Warren E. Burger Federal Building

Empirehouse was excited to be selected by Ryan Companies to provide the glass and glazing package for the Warren E Burger Federal Building in downtown St. Paul, MN. Not only was this a GSA project, but it was a complex and challenging “design build” project with Ryan Companies and the project owner because of the various custom glazing and fabrication elements.

Custom glazing and fabrication elements:

  • All-glass and stainless steel Grand Stairway
  • Stainless steel and spandrel glass elevator enclosure
  • Stainless steel and bullet resistant glass security station walls and office
  • All-glass walls with glass fins
  • Fritted glass and custom etched government seals
  • Aluminum curtain wall entrance system and glass canopies

Unique challenges:
Elevator enclosure:
 The architect and project owner envisioned the glass to appear as if it were floating in the frame. To meet this vision, Empirehouse created the custom fabricated stainless steel bars for the spandrel glass frame work. Then we created a system using 3M VHB glazing tape to hold the glass in place. This technique left a 1/2″ space between the glass edge and the stainless steel bar framing which met the architects’ vision.

Security station walls and office: The architect and project owner desired a transparent yet secure entrance into the courts. To achieve this, Empirehouse anchored custom stainless steel posts with steel plates to the concrete floor which were covered with terrazzo. The posts were perfectly aligned plumb and straight for the frameless custom fritted glass installation. The differing tolerances of materials, horizontal dashed frit pattern, and security laminated glass made this especially challenging. Then we designed a door for the security station office that disappears into the glass wall. This required custom fabricated hardware and engineering. When complete, the security station walls and office created a transparent yet secure entrance which fulfilled the architect and owner’s vision.

All-glass walls: The architect and project owner’s transparent vision continued throughout the glass wall installation. No horizontal joints and minimal vertical joints were used to install glass into the 30-feet wide by 14-feet tall openings. We also had custom frit patterned glass at the sidelights and 9-foot-high glass doors with custom hardware. Silk-screened frit pattern limitations required that horizontal and vertical joints be used for structural support. The architect did not want exposed mullions, so we designed glass fins at the top of the opening so they were not visible to patrons. Lots of coordination and custom design considerations achieved the architect’s vision.

Empirehouse is very proud of this custom glazing and fabrication project and to have taken part in the “design build” to meet the vision for the owner. Many of the elements are transparent which is what the GSA was looking for yet making it a very secure environment for the public and employees.

Warren E. Burger Federal Building
Location: St. Paul, MN
Contractor: Ryan Companies
Architect: Teng Architects
Glazing Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
Completed: September 2008

Photo Gallery: (click to enlarge)