Fire Rated Glass Transforms Retail Parking Garage with Natural Light and Vision

Nordstrom Yorkdale Shopping Centre
Architect: Callison Architecture Inc.
Glazing Contractor: Camden Glass
Products Used: SuperLite® II-XLB 120 with Starphire Ultra-Clear® insulated with Pattern Sandblasted Decorative Glass in GPX® Architectural Series Wall Framing; SuperLite II-XL® 90 with Starphire Ultra-Clear® insulated with Pattern Sandblasted Decorative Glass in GPX® Builders Series Temperature Rise Doors

In a time where most consumers are opting for the convenience of shopping from their computers, phones or other mobile devices, it’s become imperative for brick-and-mortar stores to use every strategy at their disposal to compel consumers to make the actual trip to their location. One of the ways retail stores can do this is by making sure that their parking garages are as inviting and accessible as possible. Indeed, oftentimes it is the parking garage that makes the first impression on the consumer, and could very well set the mood for the day’s shopping experience. It is also the last place that they visit – a final chance for the retailer to make a good lasting impression.

With the retail experience being bookended by the parking garage, it makes sense for architects to pay close attention to how they are designed. Vehicles are perceived as a possible threat for fire because they are full of fuel, so building and fire codes require areas adjacent to or leading to parking garages to be fire rated.

Traditional parking garage designs used opaque fire rated building materials like concrete, masonry, and drywall which made these spaces dark, cold and uninviting. That all changed, thanks to the emergence of new technology, clear, fire resistive glazing that are able to meet the same fire rated requirements as concrete, masonry, and drywall but with the added benefit of vision, daylight, and transparency.

That was the strategy employed by the architects at Callison when designing the Nordstrom Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. To meet the fire rated code requirements and bring maximum vision and daylight to the parking garage, the architects specified SAFTI FIRST’s fire resistive, CAN/ULC S101 rated SuperLite II-XL 120 with Starphire Ultra-Clear glazing in GPX Architectural Series Wall Framing for the 2-hour window/wall. For the entrance system, they specified SAFTI FIRST®’s temperature rise CAN/ULC S104 GPX Builders Series Temperature Doors with fire resistive CAN/ULC S101 rated SuperLite II-XL 90 with Starphire Ultra-Clear glazing for the full-vision 90-minute doors. Both the 2-hour and the 90-minute fire resistive glazing were insulated with pattern sandblast glass to create a decorative effect. Incorporating Starphire Ultra-Clear glass to SuperLite II-XL’s make-up ensured that the system had the highest visual light transmission for maximum daylight, superior clarity, and improved color neutrality.

The result is a beautiful, inviting, and code-compliant parking garage that greets Nordstrom’s visitors as they begin their shopping experience, and sends them off with a light and airy feeling as they leave. It all contributes to creating an enjoyable experience that would encourage them to do it all over again something that they cannot get from shopping online from a computer, phone, or another mobile device.

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