Eureka Metal & Glass Services Inc. of Philadelphia recently completed a dramatic lobby glass installation in the new Comcast Technology Center, also in Philadelphia. When it opened in the fall of 2018, the LEED Platinum-pending skyscraper became the city’s tallest building, with a height of 1,121 feet. Designed by Foster + Partners and Kendall/Heaton Associates, the building’s five-story atrium lobby features 2,700 9- by 3-foot decorative glass wall panels.
As originally designed, the decorative glass installation would have required removal of up to 18 pieces each time a single lite needed to be replaced for cleaning or repair. The Eureka team identified the issue and worked with McGrory Glass and glazing engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan to develop and model a solution to improve the installation and replacement processes. Through the use of a new, deeper cleat panels can be removed individually while still providing enough strength and engagement to satisfy engineering requirements.
The same oversize glass panels then needed to be installed to heights up to 80 feet off the ground. Floor strength precluded the use of a high reach or hoist. Just as with the cleat issue, Eureka proactively evaluated its ability to install safely and worked with construction manager LF Driscoll to devise a solution. A central 75-foot-high scaffolding platform was ringed with walking surfaces every seven feet vertically. The glass could then be raised or lowered precisely between gaps—sometimes as narrow as 12 inches—between scaffolding and wall.
Eureka attributes its proactive issue identification and collaborative resolution processes to its North American Contractor Certification (NACC), which provides architectural glass and metal contractors with certification recognition through a professionally administered, third-party assessment, as a means of creating a baseline for competency and adherence to industry-accepted guidelines.