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SAFTI FIRST Help Create A 2-hour Fire Rated glass wall As The Entrance Of Harvard Business School – Photo credit: Andy Caulfield

Last October 2018, Harvard Business School celebrated the official dedication of Klarman Hall. This new 120,000 square foot, state-of-the-art convening center features a 1,000-seat auditorium that is large enough to host the entire MBA class. The glass atrium floods the multi-purpose lobby with natural light, as well as provide a visual connection between the interior of the building and the outdoor environment, as if to invite the community members to gather in the shared space.

Glass also plays an important in the fire rated areas. To maximize transparency, SAFTI FIRST met with the architects during the design phase to create a large, 2-hour, glass wall that separates the lobby from the auditorium while providing a visual connection between the auditorium and the lobby. Since this 2-hour glass wall also serves as the entrance to the auditorium, deciding on a 90-minute door system was of upmost important. SAFTI FIRST’s in-house engineering department provided design assistance, system details, engineering calculations and support from the planning phase all the way to the submittal process.

Related article: LITEFLAM: The Exterior Fire-rated Walkable Skylight System

To achieve all the aesthetic and fire rated requirements of the project, SAFTI FIRST supplied an ASTM E-119 rated assembly with SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Low-Iron glass in GPX Curtain Wall for the walls and SuperLite II-XL 90 with Starphire Low-Iron glass in GPX Architectural Series Doors for the entrances.

The architects took full advantage of SAFTI FIRST’s large glass sizes by designing a segmented, arched wall system that used SuperLite II-XL 120’s maximum sizes (up to 4,879 sq. in.). The GPX Curtain Wall framing’s slim, 2-1/2” profile with equal sightlines and clean edges mimicked the look of aluminum storefront, which the architects liked. Using Staphire Low-iron glazing also gave the system a visual light transmission of 89.5% – the highest of any 2-hour fire resistive glazing product available today.

To ensure that the auditorium will be able to exit all 1,000 seats in a timely manner, the architects specified 6 pairs of 3’ x 8’ 90-minute, temperature rise aluminum doors. To exceed 100 sq. inches in the vision panels of these doors, SAFTI FIRST supplied ASTM E-119 rated SuperLite II-XL 90 with Starphire Low-iron glass for the door vision panels. The architects chose the GPX Architectural Series Doors because it is the only temperature rise aluminum door system that can accomodate concealed vertical rods, which is was important design requirement. The doors were supplied with a panic device to facilitate quick and safe egress in the event of an emergency.

The result is an elegant, functional and fully-code compliant transparent wall and entrance system that helped bring the architect’s vision for Klarman Hall to life.

Related article: Safti First Lauches First And Only ICC-Registered Fire Rated Glazing Educational Program

Project: Harvard Business School Klarman Hall in Boston, MA
Architect: William Rawn and Associates
General Contractor: Walsh Brothers Construction
Glazier: The Cheviot Corporation
Products Used: SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Low-Iron Glass in GPX Curtain Wall Framing; SuperLite II-XL 90 with Starphire Low-Iron Glass in GPX Architectural Series Aluminum Doors.


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