W&W Glass Systems Conducts Testing on the Pilkington Planar Structural Glass System for the West Midtown Ferry Terminal

Nanuet, N.Y.-based W&W Glass has announced the results of a series of recent independent laboratory tests made for the Pier 79 West Midtown Ferry Terminal Project in Manhattan to determine the structural durability of the Pilkington Planar Structural Glass System at high loads.

Using Architectural Testing Inc. in York, Pa., as the test site, W&W Glass Systems erected a 40-feet-wide by 33-feet-high sample structure containing six vertical rows (each containing eight façade lites), five vertical fins rows (each with three fins high) and six roof units. The system was then tested for weather resistance, structural performance at design loading, seismic resistance and structural redundancy.

The company says the Planar System passed each of the tests, including a rigorous overload test that utilized a pressurized chamber to apply a series of loads to the glass in excess of +/-150% of design load (60psf). No permanent deflections were observed, and the glass remained intact throughout the test.

The consultants for this project, Gordon H. Smith Corp., required a system redundancy test to demonstrate the integrity of a fin-supported glass wall with a broken structural mullion. For this procedure, the chamber was pressurized to +40psf (full design load) and a center fin was purposefully broken.

"We're very pleased with the results of the redundancy test," said Howard Haber, W&W Glass spokesman. "Other than the manually broken fin, no glass from the façade or other fins evacuated the wall and the system stayed perfectly intact. The results of this test show the true potential and ultimate safety of fin supported glass facades using the Pilkington Planar System."

Construction on the Pilkington Planar System at the West Midtown Ferry Terminal, designed by William Nicholas Bodouva & Associates, will begin this spring as part of a citywide ferry renovation program that includes redesigning the Staten Island Ferry's Whitehall and St. George terminals. New floating terminals at Battery Park City and a new Port Imperial Intermodal Ferry Terminal on the Hudson River in Weehawken, N.J., also will be developed. W&W Glass Systems is involved with the glazing on three of the five projects.

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