Great Glazing: Glass Labyrinth

The basics: More than 400 tons of one-inch-thick double-paned plate glass make up the Glass Labyrinth, a sculpture by legendary artist Robert Morris, which was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo. The 62-foot by 62-foot by 62-foot, 7-foot-tall clear glass labyrinth is comprised of 53 pieces of large glass panels, the largest of which weighs 600 pounds.

The design team joined high art with structural glass engineering, choosing low-iron glass with an interlayer to provide clarity without distortion, and durability for high traffic and wind. All of the glass pieces are tied together at the top with a continuous structural bronze cap, which acts as a structural member with hidden joinery for artistic appeal. 

The players: Architect, BNIM Architects; artist, Robert E. Morris; structural engineer, JEI Structural Engineering; contract glazier, W. Carter & Associates; glass manufacturer, PPG Industries; interlayer supplier, DuPont; glass fabricator, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope; bronze cap design and fabrication, Livers Bronze

The glass and systems: JEI Structural Engineering provided the calculations and glazing system design for the glass panels and the bronze cap, both installed by W. Carter & Associates. The design team purchased special, custom equipment for the project from Italy to provide perfect, polished edges on the1 1/16-inch laminated annealed PPG Starphire glass with a Sentry Glass interlayer. Each glass panel offers a low probability of breakage less than 1/1000 under an extreme wind event.