Sentryglas® for Skyscraper Slide in LA

Photo: © M.Ludvik Engineering
Thanks to the high performance of the SentryGlas interlayer, supporting structures are kept to a minimum leaving virtually unobstructed views of the LA skyline

SentryGlas® slides its way onto the LA skyline

Often used in establishing shots for major Hollywood blockbusters, the U.S. Bank Tower (formerly Library Square and owned by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. (OUE)) has an impressive presence on the Los Angeles skyline, being the city’s second tallest building.

Already a major landmark, its popularity was recently bolstered in 2016 with the opening of the OUE Skyspace, an observation deck on the building’s 69th and 70th floor. As well as offering commanding views of the city and surrounding areas, visitors have the opportunity to ride down a glass slide between the two floors of the observation deck.

The slide – which is 1,000 ft (305 m) above ground level, offering its riders a unique take on the city – has SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayers from Trosifol™ to thank for the outstanding clarity, strength and environmental performance of the glass used in its construction.

According to Peter Johnston, Senior Vice President, Communications at OUE USA: “When we first decided to do observation deck we knew we had to put in thrill feature. We have already seen tilted windows and a glass ledges in other buildings in the US, so we had to do something a little different. We didn’t want to duplicate other attractions, and in a meeting somebody suggested ‘a slide over the abyss’. This idea very soon gained considerable traction and the decision was made. We now offer visitors a completely unique experience in LA,
which has proved incredibly popular, with many thousands of people going down the slide in the first year.”

Gensler, the architect tasked with the redevelopment of the Skyspace observation deck, called upon the services of structural engineers M. L udvik Engineering to assess the feasibility of the slide and to put the design, development, fabrication and testing of the idea into motion. “This was a fascinating project,” explains Michael Ludvik. “Due to LA’s location in a seismic zone, the tower can actually oscillate by as much as 20 ft (6 m) during an earthquake, so the slide itself had to be designed like a machine rather than a structure, where the glass is allowed to articulate in sympathy with any building movements.


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