The six expert judges and five editors evaluating this year’s Building Team Project of the Year Awards poured over dozens of submittals to identify the projects that best exemplify the collaborative effort necessary between owner, architect, and contractor to produce buildings that exhibit architectural and construction excellence.
Though the judges and editors engaged in lively debate over the entries, they were unanimous in their selection of the eight projects singled out for recognition as Grand or Merit award winners.
Diverse in their building type and geographic locations across the U.S., the projects are:
·The Ohio corporate headquarters and distribution center of clothier Abercrombie & Fitch (p 22), which is lauded for its environmental stewardship and owner/team collaboration;
·Seattle Seahawks Stadium and Exhibition Center (p 32), for its diversity, mentoring, and training programs as well as its design and construction;
·Texas Heart Institute in Houston (p 42), which survived a steam gasket failure and flood in the course of completion;
·Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles (p 50), earthquake-proofed and built to last 500 years;
·Capitol Area East End, Block 225, government office building in Sacramento, Calif. (p 58), a LEED Gold-certified building renowned for its art program;
·Chesapeake Biological Laboratories Smallpox Vaccine Facility in Baltimore (65), built in the aftermath of 9/11 in only 72 days;
·Shafran Planetarium in Cleveland (p 72), a gleaming beacon of science education; and
·Erie on the Park in Chicago (p 79), a structural steel high-rise condominium that’s breaking the mold in multifamily residential construction.
“It’s interesting to note that the family of award winners is representative of the broad spectrum of the building industry, from stadia to corporate office to lab to healthcare to government,” says juror Philip Tobey, a senior vice president with Detroit-based SmithGroup.
The projects also were diverse in their size and cost, ranging from $6 million to $700 million. “It just demonstrates to me that this is an open awards process,” says Tobey. “Any project with merit can win.”
ROSTER OF JUDGES:
Larry Griffis, President, Structures Division, Walter P. Moore Engineers & Consultants, Houston
Philip Tobey, Vice President/Healthcare, SmithGroup, Detroit
Bill Moody, Principal, The John Buck Co., Chicago
Raj Gupta, President, Environmental Systems Design Inc., Chicago
Sue Stewart, Senior Vice President, McCarthy Building Cos., St. Louis
Elva Rubio, Design Director of Architecture, Gensler, Chicago, and Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago
Grand Award – Institutional – Seahawks Stadium and Exhibition Center
Nurturing the community
Seattle’s new multi-sport stadium and exhibition center showcases the culture of this progressive city, while preserving its neighborhood fabric
By Renée Young, Contributing Editor
The best seat in the house at the new Seahawks Stadium in Seattle isn’t on the 50-yard line. It’s in the southeast corner, at the very top of the upper bowl. “From there you have a corner-to-corner view of the field and an inspiring grasp of the surrounding city,” says Kelly Kerns, project leader with architect/engineer Ellerbe Becket, Kansas City, Mo. “You feel like you’re part of something amazing.”
That’s just what the Building Team for Seahawks Stadium and Exhibition Center hoped for. Set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and the shimmering waters of Puget Sound, the new complex offers links to historic Pioneer Square, the city’s International District, and downtown, melding it all into a unique Seattle experience.
The new football/soccer stadium, 325,000-sq.-ft. exhibition center, and 2,000-car parking garage are the product of First & Goal, Inc., an entity formed by Paul Allen, the multibillionaire co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Portland Trailblazers of the National Basketball Association. In 1996, Allen took a 14-month option on the Seahawks when then-owner Ken Behring tried unsuccessfully to move the team to Los Angeles.
The deal required Allen to tear down the Kingdome and build a new stadium, at a time when Washington State taxpayers were soured by the $100 million in overruns that plagued construction of the $517 million Mariners baseball stadium. Allen put up $9 million to push through a referendum that, in June 1997, created the Washington State Public Stadium Authority and capped the public’s obligation at $300 million. Allen guaranteed $130 million out of pocket, plus the cost of any overruns.
At 8:31 a.m. on March 26, 2000, the quarter-century-old Kingdome was imploded by Aman Environmental (at a cost of $9.2 million), and the Building Team of Ellerbe Becket and Turner Construction’s Seattle office, headed by senior vice president Thomas Gerlach, Jr., set to work creating a structure for the Seahawks, a possible future Major League Soccer team, Seattle XXXX Show Coalition and &m> most important &m> the community.
Reflecting the culture
The building was designed to fit into an urban neighborhood, which includes the adjacent baseball dome, Safeco Field. “In the 1880s, the entire area was burnt to the ground,” says Kerns. “As a result, all of the buildings there were built within the same 10- to 15-year timeframe &m> with the same construction elements, at the same height of about 85 feet.”
