Wrigleyville rooftop railing

Have you ever wanted to hang out on a rooftop in Wrigleyville but didn’t want to pay the exorbitant prices?  Well I’ve got a cheap way to climb to the sky in the beloved Cubby neighborhood.  Just contract to build a parapet wall railing on the roof of a multi-million dollar new construction condo building.

Ok, perhaps this isn’t the ideal scenario for everyone, and this roof doesn’t even look into the park.  But it is a bona fide rooftop deck in Wrigleyville.  This client came to me with a unique set of parameters, involving a strong, yet spartan and elegant railing, to ensure that his guests didn’t tumble the fifty plus feet while imbibing at one of his summertime shindigs.

The piece is fabricated from one inch, and one and a quarter inch, schedule forty pipe…really robust stuff that was coped, mitered, MIG welded, blended, filed and sanded.  I fabricated the individual sections off site, and built them as large as possible to minimize on site welding.

Because even though the term “Windy City” actually refers to our politician’s penchant for spouting hot air from their mouths (Blago anyone?) this place can get breezy from time to time.  Welding fifty feet in the air in blustery conditions can wreak havoc on shielding gases and contaminate welds.

Of course fabricating sections off site presents a special challenge when installation time rolls around.  If the measurements are incorrect, you’ve got a very large problem.  Such was not the case for this project, as it rarely, if ever is for us, and I’m especially proud of the south wall section, which can be seen in the third photo of the first row below.

That piece is over twenty feet long, and contains three ninety-degree bends, five posts, and intersects three planes, the last of which leads to a fifty foot long, straight run.  If your measurements are off at the beginning of a span of this length, that adjoining section will be woefully off kilter.

I gave myself very little play in the fabrication of this section…one eighth of an inch to be exact.  Now there are almost two-thousand, eighths of an inch in twenty feet.  When the day of installation arrived, and the sections were adjoined, it was revealed that they were within one sixteenth of an inch of each other.  Spot on, as the Brits say.  All of the other tolerances throughout the entire railing are similarly exact.

The piece was very well received by the client, as they were ecstatic with the results.  Another challenging, yet ultimately fulfilling job in the books for Bader Art Metal.

Austin F. Bader
Copyright 2011

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