Forming part of Philadelphia’s Cira Centre South complex, the FMC Tower stands 730 feet (222 meters) tall. Located on the banks of the Schuylkill River, the FMC tower in Philadelphia is the global headquarters of the FMC Corporation. It’s the highest and most luxurious building in the University District of the city and one of the most eye-catching landmarks. High-end residential units are located in the top part of the tower, offering great views across the city. The middle and lower part of the building house a four star hotel and 23 floors of top class office space.

Facadexs was chosen to provide a facade access solution in order to be able to keep this landmark in top condition.

It consists of 47 storeys, which will make it the tallest building in Philadelphia outside Center city. The project includes commercial space, office space, a park on top of the adjacent parking garage and 268 luxury apartments on the top floors – earning it the nickname Philadelphia’s first vertical neighbourhood.

Particularly impressive is the 28th floor, which includes amenities for health, wellness, entertainment, dining and business, as well as an outdoor sky deck at a height of 120 meters (400 feet).

We were very proud to be a part of this project, together with American Anchor, responsible for the installation of this Facadexs solution. The FMC tower was completed in the spring of 2016.

Facade Access in Philadelphia

Our solution for the FMC tower offers access to the entire surface of the glass facades. It consists of two traversing roof cars: one telescopic roof car on the roof and one with a fixed jib on the deck of the 28th floor.

The first traversing roof car runs on a straight track on top of the tower. It is equipped with a telescopic jib that has a horizontal outreach of no less than 25 meters (84 feet), and is able to position a gondola in front of the facades on the east, west and south side, as well as the top part of the north facade (between the 28th floor and the top floor).

A second traversing roof car will move over a U-shaped rail track on the sky deck. This BMU is able to clean both the front and the sides of the north facade, from the 28th floor down. The fixed jib of this BMU can be raised up to 59 degrees, to lift the gondola over the parapet.

BMU 01 specifications

Traversing roof car with a fixed jib
  • Approx. lifting height: 140 m (460 ft)

  • Max. horizontal outreach of 5 m (18.5 ft)

  • Standard cradle with a SWL of approx. 272 kg (599 lbs)

  • Parking in a specially designed BMU garage;
    hidden out of sight when not in use.

  • Glass replacement unit with a max. load of 455 kg (1000 lbs)

BMU 02 specifications

Telescopic roof car
  • Max. horizontal outreach of 25 m (82 ft)

  • Approx. lifting height: 140 m (460 ft)

  • Traversing along a 76 m (249 ft) rail track.

  • Telescopic column of 11 m (approx. 36 ft)

  • Standard cradle with a SWL of approx. 340 kg (750 lbs)

  • Glass replacement unit with a max. load of 453 kg (1000 lbs)

Gondolas and restraint system

Both gondolas are extra wide in comparison with our standard gondolas in order to cover a larger area with a single descent. This limits the number of drops and amount of time needed to maintain the entire facade. Another advantage is that less mullion guide rails are needed to be integrated into the facade for the restraint system.

Before each descent, special connectors on the gondola are slid into the sockets of the guide rails to restraint the gondola along the descent. Workers don’t have to connect or disconnect the gondola during vertical travel, which saves time as well. Besides that, the building’s aesthetics aren’t affected, because the guide rails are fully integrated in the facade.

Digital monitoring system

At the base of the roof level BMU, a monitoring system is installed to ensure ultimate safety of the workers inside the gondola. With this system, other workers can monitor the status of the gondola and at which floor it’s located. In case of a malfunction or an emergency, the monitoring system provides valuable information to prevent accidents.

We are proud to have provided this innovative facade access solution for this eye-catcher of Philadelphia’s skyline, facilitating maintenance work to the entire FMC Tower in as little time as possible.