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Fire Resistive Curtain Wall at Aspen Art Museum

Case Study: Fire Resistive Curtain Wall at Aspen Art Museum. SAFTI FIRST’s engineering team provided design assistance to the architects and supplied a 2-hour fire resistive curtain wall with SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Ultra-Clear Glass insulated with Viracon VE13-85 in GPX Curtain Wall Framing.

Project Name: Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, CO

Architects: Shigeru Ban Architects / CCY Architects

With sections of the glass curtain wall also functioning as an elevator enclosure, it had to meet the fire resistive wall criteria ASTM E-119 for 2 hours.

With sections of the glass curtain wall also functioning as an elevator enclosure, it had to meet the fire resistive wall criteria ASTM E-119 for 2 hours.

General Contractor: Turner Construction
Glazing Contractor: Harmon Inc.
Fire Rated System: SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Ultra-Clear Glass insulated with Viracon VE13-85 in GPX Curtain Wall Framing

The fire resistive curtain wall was supplied with custom tie-backs without exposed fasteners to make sure that it worked seamlessly with the adjacent non-rated curtain wall

When the new Aspen Art Museum opened its doors to the public in August 2014, it was met with much excitement, and for good measure. Designed by Pritzker prize winning architect Shigeru Ban, the brand new 33,000 square foot museum boasts of large, exterior glass walls designed to keep the visitors engaged with views of the beautiful Aspen landscape. A woven screen encloses the glass curtain wall to provide shading from direct sunlight. But with the glass still exposed to the elements, it needed to be able to perform in extreme climates in addition to providing maximum daylight and clear views – and the fire resistive curtain wall was no exception.

With sections of the glass curtain wall also functioning as an elevator enclosure, it had to meet the fire resistive wall criteria ASTM E-119 for 2 hours. In addition, the system also had to be air and water tight and meet rigorous thermal performance requirements.

SAFTI FIRST’s engineering team provided design assistance to the architects and supplied a 2-hour fire resistive curtain wall with SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Ultra-Clear Glass insulated with Viracon VE13-85 in GPX Curtain Wall Framing. SAFTI FIRST’s GPX Curtain Wall system is tested to the following standards:

  • ASTM E 283-04, Rate of Air Leakage Through Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls and Doors
  • ASTM E 331-00, Standard Test Method for Metal Curtain Walls and Doors by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference
  • AAMA 501.1-05, Standard Test Method for Metal Curtain Walls and Doors by Uniform Dynamic Pressure
  • ASTM E 330-2, Structural Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, and Doors by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference
  • AAMA 501.4-09, Recommended Static Test Method for Evaluating Curtain Wall and Storefront Systems Subjects to Seismic and Wind Induced Interstory Drifts
  • Thermal Cycling and Condensation Evaluation
  • Interstory Vertical Displacement Tests

SAFTI FIRST also provided thermal analysis to ensure that the energy requirements for this project were met. In an article that appeared in Glass Magazine, Jason Nimmo, Harmon Inc.’s project manager for Aspen Art Museum, said that “the exterior fire-rated IGUs were the most impressive, at 2-1/2-inch overall thickness. These IGs had to accomplish three different elements: match non-rated glass in adjacent systems, achieve the specified fire rating, and thermally insulate as well as the non-rated IGs.”

Lastly, the 2-hour fire resistive curtain wall was supplied with custom tie-backs without exposed fasteners to make sure that it worked seamlessly with the adjacent non-rated curtain wall.

Since SAFTI FIRST provided design assistant early in the project, the engineering team was able to address the expectations and challenges of the project, as well as coordinate delivery schedules with the building team. The result is a beautiful and code compliant fire resistive curtain wall that enhanced the new Aspen Art Museum’s overall design and performance.

Do you have a current or upcoming project that needs fire rated glass and framing? Contact us today!