See the Burke pivoting window wall in action

July 17, 2018
Burke Museum
The large pivoting window wall fully open with a group of people standing below for scale

Donors who generously supported the new pivoting window wall stand below it in its open position.
Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum

The Burke Museum’s pivoting window wall is a massive, human-powered steel and glass kinetic architecture feature that will open the east end of the New Burke café space to the outdoors.

The wall was designed by New Burke architect Tom Kundig, whose work is well known for this type of feature, and his long-time collaborator Phil Turner, Olson Kundig’s gizmologist. Turner Exhibits provided mechanical and structural design, fabrication, and technical direction during installation.

The new Burke Museum exterior of the building showing the pivot window wall in the closed position

The east-facing side of the New Burke with the pivoting window wall in its closed position.
Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum

The pivoting window wall is hinged above the café roofline. When fully rotated to the horizontal position, it creates a clear opening and an overhanging awning at the east end of the café. The wall opening is approximately 24’ wide by 20’ high, and including its large flying counterbalance, the entire system stands over 30’ tall.

A large crane connects to the steel structure of the new wall to lift it

Skanska crews install the pivoting window wall on a rainy day.
Photo: Alejandro Valdivieso/Burke Museum

A crane lifts the steel structure into place

Skanska crews install the pivoting window wall on a rainy day.
Photo: Alejandro Valdivieso/Burke Museum

The wall weighs just over 22,000 lbs. and is operated by turning a hand wheel at an indoor control station.

The round hand wheel is about 3' wide

Turning the hand wheel at the indoor control station will open the pivoting window wall.
Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum

Blue prints of the pivoting window wall's series of gears, bearing and shafts.

Blue prints of the pivoting window wall's series of gears, bearing and shafts.
Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum

Through a series of gears, bearings and shafts, the mechanism moves a toothed, rigid arm that pushes the window wall open and pulls it closed.

Donors who generously supported the new pivoting window wall gathered on June 6 to celebrate the completion of the wall and honor Phil Turner for his work and his role as an inspiration to the work of Olson Kundig.

A man turns the 3' hand wheel at the indoor control station to open the window wall.

Phil Turner opens the pivoting window wall at a June 6 celebration.
Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum

A man turns the 3' hand wheel at the indoor control station to open the window wall while other guests watch.

Phil Turner opens the pivoting window wall at a June 6 celebration.
Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum

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Special thanks to Greg Cain of Turner Exhibits for his contribution to this article.

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