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Case Study: Glass, Finish, and Aluminum Framing Improve Hotel's Energy Efficiency


Missouri's Loews Kansas City Hotel is the first full-service luxury hotel to open downtown in more than 30 years. Rising 24 stories and encompassing 800 rooms, its crisp, modern, minimalist look was designed by Cooper Carry and brought to life with Tubelite Inc.'s curtainwall, window wall, entrance, and interior aluminum framing systems.

One of Tubelite's largest completed projects to date, Flynn Midwest LP installed approximately 122,000 square feet of Tubelite's systems. All of Tubelite's aluminum framing was finished by Linetec in an Arcadia Silver color on the exterior with multiple paint and anodized finishes on the interior. The finished aluminum was paired with Viracon's VRE1-38, VRE1-4322 and VNE1-63 high-performance low-e products, all on a clear glass substrate. Archon Fenestration Technologies, LLC served as the local manufacturers' representative assisting with glass and framing product selection, specifications and coordination.

"Archon was proud to be part of such a high-profile and much-anticipated project that has not only transformed the Kansas City skyline, but also serves as a catalyst in the growth of downtown KC by attracting conferences, events and visitors to this destination," said Doug Urich, president of Archon Fenestration Technologies, LLC.

Located at 1515 Wyandotte Street, Loews Kansas City Hotel offers a breath of refreshing hospitality in the heart of downtown. The $325 million destination hotel offers guests a choice of a lobby bar, a three-meal restaurant or grab-and-go dining. Fitness amenities include an indoor lap pool and spa. Along with the largest hotel ballroom in the city, it provides up to 60,000 square feet of on-site meeting and event space, and an elevated pedestrian bridge connecting to the Kansas City Convention Center. It is conveniently within walking distance to key attractions and other destination landmarks like the Kansas City Power & Light District, T-Mobile Center, KC Streetcar, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Providing a visual landmark within the Kansas City skyline, the hotel's corner tower displays the red Loews' brand signage against a silver-reflective glass backdrop. The signature "feature wall" tower showcases Tubelite's 400IG Series (Inside Glazed) Curtainwall with 7-inch-deep tapered face caps. Engineered as an interior-glazed system, the curtainwall's offset glass pockets, removable glass stops and roll-over horizontal members save time and labor during installation.

On the tower, Viracon's 1-inch insulating VRE1-38 glass achieves a 45 percent exterior reflectance and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.23. Urich explained, "In the majority of the hotel rooms and meeting areas, Viracon's VRE1-43 complements the overall aesthetic with a 25 percent exterior reflectance and a 0.22 SHGC. The glass is utilized in conjunction with Tubelite's 2.25-by-6-inch 900RW Series Therml=Block® Window Wall system with split mullions to facilitate pre-glazed panels for expedited installation. Together, the high thermal performance glass and aluminum framing products keep guests comfortable and support the hotel's energy-efficient operations."

Those who enter through Tubelite's Wide Stile Entrance systems are greeted with natural light during the day and vibrant views at night. The interior scope of the project, installed by AGP Inc., features Tubelite's INT45 Interior Flush Glazed Framing and Medium Stile Entrance systems, which help define the interior retail and restaurant spaces.

Whether sipping a drink at the Horse Feather Social, dining at The Stilwell or crossing over to the convention center, the hotel's main lobby, lower levels and skybridge link present the most visible connection to the public. All of these high-traffic areas rely on Tubelite's 400CW Series Curtainwall with framing members up to 10 inches deep, supporting Viracon's insulating VNE 1-63 glass, to create a welcoming and lasting impression.

Contributing to Loews Kansas City Hotel's high-profile appearance and high-performance attributes, Linetec finished Tubelite's aluminum framing, as well as provided poured-and-debridged ultra-thermal barriers. The thermal break separates and insulates the framing to reduce conduction and condensation, supporting the hotel's energy efficiency and its guests' comfort.

On the hotel's exterior, Linetec applied a 70 percent PVDF resin-based Duranar® architectural paint coating in Arcadia Silver. On select aluminum interior framing members, Clear, Dark Bronze and Black Class I anodize finishes were specified. Minimizing both interior and exterior maintenance, the finished metals' durability saves time and labor throughout the building's lifespan. At the end of the aluminum framing systems' long life, it can be recycled and reused as future architectural products and other materials.

After nearly two years of construction, including the challenges of building during a pandemic, Loews Kansas City Hotel opened in June 2020. Anticipating the opening, hotel manager Brian Johnson told CityScene KC, "The quality of this building is more than what was promised."

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