The expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO is being lauded by some of the industry’s foremost consultants as the most innovative glazing project in North America today. Nothing of this type has ever been constructed before. Five stunning, translucent and transparent glass structures emerge like blocks of ice from the undulating landscape of the museum’s 17-acre sculpture garden. No vertical mullion is in sight. Grid lines run askew. The glass is set from the top and is used in a structural manner. It isn’t framed and is actually carrying its own weight. In contrast to the solid, limestone mass of the original building, these glass buildings bend and refract light, creating a mystical experience for visitors.
Carter Glass Co. was selected to help build what is being classified as the “most difficult and complex” project in the world today. There is over 120,000 square feet of channel glass, 6,000 pieces with nearly 3,500 trapezoidal shapes all with a different makeup and sizing so the buildings could follow the contour of the land. One-of-a-kind solutions had to be developed to respond to the daily challenges on the job solutions with a warranty to back the performance of each.
To avoid disrupting the serenity and monolithic quality of the glass walls, joints needed to disappear. Attention to artistic detail included the development of a clear, hollow-tube backer rod. Between the planks of channel glass, the backer rod was set one-half inch from the face of the glass and the seam was filled with translucent silicone sealant to reduce sight lines. Every couple of weeks new gaskets were developed able to respond to the wind, thermal and seismic conditions of the region where tornadoes and earthquakes are not uncommon. A series of 39 tests took place over a 3½-month period to accommodate wind loads 40-60% beyond any experienced before. Seismic specifications required testing to multi-directional movement of +/-5” in each direction. The result is truly a monument to light.
THE TREMCO SOLUTION
Spectrem® 2 Structural Silicone Sealant, a high-performance, neutral cure sealant used as a structural and weatherseal for the channel glass system.
Spectrem 1 Silicone Joint Sealant, an ultra-low modulus, high-performance, one-part, moisture-curing sealant ideal for use on the most demanding, dynamically moving joints.
Proglaze® Silicone Sealant, a one-part,moisture-curing sealant for internal shop installation of okapane insulation and installation of bumper gasket.
Tremco Butyl Sealant, for use under sill conditions.
Tremco Silicone Splice Sheet, for use on sill splices
Tremco Custom Silicone Extrusions, fabricated into gaskets and accessories including:
- Clear hollow tube backer rod
- Clear channel leg bumper gasket
- Clear “W” expansion baffle gasket