Crystal’s Intern Experience: Steel and Glass and the Cardinals, Oh My!

Progress on the SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is flying!! Look below to see how the hospital has changed in one month’s time!

Above: Project site in May (left), and June (right)

As steel erection and concrete pours continue, studs follow, and next is curtain wall. Glass curtain wall has two main components: glass and the frame. It is vitally important to the building as it keeps out water, heat, gases and even sound!

We had the opportunity to visit the glass fabrication shop from which our enclosure is coming!! Oldcastle Building Envelope is located about an hour outside of St. Louis, but they serve many regions across North America. Their glass can be found on Exxon Mobil Headquarters in Houston, TX, Parkland Hospital where John F. Kennedy passed away, and Target store fronts across the United States and Canada.

Oldcastle welcomed us first with an intriguing presentation of all the work they do. I learned about tinted, low-e, tempered, painted, laminated, reflective, and fabricated glass, and each exhibits different behaviors, functions, and aesthetics. The really cool part was when we put on our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and headed into the “fab shop.”

The glass arrives in massive sheets, some are as big as 130” x 204”. To me that just sounds like a lot of inches, by a lot of inches, so let me give some tangible context. That dimension is equivalent to 130×204 eyeballs, 43×68 oranges, and 9×14 Shaq shoes (I think that makes Shaq sound even bigger!!).

Oldcastle has expanded three times due to large growth, and it amazed me how effectively they use their space. Horse-shoed production lines, vertical storage, and innovative packaging are all ways they use every square foot of their building.

A big thank you to all the employees at Oldcastle for their time, preparation, and organization in making our experience positive and informational!

The day after Oldcastle we went to Washington University in St. Louis with the Building Enclosure Council. The project is in the heat of Enclosure, so we got to see primetime action unfolding before our eyes. Since Austin and I are focusing on enclosure, it was extremely valuable to make the connections between the two sites. Things I had learned on the SSM Saint Louis University Hospital Project were being reinforced by sights on the tour.

Another big thank you to Austin for welcoming me on these unique excursions as they have increased my understanding of our project specifics and offered a different perspective on the larger construction process.

Side note: We recently went to a Cardinals game, my first one of the season! They almost didn’t let me in because I was wearing Brewers!!! Smiles all around!!!


Crystal is an Alberici intern blogging about her experiences at the SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital project this summer. Click here to read about her first few weeks on the project, and here to learn about her experience climbing one of the tower cranes on site.