Minneapolis’ Baker Center Features Tubelite’s Products

Photo by Paul Crosby

Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, the renovated 90-year-old Baker Center showcases a prominent new building entry featuring Tubelite curtainwall and storefront systems. At the corner of Marquette Avenue and Eighth Street, the main entry provides a unified façade for the four buildings that comprise the complex.

Owned by The Travelers Companies and managed by Transwestern, the Baker Center boasts more than 1 million square feet of office and retail space. It consists of the Baker Building, Investors Building, Roanoke Building and the 730 Building. The Baker, Roanoke and Investor buildings were built in the 1920s. The 730 Building was completed in 1968. The $25 million renovation started in 2016, continued in phases to minimize distribution to occupants and concluded in July 2017.

“The goal of the design was to honor the historic aspects of the buildings, while creating unique modern spaces to support today’s mobile worker,” stated David Serrano, AIA, a principal with RSP, the architectural firm heading up the design. “The result takes advantage of the art deco bones of the building, while introducing forward-thinking amenities like the concierge desk and rooftop deck.”

To reflect the updated look and performance for this property, Brin Contract Glazing‘s team worked closely with the architect, construction manager Hightower Initiatives, general contractor JE Dunn and Tubelite to install the curtainwall. “It was a logistically challenging project,” admits Scott Ide, Brin Contract Glazing.

He elaborates, “Each time the demolition team removed a window, you didn’t know what you’d find. The four buildings had been combined over the years into one. With different construction techniques for each, and no existing drawings from the original architects or the many earlier remodeling contractors, drawings and revisions were nonstop throughout the renovation.”

An essential design element in the Baker Center’s renovation is the dramatic corner constructed using Tubelite’s 400TU Therml=Block® Screw Spline Curtainwall, vertically butt-glazed with horizontal covers. Ide notes, “A massive amount of steel was added to properly anchor the curtainwall. It’s the main feature of the building from the fourth to the top floor.”

Photo by Paul Crosby

The lower levels feature Tubelite’s TU24000 Therml=Block dual-pocket, poured and debridged thermal storefront on the exterior, and 4500 Series storefront on the interior. Expanded window lines at street level offer a view into the new entry lobby featuring a 60-foot media wall. At the architect’s request, TU24000 Therml=Block storefront also was used for the windows on the upper stories.

“In Minnesota’s cold climates, Tubelite Therml=Block products provide superior energy and condensation resistance performance using multiple thermal barriers, while providing structural integrity and aesthetic flexibility,” explains Mary Avery, Tubelite’s vice president of marketing.

She continues, “Optimizing thermal performance helps lower the load on HVAC systems and reducing associated energy costs, while maintaining a comfortable interior temperature. Reducing condensation can improve a building’s appearance and sanitation, and minimize damage to adjacent building materials.”

Tubelite relies on Linetec to provide the thermal strut, thermal pour and debridged, plus the finishing for its aluminum framing members. For the Baker Center project, the aluminum is finished in a clear anodize. Anodizing is the most durable and longest lasting option for finishing architectural aluminum building products. Because it is an integral part of the aluminum substrate, the anodic coating provides excellent wear and abrasion resistance with minimal maintenance.

Photo by Paul Crosby

Complementing the low-maintenance, durable, thermally broken, high-performance aluminum framing, Tubelite’s curtainwall and storefront was glazed with low-e, 1-inch Solarban® 60 and low-iron glass with warm edge spacers and argon fill from Vitro Architectural Glass provided by Oldcastle.

Within its glass-enclosed comfortable interior, the Baker Center’s top amenity floor sports high-tech, flexible conference room space, a collaborative lounge and concierge services designed to appeal to today’s workforce. There is also an on-site fitness center and rooftop patio with views of the Minneapolis skyline.

The project team modernized the downtown icon, while maintaining some of its history through design elements. “Now that the project’s completed, everybody’s happy with it,” reports Ide. “It’s a better performing building with a dramatically improved look.”

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Baker Center, 8th Street and Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

* Owner: The Travelers Companies, Inc., https://www.travelers.com
* Property manager: Transwestern®, https://www.transwestern.com
* Architect: RSP Architects, http://rsparch.com
* Construction management company: Hightower Initiatives, http://www.hightowerinitiatives.com
* General contractor: JE Dunn Construction Group, Inc., https://www.jedunn.com
* Glazing contractor: Brin Contract Glazing, http://www.bringlass.com/brin-contract-glazing
* Glazing systems – glass fabricator: Oldcastle, Inc.; http://www.oldcastle.com
* Glazing systems – glass manufacturer: Vitro Architectural Glass; Pittsburgh; http://www.vitroglazings.com
* Glazing systems – finishing and thermal improvement services: Linetec, Wausau, Wisconsin; http://www.linetec.com
* Glazing systems – storefront and curtainwall manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan; https://www.tubeliteinc.com
* Photos by: Paul Crosby
* Video – animated tour by RSP Architects: http://rsparch.com/2017/02/20/baker-center-animation

About Tubelite Inc.
Established in 1945, Tubelite celebrates 70 years of dependable service, fabrication and distribution of architectural aluminum products. Part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., the company is an industry leader in eco-efficient storefront, curtainwall and entrance systems, and recognized for its fast, reliable and consistent delivery. Tubelite’s corporate office, fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations are located in Walker, Michigan. Its Dallas location provides additional fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations and its facility in Reed City, Michigan, houses the company’s aluminum extrusion operation.

