Energy efficiency is key for Steinway & Sons New York facade
Walking into Steinway Hall is like entering a gallery where the world’s finest pianos sit on display as exhibitions of art….and Steinway agrees. The company touts each piano as a “masterpiece of craftsmanship and a consummate work of art. The STEINWAY piano exists to remove all barriers between the listener and the pure, uncompromised expression of the artist.” The same can be said for their New York City storefront, an M. Cohen & Sons project. Consisting of 23 glass lites, each over 100 sq. feet, the all-glass façade removes all visual barriers for the exterior foot traffic and allows the ‘uprights’ and the ‘grands’ to shine on display.
A piano’s wood and felt are highly sensitive to extreme changes in temperature and humidity. According to Steinway & Sons, sudden fluctuations in temperature can have a negative influence on the piano’s tuning and regulation. Since these pianos live on display -dazzling pedestrians and enticing visitors inside- Steinway needed to be able to position them near windows, without running the risk of sudden drops in temperature or moisture in the room.
Due to its New York location and the precious contents inside the store, energy-efficient glazing was a must with insulated glass units consisting of low-iron and low-e glass. Low-iron glass achieves better clarity and is often used in larger formats of glass. Insulating glass is the most effective way to increase a window’s thermal performance by reducing the heat gain or loss.
Insulated glass with the use of high performance coatings, argon gas and stainless steel spacers can improve the insulation quality. By combining different glass into an IGU, we (M. Cohen & Sons and AGNORA) were able to control and enhance the light level, external & internal color and reflection, solar energy control, thermal insulation, safety and security, acoustic insulation and fading factors.
Although positioned close to an outside wall is not the optimal atmospheric condition for a piano, the use of low-e glass allowed us to reduce the risk of condensation and cold drafts. It was designed to prevent heat escaping from the room, to retain the heat in the winter, and to reflect back into the room. It’s imperative to use low-e glass in rooms that have a high-proportion of windows such as the Steinway Hall. “By placing low-e glass into a double glazed unit, the individual glass pane temperatures change. As more heat is retained, the outer pane of glass is not heated as much by escaping energy and the inner pane is keeping more heat in and becomes warmer.” *
Planning is Everything in the Big Apple
The climate wasn’t the only factor at play for this project’s locale. Since the project was located so close to Times Square, deliveries needed to be received and put away by 6:00am to avoid conflicts with the public. This meant deliveries as early as 4:30 am, with a timeframe of one hour to offload the trucks. The organization of the trucks and shipping statements from AGNORA facilitated M. Cohen’s planning and strategy at the time of each delivery.
“AGNORA was our first choice for this project due their ability to manufacture insulated glass units at the quality and size required by the project, but most importantly, being able to work with M Cohen and meet the deadlines pre-established by the client. When choosing a glass fabricator, our previous experience and confidence led us right back down the path to AGNORA”