Viracon Awarded Contract for Freedom Tower in New
Benson Industries of Portland, Ore., which was recently awarded
the curtainwall contract for New York City's World Trade Center
Tower One, named Viracon Inc. of Owatonna, Minn., glass supplier
for the project.
World Trade Center Tower One, also known as the Freedom Tower,
is being developed by the Port Authority of New York& New Jersey
and will be constructed on the site of the World Trade Center buildings
destroyed by terrorists in 2001.
At 1,776 feet tall the tower is designed to serve as a tribute
to our country's freedom, celebrating the 1776 signing of the Declaration
Once completed, the Freedom Tower will be the largest building
in North America.
"This is an extremely proud day for all of Viracon's 2,600
employees," Brad J. Austin, Viracon's senior vice president,
Over the past four years, Viracon assisted New York architects
at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) to provide the best possible
glass solution to achieve the aesthetic design, energy and security
performance required for the project. The Freedom Tower is the first
of four buildings to be constructed at the site.
"The architects at SOM relied on Viracon to provide a glass
product that marries form and function together to achieve the design
intent of the project with highly functional glass performance in
terms of energy efficiency, security and safety," Austin says.
SOM's design for the Freedom Tower requires extremely long, highly
transparent glass lites that also provide energy efficiency and
security. "To create the feeling of openness, the architects
challenged us to fabricate exceptionally large-sized insulating
glass units, which are well above the industry standard," Rick
Voelker, vice president of technical services at Viracon says. "The
glass sizes to be used are approximately two feet longer than typical
fabrication limits." Viracon made significant investments into
equipment and material processing in order to accommodate the increased
With the great amount of transparency that will result from using
such large glass lites, energy efficiency was an immediate challenge.
In response, SOM specified Viracon's VRE-54 coating on highly transparent
low-iron glass for the Freedom Tower project.
The VRE coating is referred to as a hybrid coating because of its
ability to simultaneously provide a crisp neutral appearance, combined
with high levels of energy performance and light transmission.
Viracon expects to begin fabrication on the Freedom Tower at its
Owatonna facility in 2008. The building will contain just less than
one million square feet of glass, making it one of the largest contracts
Viracon has ever been awarded.
In addition, Viracon is currently working on proposals for the
three other buildings to be constructed at the World Trade Center
"It was a great honor for Viracon to supply the glass on the
Seven World Trade Center project, which opened in 2006," Austin
says. "And it is indeed a privilege to be selected as the glass
supplier for the Freedom Tower project, which undoubtedly will be
one of the world's most prominent buildings."