Most people remember the feeling of going down a childhood slide with fondness, and the engineers behind the Aventura Slide Tower are hoping to elevate that experience for visitors of the Aventura Mall outside of Miami.
The nearly 100-foot tall slide was designed by Belgian artist Carsten Höller. It is a replica of the Vitra Slide Tower in Weil am Rhein, Germany. However, the Aventura Slide Tower has two slides instead of one, and the glass is made to withstand hurricane-force winds.
“To our knowledge, this is the only glass slide dome designed to meet high-velocity hurricane zone requirements,” says Hammad Muzaffar, senior project manager at Al-Farooq Corporation, which engineered the slide’s glass viewing tower.
In 2017, Al-Farooq was contracted for the project by German-based Wiegand Sports GmbH, a manufacturer of Alpine Coasters.
“We were hired to guide them through the permitting process and offer our services as their glazing expert for the slide’s glass dome,” says Muzaffar. “Since these stairs were designed using European computations and standards, the main engineering challenge was having to recheck the frame models and optimize them to meet ASCE 7-10 and FBC-2014 standards in a timely and efficient manner. Our team worked closely with Optimus Engineering (engineer of record), City of Aventura and Wiegand Sports GmbH to facilitate the optimization of testing mockups and permitting. In order to meet the project’s timeline, we also performed special inspection services for the glass installation.”
SAF-GLAS provided the glass for the Aventura Slide Tower. The glass was installed by both SAF-GLAS and Wiegand Sports. The project required glass with hurricane-resistant and impact-resistant properties given the application and location.
From the ground, the top of the time clock is elevated at just over 94 feet. The top of glass enclosure is more than 64 feet tall while the slide platform is just over 55 feet.
“The glass used in the dome is 9/16-inch heat strengthened and laminated by using 0.070 polycarbonate,” explains Muzaffar. “The glass installed was tested to tornado pressures (250 PSF/ 50 cycles per minute) and also meets GSA blast Level D requirements.”
According to Curbed Miami, it takes 15 seconds to go down the slide at speeds up to 15 miles per hour.