What was once the 550,000-sq-ft Barbara Jordan Post Office in downtown Houston is now a mixed-use development called POST Houston. It is home to an arts center, concert venue, food hall, rooftop garden, workspace and more.
Owner and developer Lovett Commercial wanted to maximize usable space on the 5-acre roof to bring natural light to the new office space below, so the design incorporates massive walkable and non-walkable skylights. Shown is the installation of what the team believes is the largest single-pane walkable glass skylight ever installed in the U.S., at 10 ft 6 in. in diameter and weighing 2,700 lb.
“These are extremely unique circular walkable glass skylights that are installed with highly specialized equipment, highly specialized installers, and are the result of nearly a year of meticulous coordination,” says Kutac. “I was on site this day to ensure that the installation plan was being executed properly and to also be available for any on-the-fly complications.”
Griesenbeck Architectural Systems led the skylight installation. It had to source a hydraulic crane big enough to lift the skylight system onto the roof. The firm also had to use a special manipulator to ensure sufficient suction on the heavy, monolithic glass.
Kutac took several photos on the roof, then moved into the building to watch the installation from below and captured this shot with his iPhone 11.
“While the vacuum lifter was still attached to the glass, the installers all leaned onto the glass to discuss the next step ... of carefully disengaging the vacuum lifter,” he says. “Seeing the abundance of hands on the glass, in conjunction with the equipment, symbolized the true team effort from all parties involved during the journey from conception to reality for these unique skylights. I also like how the photo has an extraterrestrial sensation—the installers and I would jokingly refer to these units as UFOs during installation.”
Project team members included general contractor DE Harvey Builders, architects OMA and Powers Brown, and manufacturer Glass Flooring Systems. This skylight was one of 40 installed on the Skylawn of the recently completed POST Houston.