October 06, 2011

Installing 1.5-Ton Glass Panels

Glass panels are installed at the James A. Michener Art Museum during the construction of the Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion.

The Philadelphia Inquirer covered the recent installation of enormous glass panels specially fabricated in Germany at the Michener Museum's Putman Pavilion.

Wide glass panels being added to Michener Museum's new Putman Event Pavilion 
By Bill Reed, Inquirer Staff Writer 
The James A. Michener Art Museum's new Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion has started to take dramatic shape in Doylestown with the installation of 20 23 ½-foot-tall glass panels that weigh more than 1 ½ tons each. 
"The glass walls used in the Putman Event Pavilion will be among the largest self-supporting insulated glass units worldwide, and potentially the largest in the United States," museum director and chief executive officer Bruce Katsiff said in a written statement. "We expect museums to build architectural wonders, and this project will not disappoint our visitors." 
Installation of the panels, which were made in Germany, began Friday and is expected to be completed next week by two local contractors. Each 5-foot-7-inch-wide panel, consisting of five layers of glass weighing a total of 3,350 pounds, took three to four months to make. There also are two glass doors and a glass panel over each door. 
To position the glass, a 150-ton crane and a custom-made suction device from Germany were used. The device weighs about 900 pounds, with 26 suction cups that can lift 4,400 pounds.

"The size and magnitude and scope of the structural glass wall has never been done anywhere in the world, to the best of our knowledge," said Gustavo Perea, president of the general contractor, Adams-Bickel Associates in Collegeville. 
The all-glass pavilion, scheduled to open May 1, 2012, is a 2,700-square-foot addition designed by architects KieranTimberlake. It will extend into the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden, in contrast to the museum's 19th-century stone walls. 
The pavilion will host public programs ranging from jazz nights to lectures, plus private events. 
Workers from National Glass & Metal Co. in Horsham also helped with the installation. National is also working on the new Barnes Museum in Philadelphia, and has installed glass for the Liberty Bell Pavilion and Citizens Bank Park. 
To see a video of the installation at the museum at 138 S. Pine St., go to http://michenerartmuseum.wordpress.com.