Volume 48, Issue 12- December 2013


Sustainability and Sci-Fi Lead to an Out-of-this-World Glass Renovation

Music Box Films had a vision for the renovation of its building in a Chicago West Loop enterprise zone. As designed by Shapiro Associates of Chicago, the space was renovated “with the aesthetic of the sci-fi classic ‘Blade Runner’ in mind,” according to a blog published by the technology startup. “Incorporating glass panels, floating metal staircases, a catwalk and panels of wood repurposed from the original structure, the building speaks to our vision and commitment to artistry.”

The project involved converting a 7,000-square-foot, two-story century-old lumber yard into a sleek, single-story building with a mezzanine. Today the retrofit office building features 26 custom, handcrafted steel windows and two pairs of doors manufactured by Hope’s in Jamestown, N.Y.

Alumital Corp. in Elk Grove Village, Ill., handled the installation of the unique project.

“We started working with the general contractor, Knudsen Construction, early in the design of the building,” explains David Leonard, who handles architectural sales for Alumital. “There were few options available to use due to the aesthetic look the owner and the architect wanted on the project which, from my understanding, was an older, factory-type appearance. We worked with Hope’s from the beginning to achieve this with their Jamestown series windows and steel doors.”

Hope’s Jamestown175 Series steel windows and 5000 Series steel doors were installed in the building. Although Alumital was not part of the original demolition, Leonard says that these products replace “from our understanding, and what we saw that was still in the openings … wood sash double-hung windows on the upper floor. The lower level had a steel entrance door and a large overhead door in the middle of the building.”

While Alumital worked closely with Hope’s, Hope’s representatives kept in contact with the architect to meet the building occupant’s vision.

“[Our company] worked hand-in-hand with Shapiro Associates on the door and window design and provided custom mullion, muntin and glazing solutions to meet their design requirements for the exterior façade and vestibule,” says Matthew Fuller, regional sales manager for Hope’s.

As Fuller explains, “The architect/designer was looking to specify a product with narrow profiles around the perimeter and at all muntin divisions.” While this seems simple enough, there were challenges. Fuller adds, “We had to design the vestibule with four sides and a laylight overhead. Even with using the narrow true divided lite, we were able to engineer the façade to be able to meet a 30 PSF wind load.”

Given the custom nature of the products, the project’s six-month timeline and the challenges that cropped up along the way, coordination was crucial.

“Early on, due to the schedule, we coordinated with the architect, contractor and Hope’s to streamline the submittal process as well as the procurement of the frames,” Leonard says. “Some of the openings we were able to establish sizing on but the custom entrance and lower floor had to be laid out and guaranteed dimension wise to meet the compressed schedule. The contractor did an exceptional job in holding the openings at the lower level and the entry and lower level work went smoothly.”

Not so of the upper level, which proved more of a challenge. “The existing brick openings were extremely out of square,” Leonard explains. “With Hope’s, we came up with a reversed receiver channel that set into the void between the brick, which we scribed and made the openings as square as possible, eliminating oversized caulk joints then anchored the windows to and through the channel.”

Leonard says this proved to be the biggest hurdle on the project, in addition to meeting the six-month timeline from the notice to proceed to completion of the installation. However, Leonard says, “Because of the upfront work with all parties the schedule became manageable.” —Megan Headley

© Copyright 2013 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.