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Prescription for Safety: Fire-Rated Stairwell Provides Light and Life Safety for Medical Center

Visual connectivity between workspaces and natural light, to be created without sacrificing safety, were focal points in the development of the Clinical Services Pavilion at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center

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March 24, 2016 |

Clear fire-rated glazing transfers daylight

During the development of the Clinical Services Pavilion at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, a point of emphasis for local GBBN Architects was to provide clinical researchers and hospital staff with visual connectivity between workspaces and access to natural light.

“The typical laboratory floor is designed around a concept of transparency, enabling views throughout the building as well as drawing natural light deep within the building,” said GBBN Architects in a firm write-up about the new research-focused, outpatient center. “Design features include collaborative spaces that are selectively placed to draw researchers out of their labs.”

Among the building elements that contributed to the success of the architects’ vision is a light and porous central fire-rated glass stairwell that facilitates opportunities for interaction among clinical researchers and hospital staff. Since the stairwell is designated by code to defend against the spread of flames, smoke and heat for up to two hours, the design team sought a slender, high-performance fire-rated glazing system to provide the necessary transparency and satisfy building codes. To achieve their desired openness and provide a pathway for safe egress, the firm used Technical Glass Products’ (TGP) Fireframes® Curtainwall Series fire-resistant frames with Pilkington Pyrostop® fire-resistant glass.

Fireframes Curtainwall Series fire-rated frames allow for large, multi-story expanses of fire-rated glass in interior and exterior applications. This design flexibility made it possible for GBBN Architects to incorporate expansive sections of fire-rated glazing within the stairwell, extending the line of sight for occupants and connecting them to the clinic’s various floors. The system’s slender profiles also help take the visual focus off the fire-rated frames and center it on the stairwell’s vibrant walls and warm wood treatments, which reflect the youthful energy of the pediatric clinic.

Pilkington Pyrostop is fire-tested as a wall assembly, allowing for unrestricted amounts of transparent glazing. In the medical center, the clear glazed lites help draw daylight deep into the stairwell core and improve visibility for researchers and clinicians as they move between floors. Pilkington Pyrostop also meets the impact requirements of CPSC 16CFR1201 Category I and/or Category II – a critical performance benefit for glass used in busy stairwells.

Together, the fire-rated glass and frames offer fire ratings of up to two hours and block the transfer of radiant heat. They provide essential protection should faculty or patients need to exit the building during a fire.

For more information on the Fireframes Curtainwall Series and Pilkington Pyrostop, along with TGP’s other fire-rated and specialty architectural glass and framing, visit


Light-filled collaborative spaces provide views


Additional Information

Project: Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, Clinical Services Pavilion
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Architect: GBBN Architects
Glazing Contractor: Pioneer Cladding & Glazing Systems
Product: Fireframes® Curtainwall Series frames with Pilkington Pyrostop® fire-rated transparent wall panels

Technical Glass Products
800.451.9857 – fax

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