Glazing Big Projects Safely on Small Job Sites

Posted on July 22, 2016, by
Empirehouse Certified NACC Architectural Glass & Metal Contractor Mall of America

How Empirehouse tackles the impossible:
glazing big projects safely on small job sites.

Empirehouse is an NACC Certified Glazing ContractorEmpirehouse, Inc. has been in the architectural glass and glazing industry since 1950, but did you know that this three-generation architectural glass and metal contractor has safely taken on some of the largest Minnesota glass and glazing projects performed on small job sites with challenging logistics and aggressive schedules? Not only that, but Empirehouse holds the gold standard in safety and quality. In April 2016 Empirehouse became the first Certified NACC Architectural Glass and Metal Contractor in the Midwest meeting national quality and safety standards set by ANSI.

Among the iconic architectural glazing projects Empirehouse has completed on small job sites are the Mall of America expansion, Target Center renovation, Treasure Island Center/TRIA Rink, Portland Towers Luxury Condominiums, Minnesota Orchestra Hall, American Swedish Institute: Nelson Cultural Center, and The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern.

Mall of AmericaMall of America Expansion
The Mall of America Expansion project, which includes an office tower and the JW Marriott Hotel, is the most significant Mall construction project since its grand opening in 1992. Empirehouse entered into a design-build/value-engineering contract with Mortenson Construction to meet the owner’s challenging needs.

Empirehouse Certified NACC Architectural Glass & Metal Contractor Mall of AmericaWith a very tight job site, limited space to store material and equipment, and an aggressive completion date, Empirehouse placed a full-time operations staff on site to integrate with the construction management group. This daily collaboration with Mortenson and the other contractors allowed Empirehouse in the creation of functional details and advocating for installation sequencing that proved beneficial and helped maintain the critical path project schedule in installing 110,000 square feet of aluminum curtainwall systems—weighing 1.2 million pounds.

Adding to the complexity of this project, the Mall of America remained open during construction. Safety of Mall patrons, staff, and field workers were our utmost concern. Our installation team was on constant alert for cars and pedestrians in order to keep everyone away from dangerous conditions while meeting the project timeline and project goals. More»

Installing curtainwall at Target Center with zero site conditionsTarget Center renovation
Empirehouse teamed with Mortenson Construction and Alliiance Architects as the architectural glass and metal contractor and a collaborative partner on the Target Center renovation project to transform a closed-off concrete façade into an inviting light-filled space for patrons to enjoy for decades to come.

Target Center Main EntranceDesign-assist services with Mortenson and Alliiance included: early schematic design and logistic coordination; pre-construction and value engineering; design collaboration; and cost control. The exciting new glass features of the Target Center renovation project include: a three-story, glass atrium; folding and sliding glass wall systems with swinging doors; interior glass hand railings; glass floor; all-glass entrances and all-glass drink railings; a new skyway lined with bird-safe glass and railings; bullet-resistant security glass ticket box office; LED light boxes in the exterior metal panel façade; curtainwall replacement; interior glass partition; decorative back-lit onyx glass wall; decorative shower doors; Hydro spa heavy glass walls; and an overall exterior glass scope of approximately 14,000 total square feet.

The Target Center renovation posed many logistic and scheduling complexities:

  • The jobsite was located in a congested major metropolitan location with zero site conditions which offered challenges in coordinating and moving material
  • The facility was made up of unique angles and geometry which created access challenges
  • This major renovation project was on an aggressive schedule coupled with work restrictions
  • The project endured significant design changes
  • The surrounding streets and skyway remained open during construction so the Empirehouse installation team needed to ensure the safety of facility occupants, traffic, and pedestrians while meeting project timelines and project goals


Minnesota Orchestra HallMinnesota Orchestra Hall
The glazing and fabrication features of the Minnesota Orchestra Hall architectural project showcase the skills and expertise Empirehouse brings to complex projects. While in the design phase, Empirehouse entered into system design assist services with Mortenson Construction for this premiere renovation project. Early concept budget pricing began immediately, allowing Mortenson and the owner to determine the feasibility of multiple design elements that the architect had presented.

Minnesota Orchestra HallThis major renovation project in a busy downtown metropolitan area offered zero-site conditions which led to logistic challenges. Empirehouse proactively provided pre-construction engineering services and cost studies to help shape the overall work scope with an interior and exterior glass area of 30,000 total square feet. More»

Portland-Tower-Photo-by-Bill-KlotzPortland Towers Luxury Condominiums
Working with RJM Construction, the Empirehouse glazing team safely completed installing 45,216 square feet of window wall and 3,662 square feet of terrace doors at the 17-story Portland Tower luxury condominium project in downtown Minneapolis, MN in May 2016. (Photo at left by Finance & Commerce photographer Bill Klotz).

Portland TowerOur glazing crew demonstrated terrific teamwork by meeting a very aggressive schedule and logistic challenges. The Empirehouse Safety & Quality Coordinator held monthly audits on the job site which helped our glazing team reach the gold standard in safety.

American Swedish Institute Glass LinkAmerican Swedish Institute: Nelson Cultural Center
Empirehouse was awarded the glazing contract by Adolfson & Peterson Construction for the Nelson Cultural Center addition to the American Swedish Institute. The glass, glazing and fabrication scope includes a 6,500 pound, 12′ long x 5′ wide x 11′-6″ tall glass walk way which links the mansion with the new expansion; a 1,200 structural glass wall; and 3,800 square feet of curtainwall glazed with high performance glass.

American Swedish Institute-Nelson Cultural Center-ExteriorAfter fabrication and glazing of the glass walk way, it was trailored in an aluminum receiver frame 15 miles to the job site. Then the glass walk way was carefully tower craned around the historic exterior stone walls to the third floor and inserted into the cavity between the two buildings with only a small margin of error.

As architect John Cook of HGA watched the glass walk way being tower craned and safely installed, he said, “It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen; like watching the Space Shuttle dock to the Space Station.” More»

Llifts in action on Mother BabyThe Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern
Empirehouse was awarded this glazing contract by Knutson Construction Services – Minneapolis. Over 65,000 square feet of custom convex and concave curved, dual-cantilevered aluminum pressure-wall framing with ACM wall panel cladding systems was installed along with a monumental aluminum and glass skylight system to maximize natural lighting within the facility.  More»

Each of these specialty glazing projects provided Empirehouse with unique challenges which were met by three-generations of expertise and our commitment to teamwork, quality, safety, innovation, and integrity.

For your next project, trust a Certified NACC Architectural Glass and Metal Contractor for quality results. Call Empirehouse at 763-535-1150 or contact us.