To conform to the neighborhood’s height limit, the stadium rests on an 85-ft.-high masonry base, from which rises the concrete seating and steel roof structure. Using a stained, colored concrete and concrete unit masonry, the masonry base echoes the historic structures found throughout Pioneer Square.
The U-shaped seating design and upper bowl, which sits a mere 50 feet from the sidelines, also creates a feeling of intimacy. “Paul Allen wanted to create the most intimate NFL stadium with unsurpassed sightlines &m> so we employed a 56-ft. cantilever, the largest in the NFL, of the upper bowl over the suite level, bringing the upper bowl seats closer to the field,” said Kerns. With the open end of the “U” facing north toward downtown Seattle, spectators are connected to the surrounding communities, while those outside the stadium have views inside.
The new icon of the Seattle skyline is the stadium’s 1.4 million pound roof, which spans 720 feet and features the largest post-tensioned arches in the U.S. The white-painted steel “rainbow span” connects the downtown high-rise structures with the Space Needle to the north.
This is no mean feat in a seismic zone of this nature. The structure was designed to withstand an earthquake of 7.0 strength; in fact, a lesser earthquake hit during construction in February 2001, causing only minor damage.
To decrease the lateral loads imparted from the trusses to the pylons during a seismic event, project structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates of Seattle developed a creative application of industrial technology to solve the bearing condition at each end of the trusses. The plan uses base-isolating friction pendulum damper bearings that allow the roof to move two feet differentially from the pylons.
The first application of this technology in the world on a large roof span, this solution reduced the amount of reinforcing in the cast-in-place concrete pylon walls and footings, which resulted in a $2.5 million savings and gave Seattle a monument to structural engineering.
Supported by 5,700 tons of steel, the roof itself is covered with UltraGard SR-50, a PVC membrane single-ply roofing system from Johns Manville. It covers 70% of the seats but is open to the field.
From the project’s beginning in early 1997, the team knew that this stadium, like the Kingdome before it, would be a significant feature of the Seattle skyline. For that reason, the project’s schedule and budget needed to reflect the interests of the community as well. The complex is the only major public/private project to come in on time and on budget in the Northwest in recent years.
Completed in June 2002 and opened for public view on July 20, the stadium hosted its first event &m> a soccer match between the Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps of the A League &m> last July 28, before 25,515 fans. The Seahawks opened their home exhibition season August 10, losing 28-10 to the Indianapolis Colts, and lost again in their regular-season home debut to the Arizona Cardinals, 24-13.
The $430 million facility features a cost-per seat that is 7% less than the average of the last 13 new NFL stadiums. Change orders ran 10% below the average cost on comparable buildings. “The project team stayed very committed to being on time and under budget,” says Tom Gerlach, SVP/GM of Turner’s Seattle office. “The project is a model for public-private partnerships.”
The five-level complex features 67,000 permanent seats (plus room for 5,000 more, qualifying the stadium to host a Super Bowl), 84 suites (one of which is reserved for season ticket holders, by lottery), 48 concession stands, 841 televisions (including 80 Philips high-definition TVs), and 63 restrooms &m> more than twice as many as at the Kingdome.
The playing surface uses an artificial turf by FieldTurf. (Grass will be installed in the event the stadium is ever host to a World Cup-caliber soccer match.) The facility is illuminated by 672 Musco sports lights and contains $1.75 million in public art. The end-zone pylon contains a $7.5 million video board, 84 x 24 ft., designed by Lighthouse Technologies, Hong Kong.
Some seats are priced as low as $20. In the end zones are a dozen so-called “Red Zone” suites at field level &m> a unique feature among NFL stadiums.
To maximize the stadium’s use on non-game days, the exhibition center can use 92,900 sq. ft. of flex space within the stadium. The result of the integrated approach of restaurant, exhibition, and sports venue is a new urban leisure center for Seattle.
The Building Team was dedicated to reaching Seattle’s diverse population. Extraordinary steps were taken to meet the needs of fans with disabilities, says Kerns. Holding public forums and working with compliance consultant Kevin McGuire, himself a person with disabilities, they learned that disabled fans who have to travel long distances to attend games often can’t sit through the whole event without rest, so they set up sleeping rooms for them in the First Aid areas.
Seven hundred seats were set aside for disabled fans, with another 700 for their companions, all in areas where fans with disabilities would not be obstructed by other cheering fans.
