Glass for Railings
As one of the world's largest walkable glass structures, the TKTS – ticket office – at Times Square stands out even in the midst of the most bustling part of New York City. This one of a kind, and possibly the first all-glass load-bearing structure features glass for railings and 27 scintillating red glass steps. All the glass panels have been manufactured at Saint-Gobain's Eckelt Glas factory in Austria.
The architectural centerpiece has been designed by inspiration from the Australian architectural firm Choi Ropiha, winner of an international ideas competition. The architect is Perkins Eastman from New York. TKTS boasts of glass for railings, steps and structural supports.
The glass structure is designed to hold 100 pounds per sq.ft. under regular loading and 50 pounds per sq.ft. while being redundant. The steps, 45 feet wide at the top, taper down to 32 feet. The treads are 2 feet deep; the panels that are below the steps supply heat to melt snow for the LEDs that illuminate the staircase.
The free-standing fiberglass ticket booth is enveloped entirely by glass for railings.
Saint-Gobain Glass worked closely with the architects, engineers and contractors to provide solutions that imparted aesthetic value along with functional advantages to the project. The suggested products were SGG Diamant, SGG Emalit, SGG Lite-Floor, SGG Stadip and SGG Stadip Colour.
More than 1,000 sheets of laminated safety glass were manufactured and supplied. The primary construction for the glass for railings and the coloured glass steps were two-part glass beams, each 9m high and totalling to 19.2 m in length. The beams were spliced using specially developed fittings and pre-assembled. It was especially challenging to achieve the exacting tolerance of +/- 2 mm over the whole 9.6 meter length.
For the glass beams, 3 x 24 mm STADIP and STADIP COLOR red RUMU laminated safety glass was pre-assembled. For the support walls, 48 mm STADIP SentryGlas - laminated safety glass was used while for the treads, 36 mm LITE-FLOOR R with STADIP COLOR red RUMU was used.
Ever since it was opened to the public in 2008, the TKTS has been the recipient of several national and international accolades, both for its design and construction. Offering space for 1200 people at a time, this unique structure that sheaths glass for railings, treads, beams and panels, is one small step in design, but a huge leap in the way glass will come to be used in the future of architecture.