Volume 45, Issue 12 - December 2010


Back On: PPG to Supply Starphire® Glass to One World Trade Center

After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop glass to be used for One World Trade Center, PPG was told in early 2009 that the contract for that project was instead going to a Chinese glass company (see April 2009 USGlass, page 30). But on October 29, PPG Industries announced that it has received an order to supply Starphire ultra-clear, low-iron glass for One World Trade Center in New York. The glass will be used for the podium wall system on Tower One, which is currently under construction at the new World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan.

Gary Danowski, PPG vice president, performance glazings, talked exclusively to USGlass following the announcement regarding how PPG was ultimately awarded the project more than a year and a half following that initial decision.

“A few months ago we started to become re-engaged with some meetings with the Port Authority, and Tishman Construction,” he says. “We showed them some initial samples of Starphire and got pulled into more and more discussions regarding potentially fitting into the supply chain.”

Danowski says that even after that initial meeting he didn’t think PPG would be awarded the project.

“To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere,” Danowksi says. “We thought it was too late: glass samples were being made, structural steel was moving. Albeit the meeting was interesting and there were some discussion points, but to be honest with you I’m surprised that we are where we are today—though I’m happy about it.”

As to why the original Chinese glass supplier is no longer involved, Danowski says PPG is not privy to that information.

Steve Coleman with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told USGlass that “the original supplier (with good quality product) in China fell through.”

“They didn’t want the job,” says Coleman. “The broker tried another supplier in China and that product did not meet the color requirements. Now we are purchasing from PPG and shipping the glass to China for fabrication. The machine used to fabricate is already built in China.”

Danowski points out that the only thing that has changed with the project is that PPG is now supplying the glass; it will still be fabricated in China.

“We are supplying the glass to Sanxin [Glass in China] which will fabricate the glass, then it will come back to the United States to be installed in the project,” he says. “We would have preferred to work through a shorter supply chain and recommended some alternatives. Ultimately, though, this wasn’t our decision.”

Officials at Zetian Systems, the Las Vegas-based subcontractor contracted by glazing contractor Solera/DCM to perform design assist services, fabrication and delivery of the glass for One World Trade Center, issued a statement on November 1 regarding its selection of PPG’s glass for this project:

“PPG was recently awarded the glass order for the podium from Zetian after a comprehensive review and analysis of all similar materials available from the entire world market. As was its contractual duty, Zetian provided a number of options and solutions for the project. It is very common that the selection of materials and finishes for a very high-profile project is extended over a relatively long time period. Zetian is very pleased with the final decision to select PPG to supply the glass as their product provides unique characteristics that are considered essential …”
Zetian notes that it has contracted the fabrication to Sanxin Glass “following extensive due diligence.”

DCM did not respond to USGlass’ request for comment, while Tishman Construction officials declined to comment.

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