Town hall meetings were held to obtain input on community impact. As a result, $10 million was set aside for neighborhood improvements. Two of the groups the team specifically targeted to involve in the project were apprentices and (M/WBE).
The Building Team voluntarily established a goal of hiring apprentices to fill 15% of all construction jobs, especially in the carpentry, electrical, masonry, painting, and plumbing trades. To encourage racial and ethnic diversity, Turner brought in a seasoned community affairs director, Ruby Jones, who spoke at numerous community meetings about career opportunities in construction.
The Building Team also set up liaisons with the trade unions and recruited apprentices from local union halls. The result: 19% apprentice participation, beating their goal by four percentage points.
“This is a good example of going beyond public policy,” observed Building Team awards judge Philip Tobey, AIA, of the Washington, D.C., office of the SmithGroup. “The apprentice programs with Seattle Vocational are terrific.”
To further diversity, the Building Team implemented an aggressive program to contract with minority and women business enterprises, known as M/WBEs, even though a recent statewide initiative had done away with affirmative action requirements. “Projects you work on should reflect the community,” says Jones.
“It’s essential that you have this involvement if you’re going to really reflect the community,” says EB’s Kerns. “We rely on local M/WBEs to help provide the local input that contributes to the success of the project.”
Of the total $430 million budget, $81 million was awarded to some 116 M/WBE firms, including $69 million in construction contracts and $7 million in A/E work.
Locating M/WBE companies wasn’t easy. The pool of certified minority and women workers had shrunk at an alarming rate after the passage of the state initiative. To find qualified businesses, Jones and her team conducted one-on-one interviews with prospective companies and worked to partner with them.
“For more than 30 years, M/WBE inclusion has been a part of the way Turner does business, so we needed to ensure that we had a viable group to work with not for just this project, but for other projects down the line,” says Jones.
To ensure the appropriate work environment for minorities and women, the Building Team set a policy of zero tolerance with regard to on-site discrimination.
A key factor in the success of the program was the creation of the Turner School of Construction Management in Seattle. Conceived in 1969 by the firm’s Cleveland office, the program has educated thousands of M/WBE contractors in basic and advanced construction techniques.
In Seattle, the program has been sponsored by the Associated General Contractors, the AGC Education Foundation, and the cities of Tacoma and Seattle. Since its creation in 2000, the Seattle school has graduated 52 M/WBE owners.
Growing with the city
The stadium was designed to handle the community’s needs well into the future. “The project includes spare infrastructure capacity, including the ability to expand the seating area,” says Kerns. The parking garage structure is oversized to accommodate future additions.
After maintenance and operating costs are met, any profits generated by the stadium and exhibition center will be split three ways—one part going to the Seahawks, another placed in reserve to cover any revenue shortfalls, and a third used to build youth playfields across the state.
First & Goal also funded a $6 million mitigation fund for three nearby neighborhoods. “The project stayed focused on the community goals from the very start—that was the key ingredient of success in the eyes of First & Goal and the Public Stadium Authority,” says Turner’s Gerlach. BDC
Seahawks Stadium and Exhibition Center
Developer: First & Goal Inc.
Owner: Washington State Public Stadium Authority
Architect/engineer: Ellerbe Becket
Exhibition Center architect: LMN Architects
Interior architects: EB, Streeter & Associates
GC/CM: Turner Construction Co.
Structural engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Mechanical design/build engineer: McKinstry Co.
Electrical design/build engineer: Cochran, Inc.
Demolition (Kingdome): Aman Environmental
Area: 2,315,000 gross sq. ft.
Number of floors: 5
Construction time: September 1998 to July 2002
Construction cost: $430 million
Delivery method: Cost + fee with guaranteed maximum; design/build M/E/P
Curtain wall, windows, exterior glazing: Architectural Wall Systems
Exterior cladding: Northshore Sheet Metal
Doors: Cascade Steel Door; Crawford Roll-Lite Door
Lighting: Musco Sports Lighting
Exterior architectural coating: D.S. Purcell Painting; Long Painting
Structural steel: Canron; The Erection Company
Ornamental metal: George Third & Sons; Expansion Specialists
Roofing system, insulation: Johns Manville; Queen City Sheet Metal & Roofing; Wayne’s Roofing
Ceilings: Acoustical Design, Inc.
Elevators and escalators: Fujitec America; NW Handling Systems
Doors, door hardware: Barclay Dean Architectural Products; Stiles Custom Metal; VT Industries; WH Cress Company
Video boards: Lighthouse Technologies
Video replay system: Sony
Televisions: Philips Electronics
Communications: Cochran Technology
Playing surface: FieldTurf
Putting Minority/Women Business Enterprises to work
The stadium/exposition project awarded $81 million in contracts &m> 19% of the $430 million total &m> to minority- and female-owned businesses.
