Early in 2010, Empirehouse started to work on design-development pricing for the much anticipated Radisson BLU at Mall of America project. Initial budget pricing focused on the challenging interior concepts for the internationally renowned hotel brand, which included many different decorative glass features. As shell package engineering began, the unique challenges in design of a 13-story hotel tower located in the MSP International Airport flight path began to present themselves. Although sound control, thermal performance and deflection criteria requirements were the main focus of early shell package concept pricing, the necessity to maintain a world class appearance greatly increased the complexity of the glazing systems due to the specific vision of the design team. Although Empirehouse was involved in concept budget pricing and design-development engineering services that included thermal and sound control modeling, the contract was eventually procured through a standard design-bid-build method.
For the shell package, the guest room tower included more than 23,300 square feet of custom pre-glazed window systems. The two different types of high performance exterior glass substrates in these units were selected from a wide range of options with specific aesthetic intention, creating a “columned” appearance that accented the exterior panel and precast concrete façade. To achieve an overall design requirement that included an STC rating of 46, Empirehouse designed a window system with a custom interior integrated auxiliary glass panel that was easily removable for maintenance purposes. The internal sash sits within a custom glazing pocket extruded into the interior of the main body of the window system to allow for a larger air gap between the standard insulated unit and the auxiliary lite of glass, creating a specific wavelength disruption required for the sound control. In all, over 1,000 3/8″ thick monolithic internal glass panels were installed in the window system.
Located at the building shell common space, a total of 7,100 square feet of conventionally glazed aluminum ribbon window was provided with various types of high performance coated glass infill. At the main courtyard entrance, an additional 2,700 total square feet of mirror polished stainless steel clad aluminum pressure-wall system is provided that includes an automatic revolving door system and narrow profile balanced door leaves. A later design addition to the shell package scope added nearly one hundred narrow depth “punched” window assemblies of different sizes and configuration that dot the courtyard return walls, creating different sized viewing portals from the interior of the main lobby space.
While construction of the shell package scope of work was underway, Empirehouse worked countless hours in a design-assist capacity to finalize the interior build-out scope of the guest suites and public spaces. The guest suites include custom sliding bi-pass all-glass shower door assemblies, stationary glass partition panels and thousands of square feet of custom white back-painted glass cladding at the bathtub and shower stall conditions. Public space build-out included an additional 1,400 total of black back-painted glass selected to drastically contract a white plastic back-drop, approximately 230 total lineal feet of structural glass railing system with UV bonded custom stainless steel flat stock auxiliary handrail, over 700 square feet of custom fabricated carbon steel interior storefront framing, all-glass doors and mirrors.
Final completion of this project was achieved in March of 2013, adding to the long list of technically challenging and monumental projects in the Empirehouse portfolio.
Radison Blu was one of Finance & Commerce Top Projects of 2013.
Radisson BLU Mall of America
Location: Bloomington, MN
Contractor: Mortenson Construction
Architect: Elness Swenson Graham Architects, Inc.
Glazing Specialty Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
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