Metalwërks®, a manufacturer of plate exterior façade systems, played a pivotal role in the expansion of Grand Central Station, a world-famous landmark in New York City that is part of the daily commute for more than a quarter of a million people. The customized cladding products fashioned and manufactured by Metalwërks helped designers and installers to address specific challenges presented by the expansion.
Managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the expansion of Grand Central Terminal includes eight tracks and four platforms in a two-level station that sits 100 feet below ground. The expansion provides commuters with access to the Long Island Rail Road and connects the 2nd Avenue line of the MTA subway system to Metro North and Penn Station.
Developing new platforms and tracks in close proximity to active tracks as well as irregularities in the existing concrete lining created challenges for designers of the expansion. Metalwërks fashioned a system in partnership with The Jobin Organization, a family-owned roofing, waterproofing, and building envelope business based in Hauppauge, New York. Metalwërks and Jobin developed a support and panel attachment system that sits only three inches from the face of the tunnel to keep the system depth low in the tight space.
The aluminum panels for the tunnel wall cladding are used as an architectural screen wall covering the concrete surfaces on curved walls where trains enter platforms for passenger loading and unloading. These panels utilize a custom aluminum extruded post for attachment mounted with custom clips. Metalwërks provided 123,500 square feet of flat and curved aluminum assemblies lining 4,600 linear feet of tunnel walls. In addition, Metalwërks supplied 73,000 square feet of stainless steel cladding in elevator, escalator, and stair enclosures; smoke and exhaust shafts; and connecting concourses.
To fulfill the design vision for the tunnel walls, the surface cladding is white, graffiti-resistant polyvinylidene flouride-coated aluminum.
“We were presented with a unique set of circumstances with the Grand Central project, one that required strong collaboration and meticulous attention to detail,” said Steve Scharr, director of business development at Metalwërks. “The Metalwërks solution delivers a clean aesthetic to the interior of the station while protecting the surface from wear and tear in the high-traffic tunnels. We especially appreciated the confidence Jobin had in the Metalwerks’ proposition to co-develop installation-friendly designs. We were proud to be involved in the very early stages of this process and to arrive at a solution that will stand the test of time for such an important landmark.”
The expansion of Grand Central Station is based on a transit plan from 1950 that received funding in 2006. Tunnel boring connecting Manhattan and Queens began in 2007, followed by tunnel and track construction. The new terminal is scheduled to open in December 2022.