Glass prototype from one of five competing glass fabricators, May 2016

2050 M Street’s ambitious façade was made possible—and cost-effective—by a non-traditional procurement process. A prescriptive specification for the curved glass was pre-validated early in design and shared with five glass fabricators commissioned to build identical prototypes and price the glass’ production. The owner then pre-purchased the best quality glass at a competitively negotiated price (the initial highest price was twice the lowest), locking in the optical precision, technical viability, and cost of the curved, laminated, insulated panels. With variations in glass quality and cost removed from the equation, the subsequent competitive bidding of the frames and support assemblies rendered bare the façade subcontractors’ proprietary capabilities and prices, optimizing system selection. The pre-purchased glass was novated to the successful subcontractor who performed final analysis and detailing (retaining traditional warranty responsibilities), defined means and methods, and delivered fully fabricated curtain wall panels to the site. This process allowed a highly custom curtain wall to be purchased within a spec office building budget.


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Production of pre-purchased glass by selected glass fabricator, January 2017

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Testing of selected façade subcontractor’s performance mock-up, May 2017

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Novated glass fabricated into selected façade subcontractor’s curtain wall panels, July 2017

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First façade panels installed on CBS sub-building, which accounted for 10% of the building and was completed in 2018 to allow CBS TV studios to move in early, September 2017

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Construction of “knife-plate” pre-tensioned concrete slabs on remaining 90% of the building, April 2019

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Staging of façade panels, August 2019

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Novel bracket from below, August 2019

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