CRL-U.S. Aluminum Helps SOM Achieve Goals for 777 Aviation Retrofit

The new 777 Aviation is a Class A office complex in El Segundo, Calif., that was originally occupied by Xerox Corporation. Modernist architect Craig Ellwood developed the original concept in 1968. To reflect the needs and culture of today’s workspaces, architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was brought on to redesign the building. W.L. Butler served as the general contractor. C.R. Laurence-U.S. Aluminum manufactured and supplied custom architectural glazing systems to help meet the project’s design and performance requirements.

Developers Embarcadero Capital Partners and Westbrook Partners’ goal was to repurpose 777 Aviation from a single-tenant to a multi-tenant space with indoor and outdoor collaborative environments. SOM accomplished this in part by integrating new exterior and interior glazing systems that promote daylighting, contemporary aesthetics and transparency. Triview Glass supplied the custom glass, while Glazing Concepts and Electrolurgy Manufacturing installed the glazing systems.

The team at SOM leveraged the benefits of glass throughout the building to optimize daylight diffusion, thermal performance and aesthetics. Integrating a grand atrium with a series of large-scale skylights; removing concrete shear walls; and incorporating fenestration systems that met thermal performance requirements without compromising the design intent, all played key roles.

The first floor facade and upper-level balcony areas feature CRL-U.S. Aluminum’s Series 4500SG structural silicone glazed curtainwall. The curtainwall features a pressure-bar-free design, and is engineered without exposed exterior vertical mullions and joint fasteners. This produces uninterrupted horizontal glass spans that provide streamlined visuals and a seamless transition to the interior. The Series 4500SG curtainwall incorporates a polyurethane thermal break and a proprietary injection-molded thermoplastic connector that joins interior and exterior members to achieve total thermal isolation.

New fenestration also includes CRL-U.S. Aluminum’s Entice entrance system. The system features ultra-narrow 1-1/8-inch vertical stiles and an overall system depth of only 2-1/2 inches, producing a distinct all-glass aesthetic. In addition, it has the unique ability to support handle hardware—including panic devices—on 1-inch insulating glass units using proprietary through-glass fittings. Entice features thermally broken framing and cladding that provides U-factors as low as 0.33.

“Given the performance criteria for the new fenestration and our goal of having a minimalist aesthetic, there was no other option than the Entice Entrance System we specified,” said Susan Bartley, project manager at SOM Architecture.

Both the Series 4500SG curtainwall and Entice entrance system helped execute SOM’s objective of giving the facade an updated, minimalist aesthetic that did not conflict with the iconic architecture from Craig Ellwood that was left in place. Existing systems were grandfathered in, but the Series 4500SG curtainwall and Entice entrance system were subjected to, and met, California Title 24’s stringent thermal performance requirements.

New CRL glazing systems in 777 Aviation’s interior served to complement the exterior themes. Interior glass entrances feature CRL-U.S. Aluminum DRS door rails with floating headers and low-profile sidelite channels that produce clean glass spans. The DRS door rails are paired with CRL-Blumcraft panic handles, which feature a slim and elegant tubular design that enhances safety, aesthetics, and security. The team selected 13/16-inch custom laminated glass to allow taller glass spans and improve STC ratings. The sprawling glass walls feature a custom dot pattern frit that adds a distinct design element while providing privacy and light diffusion.

The building’s interior also features CRL’s GRS TAPER-LOC glass guardrail system with crisp corner top caps. The guardrail offers the only ICC-ES approved base shoe system for glass railings available. It also complies with 2015 IBC updates to ensure codes are met.

“I’m always happy to see glass play such a vital role in a building’s identity and function, as it did with 777 Aviation,” said Chris Hanstad, vice president of architectural sales at CRL-U.S. Aluminum. “The glazing systems not only had to accomplish the desired aesthetic, but also provide a high level of utility spanning thermal performance, air/water management, acoustical privacy, daylighting, security and safety. CRL’s ability to satisfy multiple hardware scopes continues to be a big differentiator when it comes to adding value to the project team.”

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