Tubelite and its staff are members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), the Society of Military Engineers (SAME) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

To learn more about Tubelite’s projects, personnel, products and programs, please visit www.tubeliteinc.com. For information on employment opportunities at Tubelite, please click on “Careers” at the top of the home page.

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Media contact: Heather West, 612-724-8760, heather@heatherwestpr.com

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In the News: Hotel Henry

Opened in April, Hotel Henry at the Richardson Olmsted Campus in Buffalo, New York, transforms a progressive 19th-century psychiatric hospital into an elegant urban resort and conference center.

The building is a National Historic Landmark and part of a 1,500-foot-long complex of stone and brick buildings by Henry Hobson Richardson that are surrounded by 100 acres of grounds.

Reimagined by New York architects Deborah Berke Partners, the new Hotel Henry features a glass box main entry constructed using Tubelite’s curtainwall system. Blending historic and modern elements, the fresh concept remains true to the original philosophy of this healing environment, which emphasized the restorative and therapeutic potential of daylight, fresh air, and pleasing spaces and views.

Click here to read Architectural Record’s article about this inventive renovation project.

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UND’s Aerospace Research Facility Features Tubelite Curtainwall

The University of North Dakota’s (UND) Robin Hall opened last year as the tallest building in Grand Forks and the headquarters for the unmanned aircraft systems programs at UND’s nationally acclaimed John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. The new building’s sleek, light-filled design features curtainwall and storefront systems from Tubelite Inc. to meet the structure’s modern aesthetic, sustainability goals and performance requirements.

The $22 million, 72,000-square-foot aerospace research facility was designed by ICON Architectural Group. Olaf Anderson Construction served as the general contractor. After more than a year of construction, the first students arrived in autumn for the 2016-17 academic year.

As the area’s tallest building, Robin Hall’s base rises five stories and ascends into a 127-foot glass and metal tower at the structure’s entrance. Brin Contract Glazing worked closely with ICON and Tubelite to accomplish this signature element. Brin’s senior project manager, Elias Tovar, says, “It’s the first thing you see when you arrive. It’s a statement piece and it looks fantastic.”

ICON’s Matti Roinila, AIA, agrees, “Robin Hall not only represents the innovative and aspirational nature of the University of North Dakota Aerospace School, but also serves as a beacon for the entire University of North Dakota campus.”

According to Roinila, the new building accommodates the exponential growth of unmanned aerial systems in the region. “We carried this vision into the design with such areas as the executive board room featuring floor-to-ceiling curtainwall and the ultra-clear glass tower observation floor. These two areas invoke the sense of expanse and are where some of the most remarkable views in all of the Red River Valley can be witnessed.”

Capturing these views, Brin enclosed the building’s tower on all sides using Tubelite 400 Series screw spline curtainwall. The aluminum-framed system was fabricated using 11,261 square feet of insulated glass with low-e coatings. “The tower’s glass is crystal clear. When backlit at night, it radiates across the campus. During the day, the interior is brightly lit with natural light,” describes Tovar.

Roinila also emphasizes, “Managing solar heat gain was a key performance requirement due to the design intent for the 127-foot glass tower. The Tubelite system provided this performance requirement, while allowing ultra-clear glazing to be utilized.”

Screw-applied pressure bars secure the glass and a cover plate conceals the fasteners. Enhancing the tower’s structural performance, 17,500 pounds of steel reinforce the aluminum framing members. For added durability, Linetec applied a black anodize finish.

Including the curtainwall on the glass tower, the building’s façade showcases four Tubelite systems installed by Brin: Nearly 10,000 square feet of Tubelite’s 400 Series screw spline shear block curtainwall for the tower and lower levels; 1,400 square feet of 200 Series shear block curtainwall on the northwest corner; 13,000 square feet of 14000 I/O Series storefront for the punched openings; and 360 square feet of E4500 Series interior framing for the vestibule. All the aluminum framing was finished by Linetec in matching black anodize.

“We needed to be very careful with rough openings as we didn’t have the luxury of being able to field verify,” comments Construction Manager Lyn Narum at Olaf Anderson. “Both our framing crew and Brin did an outstanding job of making sure items were built per the shop drawings.”

Some unusually shaped, trapezoidal units were necessary to achieve the precise appearance of the tower and the lower concave, segmented wall. Brin pre-glazed all of these units in its facility and then shipped them to the job site for installation. Tovar explains, “It drastically reduced the time to install that portion of the building. Given the northern climate, this was key to sheltering other work from the elements during construction.”

