Case Studies

W&W Glass LLC

The Clear Choice for Architectural Glass and Metal

W&W Glass LLC (W&W) is one of the New York metropolitan area’s largest architectural glass and metal specialty contractors, with 40 employees in the office and 150 in the field. The family-owned company, based in Nanuet, N.Y., specializes in curtain walls, storefronts, entrances, ornamental glass and metal, and is the exclusive distributor of the Pilkington Planar structural glass system in North America. Working with most of the prominent architects and contractors in the area, W&W provides superior solutions for the most challenging projects.

Throughout its history W&W has prided itself on providing clients with innovative, tested designs that the company can proudly stand behind. With experience in designing and installing a wide variety of building enclosure systems, the W&W team continues to prove an industry leader.

“New York is our home market, but as the distributor of Pilkington’s Planar System, we work with architects, developers, contractors and engineers from all over the country, which helps us stay ahead of market trends,” says Jeff Haber, one of the managing partners of W&W. However, even before partnering with Pilkington Architectural, W&W had a keen eye for new growth opportunities, which propelled the firm to extend its expertise into new areas of glazing and architectural enclosure systems.

Brothers Ron and Jerry Haber founded W&W in 1977, and today the second generation of Haber professionals stands at the helm of the company. Jerry’s three sons (Jeff, Mike, and Scott) share ownership of the company with Ron’s son (Howard), and together the group continues to uphold the firm’s reputation for professional service and industry-leading solutions. “We’re lucky to work together as a family, but we’re even more fortunate to work well with one another and enjoy the work we do,” reflect the partners.

Pouncing on New Opportunities

In its earliest days W&W specialized in countersunk custom glass systems for use in racquetball and squash courts and managed to sell over 8,000 of these systems in its first 20 years. The systems used a bolted glass technology that was then modified for use in exterior cladding systems. W&W trademarked and patented a system called Glaswal in the early 1980s and quickly became the nation’s second-largest structural glass wall supplier behind Pilkington. In 1993 Pilkington proposed the two entities work together as a team instead of as competitors in the U.S. market. According to Jeff, W&W was able to quadruple sales of the United Kingdom-fabricated Pilkington Planar system in the U.S. and helped Pilkington to improve product performance and energy-efficiency standards.

With an emphasis on quality, W&W and Pilkington Architectural combined resources to provide an end-to-end solution. W&W maintains in-house estimating, engineering and design teams for design-build efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The company’s in-house talent also enables the firm to formulate a solution with a holistic comprehension of the system’s performance.

“The W&W difference is that we have experience across various sectors of glass, glazing and architectural metals, so we can provide a wide scope of products and services on any single project,” explains Jeff.

In addition, W&W’s union glaziers and ironworkers bring extensive experience in curtain wall, structural glass facades, skylights and custom metal enclosure systems. The W&W team is well versed in overcoming common worksite challenges from working in a high traffic, densely populated metropolitan area and can help deal with the logistical challenge of any job site.

As a result, the firm has been a part in building and rehabilitating some of New York’s most iconic sites. W&W built the new Rose Center for Earth & Space at the American Museum of Natural History, the glass entrance and prow to the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, and rebuilt the Wintergarden at the World Financial Center in Battery Park damaged in the September 11 attacks.

More recently, in September 2011, the new glass pavilion for the historical Jane’s Carousel opened in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The carousel itself was installed originally in Youngstown, Ohio, but artist and property development couple Jane and David Walentas purchased the carousel at an auction for installation in New York City. After 26 years of restoring the carousel to its original 1922 glory, the Walentas called in Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning Jean Nouvel to design a new home for the structure.

“I like to think of it as a square jewel box holding a precious round gem [the carousel],” admits Jeff. “But, in all honesty, the structure is remarkable because it combines a highly engineered glass-tensioned structure skylite, and extremely large acrylic paneling to house the historical carousel.”

Only the Best

Back in Manhattan, W&W crews will be wrapping up work at the new September 11 Memorial and Museum Pavilion in 2012. The pavilion was designed by architect Craig Dyckers of Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and overlooks the September 11 Memorial Fountain. Inside, the 40,000-square foot pavilion will house galleries commemorating the terrorist attacks of February 23, 1993, and September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center.

Further uptown, W&W crews are tackling a beast on a very different scale. The owner of the skyscraper at 330 Madison Avenue identified serious energy and environmental inefficiencies in the building’s original glass envelope and called in Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects to find a solution. Luckily, the building’s structural integrity was solid enough to allow for a complete replacement of its’ exterior skin and W&W was called in to recommend a solution.

The old system was a single-paned glass curtain wall that, after half a century, began leaking water into the building and proved to be a poor insulator. In response, the W&W team is installing a new unitized curtain wall system manufactured by company partner SOTA Glazing from Brampton, Ontario, Canada. The curtain wall with high-performance insulated glass will increase energy efficiency by over one-third. Throughout the renovation process the building has remained operational, and W&W crews have been removing old work, preparing new connections and installing the panels during off-hours to avoid disrupting tenants.

Even as the building comes closer to completion, the W&W team won’t be taking a breather. Instead, the W&W team will focus on preparing for its upcoming projects and maintaining an efficient internal structure to retain its competitive edge.

“We’re optimistic that whatever bottom was in this downturn has already passed,” asserts Jeff. “We’re already seeing strong signs of many buildings going up within the next several years, and when the markets pick up we’ll be in great shape.”

In its 35 years the Haber family and W&W team have made a name for the company, setting the standard for professionalism and efficacy in the construction industry. As new construction begins showing signs of recovery, W&W Glass LLC will be standing by to identify and address trends and provide invaluable expertise on the best architectural glass and metal systems available.

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