Making the Gensler “Jewel Box” Whole Again

Just another day in the shop today here at Giroux. We’ve got a job coming up to replace a big panel of glass for the group of architects at Gensler. Their US HQ is at 500 S. Figueroa in downtown LA, and this big panel is one of a series in their “jewel box.” That’s their ground-level series of windowpanes that go around the building.  Our project estimator, Jay Ramos, said “It looks like a BB gun caused damage to the piece, and it left behind a small round hole”. This is what we’re replacing.

Did I mention the new piece of glass is big? It’s huge! The panel delivered today weighs over half a ton, 1,400 pounds, when inside the wooden delivery crate, and 1,300 pounds when it’s not. We had it fabricated in Shanghai, China, and we ordered it through our distributor, a Canadian company called “Glass 3 Enterprises.” This single panel measures 85” by 302”, of ½” clear, tempered glass, so it required a bit of maneuvering to get it unloaded. Nothing we’re not used to doing, and a fun process to direct every time it happens.

The way we get this done is pretty cool, and this video tell the story. The truck delivers the huge piece of glass, strapped and soldered to one inside wall of the truck. When the truck arrives, it has a sort of roof/tarp, which we take apart. We unhook all the fasteners, remove the rope ties, and peel back the tarp to turn the truck into a kind of convertible model, an open-air truck bed… Next, we take off the metal rods that protect the top of the truck.  This is where we carefully remove them one by one. When we open the back door of the truck, all that’s left are the walls on 3 sides of the truck.

When we finally get access to the crate holding the glass, we pull up a forklift next to the truck, and line it up next to the crate that’s inside. We then cut off the metal attachments that tightly hold the crate to the truck walls so that it can be moved. We attach the crate to the forklift with straps, and lift it up so that it’s suspended.

Here’s the fun part. Then we tell the truck driver to advance, slowly. This way we can guide the crate so that it doesn’t touch anything, while the truck slowly pulls away. The crate is still suspended by the forklift.  Slowly the truck keeps moving forward, until we’re left with the truck fully separated from the crate. The video we took shows how it happens.

The last step is to transport the huge crate, with the glass, into our holding yard. With a few guys to help guide it, that’s the easy part. We drove the forklift across our driveway, into our yard. It’s now safe and sound, all the way from China, and waiting for its next local trip: to be installed about a mile away, on June 13th. For traffic and safety reasons, we scheduled the installation at Gensler for a Saturday. We’ll be sure to get photos of that and share those too with you then!

by Jay Ramos, Service Estimator and LEED Green Associate at Giroux Glass, Inc.

Jay has been a member of Giroux Glass’ Service and Repair team since 2013. He welcomes your feedback, which can be emailed directly to [email protected].

> Video on “How We Unload an 85″ x 302″ Piece of Glass”

> What the Gensler “jewel box” will look like when complete