Great Glazing: The BioInnovation Center

The basics: New Orleans' new BioInnovation Center, set to open in September, offers 66,000 square feet of state-of-the-art wet lab, office and conference space to Louisiana's burgeoning life science community. The building features a glass façade to allow views of a 3,000-square-foot interior courtyard, and operable sunscreens to limit energy costs and glare, and provide storm protection. The building also features extensive exterior balcony glass railings, and interior glass railings and sidewalls that presented challenges to the installer and general contractor, according to a release from Custom Components Co. The project required planning, preparation and coordination to manage installation of the large glass lites, and custom steel structures to support the heavy railing systems. Installation of the heavy glass required a steel support rigging system, and a custom cantilevered beam trolley system, designed and installed by Custom Components.

The players: Architect, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple; general contractor, Turner Construction Co.; railing and sidewall glass fabricator, XYG Glass; railing and sidewall glass distributor, Glass 3 Enterprises; railing and sidewall glass installer, system supplier, Custom Components Co.

The glass and systems: 700 Series fascia mounted glass railing system on the exterior balconies and a custom stainless steel point-supported glass railing and sidewalls on the interior stairs and mezzanine locations. The glass lites are 13/16-inch thick, with the largest piece measuring 44 inches by 240 inches—each glass piece weighs about 880 pounds. The panels are supported by a steel substructure behind the drywall that supports the heavy glass panels using a minimum amount of stainless steel point-mount fittings.