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Explosive charges were set off. Smilowitz is not permitted to reveal the magnitude. Only 3 of 27 panes in the mockup were damaged, he said, with no debris. The Bronx project was under way before the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in The project was delayed for several months while a task force including the Police Department and a threat-assessment analyst developed criteria for blast resistance, which Mr. Blomberg said he could not disclose. Both the Hearst Tower and the new headquarters of The New York Times on Eighth Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets, were in development when the trade center was attacked.

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In the aftermath, Hearst elected to keep its glass facade but "reviewed every piece of the puzzle," said Brian Schwagerl, the director of real estate and facilities planning, upgrading the design and the materials at a premium of about 10 percent over the original cost of the curtain wall, which he would not specify.

But after Sept. Thurm, vice president for real estate development. When it gets to specifics, almost everyone demurs, in part because specifying the level of blast resistance is almost an invitation to terrorists to concoct a higher charge. But there are performance standards, developed by the General Services Administration and the Interagency Security Committee, to gauge response to a blast.

They range from the safest condition, No. Under intermediate conditions, the glazing cracks but fragments land on the floor closer to the window. The current building code does not contain specific requirements for curtain walls that would resist terrorist attacks, said Patricia J. Lancaster, the city buildings commissioner.


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But the new code, a synthesis of the International Building Code with technical requirements tailored to New York City, will consider the effects of such extreme events. Lancaster gave an example of how standards must navigate a razor's edge: laminated glass may seem like an ideal solution until one asks how easily firefighters can gain access from the outside in the event that the hazardous event has occurred within.

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Though it is obvious to focus on the building shell, engineers concerned with safety and security concentrate first on the core. Argiris, an engineer and a principal in Arup, a company that leads the team designing the Fulton Street Transit Center. Silverstein Properties is promoting those qualities at 7 World Trade Center, which it is developing. Ultimately, the level of any protection turns in part on economics.

Smith of the Gordon H. Smith Corporation, a consulting firm specializing in exterior walls. If we're talking about rebuilding every office building in the country as the Pentagon, what we'd be saying is, 'Build no buildings. And it turns in part on trying to anticipate the unfathomable.

Contemporary Curtain Wall Architecture

Architects have faced the unfathomable before. The city's first generation of glass towers -- the United Nations Secretariat, Lever House, the Seagram Building -- took shape under the cloud of atomic war. In , for instance, as Lever House neared completion on Park Avenue, an unprecedented daytime air-raid drill stopped traffic throughout the city and emptied every street of pedestrians.

Thanks to Goff's Curtain Walls

Both then and now, the embrace of glass might be thought of as the architectural equivalent of whistling past the graveyard or, more positively, as a declaration of faith. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture. Yes, said Mr. Thurm of The Times.

César Pelli, architect behind the Petronas Towers, dies at 92 | Art and design | The Guardian

Yes, said Michael D. In these "green" buildings, an array of computer-controlled and user-controlled devices may be embedded within the curtain wall to encourage the use of fresh air and natural daylighting, while at the same time aiming to improve user comfort, reduce energy consumption, and promote a "sustainable" lifestyle. Curtain walls can also be defined as the embodiment of an aesthetic intention—the second of the three perspectives mentioned above. Numerous such curtain wall themes can be identified in 20th-century architecture.

They coalesce, in general, around the revolutionary "new" materials of metal and glass: metal as industrialized, mass-produced, streamlined panel ; glass as transparent or reflective surface, crystalline solid, or harbinger of an enlightened culture ; or metal and glass combined as woven "fabric," or abstract grid. Still, other more traditional materials and systems, including stucco, concrete, brick and stone veneer have also played a role in validating the curtain wall within various aesthetic domains, and not merely as the byproduct of functional considerations.

The ideal of an all-glass skin has been perhaps the most persistent curtain wall theme throughout the 20th century. Starting with metal window systems containing relatively small glass panes, and moving towards larger glass sizes with smaller mullion profiles, the most technically-advanced glass walls of the late 20th century have managed to eliminate mullions entirely, whether by using the glass itself as a structural material, relying on structural sealant joints, or pinning the glass to elegantly-detailed lightweight steel sub-structures.

Ironically, the initial aesthetic formulation of the modern metal and glass curtain wall preceded the invention of multistory skeletal frameworks. Greenhouses were being built in Europe, even in the midth century, with large areas of glass divided by wooden, and later iron, mullions. By the midth century, skins of metal and glass were commonly used for the roofs of markets, gallerias, and train stations.

London's Crystal Palace of was extremely influential, not only in validating the architectural use of iron and glass, but in foreshadowing its rationalization as an industrialized system. It is as a system — the third perspective mentioned above — that the curtain wall became widely available within the building construction marketplace.

Early 20th-century curtain walls tended to be unique and custom-made, fabricated individually from the cast iron, rolled steel and plate glass that were just beginning to appear as industrialized commodities. But by the mids, the emerging sheet metal technologies and aesthetics associated with the mass-production of airplanes and automobiles began to be seriously adapted to building construction, especially the development of metal curtain wall panels.

Starting at the end of the Second World War, the 20th-century's ubiquitous metal and glass curtain wall systems — repetitive grids of extruded aluminum mullions and horizontal rails, fastened to a building's structural skeleton, and supporting panels of glass or metal — increasingly began to appear on commercial and institutional buildings. The newly-invented float process made large areas of glass even more feasible beginning in the s.

Other panelized curtain wall systems also appeared as cladding options: these included composite metal panels containing lightweight cores of honeycombed material or foamed plastic insulation sandwiched between two layers of thin sheet metal aluminum or steel ; precast concrete panels, custom-designed for each job, but still manufactured within a rationalized, systematic production setting; and thin stone veneer panels factory-cut to a thickness as little as one inch, then attached to the building's structure using proprietary metal clips and anchors. Even traditional brick and stucco became integrated into manufactured curtain wall systems: brick as part of layered cavity wall systems; stucco, most commonly in the form of E.

Further reading: The history of curtain walls in 20th-century architecture can be pieced together from readings in architectural histories and from monographs describing the work of individual architects or designers. Individual monographs are too numerous to list; of the many 20th-century architects or designers associated with the development of curtain wall technology, or its aesthetic refinement, a partial list would include: Nicholas Grimshaw, Norman Foster, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Richard Meier, Jean Nouvel, I.

An overview of curtain wall systems can be found in: Allen, Edward, Fundamentals of Building Construction, 3rd edition, New York: Wiley, ; discussion and details of early "modernist" 20th-century curtain walls can be found in: Ford, Edward, The Details of Modern Architecture, Cambridge: M. Press, Curtain wall mullion being fastened to structural slab.

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Willis Polk's Halladie Building : curtain wall or large window? Sullivan's Bayard Building with thick masonry curtain wall. Pressure-equalized curtain wall mullion. Foster's Commerzbank: "Green" double-skin curtain wall.


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    Pei: Hancock Building as reflective, crystalline surface. Mies: Seagrams Building with metal and glass "woven" grid.