State-of-the-art cables to support striking glass faade


    At 54 stories tall, the L.A. LIVE tower/entertainment campus is the first Los Angeles skyscraper to reach such heights in two decades. The luxurious JW Marriott Hotel serves as the focal point of the complex, and is showcased by an impressive 20,000 square feet of point-fixed structural curtainwall façade. To support the structure, the project’s design professionals desired a sleek, modern truss system that would not mitigate views. For this, they turned to Ronstan Tensile Architecture.

    Ronstan – a leader in end-to-end specialty contracting services and technical expertise in tensile architecture – manufactured and supplied a state-of-the-art cable, rod and turnbuckle system to assist in laterally upholding the large glass structure. The system was chosen for its aesthetic appeal and flexible functionality, two critical factors when specifying for such a large-scale project.

    L.A. LIVE tower is the distinguished brainchild of world-famous Gensler architects, and was developed by such high-powered companies as AEG, Wachovia Corp, Azteca Corp and MacFarlane Partners. While JW Marriott serves as its hub, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton condominiums, and the Nokia Plaza all share the space. It also serves as headquarters for both AEG and Herbalife. The structure stands on a 27-acre site adjacent to the world-famous Staples Center and boasts 5,600,000 square feet of apartments, ballrooms, bars, restaurants, movie theaters and concert halls.

    As a monumental high-rise, the facility features only the finest-quality and best-looking architectural products. Among these products is the Ronstan stainless steel truss system – its metal boldly, but delicately, standing out against the glass of the hotel’s lobby. The system is composed of Ronstan ACS1-SS and ARS1-SS rods and turnbuckles, which employ Ronstan cabling as an integral structural component to uphold segments of the south-facing glass façades in a corner-to-corner fashion.

    The resulting design is a vertical tower of graceful crisscrossing cable patterns, providing subtly glistening accents to the curtainwall in an engaging geometrical pattern. The system’s minimalist design allows it to create this effect without inhibiting views to the outside. Ronstan provides further lateral support on the north- and west-facing glass walls with horizontal bracing cables. The modern-looking composition complements the aesthetic of the lobby, which itself pays special attention to geometry, balance, and contemporary style.

    “We are very pleased to have been specified on such an important project,” said Andrew Trowbridge, architectural and industrial manager – West Coast at Ronstan International Inc. “There is a high level of confidence associated with Ronstan products and this facility proves an excellent showcase for the quality we provide.”

    The Ronstan-supported curtainwall was designed, engineered, and installed by Enclos Corp, a company that specializes in custom façade systems. The SS rods, cables, and turnbuckles feature threaded ends with separate threaded swage forks that allow for an inch of maneuverability on each end, nicely facilitating Enclos’ complex design.

    To uphold such a large and fragile glass structure, precise tensioning of the cables was critical to installation. The south-facing diagonal cables, for instance, had to be tensioned in the correct sequence to avoid any bow in the truss that might occur from over- or under-tightening. To accommodate this challenge, the team developed an exacting system of measuring the length of the cable – from the pin to the center of the turnbuckle – to allow the cables to be centered with enough threads for adjusting on either end. In order to ensure that this was properly achieved, Enclos worked closely with Ronstan for dimensional specifications, samples and other installation instructions necessary to complete the intricate process.

    “Everyone on the project team, including Enclos, the architects at Gensler, and Webcor as the general contractor, is very pleased with the curtainwall installation,” said Shital Sanghavi, project manager at Enclos Corp.

    The L.A. LIVE tower and JW Marriott project was completed in 2009. The project team for the ambitious undertaking consisted of architect Gensler, curtainwall engineer Enclos, engineer Nabih Youssef Associates, and general contractor, Webcor Builders.

    “This project is truly a remarkable addition to the Los Angeles skyline. It is commanding but elegant.” Trowbridge said.

    Scot West is the president of U.S. Operations for Ronstan Tensile Architecture, a consultant for the architectural/engineering communities of North America, Australia and Asia. Ronstan works with clients to incorporate their tensile elements into projects, resulting in some of the world’s most intriguing examples of tensile architecture. For more information, visit