New York City Transit was building a new bus terminal on Staten Island, NY. Adjacent to the main building was a large retaining wall, approximately 30 ft. high x 500 ft. long, composed of steel pilings which held back the earth for the parking lot area.
This had been described by some as one of the world’s ugliest walls. The black coating on the 3/8” thick steel piles was abraded in places and spotted with dirt. It needed to be protected and it needed to look better.
The job of determining how to clad the wall with a protective steel skin, and at the same time to improve the appearance, was given to EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc., a firm which enjoys finding solutions to difficult façade problems.
Aside from the fact that the piles did not line up very straight, the biggest problem was that there was a continuous row of walers near the top of the wall and these projected outward roughly 2 feet. These walers are the fixtures which are connected to cables buried in the earth to keep the walls from falling over.
What could be done to get past the walers without having to install framing and without moving the entire wall 2 feet outward? EXTECH thought of a simple and low-cost solution which would also have a unique appearance. They designed a conventional corrugated Galvalume steel wall, including curved panels which jump over the walers. To make things a little trickier, the row of walers is not horizontal. In fact, it falls some 8 feet from one end of the wall to the other.
EXTECH laid out a series of galvanized steel girts which followed the slope of the walers along their edges and which were horizontal elsewhere. All fasteners used in the project were #14 Series 300 stainless steel. The exposed fasteners also had stainless steel backed neoprene washers.
The finished product may surprise someone who sees it for the first time. The sloping barrel is dramatic and presents a powerful picture when the sun reflects from it. All is well that ends well. And the consensus is that this installation ended very, very well.
For more information on EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc., go to www.extech-voegele.com.