Transit Maintenance Facility Achieves Daylighting and Ventilation

After: New York City Transit Authority maintenance facility

After: New York City Transit Authority maintenance facility

New York City Transit Authority maintains a building in northern Manhattan on the Harlem River that is used to upgrade and repair old subway cars. It is one of two heavy overhaul shops in the New York City Subway system; the other building is the Coney Island Yard in Brooklyn. The Manhattan facility had functioned without any significant rehabilitation work since its 1932 opening.

Recently, the building underwent a restoration in which skylights and windows located in the upper portion of the building were replaced. The facility was plagued with old steel sash windows with PVC glazing which were deteriorated to the point where they were falling out. EXTECH/Exterior Technologies Inc. was chosen by architect Franz Wolensky to complete the replacement work utilizing EXTECH’s TechVent Top-Hinged Windows #5300.

Four miles (if placed side to side) of this patented design, totaling approximately 88,000 square feet of cellular polycarbonate glazed fixed and top-hinged windows were installed. These long, continuous “wings” of windows were manufactured with clear anodized finished aluminum frames glazed with Opal 16-millimeter cellular polycarbonate providing approximately 60 percent light transmission. A mechanical operating system was also implemented. The system is available with manual or electric operators.

Before: New York City Transit Authority maintenance facility

Before: New York City Transit Authority maintenance facility

Like louvers, these windows can be left open during normal rainfall, thus providing ventilation as well as natural night. The functionality is expanded by the option to use as windows or skylights; glazing with high-strength polycarbonate, fiberglass or traditional glass; low friction gaskets, which allow for thermal expansion of the glazing; and frames made of heavy-duty aluminum extrusions (in a variety of colors and finishes). The system can be installed as unit windows/skylights or as continuous “wings” as large as 7-feet high and 150-feet wide.

Like louvers, these windows can be left open during normal rainfall, thus providing ventilation as well as natural night.

Like louvers, these windows can be left open during normal rainfall, thus providing ventilation as well as natural night.

The versatility, functionality and durability of the windows, along with EXTECH’s design and engineering, played a role in the selection of this product. In addition to cost savings, the windows, when glazed with cellular polycarbonate, are fully recyclable, along with the patented aluminum framing. The Manhattan shop and yard are still functioning today, providing service to NYCT subway cars. The yard also stores cars that are being retired or awaiting scrapping, as well as restores cars designated for the New York Transit Museum.

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