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Innovative design for Fontainebleau Hilton Miami

The recently-completed addition of a new residential tower to the Fontainebleau II Hilton hotel in Miami, Florida, which was overseen by NBS Architects of Miami, includes the introduction of an extensive, curved laminated glass covered canopy walkway from the valet parking area to the sea, and a curved laminated glass underground connecting tunnel that resembles a carved glass cylinder. Together, the canopy walkway and tunnel use 2,000 m2 of laminated glass incorporating DuPont™ SentryGlas® structural interlayer. Both the canopy and the tunnel have drawn much attention for their innovative design.

Structural engineering firm Manfroni Engineering Workshop (MEW) of Bologna, Italy was responsible for the design of the walkway and tunnel; the laminated glass was also fabricated in Italy by Vetreria Longianese.

Engineer Odine Manfroni told Laminated Glass News: "The client wanted something really unique for the glass walkway, an Italian-style design. The architectural goals were that the walkway should look and feel stunning, and that it should use laminated safety glass that was optically clear and give 360 degree views of the ocean while protecting arriving hotel guests walking from the valet parking area to the reception or to the sea from inclement weather such as hurricanes, or from the heat. As Europeans, this was the first time that we had to work with such high wind load specification, which is about five times that of a typical European specification. Strict Dade County regulations have specified the use of very strong laminated glass for hurricane protection. All the curved laminated glass with SentryGlas® that we specified, was tested before shipment in our labs in Bologna, then was tested a second time in Dade County government testing laboratories, and passed the tests for "large missile impact" for the tunnel, and "small missile impact" for the canopy successfully.

"In fact, the tunnel, made of laminated glass with SentryGlas®, was classified by Florida’s Dade County labs as a safe place to shelter during an actual hurricane due to the stiffness and excellent impact resistance of DuPont’s structural interlayer. Steve Bennison and his team from DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions Central Research & Development in Wilmington helped us to understand the Dade County wind load regulations, and to design the curved laminated glass we wanted aesthetically for the walkway and tunnel, in a way that met all the wind load tests for structural strength.’’

 Enzo Muccioli of Vetreria Longianese confirmed: "The IG units for the canopy and the tunnel consisted of 6 mm blue-green Pilkington glass on the outside, a 16 mm air space, then laminated glass consisting of 6 mm glass + 2.28 mm SentryGlas® + 6 mm glass. This laminated glass is obviously of very good quality, very strong and with excellent optics. This was the first time that we have worked with SentryGlas® but we will certainly use it for other architectural projects in the future."