Case Study. Fire Resistive Curtain Wall at NYC Midtown Community Court. Renovation architects specified an exterior fire resistive curtain wall to add daylight and preserve views in this tight space.
The 1890s-era Midtown Community Court in New York City a New York Historic Landmark is currently undergoing a five-year, $18 million renovation that includes a 9,650-square-foot addition for a new elevator, lobby and stairwell featuring fire resistive glass and curtain wall.
The addition’s south-facing elevation is in close proximity to the property line. Not wanting to sacrifice natural daylight and views to the outside, architects from DMJM HARRIS / AECOM specified a fire-resistive curtain-wall system to meet fire code requirements, according to the fire-rated glass and framing supplier, Safti First. The system consists of SaftiFirst’s SuperLite II-XL 120 IGU in SAFTIfire CW Framing; the two-hour fire-resistive curtain wall is designed as a continuous span from the first floor up to the sixth floor.
The fire-rated glass and framing system performs as a fire barrier while still being part of the building’s exterior skin. It provides protection in the event of a fire while enhancing the building’s overall aesthetics and performance. In addition to meeting the fire-testing standard ASTM E119 for two hours with hose stream, the fire-resistive curtain wall also had to meet air and water infiltration testing per ASTM E783 and ASTM E1105, seismic loads, periodic maintenance/equipment loads and wind loads, according to Safti First.
The fire-rated wall system features large glass lites, maximizing natural light infiltration. The units are insulating with a low-emissivity coating for additional energy performance.
The aluminum covers used in the SAFTIfire CW Framing System, supplied with a Bone White three-coat Kynar finish, mimic the appearance of an aluminum pressure wall, enabling it to match the non-rated exterior glazing systems seamlessly, according to Safti First. The system is thermally broken, allowing it to perform well in the extreme weather of the Northeast. The system achieves a sound transmission class rating of 44, topping the 35 STC that is required by code.
AFG Group Inc. was the construction manager on the project, and Egan Architectural Metal & Glass the glazing contractor.