“The project was placed under an aggressive 14-month schedule,” notes Roinila. “Due to this schedule, a majority of the tower steel and glass installation occurred during winter months. Strong winds and protecting the building from the elements were constant hurdles contractors successfully handled.”

Tovar continues, “One notable challenge was the scale and height of the work to cap off the 12-½ story tower with a metal-framed Wasco skylight, which was designed with a steeply sloped pitch. The surrounding areas of the tower lacked any outside catwalk framing to work from, so to make it accessible for manpower, equipment and material staging, our team brainstormed and devised a unique solution.”

An engineered floor truss deck system at the skylight base provided a staging area for materials and access to the anchor locations. From this vantage point, Brin’s glaziers used an overhead crane to set and secure the aluminum rafter and purlin sections atop the curtainwall.

“Once on site, they completed each item quickly and were really good to work with. They definitely take a lot of pride in their craftsmanship,” praised Olaf Anderson’s Narum.

Roinila echoes this sentiment: “Brin Contract Glazing was efficient at installing the Tubelite system in unfavorable conditions and allowing the overall project to be completed on schedule. The final product surpassed the client’s needs and provides an aesthetically unique statement for the University of North Dakota.”

Inside Robin Hall, four floors house a large auditorium, student study space, administration offices, classrooms, collaborative learning spaces and a hangar space for flight testing. The building’s basement also includes an open research space with laboratories and simulators. A skywalk directly connects the new facility to UND Aerospace’s Ina Mae Rude and Ryan Hall.

UND’s School of Aerospace Sciences has seen tremendous growth. The university was the first to offer a bachelor’s degree in unmanned aircraft systems, which has been a major focus since 2008.

In an earlier interview with KVRR-TV, U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota explained the benefit of UND’s program to Grand Forks and state of North Dakota: “(It) means we can fly unmanned aircraft without a chase plane beyond line of sight. Now that gives companies and NASA a real reason to come here because they can now do testing here that they can’t do in other places.”

Private donations and $1.5 million in matches from the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education Challenge Fund largely financed Robin Hall. The building’s name honors the largest contributors to the project, Mary E. Bazar and Si Robin.

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University of North Dakota, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, Robin Hall, 4275 University Ave., Grand Forks, ND 58202

* Owner: University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation; Grand Forks, North Dakota; http://aero.und.edu

* Architect: ICON Architectural Group; Grand Forks, North Dakota; http://www.iconarchitects.com

* General contractor: Olaf Anderson Construction; Fargo, North Dakota; http://www.olafanderson.com

* Glazing contractor: Brin Contract Glazing; Waite Park, Minnesota; http://www.bringlass.com

* Glazing systems – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan; http://www.tubeliteinc.com

* Glazing systems – glass manufacturer: Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®; PPG Solarban® 60 on Starphire® and Solarban 60 on Optigray®; Albertville, Minnesota

* Glazing systems – finishing provider: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin; http://www.linetec.com

* Photos: Robb Siverson

* Video: https://vimeo.com/168805633

About Tubelite Inc.

Established in 1945, Tubelite celebrates 70 years of dependable service, fabrication and distribution of architectural aluminum products. Part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., the company is an industry leader in eco-efficient storefront, curtainwall and entrance systems, and recognized for its fast, reliable and consistent delivery. Tubelite’s corporate office, fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations are located in Walker, Michigan. Its Dallas location provides additional fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations and its facility in Reed City, Michigan, houses the company’s aluminum extrusion operation.

Tubelite and its staff are members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), the Society of Military Engineers (SAME) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

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Grand Award Winner: First Tennessee Visitor Center

Grand Award Winner! Metal Architecture magazine’s Design Awards honors Shelby Farms Park’s First Tennessee Visitor Center in Memphis, which features Tubelite’s storefront system.

Editor Marcy Marro describes the project as:

One of the largest urban parks in the country, Shelby Farms recently implemented a master plan developed by James Corner Field Operations to revitalize the 4,500-acre park into a nationally renowned landmark. As part of the master plan, the $50 million, 180-acre Heart of the Park was completed in 2016, and consists of an ensemble of buildings and structures located around the 80-acre Hyde Lake.

Designed by Marlon Blackwell Architects, the visitor center is an 8,000-square-foot building with a 7,560-square-foot covered porch. The cantilevered form glistens during the day from the reflected sunlight and glows at night when illuminated with site lighting.

Read the full article on this award-winning project by clicking here.

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Knox College’s Whitcomb Art Center, IL

Honored as a Metal Architecture Design Award-winner, Knox College’s Whitcomb Art Center in Galesburg, Illinois, features Tubelite’s storefront system.

According to Editorial Director Paul Deffenbaugh:

The 29,950-square-foot art building designed by Lake|Flato Architects comprises five total bays, with three large ones connected by smaller bays. Large windows cut into the corners of the bays so anyone approaching from the campus can see deep into the building and students working on art. The corner windows also reveal the iconic tapered columns of a metal building system.

Click here to read the entire article describing this award-winning project.

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