Fire Resistive Curtain Wall at The Kensington, Boston
Category | Code Education| Category | Case Studies

Fire Resistive Curtain Wall at The Kensington, Boston

ByBill O'Keeffe
| April 8, 2014

Exterior Fire Rated Glass in Residential Building case study

The majority of fire rated glazing applications occur inside a building to allow occupants to exit the building safely or provide an area of refuge during a fire. But what happens when the threat of fire comes from the outside? This was the case for The Kensington, a mixed-use residential building in Boston.

The west-facing elevation was in close proximity to the property line, prompting the building official to require part of the curtain wall to meet ASTM E-119/NFPA 251/UL263 for 60 minutes. In addition, the fire rated curtain wall had to match the rest of the non-rated systems seamlessly, as well as pass the rigorous dynamic testing prescribed by Curtain Wall Design Consulting (CDC), the firm hired by the architect to ensure that the building was air and water tight.

To meet these requirements, SAFTI FIRST supplied SuperLite II-XL 60 insulated with Solarban 70XL in SAFTIfire CW Framing in a continuous span from the seventh to the tenth floor, with a segmented portion at the center. The aluminum covers used in the SAFTIfire CW Framing System had a champagne metallic finish and mimicked the appearance of an aluminum pressure wall, easily matching the non-rated exterior glazing systems.

The ability to incorporate Solarban 70XL also contributed to meeting an average U-value no more than 0.40 and a solar heat gain coefficient no greater than 0.25 as required in the specifications. Since the framing system is thermally broken, it is a natural selection for exterior fire resistive applications in places that experience extreme weather like the Northeast.

The system also was subjected to dynamic curtain wall testing designed to replicate real-world conditions. An independent test lab performed numerous tests, all of which the CW Framing System successfully passed.

Its documented performance ensures that architects have a proven option for clear, unobstructed views when faced with property line requirements or other scenarios where the threat of fire comes from the outside.