Chicago high-rise creates daylight-filled spaces with window and door systems

Centrum Bucktown, a high-rise complex in Chicago, utilized architectural window and door systems to meet aesthetic, sustainability, and performance goals. Photo courtesy Michael Lipman
Centrum Bucktown, a high-rise complex in Chicago, utilized architectural window and door systems to meet aesthetic, sustainability, and performance goals.
Photo courtesy Michael Lipman

Centrum Bucktown is a high-end apartment complex in Bucktown, one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods. The six-story high-rise includes 100 units in a gleaming façade, which wraps the corner of two nearby streets.

Designed by Hirsch Associates and Forum Studio, the project is pursuing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Contributing to the look of the building as well as its sustainability and performance goals are the architectural terrace doors, ribbon windows, and zero sightline windows.

By pre-glazing about 90 percent of the system in their shop, the project’s glazing contractor cut down on the time and labor in the field.

For Centrum Bucktown, the terrace doors and ribbon windows are thermally improved by a poured-and-debridged process. The dual poured-and-debridged ribbon window system has been tested per the National Fenestration Council (NFRC) 102-14, Procedure for Measuring the Steady-state Thermal Transmittance of Fenestration Systems, achieving a U-factor of 0.30 for thermal transmittance. The system was also tested per the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 1503-09, Voluntary Test Method for Thermal Transmittance and Condensation Resistance of Windows, Doors and Glazed Wall Sections, achieving a frame condensation resistance factor (CRFf) of 72. The single and dual thermal break options allow designers to select appropriate thermal performance levels to meet their projects’ requirements.

In addition to contributing to energy efficiency, daylight, and views, the terrace doors and zero sightline windows allow for natural ventilation during Chicago’s warm months. With sizes extending up to 40 m (12 ft) tall, the terrace doors achieve AAMA AW-70, Architectural Performance Class, requirements, which includes stringent criteria for air, water, and structural performance, as well as AAMA 910-16, Voluntary “Life Cycle” Specifications and Test Methods for AW Class Architectural Windows and Doors, testing to 4000 operating cycles, with supplemental thermal cycling.

Multi-lock hardware is standard on the terrace doors and low-profile sills may be specified to achieve universal design goals. The doors’ heavy-duty aluminum hinges, along with corner key and crimped construction, provide increased durability for frequent use.

Also AAMA AW-rated and NFRC-tested, the zero sightline windows’ hinging options allow opening from the bottom or side. Their concealed aluminum frame design is virtually invisible from a building’s exterior, providing a consistent appearance.

Enhancing this appearance, one of the most durable finishes for architectural aluminum products—Class I clear anodize—was used on all of the systems for Centrum Bucktown. The anodize finish also supports environmentally responsible practices and design-forward thinking. It creates a frosty matte appearance, contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and meets or exceeds AAMA 611, Voluntary Specification for Anodized Architectural Aluminum. When it is time for the installed architectural product to be removed, anodized aluminum is 100 percent recyclable, lending itself to post-consumer recycled content during demolition or restoration of the building.

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