Solution

John Hancock Tower

Boston, MA

Market: Office

Client

Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP

Completion

1989
John Hancock Tower Glass Breakage Investigation

Photo copyright Stock Boston

John Hancock Tower Glass Breakage Investigation
John Hancock Tower Glass Breakage Investigation

Designed by I.M. Pei & Associates, the John Hancock Tower in Boston’s Back Bay is clad with reflective glass.  The sixty-story John Hancock Tower was still under construction in 1972 when many of the reflective glass units began to fracture.  In January 1973, a major windstorm hit downtown Boston and the systemic nature of the failure became undeniable.  By April of that year, plywood replaced more than an acre of the tower’s mirror-glass window surface and “Plywood Palace” became the building’s nickname.  SGH investigated the glass breakage.

Scope | Solutions

SGH evaluated the performance of the building, its response to wind, and analyzed the pressure and stress on the glass surfaces. Our post-breakage analysis of the glass fracture surfaces proved that the fracture was rooted in the design of the insulating glass units.  Over ten thousand dual-pane insulating glass units were replaced with fully tempered monolithic glass.  SGH provided testimony in federal court regarding the cause of the insulating glass breakage.

SGH’s work at the John Hancock Tower also includes leakage investigations and roofing replacement design.