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Glaziers tethered by lifelines to Ocean Journey Peaks
Just like Spiderman – but they DON’T wear tights
and they DO work with safety nets.

WHAT: Seemingly soaring 120 feet above the ground and manhandling 450 pounds of glass at a time, the glaziers (one who sets glass) who are installing the monumental glass peaks of the Tennessee Aquarium’s Ocean Journey building are capturing the imagination of Chattanooga. “They look just like Spiderman,” is a common comment heard all over downtown. When all is said and hung, more than 2,400 pieces of glass will be installed and more than 10,000 man hours invested in the creation of the massive rainforest peaks the glaziers simply refer to as a skylight.

WHEN: The glaziers are onsite at various times between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. To schedule an interview or to find out the best times to capture the glaziers at work, call field manager Larry Chaffin at 615-207-5253. Chaffin also will assist your photographer in gaining access to the construction site. (For your safety, a hard hat will be provided and closed-toe shoes should be worn.)

WHO: There are 12 glaziers from Alexander Metals, Inc., working on the Ocean Journey project. The National Glass Association recognizes Alexander Metals as one of the country’s Top 50 Glazing Companies. Field Manager Larry Chaffin has been in the skylight business for more than 25 years. He is instrumental in training and supervising all aspects of the project. The glaziers also are experienced – “It’s simply too dangerous to hire someone who’s not used to working around heights,” said Chaffin.

HOW: On the triangular peaks, the skylight frames are assembled in sections on a flat roof and hoisted in place by a large crane. Once the frames are anchored to the structure, the individual pieces of glass are lifted by electric suction cups and set in place by the crane. Safety for the installers is the number one priority. The top of the skylight framing is approximately 120 feet above the ground. The skylight crews must wear safety harnesses and be tied off at all times to lifelines. Safety nets are also used. Communication must be flawless between the crane operator and the supervisors when lifting the large skylight frames and the individual pieces of glass. The average weight of the skylight glass is approximately 450 lbs. The vertical curtain-wall along Market Street is accessed by mechanically operated platforms. These movable work platforms are roughly 4-feet wide x 60-feet long and are used for getting materials and manpower to the highly elevated vertical openings.

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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $14 per adult and $7.50 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.75 per adult and $5.25 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $18 for adults and $10.50 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.

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