Volume 47, Issue 9 - September 2012


Glass Vegas
A Look at Some of the City’s Most Intricate Uses of Glass

by Penny Stacey

Las Vegas is known for the unique, complex and sometimes even sensational uses of materials, and that includes glass. In this issue, in light of the upcoming GlassBuild America event heading to the city this month, USGlass has compiled some of the most intricate glass projects the city has to offer.

Glass at Gilley’s
When the owners of the famed Treasure Island hotel in Las Vegas decided to open Gilley’s Las Vegas within the hotel, spectacular views of the strip were of the utmost importance. The architects on the project, Bergman Walls & Associates, called on Las Vegas-based Panda Windows and Doors to supply a large lift-and-slide glass wall system. The city’s Sierra Glass and Mirror was the glazier on the project.

“It’s [almost] 150 foot long of continuous lift and slide panels with no divides,” says Cooper Buranen, marketing manager for Panda. “To my knowledge it’s the longest span of lift and slide probably in the world.”

When Gilley’s originally was constructed, the length of the system was 103 feet, and 40 additional feet were added later. Giroux Glass provided the glazing on the second portion of the project.

“Everything was completely custom,” says Buranen. The addition proved even more challenging than the original installation, according to Derrick McCall, West Coast sales representative for Panda.

“On the second system, we actually pulled out one panel and resized it all. We made sure everything across the whole panel was the same size,” he says. “It took some integration.”

Giroux faced the same effort. “It’s always a challenge to come in and add on to products in place—alignment, paint finish, glass types and overall operation capabilities,” says Stephanie Lamb, vice president and general manager for Giroux Glass. “Gilley’s is located right on the strip and [it was] logistically challenging to install the large lift-slide panels, which averaged 8 by 12 feet. The glass handrail literally ran adjacent to the sliding door and [was] very difficult to work with.”

The additional panels required ten workers on-site in two different phases, according to Lamb—“first the framing installation phase and then closing in the patio curtainwall and the sliding doors with glass.”

The project was completed in August 2011 to rave reviews.

Going Cosmo
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, located on Las Vegas Boulevard, is one of the Strip’s newer additions, having just opened within the last two years—and certainly one that draws a viewer’s attention when descending upon the city. In addition, its interiors offer a number of exciting views as well, including its Chandelier Lounge, featuring products from Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based GlasPro. The lounge features a circular stairway of carved laminated glass designed with a non-slip texture. The stairway is lit from below, making the view even more breathtaking.

Completed in late 2010, GlasPro provided the treads for the lounge’s magnificent glass staircase, and Precision Glass Bending in Greenwood, Ark., supplied the curved portion of the staircase.

Walters and Wolf of Fremont, Calif., completed the installation.

One major challenge for GlasPro was the timeframe in which fabrication of the products needed to be completed, according to Joe Green, president of GlasPro. “[It was very typical of a] high-end, typical Vegas-type project,” says Green. “On that project there were so many different phases of that job … The main thing is just pressure doing complicated projects on a tight time schedule.”

The entire cost of the Cosmopolitan construction is estimated to be around $3.9 billion, despite numerous financial issues reported along the way, according to local reports.

High-Rolling, High-End Glass Residence
While the Las Vegas strip offers a number of interesting and unique glass sites, if you travel outside the city, a number of high-end homes also use glass to obtain an unobstructed view of the strip. Among these is the home of Rick Salter of Custom Home Window & Door. “The home prominently features our 600 series multi-slide doors (including several units that meet at 90 degrees and then retract), our 900 series hinged doors, and a multitude of our hinged, fixed and sliding window products,” says Scott Gates, marketing director for Western Window Systems.

Salter and his wife, Kristi, designed the home themselves.

“Little to no overhangs were allowed as it could block a neighbor’s city view,” says Salter. “The glass surface represents 62 percent of the surface area of the home.”

With that much glass in use, of course the actual door and window lites are particularly large as well.

“Most of the doors and windows are on a module of 5 foot wide and 11 foot, 6 inches tall,” says Salter. “The door systems are automated with doors-in-motion systems. The doors are on thin line/hidden track and all are pocket doors.”

In addition, the house features three skylights, one of which is more than 20 feet wide.

Sky High
In addition to the iconic hotels that line the strip, luxury residential high-rises—Las Vegas-style—also adorn the city skyline. Among these is the Sky Las Vegas, a 500-foot tower located on Las Vegas Boulevard, featuring a striking blue-glass exterior.

The building was designed by Las Vegas-based Klai Juba Architects. “We were looking to incorporate as much glass as possible into our design so that discriminating buyers would have their own personal window to the views,” says Steve Peck, project architect.

The building utilizes a mix of architectural glasses from PPG Industries, including 92,000 square feet of Visatacool Azuria glass and 87,000 square feet of blue-tinted glass over clear Solarban 60 solar control, low-E glass.

“The construction schedule was very aggressive with four work days allocated for the installation of the materials per floor,” says John Heinaman, president of Heinaman Contract Glazing, which provided glazing on the project. “The other challenges were typical of a project with an aggressive schedule, where the tolerances for the multiple building material components required resourcefulness on the part of the installers to make everything fit.”

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