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Westfield Old Orchard Glass Cube in Skokie, Illinois. Courtesy Westfield (left) and © James Steinkamp Photography (right).

Westfield Old Orchard Glass Cube

  • COMPLETION DATE
    2013

Overview

Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design of the steel frame and foundations and façade design services for an award-winning, free-standing, 1,300-square-foot glass cube that serves as a multifunction space for short-term exhibitions, promotional parties, concerts and other events. Two operable walls transition the cube into an open, naturally ventilated structure during warmer months to function as a band shell and afford seasonal exhibition space.

To preserve the transparency of the pavilion, the structure is supported on just four steel columns, one in each corner. A series of large doors on the north and south façades pivot to open the space to the outdoors. The east and west walls consist of oversized anti-reflective glass panels supported by structural glass fins joined to the panels by structural silicone. Stainless steel plates embedded into the fins at roof level support the roof glass and transfer the façade loads to the main structure.

The minimalist system is nearly invisible. The interior has no fixed furnishings or floor finishes and includes movable lights and strategically placed power locations to allow flexibility in programming.

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Glazing offers transparency that enhances a façade’s aesthetics and experience from both the interior and exterior. It provides light and a visual connection between the inside and outside. But designing with glass requires the deliberate balancing of light transmittance and the effects it has on energy performance and occupant comfort. Glazing design also requires careful consideration of material strength and safety. We provide a full range of design and engineering support for glazing and glass structures, from structural analyses to recommendations for aesthetics and energy performance. Our expertise in glazed-façade and structural-glass construction includes unitized aluminum frames, stick-built metal frames, steel cable supports, structural glass fin supports and glass stairs and balustrades.