Great Glazing: Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center
The basics: The Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort, Ky., features the largest FEMA-grade storm- and blast-resistant curtainwall built to date, according to United States Bullet Proofing Inc., the glass supplier.
The project, which meets FEMA 361 guidelines for community safe rooms, features large spans of glass, instead of small window openings often seen in storm shelters. The glass is supported only by the window system itself. United States Bullet Proofing evaluated the glass system to ensure the proper reinforcements were in place to allow the tall vertical mullions to resist forces on their own without the support of a steel structure. “This allows the architect to design exactly as aesthetically pleasing as he would, while still meeting the high tornado resistant forces," says Jordan Sandvik, project manager-FSO, USBP. "[It] really showcases the new possibilities of storm/security resistant curtain wall and storefronts."
The players: Architect, Omni Architects; general contractor, Morel Construction; contract glazier, Contract Glazing Group Inc.; glass fabricator/ window supplier, United States Bullet Proofing Inc.
The glass and systems: The job features 24-foot-tall curtainwall storefronts, custom painted. The glass-clad polycarbonate consists of multiple glass and poly layers sandwiched together with an added insulating layer, and custom dot matrix. The curtainwall also includes spandrel configurations. The elevations vary from large span curtain wall of 24 feet by 75 feet to 24 feet by 10 feet storefronts with integrated single and double-pane door systems. The architect also specified some smaller openings, including 2-feet-tall ribbon window systems and 2-feet to 5-feet tall punched window openings. USBP fabricated the entire system in-house, and disassembled for shipping to the job site. Once on site, the openings were reassembled, lifted and anchored into the openings. They were glazed once in place.
All glass components are FEMA 361-rated for wind and impact ratings of 15 pounds traveling at 100 miles per hour, large missile impact and cycling positive and negative wind pressures of 300 pounds per square foot, to simulate winds of 250 miles per hour.