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‘Glass blades’ facade marks opening of Spertus Museum

Post Time:Nov 12,2013Classify:Industry NewsView:95

Chicago’s Spertus Museum of Jewish Studies opened Nov. 30 to the public with Dr. Howard A. Sulkin, president, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, exclaiming, “Like the multifaceted programming inside, the innovative architecture of this new facility is a welcoming gift to all people who are eager to learn.” Blair Kamin, architecture critic of The Chicago Tribune, described the 10-story glass façade overlooking Grant Park on South Michigan Avenue as “blades of glass.” Lead architect, Mark Sexton of Krueck + Sexton Architects, Chicago, conceived of the 181-foot-tall by 80-foot-wide glass façade, a sculptural skirt of 726 individual pieces of glass of 556 different shapes, forming a flowing glass canopy over the museum’s entrance. The largely daylit museum is expected to qualify for silver certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program as a green building. Its sculptured window wall glass is 1.375-inch insulating glass with 0.375-inch low-iron outer lite, 0.5-inch air space, and 0.5-inch laminated interior composed of two 0.25-inch lites laminated together. The second surface is low-E coated with a 40 percent ceramic frit pattern, made up of a 0.125-inch white dot pattern. Typical glass size is 4 feet 4 inches by 7 feet. Custom aluminum mullions span 14 feet on the first eight floors, and 21 feet on the ninth and tenth floors. Eight-foot-by-6-foot fixed insulating skylights supplement the façade’s daylighting contribution. Glass swing entrance doors are by Ellison Bronze Inc., Falconer, N.Y. Sexton spoke of the highly-custom window wall as the “skin,” and the aluminum mullion framing as “the bones, resembling human femurs.” Advanced Structures Inc., Los Angeles, now part of Enclos Corp., Eagan, Minn., engineered the project, working closely with Krueck + Sexton. Shepphird Associates, Los Angeles, consulted. Mike Henke, senior project manager of Arcadia Products Inc., Northbrook, Ill., coordinated the six-month glazing process, working closely with Viracon, Owatonna, Minn., that fabricated the glass, and with Texas Wall Systems, Alba, Texas, now part of Oldcastle Glass, Santa Monica, Calif., that fabricated the aluminum framing system and glazed it with silicone structural sealant. Arcadia installed the assembled system, completing the project last summer. “A crew of six installed the window walls, starting on the second floor with the “Y” mullions, working from the bottom up,” Henke said. The glass was hung on this framework. “This project was a triumph in teamwork for the iron workers and the glaziers,” added Robert Martin, Arcadia’s president. The irregular shapes had to be installed individually with little or no repetitive work to speed it up, and no room for error, Martin said. From design to completion, the project took nearly nine months. —By David Martin, president, Lenzi Martin Marketing, Oak Park, Ill.

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