Architect: Carlos Ott, Uruguay
Builder: Coscan Construction
Glass Fabricator: Viracon
Glazing Contractor: Permasteelisa
The Miami skyline is home to a gleaming condominium tower, Jade Ocean. The tower, owned by Fortune Development and designed by world-renowned architect Carlos Ott of Uruguay, has become what is believed to be the first impact-resistant condominium curtainwall in the country.
Although Jade Ocean is loaded with innovative design elements, from multi-story waterfalls to sunrise and sunset infinity pools, glass is the real star of the project. In fact, after seeing Carlos Ott’s concept, the first step Fortune Development took was to select a curtainwall engineer and glass fabricator – even before choosing a general contractor. Permasteelisa North America, the world’s leading curtainwall manufacturer and Viracon, the country’s largest single-source glass fabricator, got the nod.
Due to an incredibly unique and colorful design, coupled with a need to meet Miami-Dade hurricane building codes, Fortune Development decided to make the glass and skin fabrication its top priority.
Ott’s design called for a 51-floor tower enveloped in a pure glass skin. Instead of a standard squared crown, Ott envisioned a radius curtainwall that arches back into the building. While most condominium towers consist of window wall systems, the design called for a pure, sparkling glass veneer. “The architectural elements of the façade would not have been captured as eloquently with a window wall system,” says Andrew Richards, owner’s representative at Fortune International, who was highly involved in the design and glass selection process. “The curtainwall design allows the building to be viewed as planes rather than only three dimensionally.”
“While curtain wall is often used in buildings such as offices and hotels, condominiums are usually window wall,” adds Maria Caleyo, project manager at Permasteelisa North America. “This is the first time we’ve worked on an impact condo curtainwall. Together with Viracon, we worked with the architectural team from the very beginning of the project to create the unique framing and glass system.”
Permasteelisa’s Miami team immediately set out to design the custom curtainwall system, which had to meet stringent hurricane code requirements and support durable impact resistant glass. While they focused on the frame, Viracon tackled the glass.
“With more than 300,000 square feet of external glass, selecting the right colors and coatings was critical,” says Jeff Rigot, Viracon’s architectural representative for Florida. “Not only did the glass need to create a very specific aesthetic, but it also needed to provide exceptional hurricane and energy performance and meet Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Turtle Codes.”
Architects and owners wanted the building to evoke a subtle “sparkle” effect and wanted occupants to have a comfortable living experience. With Viracon’s help, the team ultimately opted to use two colors of glass to create distinct vertical lines on the façade, while providing owners with an energy efficient living environment.
“Viracon was extremely helpful and provided numerous samples for evaluation,” says Richards. “Without their full cooperation, we may not have been able to achieve the results we did.”
Gray glass with a low-e coating, Viracon’s VH13-50 product, was chosen for bands which primarily enclose living units. With a visible light transmittance of 50 percent, the glass allows ample natural daylight to flow into the living spaces without flooding them with excessive light. The Low-E glass also provides excellent radiant heat reduction, or shading coefficient characteristics, to help improve energy performance. The Low-E coating is ideal for living spaces, as it allows for two-way vision and lower reflectivity. The coating gives the glass a flat or natural look, which provides a beautiful contrast to the other glass used in the building.
The gray bands are alternated with a royal blue reflective glass, Viracon’s VT-40 product, to add shimmer and shine. This reflective coating gives the glass a mirror-like appearance and reduces solar heat gain through high solar reflection. The VT-40 product adds a shiny, crisp aesthetic to the building’s exterior but still allows 40 percent light transmission for comfortable interior spaces.
Although creating a custom impact curtainwall system for the entire building was quite an undertaking, designing the radius curtainwall crown was a feat in itself. “The team at Permasteelisa designed and engineered a phenomenal structural steel membrane to support the innovative arched top,” says Rigot. “The striking shape, combined with Viracon’s VS9-08 royal blue glass with a highly reflective coating
will brilliantly light up the sky.”
A Saflex PVB interlayer was incorporated into the glass throughout the curtainwall to meet impact requirements. The protective interlayer was also incorporated into the sliding door systems created and installed by Continental Glass Systems in Miami.
In order to closely monitor and control the quality of the finished product, the entire curtainwall was pre-glazed at Permasteelisa’s Miami facility and brought to the job site in large trucks.
Reaction to the building has been very positive. “Everyone is very happy with the finished product,” says Caleyo. With the dynamic mix of colors, coatings and design, Jade Ocean is true gem in Miami.