Glass problems force design change at Freedom Tower podium

By Katy Devlin, Glass Magazine
May 4, 2011
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : PROJECTS

Glass Magazine has confirmed with two reliable off-the-record sources that New York City's Freedom Tower podium is going through a redesign due to problems fabricating the glazing systems. The podium was designed to be a signature element of the tower, also known as One World Trade Center, located at Ground Zero. The original podium design featured a 185-foot wall of more than 2,000 pieces of prismatic glass and welded aluminum screens, according to a November 2010 release from PPG Industries, Pittsburgh, which manufactured the 1-inch Starphire ultra-clear glass for the Freedom Tower podium.

According to sources, the glass systems could not be fabricated as planned, requiring architects at Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP, New York, to develop a redesign for the podium. It is unclear at press time whether the problems originated from the glass fabrication or from the assembly of the fabricated glass with the metal systems.

Sanxin Façade, China, was contracted to fabricate the podium's thick specialty lites. Zetian Systems, Las Vegas, was contracted by Solera Construction/DCM Erectors, New York City, to perform the design-assist services, fabrication and delivery of the podium systems. Zetian subcontracted the fabrication to Sanxin Facade.

The tower is set to reach 102 stories, 1,776 feet, making it the tallest building in the United States, according to the PPG release.

Representatives from the Port Authority, SOM, Sanxin Façade, Solera/DCM and Zetian have not yet responded to requests for comment. GlassMagazine.com will post updates as soon as they are available.