Main Street Station Renovation: 1,100-ft VS1 Wall

Innovation Glass is proud to be involved in the renovation of the historic Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia. Built in 1901, the 100,000-square-foot station will be used as an event and retail space and a welcome center for travelers. Renovations will also improve the station's infrastructure and future ability to accommodate high-speed trains. 

Many see the Main Street Station—one of the last-gabled-roof-shed train stations in the country and a US National Historic Landmark—as the gateway to the city, both because of its role in welcoming train travelers but also due to its highly visible location directly adjacent to Route I-95.

When complete, the renovated Main Street Station will feature one of the longest glass walls in the world—a wall made possible by VS1. 

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The shed's original 1901 riveted steel trusses were restored, and the sheds roof was rebuilt with stained fir timber from Washington State.

A 1,100-foot VS1 wall wraps around three sides of the shed. The east and west walls are each 500 feet long and 30 feet tall, and the north face is 100 feet long and 45 feet tall at its peak. Visible through the glass walls are outdoor boarding platforms running parallel to either side of the shed. The restorations of the historic station could increase Amtrak capacity from 4 trains per day to 32.

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vs1 details

 • Three-sided curtain wall with the two main faces running 500’ each and spanning 30’ tall. The Southern end of the 500’ run has multiple sloping head conditions

• There are multiple outside/inside corners with 1x1 corner tubes transferring the lateral load around the corners to the adjacent mullions.

• The North face is 100’ long with a symmetrical sloping head condition that comes to a peak to form the dramatic 45’ tall wall that encloses the train shed.

• There is a single line of horizontal tension rods along the 500’ faces that are periodically diagonally braced down to the slab at the sill.  

• The North wall has two rows of horizontal tension rods with the lower row braced down to the slab at the corners and the upper row braced at the intermediate anchor which transfers the load to the adjacent structure.

 

 

A unique challenge in the Main Street Station project was the amount of drift of the building over such a long span. The building not only drifted by three feet in a north-south direction, but also in a east-west direction by five feet, posing the problem of how to anchor the wall while still allowing it to freely move to accommodate the swaying of the building. This problem was solved custom anchors/transfer plates and oversized fasteners at the head and intermediate locations while restraining the system at the sill, in effect creating a diaphragm that moved as a whole rather than the different elevations moving individually.

A defining aspect of this project is that the existing structure from 1901 was kept intact and utilized in the renovation. Using VS1, the curtain wall was designed around that structure, preserving the historic significance of the building.