Windows Are Breaking at Houston Pavilions

A reader who works in Downtown sorta-mall Houston Pavilions has decided that a mysterious problem with broken windows in the complex’s 11-story office building is “becoming a situation.” A notice sent out to workers in NRG Tower recently, according to the reader’s report, declares that they are no longer allowed to exit the building from the first floor onto Polk St. The concern? That someone might get hit by falling glass. The reader explains: “The part of the building that faces inside the pavilion has an overhang on the second floor so we can walk into the building. The Polk street side has no such overhang.”


Swamplot’s tipster claims to have heard that at least 5 outside panes of the building’s double-paned windows have broken, including one on the 7th floor from about 2 weeks ago: “That was fine, as the inner window didn’t break.” But this week the problem started moving indoors. Sometime around 9:30 Monday morning an inner pane on the 6th floor shattered, the tipster reports, “sending glass all over the desks.” The outer pane remained intact, however (see photo above.) “Again no one was injured.”

What’s causing all the breakage? “I really have no idea,” says the tipster. “I’m hoping your readers could help out with suggestions.”

Photos: Flickr user pmorello0912 (aerial view), Swamplot inbox (window)

14 Comment

  • Alarming, considering how new that building is. The corporate skyscraper I worked in during Ike only lost a couple dozen windows, while the one next to it blew out of all its windows. Wouldn’t want to be in that thing during the next hurricane.

  • Lookup of the John Hancock building in Boston, Mass. for a real story of windows popping off the building and falling to the ground from much higher elevations. This window breakage is small potatoes.

    It’s curious that it’s just breaking in place. It would mean the seals are holding the panes in place, but there is likely not enough room for the frame expansion causing the glass to break.

  • I would guess that is tempered glass.
    That type of glass is surprisingly prone
    to shatter for no apparent reason.
    My brother’s glass cutting board explded
    a few months ago while they were watching TV!

  • The crushing weight of failure

  • I think it would be wise to evacuate the building!

  • My guesses, assuming vandalism is ruled out:

    1. Not heat strengthened glass. Thermal stresses are breaking them.
    2. Bad installation not allowing for expansion.
    3. Nicked glass and thermal stresses are breaking them.
    4. Manufacturing defect and thermal stresses are breaking them.

  • I’d say it was thermal, except this isn’t the building’s first summer. Still, maybe someone at Pavillions should start keeping a graph of window explosions vs. temperature, just to check.

  • The picture looks like tempered glass. My guess is it’s what both kjb434 and crankyoldcoot are saying. Probably something expanding more than expected plus maybe a batch of defective glass.

  • I worked on the fix for a six-story building ten years ago that had foundation problems.
    The foundation problems put pressure on the curtain wall frame.
    The pressure on the curtain wall frame squoze the glass.
    The glass cracked.

  • Loud music from Scott Gertner’s. ;-)

  • The circular features on the roof are acting as ultra-high frequency accumulators. The cell phone signals in the area are accumulated and focused in to a vertical orientation. The rotation of the earth then causes these signals to rotate into a vortex, much like a tornado. This energy is then transferred to the steel structure of the building which causes it to pulsate at a frequency much too high for the humans to notice, at least not those who have not been “updated” by the ETs. Finally, the windows fail.

  • +1 to the foundation theory. I used to walk through HP everyday and noticed all the cracks in the concrete. They filled them in with filler and painted over them. I could be wrong…

  • @Jason: Snark of the Day.

  • This type of glass breakage IS TYPICAL in newer buildings. The pavilion’s structure was finished 4 years ago but was not put through an entire thermal cycle (summer/winter) until 2010. Whichs means the structure has only gone thru 1-1/2 full thermal cycles since construction. Glass breakage of this kind is typical in a newly constructed building. Thermal cycles weed out the inperfected glass within one to two years.