The 1400 Crystal Drive project was no easy task for Pioneer Cladding and Glazing Systems. Located in Arlington, Va., the large-scale renovation of the 1968 building required a unique approach from a glass and glazing standpoint in terms of engineering, manufacturing and installation.

The northeast corner of the building.
The northeast corner of the building.

The original structure was clad with a simple window wall system, which was fully demolished in 2012 to be replaced by a more thermally and aesthetically advanced curtainwall and panel system.  Architectural requirements, according to Pioneer, included a newly installed 95,000 square foot curtainwall/storefront system, 35,000 square feet of composite panels and a glass fin supported main entrance storefront with integrated revolving doors, a fully suspended “fly-by curtainwall” and a “one-of-a-kind” aluminum pipe feature.

Pioneer utilized a proprietary custom curtainwall system altered to accommodate the performance requirements and aesthetics of this project.

“The initial structural design of anchorage and layout posed the most challenging portion of the project, as [we] had to accommodate the unspecified and unknown tolerances of

The completed aluminum pipe feature on the east elevation.
The completed aluminum pipe feature on the east elevation.

a building poured in 1968 with little historical data to reference,” according to a release from Pioneer. “Ground Penetrating Radar scanning of every post-tensioned slab edge revealed a variety of unique conditions requiring a collaborative approach between internal design and engineering experts and external structural engineers.”

Upon completion of the design, Pioneer’s manufacturing department fabricated, assembled and shipped this custom unitized curtainwall system to the field, where it was installed floor by floor. With the curtainwall and storefronts completed, exterior composite panels were installed to sharpen the appearance of each elevation. Panels were also installed to finish off the main entrance canopy to give the building an inviting and modern appearance.

Parties involved in the project included owner Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group East, designer Fox Architects and general contractor The Whiting Turner Contracting Company.