PROJECT: The Baker Center in Minneapolis

Photo by Paul Crosby

Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, the renovated 90-year-old Baker Center showcases a prominent new building entry featuring Tubelite curtainwall and storefront systems. At the corner of Marquette Avenue and Eighth Street, the main entry provides a unified façade for the four buildings that comprise the complex.

Owned by The Travelers Companies and managed by Transwestern, the Baker Center boasts more than 1 million square feet of office and retail space. It consists of the Baker Building, Investors Building, Roanoke Building and the 730 Building. The Baker, Roanoke and Investor buildings were built in the 1920s. The 730 Building was completed in 1968. The $25 million renovation started in 2016, continued in phases to minimize distribution to occupants and concluded in July 2017.

Photo by Paul Crosby
“The goal of the design was to honor the historic aspects of the buildings, while creating unique modern spaces to support today’s mobile worker,” saysDavid Serrano, AIA, a principal with RSP, the architectural firm heading up the design. “The result takes advantage of the art deco bones of the building, while introducing forward-thinking amenities like the concierge desk and rooftop deck.”

To reflect the updated look and performance for this property, Brin Contract Glazing‘s team worked closely with the architect, construction manager Hightower Initiatives, general contractor JE Dunn and Tubelite to install the curtainwall.

“It was a logistically challenging project,” says Scott Ide of Brin Contract Glazing. “Each time the demolition team removed a window, you didn’t know what you’d find. The four buildings had been combined over the years into one. With different construction techniques for each, and no existing drawings from the original architects or the many earlier remodeling contractors, drawings and revisions were nonstop throughout the renovation.”

A key design element in the Baker Center’s renovation is the dramatic corner constructed using Tubelite’s Screw Spline Curtainwall, vertically butt-glazed with horizontal covers. Ide notes, “A massive amount of steel was added to properly anchor the curtainwall. It’s the main feature of the building from the fourth to the top floor.”

The lower levels feature Tubelite’s dual-pocket, poured and debridged thermal storefront on the exterior. Tubelite relies on Linetec to provide the thermal strut, thermal pour and debridged, plus the finishing for its aluminum framing members. For the Baker Center project, the aluminum is finished in a clear anodize.

The curtainwall and storefront was glazed with low-E, 1-inch Solarban 60 and low-iron glass from Vitro Architectural Glass and fabricated by Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®.