LN: use with Kingdome demolition photo:
Kingdome: From out of the rubble
100,000 tons of concrete demolition crushed on site
Concrete, rebar, steel, wood, other metals recycled or resold
Asphalt ground into gravel for roadbeds, structural fill
Only 3,700 tons sent to landfills—3% of total
Concrete souvenirs donated or sold
Computers, kitchen equipment, and sports gear donated to schools, community groups
Film rights of implosion sold for $25,000
Diamond Vision Screen sold for $200,000
$650,000 auction of Kingdome property donated for King County youth play fields
LN: use only if you have space:
Teaming up for the long haul
Managing a multi-year, long-distance project takes passionate commitment—and a little help from electronic technology—to stay on track and connected.
“While we did have weekly team meetings, technology helped us all keep on the same page and effectively coordinate efforts,” says project leader Kelly Kerns, with architect/engineer Ellerbe Becket, Kansas City, Mo.
Using email, videoconferencing, shared CADD files, and Autodesk’s Buzzsaw Project Web site, which enabled team members to access and view project documents, they experienced such success that Autodesk used the project as a case study for its 2002 shareholders’ meeting.
GRAND AWARD – INSTITUTIONAL
FROM THE HEART
A cardiac-care facility survives two near-fatal incidents,
thanks to the efforts of a dedicated Building Team
By Chuck Ross, Contributing Editor
Describing the efforts of architects, contractor, and owners to bring the new home of Houston’s Texas Heart Institute (THI) to life prompts any number of medical metaphors: the grafting required to attach the new Denton A. Cooley Building to the existing St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (co-owner, with THI, of the new facility); the systemic knowledge needed to address programmatic requirements of four distinct building functions in a fast-tracked design; most dramatically, the emergency surgery necessary to repair extensive damage that threatened the very life of the project.
A coalition of three architecture firms, two owners, and a general contractor has won this facility a 2003 Grand Award for institutional construction in Building Design & Construction’s 6th annual Building Team Project of the Year competition. The final product combines advanced research labs, state-of-the-art surgical suites and patient rooms, public gathering areas, and high-end administrative offices under a single roof, creating a world-class facility equal to the reputations of its two illustrious owner institutions.
The Texas Heart Institute is one of the world’s leading heart-research organizations. Founded in 1962 by pioneering cardiovascular surgeon Denton A. Cooley, the institute’s professional staff have performed more than 100,000 open-heart surgeries and more than 850 heart transplants. Long housed within St. Luke’s itself, the heart institute had been seeking its own home for more than a decade when it found its relocation plans aligned with St. Luke’s own expansion needs.
But determining mutual need was just the beginning of the work required to bring this project to life. Architects and contractors faced the challenge of packing disparate functions, each carrying specific design requirements, into a site of shoebox proportions located in the core of the densely developed Texas Medical Center. In addition, construction planning had to address both difficult site conditions and the need to maintain an exceptionally clean job site, to limit potential health hazards for future facility patients.
Responsibilities for the two primary architectural teams &m> Morris Architects and RTKL &m> split along functional lines. Morris, as architect of record, was responsible for designing the building’s elliptical shell and its public and administrative spaces. RTKL developed the master plan and took on the St. Luke’s spaces, which included surgical and patient facilities, along with THI’s research labs. A third firm, Carter Design Associates concentrated on certain office interiors.
The architects say it was the variety of facility users, not the multiplicity of design partners, that gave them headaches. The new building had to serve visitors, patients, researchers, and administrators equally well. In addition, site constraints necessitated a vertical solution, rather than a spread-out, horizontal approach that might have made the project easier to deliver.
To meet these needs, RTKL’s master plan splits functional areas into vertical zones. Public areas form the foundation, and research labs top off the structure, with surgical, administrative, and patient-care floors coming in between. Physical connections to St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital were established on the second floor &m> location of the cardiovascular surgery suite &m> as well as on patient-care floors.
Grouping areas with similar users helped establish logical traffic flows. However, it didn’t make the designers’ job any easier when it came to delivering building systems tailored to specific functional needs.
“The biggest challenge had to be the difficulty of stacking so many different functions with so many requirements,” says RTKL vice president Wayne Barger. “Patient rooms have a certain range of column grids that’s optimal. The same with operating rooms. All of this is stacked over a column-free auditorium area.”
