A special entrance to Penn Station was opened on 31/12/2020 on 33rd Street/ 7th Avenue in New York. The approximately 12m high canopy, consisting of a steel structure and a double-curved cable net façade, was realised by seele and represents a real eye-catcher at New York’s most important traffic junction.
A total of 105t of steelwork, 139 double-curved glass panels and 60 double-curved panels made of black steel were manufactured and installed for the so called “East End Gateway”. The special geometry, high demands on the steel construction as well as the local conditions during assembly in the heart of Manhattan, made every phase of the project challenging.
Penn Station is considered one of the most important train stations in New York City. Approx. 650,000 people use the junction at the famous Madison Square Garden every day. The new main entrance on 33rd Street/7th Avenue was built to accommodate the high passenger frequency.
The SOM design included a 277sqm and 12m high canopy with an anticlastic cable façade. The primary supporting structure is a steel structure in the form of a 14.6m high, A-shaped frame inclined at 45 degrees which creates the entrance. Another component is a circumferential, oval edge beam of approx. 30m length and approx. 13m width for the floor connection.
Since the steel structure is completely exposed, there are special requirements for its manufacture, especially with regard to the surface quality (AESS 4). In addition, numerous fixtures are integrated, such as for water supply or lighting technology.
The cable façade is situated between the portal frame and the edge beam and consists of double-curved glass laminates fixed with point clamp fittings. Both the portal frame and its head point are glazed with laminated safety glass panels.
The design continues in the opening to the concourse: 60 double-curved, linearly arranged mild steel panels, suspended from a substructure, form the cladding for the oval parapet. Its funnel shape creates a flowing transition upwards to the canopy, resulting in a seemingly infinite perspective.
High demands on the steel construction
Due to the architecturally desired shape of the façade, the longitudinal cables had to be pretensioned in order to achieve sufficient pretensioning in the transverse cables. As a result, the steel frame had to be manufactured with a precamber. During assembly, the cables were first extended with adapter pieces and then tensioned to bring the frame into its final shape. On site, the individual components were connected to each other at joints using solid screws and end plates. Due to the high demands placed on the design of the steel structure (AESS 4), the surfaces and weld seams required high-precision machining. The inlets for the stainless steel cables, which were difficult to access, posed a further challenge: In addition to these, other components such as cable ducts for lighting, which run inside the steel structure, also had to be taken into account.
Video: In the making-of film of the you get an insight into the production of the complex construction, for which approx. 105t of architectural steelwork was manufactured at seele Pilsen, Czech Republic.
Subsequently, the entire steel structure was erected at seele for testing before the components were shipped to New York for final installation. Due to the complexity of the construction, special requirements regarding the surface (AESS4) and other components to be considered such as connections or lighting, highest precision was required during production.
Header image: © Field Condition
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