Owner: Hemple Companies
General Contractor: RJM Construction
Architect: Collaborative Design Group
Glazing Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
Total Glass Area: Approx. 20,000 square feet
Completed: January 2018





Macy’s brick facade on Wabasha and 6th in St. Paul has been renovated into the new Treasure Island Center and TRIA Rink which features four-stories of glass curtainwall. The fifth floor open-air parking lot has been transformed into an ice arena for the Minnesota Wild to hold practices.

Empirehouse partnered with RJM Construction and Collaborative Design Group as the architectural glass and metal contractor setting approximately 20,000 square feet of glass on this high-profile project.

A challenging curtainwall installation met with innovative planning

Sage glass install Tria Rink

Glazing glass units as large as 5′ x 10′ into fully captured aluminum curtainwall frames isn’t new to Empirehouse, only in this case it wasn’t your typical insulating glass. The TRIA Rink was glazed with approximately 6,500 square feet of state-of-the-art electrochromatic SageGlass. This programmable smart glass automatically tints as the sun moves across the sky so occupants can enjoy uninterrupted views of the city without glare. It provides a comfortable controlled climate without the sun’s heat gain, and it is a sustainability solution with LEED certification points.

To make this glass function properly, each unit needed to be carefully wired, tested, and glazed perfectly into a unique frame placement. This required an organized communication strategy. Project Assistant Rachel Yechout created an elevation to relay SageGlass wiring instruction procedures to the Fabrication and Installation Teams as they tested each glass tag.

Adding to the glass complexity were other challenges. The TRIA Rink sits four stories above ground. After a hole was carved into the concrete facade, there were no clear dimensions to field verify the overall height. Adding to this challenge, the top row of the curtainwall angled downward at a 50-foot slope.

Frame installationAnother major challenge was site logistics. The curtainwall frames and glass would need to be craned straight upward four stories with zero site conditions and just a few feet away from an ongoing stream of city traffic.

Empirehouse Field Superintendent and Glazing Foreman met with the crane operator to discuss logistics and develop a plan. Because space and time were limited, Empirehouse and the trades on site shared the use of two 125-foot boom lifts instead of coordinating lifts for each subcontractor.  Empirehouse developed an innovative way to set the curtainwall frames in pre-assembled sections as the massive curtainwall sections were assembled and loaded onto flatbed trailers so that sections could be delivered to the job site and craned from the trailer in sequence.

With only one way in and out of the Wabasha construction barricades, the flatbed trailer needed to pull onto Wabasha and back into place. Mitch orchestrated the 53-foot flatbed trailer, crane, and 185-foot boom lift to an art form in order to install the aluminum curtainwall sections. After the frames were installed, the glass was delivered and staged in a similar fashion.

Innovative design-assist solutions

The ice arena curtainwall posed another challenge: the structural engineers working the project required six inches of deflection in the steel roof trusses above the curtainwall system. RJM Construction tasked the architect and trades involved to develop ahead detail that could accommodate this deflection. Empirehouse team came up with an innovative solution and incorporated a Tremco silicone sheet to help accommodate the movement while keeping the building watertight. Then custom break metal was added to protect the silicone sheet and provide a finished product that met the architect’s design intent.

The other area Empirehouse provided design assist was at the 20’ x 7’ Solar Innovations operable glass window wall in the level 2 curtainwall system. Steel reinforcing within the verticals and mullions were engineered to support the full-width opening.

Addition Glass and Metal Scope

  • Below the ice arena, Empirehouse installed three floors of 7-1/2″ deep Old Castle Reliance fully captured curtainwall system which was glazed with approximately 13,500 square feet of 1″ blue tinted insulating glass with a high performance low ’e‘ coating
  • Approximately 200 lineal feet of custom post-mounted Trex guardrail system glazed with 5/16″ clear tempered laminated glass
  • Approximately 500 square feet of standard 2″ x 4.5″ fully captured clear class I anodized Oldcastle FG3000T aluminum storefront framing assemblies glazed with 1″ blue Pacifica tinted glass with high performance low e coating at exterior assemblies and 1/4″ clear tempered glass at interior assemblies
  • Aluminum swinging doors glazed with 1″ blue Pacifica tinted insulated glass with high-performance low ’e‘ coating
  • Glazed sliding doors: Three fully automatic bi-parting sliding door assemblies glazed with 1″ clear insulated glass, 1″ blue Pacifica tinted insulated glass with high performance low ’e‘ coating, or 1/4″ clear tempered glass
  • Approximately 50 lineal feet of plexiglass dividers set within 1″ x 1″ clear anodized aluminum sill channel at the General Manager’s observation booth
  • Borrowed lites and fire-rated glass

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.