Crystal Solves Major Window Wall Replacement Challenge

Crystal Windows designed and supplied a custom window wall system for the residential tower of The Venue, Pittsburgh, PA, a newly renovated mixed-use building with luxury apartments atop offices and parking.

-Unique Pittsburgh Building Renovated Using Crystal Windows Custom Products –

QUEENS, NY, September 2, 2020 –Crystal Window & Door Systems provided a custom-designed energy efficient window wall replacement system for a recently rehabilitated iconic Pittsburgh high-rise building.  Located at 625 Stanwix Street in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, The Venue is a unique 1967 vintage mixed-use 25-story structure.

Rising atop The Venue’s large pedestal 10-story public parking garage and two floors of office space is the building’s setback 12-floor residential tower.  Crystal was enlisted to design and manufacture a custom cost-effective replacement for the original window wall exterior façade of the residential tower.

Collaborating extensively with the project’s general contractor and engineer, Crystal developed a unique façade solution around its heavy-commercial Series 5100 picture window and a custom floor slab cover.  The window wall system was fabricated, assembled, glazed, and tested at Crystal’s New York facility.  Delivery of the window wall sections to the jobsite was particularly challenging, as The Venue is in the busy commercial downtown area of Pittsburgh.  Crystalcoordinated closely with the general contractor and local authorities to coincide night deliveries with street closures, and Crystal engineers and managers were present to oversee the process.

“Creating the window wall system for The Venue was truly a team effort,” said Papo Perez, Crystal’s sales/project manager for the renovation. “I initially presented the proposed window wall to the GC and then worked with our engineering and production departments to finalize the design and fabrication process. The GC sent its engineers to our New York facility for the full-scale window wall mock-up review and testing. We also worked closely with the GC on delivery logistics for overnight hours to minimize disruption to local businesses and traffic.”Window wall sections were hoisted to the vacant 11th floor office space using an exterior construction elevator, and fenestration installation for the residential tower upper floors was swiftly completed using suspended scaffolding while the building remained occupied.

The custom window wall is comprised entirely of 1,161 Crystal aluminum heavy-commercial Series 5100 Picture/Fixed Windows.  The 3-¼” jamb depth window boasts a 1” glazing pocket and an outstanding AW-PG100 rating.  While the windows varied in width, all were either 97-¼” or 108” tall to provide a true floor-to-ceiling window wall enclosure.  Some of the window wall segments used 2-lite Series 5100 windows vertically stacked in a common master frame with vision glass on the top sash while the lower sash was outfitted with a PTAC louver panel supplied and installed on site by the general contractor.

The Crystal windows utilized the Series 5100 male/female interlocking frame option, which allows the windows to be self-mulled side-by-side horizontally.  Crystal also supplied three-piece 90-degree mullions for the building’s corners, as well as receptors and high-performance subsills with end dam caps to facilitate the window wall installation.

The Venue apartments(shown above, during fenestration installation) overlook the rooftop pool and outdoor recreation area.  Below, Crystal window wall provides stunning views of the area, including PNC Park across the Allegheny River.

Completing the façade renovation was the use of a custom-designed aluminum floor slab cover specially extruded by Crystal’s affiliate company Gateway Extrusions of Union, MO.  All windows, exposed installation accessories, and slab covers are finished with a modern black powder coat AAMA 2604 paint.

The 1” insulated glass units (IGUs) for the window wall used Vitro ¼” tempered Solarban 60 coated dual-pane glass with Argon.  While most of the glass was clear, many IGUs used Solarcool Grey or Graylite II tinted glass to mask interior wall partitions. The colored glass panels also create architecturally interesting dark-tinted vertically aligned ribbons on the otherwise clear glass façade.

In the coming weeks, Crystal will supply window wall systems in the simulated silver anodized finish for the former office space on the 11th and 12th floors, which is being converted to condominiums.

In 2016, SHIR Capital of Austin, TX, acquired the Stanwix Street building and invested several million dollars to modernize and renovate the entire structure.  SHIR Capital’s affiliate general contractor Ava’s Construction of Pittsburgh handled the rehab project, engineering consulting services were provided by BECS of Clarksville, MD, and Reich Brothers Windows of Portersville, PA, completed the fenestration installation.  Nexus Signature Communities of Austin, another affiliate of SHIR Capital, is the property manager for The Venue.

The Venue was built in 1967and was originally known as Allegheny Towers.  The building is located near the Fort Duquesne Bridge and the intersection of the Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela Rivers.  The Venue has outstanding views of the city and PNC Park, home of major league baseball team Pittsburgh Pirates.  The mixed-use property features 95 luxury rental apartments, two floors of office space (being converted to condominium apartments), and a 700-car public parking garage.  Residents enjoy a new fitness center, rooftop pool and recreation area, lounge, and other gathering spaces.