National World War II museum features glass for aesthetics and functional performance

Glazing played a significant role in the renovation and expansion of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, which was opened on 6 June 2000, the 56th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. Tw…

Glazing played a significant role in the renovation and expansion of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, which was opened on 6 June 2000, the 56th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. Two years later, the US Congress awarded the museum the designation of America“s National World War II Museum. With an ambitious renovation and expansion in mind, the design team at Voorsanger Architects created the project master plan, while New Orleans architects Mathes Brierre served as project architects. The contract glazier was New Orleans Glass, part of Southern Walls and Windows. Viracon“s VNE1-63 glass, a clear glass substrate with a neutral low-E coating, was used throughout the project. The first two phases of the USD 86,000,000 expansion consisted of a multi-sensory theatre, a USO experience, a restaurant and bar, the restoration of three historic buildings along Magazine Street into administrative space, and the Campaigns Pavilion, the first of the major exhibit pavilions. In the plans to renovate the original D-Day Museum, where exhibit space showcased both airplanes and tanks, the design included an 18 x 18-ft. sliding door built directly into the curtainwall, designed, engineered and installed by New Orleans Glass. When the door is closed, it is not easily apparent, but when exhibits change, it easily slides open by hand. We were attempting to provide the thinnest sightline possible for the supporting steel mullions, says Peter Frank Priola, AIA NCARB, and senior vice president of Mathes Brierre Architects. The system is composed of an extruded aluminium glazing pocket mounted to a 1-inch wide steel plate mullion system. The taller vertical mullions, which span 33 ft., are 1 x 3-inches deep plate sections with a 5-inch wide flange at the inside face. The shorter vertical mullions are composed of 7-inch deep plate sections and the horizontal mullions are composed of 5-inch deep plate steel. The Restoration Pavilion was created to house the restoration of a 50-ft. PT boat, which includes a demountable curtainwall system in which 8 x 22-ft. unitized curtainwall panels can be demounted and then reassembled when the boat is taken to the water. The Solomon Victory Theater, one of the highest-profile portions of the museum, features a large curtainwall open to the museum“s interior courtyard. The curtainwall features vertical mullions on 8-ft. centres, with unsupported spans that are 35-ft. tall. It was also designed to meet large-missile impact criteria for hurricane resistance. New Orleans Glass created custom curtainwall vertical mullions that are 18-inches deep fabricated from -inch solid steel plates. We wanted to create sweeping views, with minimal sight lines, says Priola.