Miami Condo Tower Designed for Impact Certification

The Jade Ocean condominium tower is one of the newest additions to Miami’s skyline. The tower, owned by Fortune Development and designed by architect Carlos Ott of Uruguay, has been called the first impact-resistant condominium curtainwall in the country. Due to an the tower’s 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. Permasteelisa North America was selected as the curtainwall engineer and Viracon the glass fabricator.

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 arched back into the building.

“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. “The curtainwall design allows the building to be viewed as planes rather than only three dimensionally.”

“While curtainwall 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.

Gray glass with a low-E coating, Viracon’s VH13-50 product, was chosen for bands, which primarily enclose living units. The gray bands are alternated with a royal blue reflective glass, the company’s VT-40 product. This reflective coating gives the glass a mirror-like appearance and reduces solar heat gain through high solar reflection.

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 that were created and installed by Continental Glass Systems in Miami.