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Times Tower's Cracked Windows Investigated

January 11, 2008

By Jack Buehrer

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is expected to send inspectors to the recently completed New York Times headquarters building today to determine what caused seven windows in the Renzo Piano and FXFowle-designed tower to crack on Wednesday afternoon.

The windows were located on the building’s 22nd, 10th, and sixth floors of the building, according to the DOB. Two of the 52-story tower’s signature ceramic rods on the exterior of the 40th and 38th floors were also damaged.

“Our engineers believe (Wednesday’s) high winds were a contributing factor (to the damage),” says DOB spokesperson Kate Lindquist. “But they are exploring all possible causes to determine what went wrong.”

A spokesperson for the Times, who would only confirm that one window had been broken, says she is “fairly certain” the crack was not related to the wind. She adds that authorities were called immediately and the window was repaired.

According to Lindquist, the tower’s general contractor, AMEC Construction Management, is making arrangements to repair the windows and the ceramic rods.

Messages left with AMEC and Piano’s Paris offices were not immediately returned.

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Wednesday’s incident was the second involving broken windows at the Times’s new offices in as many months. On December 4, a man was injured after reportedly being struck by glass from a broken window on the 17th floor. Wind gusts of up to 40 mph were blamed for that incident.

The ceramic rods also have been a source of controversy for the building, which was completed in July. On December 14, ice that formed on the horizontal rods, which encase the predominantly glass and steel structure, fell and created an “ice shower” that temporarily shut down the adjacent sidewalks.

A version of this story first appeared on McGraw-Hill’s enr.com.

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