AGI Case Study: Yards Brewing Company brewery & taproom

Front entry corner (all final photos © Ben Lackey, Yards Brewing Company)
Photo source
Front entry corner | Photo © Ben Lackey, Yards Brewing Company
Abundant glass brightens the 70,000 sf facility.

By: Amanda Gibney Weko

YARDS BREWING COMPANY

Started in a garage in Manayunk in 1994, Yards Brewing Company has grown to become Philadelphia’s largest craft brewery.

In November 2017, Yards debuted its new 70,000-square-foot brewery and 300-seat taproom in Northern Liberties. The facility includes a full-service restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and special event space. It also will allow Yards to begin canning its beer for the first time.

According to Founder Tom Kehoe, the new brewery gives Yards the ability to expand up to six times its current annual volume (up to more than 240,000 barrels) with state-of-the-art equipment to deliver the highest possible consistency and quality.

“Our new taproom puts you right in the middle of the action in a true production brewery,” Kehoe explained. “You can see all elements of brewing and packaging while enjoying a beer at the bar, or you can go outside and have a beer while sitting under active 600-barrel fermentation tanks.”

The design intent to put customers in the center of brewing required a significant amount of glass. Philadelphia-based architecture firm DIGSAU and AGI glazing contractor Twindows, Inc. brought the vision to reality.

Longtime friends with Kehoe and others on the Yards team, Twindows, Inc. Owner Mike Dalicandro said, “It was a lot of fun to be involved with a project as high profile and design intensive as this one.”

 

CORNER ENTRY

An inverted pyramid of glass demarcates the brewery’s corner entry at Fifth and Spring Garden Streets. “The design intent of the curtain wall cutout was to provide a clearly marked, recognizable, and iconic entry point,” said Project Architect Harris Ford, AIA, of DIGSAU. The diagonal top line of the curtain wall follows the slope of the building’s main stair.

To execute the corner detail, a back-to-back steel C-channel squeeze lintel was added to support the masonry. Twindows then installed one-inch clear tempered Solarban 70XL insulating glass.

Yards Brewing Company
Yards’ entry and 600-gallon fermentation tanks | © Ben Lackey

 

MIDDLE OF THE ACTION

The use of glass makes the interior feel wide open, connecting patrons to the brewing process. DIGSAU’s design incorporates two types of glass between the taproom and brew house: clear vision glass for views between the two spaces and semi-transparent mirror glass to partially conceal some equipment components while reflecting the taproom’s activity.

Yards shared the design drawings with Dalicandro, who made glazing recommendations such as incorporating laminated glass to reduce canning line noise into public spaces. They talked through the process to ensure the glazing choices met aesthetic and functional requirements.

Kehoe was appreciative of the input, “Twindows was an excellent all-around partner. They made insightful suggestions about the appropriate glass types for sound reduction, visual appeal, and budgetary considerations.”

Final glazing choices included half-inch and quarter-inch clear laminated glass, quarter-inch clear tempered glass, and quarterinch mirror-pane tempered glass. The heaviest half-inch glass appears in the wall dividing the canning line from the taproom.

Yards Brewing Company
Taproom picnic-style seating and expansive glass | © Ben Lackey

 

WORKING WEEKENDS

As the renovation progressed, challenges within the existing building unrelated to Twindows’ scope compressed the overall project schedule and impacted the glazing timeline. Rather than risk timely completion, the Twindows ten-person team accelerated their process, working two full weekends to install of the interior glass.

“Without this commitment from the glaziers, the project wouldn’t have been done on time” said Dalicandro, who, along with Senior Project Manager Mike Cerasi, was personally on site for all four crunch days.

Yards Brewing Company
Detail of laminated glass window to canning line | © Ben Lackey

 

GRAND OPENING

Yards celebrated the grand opening of its new brewery and taproom on November 16. The crowd gathered for the event included Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Visit the Yards Brewery & Taproom in person at 500 Spring Garden Street or online at www.yardsbrewing.com.

Glazing installation in progress
Glazing installation in progress | Twindows, Inc.

 

AGI Glazier
Twindows, Inc. | Philadelphia, Pa.

Team
Architect:
DIGSAU | Philadelphia, Pa.
Construction:
TN Ward Company | Ardmore, Pa.

Client
Yards Brewing Company

Completion
November 2017

Project Size
70,000 square feet

www.theagi.org

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