Beautiful 2-Hour Glass Floor Brings Light and Protection to San Francisco’s Union Square Station

Union Square Station
San Francisco, CA
Architect: Robin Chiang & Company
General Contractor: Tutor Perini
Glazing Contractor: ACR
Products Used: GPX® FireFloor System for the 2-hour glass floor; SuperLite® II-XL120 in GPX® Architectural Series Framing for the 2-hour elevator enclosures

According to the SFMTA’s website, the upcoming Union Square Station in San Francisco, CA will “connect residents and visitors to this vibrant urban center, home to the city’s highest concentration of jobs and an outstanding array of hotels, retailers and restaurants.” Scheduled to open later in 2022, the station includes an underground concourse that leads commuters directly to the Powell Street station, where they can easily link with BART and other Muni Metro lines.

Because of this station’s prominent location, the architects ensured that the design would not only be functional, but that it also provided an artistic statement fitting this well-known San Francisco busy hub.  To achieve that the architects, Robin Chiang & Company specified a 2-hour glass floor with a decorative walkable surface.  A glass floor that would also serve as a lightwell to improve wayfinding by welcoming commuters into the expansive underground concourse level.

The artwork for the glass floor was a commission to Hughen/Starkweather, a collaborative team comprised of San Francisco artists Jennifer Starkweather and Amanda Hughen.

To bring this important design and functional element to life, SAFTI FIRST® worked with Tutor Perini, the General Contractor, and ACR, the Glazing Contractor.   SAFTI FIRST® provided its GPX® FireFloor System, a complete fire resistive glass and framing assembly that meets ASTM E-119/UL 263 up to 2 hours. The fire resistive glass floor brought in light and openness desired while providing maximum protection against smoke, flames and radiant heat required by code.  Listed by UL and Intertek, the SAFTI FIRST®’s GPX® FireFloor System has the largest tested and listed individual glass panel sizes in the market today.  The top-loading modular, one piece, design of this system makes it easy to install.

The walkable art surface for this project was provided by Pulp Studios in Los Angeles, CA and then laminated into a single fire rated two-hour floor panel.

SAFTI FIRST® with our new Pujol 100+, a two-million-dollar complete laminating line with one oven for standard lamination processes and one oven for security products including bomb blast and detention is now able to provide several new glass products and accomplish all our laminating needs for these new security products and current in-house requirements. This state-of-the-art automated laminating line with two ovens is capable of manufacturing wide variation of laminated glass products. SAFTI FIRST® is currently testing for certification Bullet-Resistant Glass up to level ten and other glazing’s such as Bomb Blast, Hurricane and Forced Entry/Attack. While testing other for their environmental capabilities utilitarian abilities such as Switchable and Dynamic Glass, Art Glass, Floors, Glass Stairs, Glass Railings, Mirrored or One-Way “See Through” Glass, Decorative Patterned Glass with Organic Inserted-Fabric, Metals, Stones and Papers, Colored Glass, LED Glass, Bird Friendly Glass, Glass with Ceramic Frits, T.V. and Internet Mirrored Glass, Vandal Protection, Decorative, Energy Performance, and Sound Rated Glazing. Each of these glass options (that was a lot of glass to mention 😊) can be mixed or added together in most cases and incorporate with resistive fire rated glass tested up to 120 minutes and with some protective (45 minute) ratings providing the maximum choice and flexibility to the architect for any projects specified fire or fire and security glazing needs.

In addition to the 2-hour glass floor, SAFTI FIRST® also provided the fire rated glazing and framing for the 2-hour glass elevator enclosures, using  SuperLite® II-XL 120 in GPX® Architectural Series Framing, provide an open and airy feeling, while traveling 70 feet below ground then through the station to reach the station’s platform. Each level is connected by SAFTI FIRST®’s clear decorative fire rated glazing to continue this airy artistic feeling with light flowing down through each floor.

All the fire rated materials SAFTI FIRST® provided to this project met the Buy America Act required by the government for transportation projects with federal involvement. SAFTI FIRST® prides itself in having a fully integrated U.S.A. manufacturing facility to meet these requirements for the Union Square Station. And to proudly make our complete line of fire rated wall, window, door, floor and now the full line of laminated glazing products in our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in Merced, CA.

As a company that originated in San Francisco over 40 years ago, we are truly excited and proud to have been a part of creating this world-class station in beautiful San Francisco and its famous Union Square. We’re anxious to see the station open to the public soon!