Raising the Roof on the Contemporary Art Gallery

The concrete floor of the new contemporary gallery has been placed and we’re now in the process of pouring the concrete serpentine walls that form the inside spaces in the new contemporary art gallery. These walls will rise through several sets of concrete pours over the next month. Each 20’ tall wall is poured in three six-foot lifts and then a final 2’ cap.

One of the unique features of the gallery is that it is daylit.  The roof is a giant skylight supported by concrete beams that seem quite delicate and light in appearance. The beams are four feet tall and a mere three and a half inches thick, which is an unusual aspect ratio for concrete beams that allows light to filter in from the skylight.

Thin concrete beams allow daylight to flow into the galleries

 In Alma, Canada, a facility is currently pre-casting 206 beams, ranging 20 to 50 feet long. The beams will be shipped to Corning and a crane will lift each beam into its place following a carefully thought out construction puzzle that lays the right length to sit on the supporting exterior and interior walls.

Our construction team visited the facility in October to check out progress. Over 100 beams have been cast at this point.

The skylighting  is placed after the beams are laid in.  The team will work from east to west, laying down beams and then building in the skylights. The skylights are formed in peaks across the expanse of the roof, with the top of the peak set just below the height of the exterior wall – invisible to those looking up at the building.

In September, the construction team traveled to St. Louis for environmental testing of the skylights. The team built a room of plywood, covered by the skylights. They conducted thermal testing and also directed high velocities of wind and rain at the glass to test for strength and resistance to leakage. The glass passed with flying colors.

Environmental testing of skylights included a rain test

To learn more about the North Wing expansion project, visit cmog.org/expansion.