IWR North America Creates Innovative Glass Facade for Saint Louis University Grand Hall
Saint Louis University's new Grand Hall is a seven-story, 237,000-square-foot facility located in the heart of the campus, overlooking the cityscape. The $71 million project, designed by architecture firm Hastings+Chivetta with Alberici serving as general contractor, houses nearly 530 first- and second-year students who enjoy suite style-living and comfortable, collaborative learning and lounge spaces.
In addition to student housing, Grand Hall also features a 740-seat dining hall that includes restaurant-style seating, a fireplace, multiple food stations and an outdoor courtyard. Grand Hall is home to the Diversity and Global Citizenship, Engineering and Innovation, and Ethical Leaders in Business learning communities. It is connected to the largest residential facility on campus and is adjacent to the recreation center.
Exterior and Interior Work
The building facade features a varied-width glass panel design that has quickly become popular with institutional buildings. IWR North America was chosen for the furnishing and installation of all the building's glass panels.
To reflect the university's brand colors, the exterior of the building contains high-performing insulated vision glass in both tinted and laminated blue coatings and tinted spandrel glass installed into aluminum curtainwall and window wall framing. Spandrel refers to coated opaque glass in areas on an aluminum frame which conceal structural columns, floors and shear walls that are designed to not be visible from the exterior of the building. This project required spandrel glass to harmonize with the vision areas of the building. The insulated glass increases a window's thermal performance by reducing the heat gain or loss while still providing the maximum amount of natural light into the building.
Additionally, IWR installed several glass guardrails as well as ornamental metal handrails. Located on the seventh-floor observation deck is an all-glass guardrail encompassing two sides as well as glass guardrails in the lounge areas on the fourth and sixth floors. IWR also installed the ornamental handrails, fabricated by Modern Metals, leading from the main lobby entrance to the cafeteria and the rails at the ramp into the courtyard along the east wing of the building. The picket-style rail at the ramp is approximately 100 feet long and was set into place as one continuous piece.
For the interior, IWR installed mirrors in the student rooms, specialty glass partitions in the cafeteria with custom fleurs-de-lis symbolizing the university's heritage, fire-rated glass at student study rooms and more than 30 aluminum entrance doors on the exterior and interior of the building.
Time is a Challenge
This project contained numerous challenges, which is typical for a project of this size. One of the biggest challenges IWR faced was the time restraint. In order for the building to open on time for the school year, IWR needed to have the exterior windows installed before the other tradesmen could start on all of the interior finish work. Without any room for error and on a tight schedule, IWR had to order the materials, properly assemble the system, and efficiently install the glass in the field.
In the 11-month span, IWR North America successfully furnished and installed 35,000 square feet of glass panels for SLU's second new residence hall project. The new building falls in line with the trends in both the education and hospitality industry because of its design in utilizing the common areas with large windows allowing for an abundance of natural light.
Grand Hall, which replaces a surface parking lot, is one of the most sustainable buildings on campus by following LEED silver standards and using flooring, carpeting and concrete made partially from recycled and regionally sourced materials. It was built specifically to take maximum advantage of sun exposure for daylight harvesting. The building uses reflective materials and abundant vegetation in its landscaping to reduce its urban heat island impact. To ensure that the new residence halls meet the needs of students, campus officials worked closely with the Student Government Association and the Residence Hall Association.