Performance Building Façades


Cupples completes Westfield Old Orchard Mall: Glass Cube

July 01, 2013

© 2014 James Steinkamp | Steinkamp Photography

Architect: JGMA

General Contractor: Graycor

Facade Consultant: Thornton Tomasetti

Completion: 2013

Program: 130,000 sqft

Building Type: Retail

Facade: Glass display window walls with glass fin support system

Glass: 22’ low-iron glass lites

Description: This gem-like pavilion houses flexible programs for retailers and events

The Westfield Group is a national retail developer whose shopping centers attract more than 500 million visitors annually. For their upscale mall in Skokie, Illinois, Westfield assembled the design team of JGMA, Thornton Tomasetti and Cupples to create a 1,300 square foot freestanding exhibition space. The gem-like structure sits at the intersection of the shopping center’s three promenades, and is leased to retailers seasonally to offer a truly adaptive shopping experience.

Westfield’s Old Orchard mall revolves around an open-air retail experience. As such, The Cube was designed as a naturally ventilated structure. As you approach from the north, full height pivot glass doors welcome visitors into the pavilion. The south entrance incorporates full height glass accordion doors that remain open during temperate seasons. Enclosing these entrance portals on the east and west elevations are oversized, anti-reflective glass panels that blur the boundaries between inside and out. These 22-foot tall low iron glass units reduce the number of joints and accompanying sight lines, maximizing transparency.

As part of the Cube’s architectural statement, support structures are embraced rather than hidden. Structural glass fins and structural silicone are used to support the Cube’s oversized glass panels, while stainless steel plates are embedded into fins supporting the pavilion’s glass roof.

These plates transfer facade loads to the structure’s four exposed steel columns located at each corner. Cupples designers developed this glass fin structural support system as an alternative to traditional patch plate or point-supported systems, each of which would introduce structural hardware visible from the building exterior.

Cupples’ field teams installed the Cube on time and on budget.


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