Ridgeview Glass Inc.
- Written by: Camila Osorno
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Architects striving to make a big statement in glass and architectural metals pursue profound glazier contractor Ridgeview Glass Inc. (RGI). RGI is one of the most respected curtain wall specialists in the Mid-Atlantic, revered for its industry experience and ability to make even the most ambitious designs financially and structurally feasible. RGI is not a typical behemoth; the family-owned and -operated company insists on managing its growth to be large enough to complete demanding projects and small enough for employees and customers to feel like part of the family.
Andrew “Sonny” Canter founded RGI in 1982. Sonny’s sons, Andy and Matt Canter, have since taken the helm as co-owners of RGI, which celebrated its 30-year anniversary in February 2012. “We worked our way up through the company and it was really once Matt and I came on full-time that we began to grow into a true family business,” says Andy Canter, president of RGI. RGI is based in Upper Marlboro, Md., but the company also operates one office in New Jersey and another in Richmond, Va., to meet the needs of Mid-Atlantic and northeast clients.
The RGI family, being both the Canters and company employees, have established RGI by emphasizing the importance of quality products and prompt, courteous and fair customer service. The company operates a custom fabrication shop at its headquarters to customize a variety of architectural and glass products, including: glass curtain wall systems, skylights, storefronts, operable windows, automatic entrances and revolving doorways as well as decorative glass work, fire-rated systems and bullet-and-blast resistant systems.
The RGI team has the experience to collaborate directly with architects and general contractors to find and value-engineer systems guaranteed to meet the project owner’s goals. “We specialize in projects that require us to really think outside of the box and design custom systems for complex projects,” says Andy. The company typically focuses on commercial and institutional projects, boasting extensive experience working in the public sector and with energy efficient products.
RGI helped design and install the 18-story glass atrium at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., in 2008. The glass atrium was designed to become an architectural anchor for the building with lush indoor gardens and sweeping views of the Potomac River and Old Towne Alexandria, Va. The biggest challenge of the project was finding a solution that could achieve the open-air concept without sending operating and maintenance costs through the roof. The RGI team opted to use a low-e coated glass product from Viracon that would help the building keep tabs on energy costs and still supply the indoor gardens with enough sunlight to thrive year-round.
Over the years RGI has been fortunate enough to build and renovate many Mid-Atlantic cultural and architectural landmarks, including: George Washington University (Marvin Center & 1957 E St.), the Prince George Sports & Learning Complex, the National Biodefense, the National Analysis and Countermeasures Center and the Annapolis Westfield Mall.
RGI was responsible for building part of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2001, which numbers amongst the world’s most visited museums. The museum was originally designed by renowned architect Gyo Obata of HOK as a series of four marble-clad cubes connected by three steel and glass atria. The company used a custom curtain wall system anchored with 1.5-inch stainless steel trusses and 20-foot tall sliding aluminum doors to best complement the project.
One of RGI’s most visible accomplishments is the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory on the grounds of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The glass greenhouse was built in 1933 with eight garden rooms and over 28,000 square feet, but the conservatory was in need of a major renovation by 1997. RGI was proud to be part of the four-year effort to revive a piece of national heritage back to its original glory.
The renovation essentially required the building to be totally dismantled and rebuilt in order to meet modern building codes, with one major exception: the building is not fully air conditioned. Instead the greenhouse relies upon a sophisticated ambient monitoring and misting system that adjusts to meet the ideal conditions of each garden. RGI successfully replaced all of the conservatory’s original 22 inch tall operable aluminum doors in time for a December 2001 opening.
Hitting the Ground Running
RGI did not stop there. The company completed work on a major expansion at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., which opened in January 2012. The $80.2 million project added 42,000 square feet, 72 patient beds for critical care along with a dozen private nursing room units in addition to the renovation of 62,000 square feet of existing space. RGI oversaw the installation of the center’s floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall, which provides hospital employees and patients alike with an abundance of natural sunlight to brighten each day.
“Throughout the economic downturn we have proven we are profitable even in bad times,” says Andy. “We opted to scale back our focus instead of taking whatever work we could find.” As a result the company maintained its strong base of employees and union laborers who helped RGI maintain its presence in the regional market, without compromising its hard-earned reputation.
RGI has already seen an increase in available work, which it plans to capitalize on with the help of its additional office locations.
RGI’s commitment to quality products and persistence to find value for each client will ensure the company carries on the traditions of the last 30 years, no matter where the Ridgeview Glass Inc. team finds opportunity.
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