Minnesota Orchestra Hall

The Minnesota Orchestra Hall renovation project is an amazing transformation of a facility that becomes a welcoming space connecting to the surrounding cityscape through the transparency of glass and elegance of light.

The glazing and fabrications features of the Minnesota Orchestra Hall architectural project showcase the skill and expertise Empirehouse brings to complex projects.

Minnesota Orchestra HallBeginning in February 2010, Mortenson Construction requested Empirehouse to provide design-assist services for the addition and remodel of the Minnesota Orchestra Hall project. Early concept budget pricing began immediately, allowing Mortenson and the owner to determine the feasibility of multiple design elements that Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB) Architects had presented. Along with the logistics of the zero-site conditions associated with a major downtown metropolitan renovation project, Empirehouse provided pre-construction engineering services and cost studies to help shape the overall work scope for the glazing package.

Minnesota Orchestra HallThe shell glazing scope includes many different products and applications to complete the package. The main exterior glazing component includes approximately 23,400 total square feet of conventionally glazed aluminum pressure-wall system. This system was specifically engineered for the required high-span application, and a majority of the glazing is resting on an engineered carbon plate which provides the appearance of a suspended cantilevered wall system. The initial design required a +/- 5/8″ allowable movement at each attachment, which was only possible with the use of custom horizontal extrusions. The movement requirement also created the need for complicated independent loading connections for suspension of the wall system. During the post-bid value engineering phase, Empirehouse successfully engineered the use of a silicone expansion sleeve to transfer the movement requirements out of the intermediate support connections. Although this increased the overall labor requirement for this installation, the savings gained from omitting the custom extrusions and attachment hardware created a net deduct value for the owner.

An additional engineering challenge was the full 448″ tall by 60″ wide unsupported structural silicone glazed corner conditions. Empirehouse engineered an internal carbon steel support structure to accommodate the lateral loading and the load imposed by the 60″ x 140″ glass lites without sacrificing aesthetic or performance.

The “back of house” glazing scope includes an additional  8,900 total square feet of applied veneer wall glazing, creating the appearance of a new glazing façade with minor demolition of existing systems.

Minnesota Orchestra HallThe secondary glazing systems for the building shell provides a striking aesthetic with a full structural glass wall assembly which makes a grand statement in the overall design. Incorporating approximately 3,400 total square feet of top-hung cantilevered structural glass fin supported wall system with stainless steel fittings supporting the glass panels, the architect created unobstructed views of the surrounding city skyline. A portion of this system at the “City Room” gathering space was installed after the installation of a custom precast sunshade device. This logistical issue required Empirehouse to commission the assembly of custom engineered glass movement equipment for the installation of the oversized glass—some exceeding 76″ x 140.”

In addition to the glass fin supported wall systems, the plaza level façade includes approx. 4,500 total square feet of custom aluminum bar stock fin supported glazed wall system. This system was initially designed as an unsupported exterior structural glass wall assembly, set with top and bottom recessed glazing channels. While the unsupported wall system would have created additional unobstructed views to the exterior, deflection analysis dictated that the overall unit thickness required would have been a massive 2-1/4″ with multiple layers of laminated heavy tempered glass lites. The custom aluminum bar stock support system was proposed as a value engineering cost option shortly after award, allowing the owner to incorporate other desired glazing features without modification of contract value.

Minnesota Orchestra Hall Interior Glass RailingsA large component of our scope of work was the custom structural glass railing systems. Three different types of structural glass railing were included: standard structural glass balustrade systems, button mounted (point supported) glass railing systems and custom cantilevered bar stock supported glass railing systems. Overall, Empirehouse provided more than 1,100 total lineal feet of glass railing along with the required auxiliary handrail components and mounting hardware.

Although not overwhelming, the interior glazing package included many pockets of interesting decorative glass components. This included back-painted glass with internal coating deletions for view screens at various bar areas, miscellaneous back-painted glass soffit and fascia cladding, custom laminated “antique” glass infill panels at the miscellaneous drink rail locations and oversized mirrors with edge deleted and backlit sandblasted perimeters.

Guests attending events at Minnesota Orchestra Hall will be greeted  by products from Empirehouse throughout the building, from the Peavey Plaza to the bathrooms to the bar. Our products are everywhere on this building. The space is filled with  products from  manufacturers we seldom use to one’s we use on a daily basis, and they are from all over the world:

  • Pilkington Planar Structural Glass Walls from St. Helens, England
  • Goldray Industries painted glass, mirrors, and custom laminated glass from Alberta, Canada
  • Arcadia Architectural Aluminum ’s custom Ti Wall curtainwall from Los Angeles, California
  • EFCO’s custom curtainwalls from Monett, Missouri
  • Livers Bronze glass railings from Kansas City, Missouri
  • SLUNG! oversize sliding doors from British Columbia, Canada
  • CJ Rush’s balanced doors from Ontario, Canada
  • Viracon and Oldcastle glass products, from Minnesota ….and, this is just to mention a few.

After over two years of estimating and reworking the numbers, estimator Pat Lawrence turned this over to Empirehouse’s Project Management team. As our Project Manager, Mike Gilbert worked through all the weekly meetings with Mortenson Construction and KPMB Architects determining schedules and resolving issues. Trent Johnson coordinated our work with the contractor’s project superintendent and project manager. And, Mitch Schindele coordinated the glaziers, their work and the material scheduling.

While it’s difficult to believe that almost four years has passed since we started this project, it is going to be a landmark location for all Minnesotans to enjoy for decades to come.  A glazier once told me what he liked most about his work and he said, “I’ll be able to drive past this building years from now and tell my grandkids … I built that!” The Minnesota Orchestra Hall renovation project is something to be proud about!

Minnesota Orchestra Hall
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contractor: Mortenson Construction
Architect: Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB) Architects
Glazing Specialty Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
Completed: July 2013

Empirehouse was presented with a MCA MERIT AWARD for their work at Minnesota Orchestra Hall on January 29, 2014 during the Minnesota Construction Association Awards of Excellence celebration at the Minneapolis Golf Club. On of the judges said, “Empirehouse went above and beyond the traditional offering of a subcontractor. The extensive pre-design efforts, use of BIM, dealing with an urban site, and managing and coordinating an extensive interior and exterior scope of work was done very well. Great job!”

The Minnesota Orchestra Hall was one of Finance & Commerce Top Projects of 2013.

Video: Minnesota Orchestra Hall by KPMB Architects

Video: Minnesota Orchestra Hall  Time-Lapse by KPMB Architects

Let the Empirehouse design-assist and constructability experts identify and solve your architectural glass and metal system issues before your next construction project begins. Call Empirehouse at (763) 535-1150 or contact us.

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