Ferguson Neudorf Glass Inc.: Shatterproof Reputation for Quality and Creativity

Keith Ferguson and Peter Neudorf met in 1985 while separately bidding a contract for the Ottawa’s National Art Gallery. The pair quickly realized that two entrepreneurs with compatible philosophies and a shared passion for glazing would accomplish much more as a team, and the rest is history. Family-operated enterprise Ferguson Neudorf Glass Inc. (FNG) was officially founded in 1986, and quickly established its name through its customer-oriented approach. FNG is now one of the most respected curtain wall contractors, boasting a portfolio of landmark projects across Canada and the United States. After a quarter century, the FNG name stands for quality, creativity and integrity and every team member takes pride in treating clients like family.

FNG is based out of Beamsville, Ontario, where a team of 200 professionals and one state-of-the-art fabrication facility come together to design, engineer, manufacture and install all of the company’s own curtain wall, skylight and building envelope systems. Most of FNG’s systems are project specific; the company often gets involved during the earliest stages of a job, offering design-assist services to ensure that an architect’s vision can be recreated to last a lifetime using products from leading manufacturers.

Curtain wall is not the only system with which FNG works. The company is also experienced in fabricating and installing punched windows, ribbon windows, structural glass walls, canopies, terracotta and stone cladding as well as aluminum panel systems and louvres. The company goes to great lengths to adopt leading technologies and products with proven performance records, making it a prime candidate for sustainability-oriented projects and retrofit projects where the existing building envelope systems are failing.

A Beacon of Energy Efficiency

FNG completed work on Manitoba Hydro Place in 2009, which serves as the headquarters for Manitoba Hydro. As the largest energy utility provider in the province and the fourth largest energy utility in the country, Manitoba Hydro worked with Toronto’s KPMB Architects and Winnipeg-based Smith Carter Architects to design a living facility that adjusts to changes in its own environment for optimal energy efficiency. Manitoba Hydro set ambitious goals of LEED Platinum certification and an energy-efficient design that uses only one-quarter the amount of energy compared to similarly sized buildings, which is no small feat considering Winnipeg’s extreme climate. Over the course of a year, the city can see temperatures as low as negative 31 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

To achieve such ambitious energy savings FNG worked directly with the building’s architects to incorporate principles of displacement ventilation into the building’s curtain wall system, opting to use a double-glazed curtain wall system made of low-iron glass for the building’s exterior wall, supported by a single glazed inner wall for an extra layer of insulation. A set of automated louver shades also shield the building from unnecessary glare and heat gain. But the most iconic feature of the building is the 377-foot tall solar chimney along the building’s north side, which helps precondition the air before it circulates through the building’s raised floor vents.

“This project was a true design-assist,” adds Danny Neudorf, vice president of sales and marketing at FNG. The chimney creates a vertical escape path for the building’s stale air, which in the summer time is flushed out of the building by fresh air coming in from a series of three winter gardens along the building’s south side.

During winter months air is drawn into the building through a set of outer mechanical units and heated by the geothermal field below the building, before being pushed into the solar chimney and used to heat the building’s underground parking garage. The air is also either humidified in winter or dehumidified in summer months by a 24-metre water feature, but the system as a whole does away with the need for traditional ductwork and hung ceilings. The building circulates only fresh air and because of its design, a comfortable building temperature can be maintained using only incoming fresh air from windows during the transitional months.

Lighting Up Landmarks

FNG was involved in the construction of the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Ambulatory Care Center at Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts. The LEED Gold-certified project provides 280,000 square feet of space to replace the hospital’s previous ambulatory care center, which consisted of several departmental tenants. The new space consolidates practices and outpatient services within nine stories of modularly arranged floors, standardizing patient encounters and improving overall circulation through the building.

FNG supplied and installed the building’s custom glass curtain wall, windows and entrance systems along with the building’s trademark terracotta sunshade cladding. The terra cotta cladding system creates an additional layer of insulation for the building while also building upon the campus’s traditional brick façade.

There are no plans to slow down anytime soon; the company has signed with general contractor Aecon Group Inc. to complete work on a major revitalization of Toronto’s Union station, a project for Go Transit and Via Rail that is set to complete in spring 2015. FNG will bring its expertise in the form of skylights, structural glass walls and canopies to create the station’s new glass atrium, which will replace a section of the station’s train shed roof.

The completed station will be just another example of how FNG supplies solutions and not just systems. With every successfully completed project the team underscores the values of quality craftsmanship and personal integrity that have propelled Ferguson Neudorf Glass Inc.’s transformation into one of North America’s leading curtain wall contractors.