Benson Industries of Portland, Oregon, who was recently awarded the curtain
wall contract for the World Trade Center Tower One, has named
Viracon, Inc. of Owatonna, Minnesota as their glass supplier for the project.
The World Trade Center Tower One, also known as the Freedom Tower, is being
developed by the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and will be constructed
on the site of the World Trade Center buildings destroyed by terrorists in 2001.
"This is an extremely proud day for all of Viracon's 2,600 employees,"
said Brad J. Austin, Viracon's Senior Vice President. Over the past four years,
Viracon has assisted New York architects at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM)
to provide the best possible glass solution to achieve the aesthetic design,
energy and security performance required for the project. The Freedom Tower
is the first of four buildings to be constructed at the site.
At 1,776 feet tall, a tribute to our country's freedom with the signing of
the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Freedom Tower will be the tallest
building in North America when complete.
Viracon, the largest single source glass fabricator in the country, was selected
based on the company's ability to achieve stringent design and performance criteria
for glass. "The architects at SOM relied on Viracon to provide a glass
product that marries form and function together to achieve the design intent
of the project with highly functional glass performance in terms of energy efficiency,
security and safety," says Austin.
SOM's design for the Freedom Tower requires extremely long pieces of glass
that are highly transparent and, at the same time, provide superior energy efficiency
and security. Viracon installed custom fabrication equipment to meet the needs
of the project. "To create the feeling of openness, the architects challenged
us to fabricate exceptionally large-sized insulating glass units, which are
well above the industry standard," says Rick Voelker, Vice President of
Technical Services at Viracon. "The glass sizes to be used are approximately
two feet longer than typical fabrication limits." Viracon made significant
investments into equipment and material processing in order to accommodate the
increased sizes. Viracon is the only U.S. fabricator with the ability to work
with such large sizes for energy efficient coated insulating glass.
With all the transparency created by such large pieces of glass, energy efficiency
became an immediate challenge. In response, SOM specified Viracon's VRE-54 coating
on highly transparent low-iron glass for the Freedom Tower project. The VRE
coating is referred to as a hybrid coating because of its ability to simultaneously
provide a crisp neutral appearance, combined with high levels of energy performance
and light transmission. Viracon expects to begin fabrication on the Freedom
Tower at its Owatonna, Minnesota facility in 2008. The building will contain
just less than one million square feet of glass, making it one of the largest
contracts Viracon has been awarded in its history.
Viracon is currently working on proposals for the three additional buildings
to be constructed at the World Trade Center site. "It was a great honor
for Viracon to supply the glass on the Seven World Trade Center project, which
opened in 2006, and it is indeed a privilege for Viracon to be selected as the
glass supplier for the Freedom Tower project, which undoubtedly will be one
of the world's most prominent buildings," concludes Austin.