In 2014, Vornado Realty Trust engaged the GMS Building Envelope Group to assist in the re-design of Two Penn Plaza’s exterior envelope and plaza. The initial task was a feasibility study to explore possibilities for over-cladding the existing exterior wall.  Since then, additional studies, design possibilities, and structural support scenarios have been considered. While the transformation is still in progress, it is far enough along to see the “lines on paper” becoming reality.  The GMS team looks forward to completion and will be pleased to have worked on the project from start to finish.

Among the challenges encountered in an over-cladding project, there are: the determination of load point locations on the building and their capacity, a sequence plan to prepare the supports through the existing façade, and removal of the original fenestration after the new wall is complete.  Several support concepts were considered.

Following the feasibility investigation, GMS continued to work with the owner, Vornado, and the architect, MdeAS Architects, to reach the design objectives for the office space.  The new over-clad façade was developed to allow for larger vision glass and improved energy performance.

The primary hurdle of the project was that the curtain wall would have to be installed over a fully operational office building and over a major transportation hub.

GMS developed an installation sequence and details that would allow for the full installation of the new over-cladding over the existing, followed by the removal of the existing façade system from the inside out.  The crux of this design solution was a curtain wall anchor that could be installed through the existing curtain wall mullion and back to the existing curtain wall embeds.  GMS also worked with Vornado’s design team and construction manager, Turner Construction Company, through the bid phase.  The over-cladding curtain wall scope was awarded to W&W Glass and SOTAWALL, who were able to successfully execute the challenging design.

In addition to the over-cladding portion of the project, a number of other enclosure systems are also included.  The Two Penn Plaza project also encompasses a complete renovation of the plaza and the plaza level storefront, as well as the addition of new leasable square footage on the 4th and 6th floors of the building.  Also included are soffit lighting and signage, new balconies, structural glass-supported storefront, and signature street-level entrance canopies.

As a single project, Two Penn Plaza encompasses almost every aspect of GMS’s building envelope expertise.

For this reason, a majority of the GMS Building Envelope Group staff and many GMS alumni have worked on the project.  Assistance from a number of GMS Structural Engineers was also instrumental in finding the right solutions. The much-appreciated variety of GMS talent on the project over the years includes:

Joe Blanchfield, Jerry Smith, Joe Mugford, Helena Ariza, Ignacio Ansorena, Maria Orduna, Joe Raffin, Susanne Mackiw, David Shea, Yuxing Yan, Karl Rubenacker, Achim Hermes, Yanet Munoz, John Lantry, Fitzroy Henry, Jose Mendoza, Namhee Kim, Edward Goldstein, Phil Murray, Mark Beltramello, Miguel Lopez, Alvaro Martinez, Isaac Epstein, Patricia Lozano, William Hutch, Brendan Roeder, Hugo Hickey, Daniel Safier, Rafael Alvarez, Matthew Hong, Daniel Kinsley, Jean Laurent, Pablo Solano, Angel Ramos, Noelia Gomez, Bolaji Afolabi, Sara Gonzalez Rey, Carol McNeil, Michael Huang, Ramon Gilsanz, Lizhong Wang, Victor Tapia, Yaozhong Chang, Ines Hernandez, Nick Ferreira, Brandon Panton, Celia Julve, Nebojsa Barna, Dan Eschenasy, Javier Catala, Lucas Fleming, and Alexis D’Herbomez.