Security Iimprovements for the pavilion addition and plaza for the Jacob Javits Federal Building in Manhattan.

Jacob Javits Federal Building – Broadway Pavilion Addition and Plaza



Protective Design, which became a Thornton Tomasetti practice in September 2015, provided structural design services for perimeter security improvements and lobby renovations at a federal office building in Lower Manhattan. The original building was a 41-story steel-frame structure with laminated glass exterior that eventually included an adjoining 47-story annex, now integral to the building. With the addition of an adjacent eight-story building, the facility occupies two full city blocks and totals approximately 2.4 million square feet of office and support space accommodating 8,000 permanent employees.

Improvements for Safety and Aesthetics
This renovation was performed as part of the GSA First Impressions Program, which renovates lobbies and public plazas of federally owned and leased buildings to create more attractive, orderly public spaces with better way-finding and circulation. The program focuses particularly on public spaces that have been compromised since a building’s inception by the addition of security and the evolution of technological requirements. Our work at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building was concentrated on the entry pavilion, the lobby, the perimeter, and the integration of security throughout the facility.

Designed for Strength
The entrance pavilion is a self-supporting structure for vertical and lateral loads. Its framing system is a mix of rigid frames and diagonal bracing that rests on the roof slab of the below-grade parking garage, which was reinforced to accept the new imposed loads. Structural steel was selected to frame the pavilion to generate the rigidity needed to support a cable-net glass curtain wall with slim column profiles for an airy, light-filled environment. The steel structure helps minimize the weight of the pavilion and the resulting loads imposed on the garage below.

Cable-net Curtain Wall
The glass façade system combines a mullioned curtain wall with vertically strung cables, for additional lateral support. The combination of these systems created a higher level of visual transparency, as it allowed the mullion sizes to be kept to a minimum. The cables run vertically behind the curtain wall’s aluminum framing system, connecting either to a wide flange beam at the roof level or to steel plates that were shop welded to the hollow structural steel column sections. The structural steel frame and cable-net curtain wall systems were also designed to satisfy the Interagency Security Committee’s Security Design Criteria for Federal facilities. The blast analysis and design took advantage of the flexibility of the façade system, to meet the security requirements, while minimizing the loads imposed on the pavilion’s slender steel framing members.

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