U of M Microbiology Research Facility

The University of Minnesota Microbiology Research Facility opened in January 2016 and includes labs and office space for the study of infectious diseases and to support the ­development of new drugs and vaccines. The 80,000 sq. ft. facility is also home to the Department of Microbiology as well as other faculty from across the Academic Health Center.

U of M MicroBiology Research Facility Photo credit Jeremy MeyerEmpirehouse was awarded the architectural glass and metal contract by Mortenson Construction to provide over 26,000 square feet of ultra-performance thermal composite and multi-sided structural glazed aluminum curtainwall, entrances, a skyway, decorative structural glass, and a glass railing system. The architectural glass selected includes a high visible light transmission gray tint with a high performance low ‘e’ coating and argon gas filled air space for improved u-value performance.

U of M Microbiology Frit PatternA large portion of the glazing infill includes a custom silkscreened ceramic frit pattern to help with the reduction of solar heat gain within the building interior. Spandrel conditions were provided as a custom “shadow box” panel application which creates the appearance of depth within the daylight openings. Additionally, various custom depth and profile exterior aluminum extrusion covers were provided throughout the façade to accentuate the “shadow box” conditions and create interesting textures against the angular configurations of the curtainwall systems.

U of M Microbiology Curtainwall Conference roomA smaller portion of the scope of work includes a custom extruded mullion condition to create a barrel-shaped system at the dining commons space. Additional notable interior features include fire-rated aluminum curtainwall and door, decorative structural glass components, and structural glass railing systems.

Project Challenges

Over 30 shapes of multiple depths make up the custom curtainwall system. To streamline the coordination complexity, Empirehouse utilized location labels as each part was cut in the Fabrication plant. This ensured that the extrusions were installed efficiently on site.

Another challenge was sealant compatibility during winter installation. Each uncaptured insulated glass lite within the curtainwall system was dependent upon silicone-sealed perimeters. Fair weather caulking conditions were required for adherence. Prudent weather planning was needed in order to accommodate the tight completion schedule.

U of M MicroBiology Photo Credit Jeremy MeyerUsing BIM from shop drawings to construction completion, Empirehouse finished the project safely and on time with no change orders.

Empirehouse won 2017 Minnesota Construction Association Subcontractor/Specialty Contractor Project of the Year Award: U of M Microbiology Research Facility.

Owner: University of Minnesota
General Contractor: Mortenson Construction
Architect: BWBR Architects
Glazing Specialty Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
Total Glass Area: 26,000 square feet
Completed: 2015

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

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