Glass columns support a steel-framed, stainless steel-clad roof with a very thin edge in a highly seismic location.

AIA SF 2014 Merit Award for Architecture
WAN Awards 2014, Glass in Architecture

This project represents another world first in the use of structural glass in a commercial building. Glass columns support a steel-framed roof with a cantilevering canopy. Clad in stainless steel, it appears to float blade-thin over the glass facade. While apparently simple, it hides many innovative design features needed to deal with the significant seismic forces in California.

Located in Palo Alto, behind the storefront, stone-clad walls support a transparent glass and stainless steel roof. Further beyond is the back of house, which forms the torsionally irregular, off-centre stability system.

The steel roof at the front, formed from cellular beams for service runs, is supported vertically by glass columns, which are designed to pivot and rack without breaking or buckling during an earthquake.

The glazed roof in the middle zone forms a structural ‘void’ in the roof-plane diaphragm, requiring steel geometry gymnastics to work the seismic forces through and around into the back-of-house stability system.

Rain run-off and gutter systems are all concealed within the stone parapets and walls. Lighting and services are run within the low-profile solid roof in the front and through custom profile stainless steel beams in the middle zones.

Palo Alto, CA


Bohlin Cywinski Jackson