Vertical Access Top 10 of 2010: Project 7 – The Galleria, New York, NY

“Ladder” for descending over plexiglass panels

In June 2010, a major wind event passed through New York City and dislodged a large pane of glass from a balcony near the top of the Galleria building in midtown Manhattan, resulting in extensive damage to the glass-enclosed balconies on the south facade of the building. The Galleria, a mixed use building, has an eight-story base with commercial offices and a public atrium, and a 47-story residential tower with “winter garden” balconies above the 19th floor. At the time of its construction in 1975, the building was the tallest concrete-framed structure in New York.

Following the glazing collapse, Vertical Access was retained by Israel Berger & Associates to identify public safety concerns at the winter garden balconies and document the condition of the balconies where the glass had become dislodged as well as the other balconies. The project posed an interesting rigging challenge for Vertical Access, as access to the balconies on the south facade of the Galleria from the rooftop terrace required descending down a curved plexiglass enclosure. To avoid putting weight directly onto the plexiglass panels, founding partner Kent Diebolt and level 3 supervisor Keith Luscinski developed a “ladder” system consisting of aluminum tube spreaders, spanning across the mullions of the enclosure. This allowed VA technicians performing the investigation to safely lower themselves onto the south facade and complete the investigation of the winter garden balconies.

Keith decending down Galleria south facade

Read about Project 1: Union Theological Seminary Brown Tower
Read about Project 2: University of Buffalo Alumni Arena
Read about Project 3: United States Capitol Dome
Read about Project 4: Boston College Burns Library Tower
Read about Project 5: Mayo Clinic Gonda Building
Read about Project 6: Convent of the Sacred Heart School