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A glass curtain wall and glass-bridged pool

Computer Associates' headquarters Blair Associates

The east facade of the threestorey office building is a clear glass curtain wall, nearly 250m long. It is reflected in a shallow 10m wide pool which runs at its base.

The reinforced concrete slab floor and column structure of the building is stepped back at the perimeter, and the edges of the suspended ceiling system below each slab are tapered; this creates a delicate edge with only 300mm deep spandrels, minimising the intrusion of solid elements into the glass facade. The roof slab is also stepped back and edged with a glass balustrade of mullions and transoms - an extension of the curtain walling system.

The facade is a panellised curtain wall system consisting of double-glazed units set in natural anodised aluminium frames. Projecting bull-nose caps fixed to the transoms emphasise their horizontality.

A black granite upstand forms the junction between the pool and the facade; it has a rebated edge into which the glazing sill is dressed. The GRP pool liner is taken behind the upstand and fixed to a fabricated channel. The liner is black in colour to enhance reflectivity.

Two glass bridges cross the pool for use as fire escape routes from glazed doors on the ground floor. They are wedge-shaped in plan, tapering from 5.5m to 3.5m at the edge of the building. The generous width avoids the requirement for balustrades.

Each bridge is made of a series of 1m 2laminated glass panels, set 4mm apart to let rainwater through.The panels are 38mm thick and the upper surface is fritted with white dots to give grip. At their corners they are supported on stainless steel pedestals bonded to the pool base.

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