Custom oversized glass elevator cab at Mall of America, engineered and manufactured by G&R Custom Cabs in Minnesota. Translucent glass front entry doors.

A new 10,000-lb. capacity glass elevator cab was recently added as part of a $325 million project, including a 165,000-sq.ft. retail expansion at the Mall of America’s (MOA) North Wing in Bloomington, MN. Designed by DLR Architects and installed by KONE, the cab is situated inside a glass hoistway. With a platform size of 12.5-ft. long x 8.5-ft. wide, the nature of its size and vertical structure presented unusual engineering and logistical challenges for the project team.

Invited to the project for being extensively versed in glass observation cab engineering design and manufacturing, the G&R team jumped right on board and moved the project forward while providing highly responsive communication and guidance through the process and assisted various affiliated construction teams to assure a job well done. G&R’s lead Design Engineer shared:

“Sometimes, on a job like this, you get to be more of a project manager. At G&R, we don’t mind going beyond our scope of work to get things resolved–it’s the nature of the work we do here.”

About The Structure
The structure of the system is enclosed in a see-through hoistway and the cab employs a rear-slung platform with an offset cross-head. The stiles are located on the outside rather than on the inside (of the platform). Special consideration was given to improving the aesthetics of unsightly (and essential) mechanical parts and wiring located on the top and bottom of the elevator cabin. 

Due to the size of the observation cab and unusual settlement inside the glass hoistway the project required commissioning of atypical material suppliers. Several suppliers from different cities and countries were sourced to find the right glass–translucence, tone, and thickness.

Although the polka-dot patterned glass hoistway slightly conceals the view of the cab from outside the hoistway, the essence of the architects’ vision was captured…. “a gold box rising”.

Glass Observation Cab: Mall of America

One Oversized Glass Observation Cab

The system and structure of this glass cab, being enclosed in a glass hoistway, required special consideration to conceal unsightly but necessary mechanical parts and connections. G&R worked directly with various sub-contracting teams to ensure that the operating system coincided with the cab structure.

The floor includes two 7-ft. (l) x 4-in. (w) LED accent lights that are covered with diffusors and non-skid glass. Along the sidewalls and rearwall, double rows of continuous (flat) stainless steel bumper rails and round stainless steel handrails are affixed at the mullions with custom handrail brackets.


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