Case Study #5
Moongate – Custom Glass Staircase
180 Degrees was tasked to take the architect’s design concept for a glass staircase and make it a reality. Employing structural engineering specialists and makers of the glass and stainless steel components our team developed the design and construction methods that allowed us to build this magnificent staircase. Our in-house team of designers, fabricators and installers shepherded this project every step of the way.
Given the complexity of the stone walls within the room, we began with using LIDAR to accurately map the room surfaces and build a digital three dimensional model of the space. This information allowed us to design each stair tread to be custom fit around the surface of the wall, making each component unique. This model also established each piece of supporting hardware’s location, size and length, allowing us to develop a full scale mockup out of readily available materials to allow us to move forward without delays in having specialized materials fabricated. The digital design for each stair tread was directly translated into G-codes to allow the treads to be fabricated on a CNC machine without adding a secondary step of generating shop drawings. The elimination of this step not only saved costs to the client but also time on the schedule.
Material testing and prototype development of processes and techniques for installation were also explored. This required testing of onsite materials to establish embed lengths and epoxy values since the stone material had not been used for this purpose and there were no industry records and testing values to rely upon for design purposes. Installation methods were also explored to develop a strategy for core drilling into the existing walls for the support components in a manner that left no trace in the existing finished materials.
Great care is taken to protect adjacent building components, as well as protect installed components as soon as they are completed. Our scheduling overlays always strive to stagger subcontractors so that each can focus on their task at hand without the aggravation of working around others in the same general area.
In excess of 1,600 components were fabricated and shipped to the jobsite. The glass stair treads had a lengthy production time and given the size and weight for the treads, our team realized that multiple transports were required. We worked with the supplier to release partial shipments as they became available to allow our team to start installation on the first set of components while the next set was being fabricated. With each stair tread interlocking special care was made to ensure that the treads were shipped in the order our team needed them.
The research and development process not only allowed our team to develop the components but is also gave us valuable insight into the installation process allowing us to determine the best equipment to use and the most efficient techniques to employ to fabricate the staircase. Our team’s patience and attention to detail was instrumental in the construction and the staircase illustrates our teams’ commitment to a high level of craftsmanship.