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Architects Guide to Glass & Metal editor Nick St. Denis takes a look at AGNORA’s BIG GLASS project, the Park Ave Plaza Atrium, & cites it as “one not to be missed”.

Inside BlackRock's office tower, AGNORA's Park Ave Atrium features big glass with oversize laminate panels with low iron, back painted metallic ceramic frit, with people sitting in the background at the Starbucks cafe.

AGNORA’s Park Ave Atrium features big glass with oversize laminate panels with low iron, back painted metallic ceramic frit.

From the Article:

A recent renovation and redesign of a 28,000-square-foot public atrium at a prominent Midtown Manhattan office tower went big with glass. While the layout is centered on eight 30-foot-high acrylic panel pillars, it’s the massive metallic-looking glass wall cladding that make the atrium pop. The atrium is home to BlackRock Financial Institution. “This installation appears bold and strong—a solid match to the characteristics of its office inhabitants,” according to Marketing Manager, Alison Smith. “It also offers a sense of peace, a place of respite in a city that never sleeps.” Collingwood, Ontario-based Architectural Glass of North America (AGNORA) was called on to fabricate the many low iron, heat-strengthened and back painted oversize laminated panels.

No Easy Task

The architect collaborated with design consulting firm Front on the glass portion of the redesign. Front, in fact, went to AGNORA in search of oversized laminates before it had even chosen a glazier. Broomall, Pa.-based M. Cohen and Sons was eventually contracted for the installation. AGNORA project manager Andrew Chisholm says his company went through an extensive process to prove it could achieve the specific metallic paint color via ceramic frit before it was awarded the job. It supplied samples and eventually a near full-size production mockup to showcase its precision and accuracy. Early in production, all key stakeholders in the project visited the fabrication facility to inspect the early run of lites. This was to ensure that the heat-strengthened laminations fell into an acceptable range of flatness and that the ceramic frit color was maintained through multiple and extended release dates.

Going Bigger

The largest glass on the project initially was to be 272 inches in height, but during production, AGNORA’s transport partner Briway Carriers became capable of transporting glass up to 300 inches from Pilkington. The project client decided to take advantage of the larger sizes and increased its order to the maximum height. In the end, one glass wall was constructed of 67 three-footwide lites spanning 23.6 feet high, and another wall was made up of 34 three-foot-by-17.4-foot units. Strips of custom-formed glass tubes filled with LED lighting sit at the top of each panel. Additional backpainted lites below a portion of the glass wall serve as backup cladding behind cable-hung planters. “The resulting bright and inviting atrium provides respite from the dense urban surroundings,” a description from Front reads. Chisholm stressed the importance of everyone on the project team staying connected throughout the long process from inception to delivery. “In keeping everyone up to speed with different people coming to the party at different times, you have to communicate consistently over a long period of time,” he says. “Everyone realized how many stakeholders there were, and that communication from all parties was key.”

See more project pictures here.

AGNORA worked in collaboration with Architectural firm Janson Goldstein, Glass Consultant FRONT, Glazier M. Cohen & Sons and Glass Supplier Pilkington Glass