Most innovative protective glazing application

Warren E. Burger Federal Building U.S. Courthouse >> Empirehouse Inc.
Sahely Mukerji
September 24, 2009

General contractor Ryan Cos., Minneapolis, selected Empirehouse Inc., Mounds View, Minn., to provide the glass and glazing package at the Warren E. Burger Federal Building U.S. Courthouse, a GSA “design build” project, in St. Paul, Minn.

Custom fritted glass was attached to the security station walls and office, which was designed with stainless steel posts and steel plates anchored to the concrete floor and covered with terrazzo. Aligning the posts perfectly plumb and straight was essential, so the pattern of the custom fritted glass also aligned once installed. Empirehouse designed disappearing glass doors that required custom fabricated hardware and engineering, aligning the fritted pattern.

The interior all-glass walls had their own set of challenges with openings 30 feet wide and 14 feet tall with no horizontal joints and minimal vertical joints, and 9-foot-high glass doors with custom hardware. Limitations with the silk-screened frit patterns required horizontal and vertical joints to be supported structurally. No exposed mullions were desired, so Empirehouse engineered glass fins mounted only at the top of the opening.

The security wall is 11/16-inch clear laminated glass with 3/8-inch custom frit clear tempered glass, a .060-inch interlayer and ¼-inch clear tempered glass. The security station is 1-1/4-inch bullet-resistant GuardVue 3000. The glazing system is a custom fabricated stainless steel post-and-clip system fabricated by Quality Metal Crafts, Ramsey, Minn.

“This was a very challenging project because of the variety of owners’ special needs and the
custom products Empirehouse used to create a transparent, yet secure facility,” says James Bringle, general manager, Empirehouse. “The use of light colored custom pattern fritted laminated security glass in the guard and entry security checkpoints made the space seem less severe, yet provided privacy and the protection needed. Even though it meets the protection requirements of these agencies, the environment still allows visitors to experience an open and well-lit space.”

Teng Architects, Chicago, designed the project; Ryan Cos. was the general contractor; Empirehouse Inc. was the glazing contractor; Viracon, Owatonna, Minn., fabricated the glass; Kawneer, Norcross, Ga., supplied the aluminum; Solutia, St. Louis, supplied the film; and Von Duprin, Indianapolis, supplied the hardware.

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