Glasshouse Skylofts will have a beautiful glazed skin, it will be a true reflection of the clear prairie sky in the heart of downtown. Its foundation and building cores are solid reinforced concrete masses, bearing the weight of the structure and tieing the Glasshouse tower forever to the continental bedrock. The hidden but valuable performer is the steel framework, an efficient assembly of steel beams and columns that is engineered, welded and interconnected to transfer wind loads and floor weights to the massive concrete foundation.
This week we started the installation of steel on the Glasshouse site. There will be just over 400 tons of structural steel incorporated into the highrise, someindividual columns have 14 inch flanges and weigh 311 pounds per lineal foot. In total Glasshouse will contain the same amount of steel required to build 450 average sized cars. These steel columns are forged in American mills, shipped by rail to the local fabrication plant where modifications for the engineered connections and/or alternate coating treatments are applied (galvanized versus primer paint or other options depending on the intended use of that steel), then brought to the site in lengths that are three stories long. The majority of steel beams in Glasshouse are a specialty product that was originally designed and engineered in Europe and is now manufactured in Quebec.
The use of steel in highrise buildings is a significant part of Winnipeg’s constructed history. Back in the early part of the 20th century Our Town was the Breadbasket of the Nation and our aspirations for great commercial status among world cities was displayed in the steel framed structures built in that era and that still stand throughout our downtown. Today the excitement associated with the confidence in our economic vitality continues to be tied to the presence of architectural steelwork, as witnessed by the prominent play given to the Glasshouse project in our local media. The proper yet flowery text of yesteryear’s press is gone, and instead we speak frankly of the dimensions of these steel members, and proudly declare that it feels great that their erection is underway.