• project_northwestern-mutual_0
  • Novum assisted the architectural team at Pickard Chilton in collaboration with Gilbane in a Designer Assist role to engineer, fabricate, and install the structural glass atrium within the 150-year-old Northwestern Mutual HQ building in downtown Milwaukee, WI. The roof section of the atrium is over 150’ in the long direction and spans over 75’ from support to support. The walls are over 100’ tall and low iron glass is used for the glazing. The Novum Edge Clamped Glazing System was used to support the glass, providing maximum sunlight and ultimate transparency within the new tower.

    To limit the number of columns within the atrium, the roof is supported by trusses that span 75' and occur every 20'. The trusses are a combination of painted Novum AES curved tubes for the top chord with two 1.5” diameter stainless steel cables for the bottom chord. The trusses are supported to saddle connections to the existing building structure hidden within and above the existing buildings' Corinthian iconic columns. The trusses are braced with crisscrossing 1” diameter stainless steel tension rods. To keep the wall support structure light and transparent, a horizontal girt system was used. The wall uses painted Novum AES tubes to span horizontally 40’ between atrium columns. The horizontal tubes remain thin in profile because the tubes are dead load supported from the atrium roof structure above by a double set of 1” diameter stainless steel rods from the Novum Tension Rod System.


    Low iron glass is used to provide a transparent atrium. The insulated glass has a low-e coating. To support the glass, the Novum Edge Clamped Glazing System was used for both the wall and the skylight. The clamping system allowed for uninterrupted glass panels to enhance transparency.

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Size: 23,360 sq ft / 2,170 sq m

Systems Used: Architecturally Exposed Steel, Tension Cable, Tension Rod, Edge Clamped Glass

Architects: Pickard Chilton

General Contractor: Gilbane

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