2-hour Glazing For Stairwell Case Study
Today, stairwells are becoming a prominent design feature and their use is encouraged more and more for the health benefits that stair climbing provides
When the State University of New York (SUNY) University Hospital in Syracuse, NY embarked on a vertical expansion, it was lauded as one of Central New York’s most ambitious construction projects since opening the University Hospital in 1965. The six-story vertical expansion will rise above the East Wing with floors dedicated to oncology, cardiology and neurology services.
One of the highlights is the addition of the Golisano Children’s Hospital on the top two floors of the six-story addition. This included 50 private patient rooms, family sleep and dining as well as playrooms and a family resource center among other amenities. This addition increased the amount of space dedicated to pediatric medicine from 18,000 square feet to 87,000 square feet.
Since the project added new floors, stairwell enclosures were also added. Traditionally, stairwells are relegated to the back of the building, and are usually closed-off, dimly lit and seldom used. Today, stairwells are becoming a prominent design feature and its use is encouraged more and more for the health benefits that stair climbing provides. As the New York City’s Active Design Guidelines note: “most building codes look at stairs as part of an emergency access and exit system. But they also point out that buildings that better incorporate everyday stair use may actually improve occupant safety in emergencies by making the stairs more accessible, better lit, and wider. Furthermore, whereas code mandated fire separations are traditionally met through the use of masonry or gypsum board with solid metal doors, the guidelines note that exit stairs can be made more visible and appealing by using fire rated glass enclosures.” (To learn more on reinventing stairways with fire rated glass, click here).
Since the building code requires 1 hour of fire-resistance-rated protection for buildings 1-3 stories and 2 hours of fire-resistance-rated protection for buildings 4 stories of more, the glass used for these stairwell enclosures must meet fire-resistance-rated requirements. This means the glazing must meet ASTM E-119/NFPA 251/UL 263 to ensure that building occupants are protected from fire, smoke and dangerous radiant heat as they exit the building or await rescue.
To meet code and design and requirements for the 2-hour stairwells in SUNY University Hospital’s vertical expansion, SAFTI FIRST® provided SuperLite II-XL 120 in GPX Architectural Series Framing. Both the glass and the framing meet ASTM E-119/NFPA 251/UL 263 for 2 hours. For the top two floors housing the Golisano Children’s Hospital, the architects at Karlsberger wanted to create a fun, whimsical environment for the children receiving treatment at the hospital so SAFTI FIRST® incorporated digital printed glass to the SuperLite II-XL 120. SAFTI FIRST® worked closely with Northeastern Plate Glass to guarantee that the correct digital printed glass specified by the architect were used in making the custom SuperLite II-XL 120 units in SAFTI FIRST®’s manufacturing facility in Merced, California. Once everything was done, SAFTI FIRST® coordinated with Northeastern Plate Glass’s schedule to ensure that both the glass and frames were shipped to the job site on time.
With the architect, glazier and fire rated glazing manufacturer working together, the patients and staff at SUNY University Hospital can enjoy fun, whimsical and reliable fire protection in their stairwells that meet both the code and aesthetic requirements of the project.