Empire State Building

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Case Study
Empire State Building, Observation Deck

New York, NY

Architect: Corgan Associates Architects

Glazing Contractor: Infinite Glass and Metal, Inc.

Product: Fireframes® Curtainwall Series with Pilkington Pyrostop® fire-resistive-rated glass

Empire State Building’s Unrivaled 102nd Floor Observatory Offers Sightseers A Clearer, Safer Viewing Experience with Fire-Rated Glass

The World’s Most Famous Building, the Empire State Building, hosts more than 4 million visitors from around the globe annually. As part of the $165 million total redevelopment of the Empire State Building Observatory, the opportunity to transform the attraction’s famed 102nd floor posed a great opportunity and unique challenge.

To get to that 102nd floor, a critical part of the experience is the journey to the top in a new, custom-made glass elevator by the Otis Elevator Company. Visitors arrive on the 102nd floor in a glass shaft that immediately greets them with jaw-dropping, 360-degree views of the dramatic city skyline before the elevator ever opens its doors. Technical Glass Products’ (TGP) Fireframes® Curtainwall Series fire-rated frames and Pilkington Pyrostop® fire-rated glass form an interior elevator surround that preserves the city’s spectacular views while also providing critical fire resistance.

The UL-classified fire-rated glass and framing system on the 102nd floor will block the transfer of flames, smoke and radiant and conductive heat for up to two hours safeguarding the Observatory floor’s critical area of egress.

“Thanks to its new floor-to-ceiling fire-rated glass enclosure and state-of-the-art elevator, the 102nd Floor Observatory provides awe-inspiring cityscape views,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman, President, and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “Along with providing fire resistance, the interior curtainwalls help maintain purity of view; ideal for tourists looking for an unrivaled view from 1,250 feet above New York City.”

Pilkington Pyrostop® fire-rated glass is comprised of layers of Pilkington Optiwhite™ nearly colorless, wireless, low-iron float glass and clear intumescent interlayers. Its unique makeup provides nearly the same level of visual clarity and color as ordinary float glass while still meeting stringent fire- and life-safety criteria.

TGP’s Fireframes® Curtainwall Series fire-rated frames offer narrow profiles and crisp sightlines. This helps preserve the building’s open layout and support code-driven design with custom wrapped corners and stainless-steel cladding. The frames and corners were provided by TGP and then clad in stainless steel by the metal/glass contractor, creating a system that blends seamlessly with the Observatory’s interior aesthetic.

Learn more about Fireframes Curtainwall Series and Pilkington Pyrostop fire-rated glass.

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