 m with one intermediate support only. This encloses a large area interior room for public events, arts and theatre performances. As a special feature, the whole building is covered with stone, in particular 4800 stone-glass insulating glass units grouped in aluminum cassettes carrying four glass panes each. The intention is to present a white four-sided landmark structure with distinguished black veining during the day and a glowing amber-like appearance at night when the interior of the building is illuminated. Stone-glass units have never been used in this scale. Standard PVB interlayers were not an option for the product as it cannot be laminated properly. Therefore, the façade supplier accepted the challenge to design and build using alternative materials. The paper presents the project and its facade design. Numerous additional experimental assessments were conducted—from small scale quasi-static air pressure tests of the glass to full scale performance mock-up tests. Finally, a design process was developed that covers all critical demands of an incomparable project.

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Correspondence to Michael Engelmann.

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Engelmann, M., Kübler, A. & Hirsch, F. Stone-glass curtain wall: designing an outstanding facade in New York City. Glass Struct Eng 6, 339–352 (2021).

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  • Stone-glass
  • Laminated glass
  • IGU
  • EVA
  • Testing
  • Curtain wall