The solution to this structural design problem began with two 56-ft.-long, post-tensioned transfer girders, fitted in a V-formation, above the basement-level auditorium. This design provided structural support for the nine floors above, while freeing the auditorium itself of any visual obstructions. Establishing a columnar grid that met the competing requirements of subsequent floors entailed a great deal of back-and-forth between the two primary architecture teams.
Meeting varying HVAC requirements posed complications as well. Operating rooms are sterile environments and demand dedicated air supplies. Rooms for heart-transplant patients with suppressed immune systems have similarly demanding needs. Because of potentially noxious fumes, research labs generally cannot recirculate inside air and require sophisticated exhaust systems.
Designers for the Cooley Building captured space above and around the third-floor surgical-observation rooms for air-handling units dedicated to surgical needs. (The new structure lacks a fourth floor, to maintain even floor plates with adjacent St. Luke’s.) Each patient floor has its own dedicated air-handling unit, and the researchers’ top-floor location limits the possibility that their exhaust could cross-contaminate air supplies of floors below.
The ‘hole’ solution
As logical as RTKL’s zoned arrangement was programmatically, it did raise some practical design considerations. Floor plates for the public areas at the bottom and research areas at the top would have to be larger than those for the intervening medical and administrative floors. What would designers do with the resulting “hole”? In response to this question, Morris Architects created one of the building’s most compelling spaces.
“Taking a building with floors that have small floor plates sandwiched between floors that have large floor plates &m> that’s really what drove the creation of the interior atrium,” says Chris Hudson, the firm’s president and CEO. Reaching four stories high, the space provides comfortable seating areas for patients’ families to gather, as well as space for private contemplation. A water feature adds soothing background noise to buffer patient rooms that overlook the atrium from surrounding traffic noise. This solution also provides a place of respite both owner institutions hoped to create within the new facility.
“They wanted a space where patients, staff, and patients’ families could have a meditative moment,” Hudson says. “A healing, contemplative space. Something both unique and important to the building.”
Construction-planning complications matched those faced by designers. The Texas Medical Center is a 700-acre facility, with more than 100 permanent buildings, and it receives 50,000 visitors a day—more than Disneyland gets. The Cooley Building is sited in a prominent corner location, immediately adjacent to St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, with little room to spare for storage.
“It’s as dense as any downtown facility would be,” says Bill Scott, senior vice president at the GC/CM firm Linbeck Construction. “We had to have just-in-time delivery &m> there was virtually no lay-down area.”
All of St. Luke’s major building utilities were rerouted during construction, requiring the installation of temporary cooling equipment for a period. Linbeck planners built their schedule so that this disruption occurred when cooling demand was at its lowest. Complicating this planning process, just-in-time delivery requirements left little room for schedule adjustments to deal with unexpected construction complications.
Procedurally, Linbeck took great care to ensure the cleanliness of the building as it was constructed. No food or drink was allowed in the building &m> workers could get fired for violating this edict. Ductwork was shipped to the site sealed at both ends, then resealed on arrival at the job site, to minimize dust infiltration. As ductwork sections were installed, all open ends were sealed. Biocides and other bacteria-retarding chemicals were sprayed on drywall, between walls, on painted surfaces, and in buried areas to inhibit mold or bacteria growth. No drywall was hung until the building was enclosed and the air conditioning for that floor had been brought online, to limit moisture infiltration in Houston’s humid climate.
A steamy setback
All these measures proved for naught, when, early one Sunday morning &m> after drywall had been installed on almost six floors &m> a steam gasket failed. Raw, 400-degree steam was pumped throughout the facility for several hours before the problem was noticed, condensing on the ductwork as it rose and creating its own little weather patterns. “When this steam event happened, we contaminated all of that,” Scott says. “It was actually almost raining inside the building.”
Fourteen thousand panels of installed drywall had to be replaced. All ductwork and wiring had to be inspected for moisture infiltration. Dry air heated to 94 F was forced through temporary ductwork to each floor to bring the relative humidity back down to 20-40%. Within 61 days, the project was back on schedule, and the event had no material effect on the delivery date, Scott says.
Then came Houston’s disastrous June 2001 floods. Although the Cooley Building suffered no damage, adjacent St. Luke’s was flooded, taking out all building utilities, including emergency power. Linbeck, with 17 years’ experience as St. Luke’s construction manager, shifted Cooley Building crews to St. Luke’s, bringing the hospital back on line in 11 days.
Because a fast-track approach was used, design sometimes struggled to keep up with construction, raising the specter of expensive change orders as the building progressed. “We recognized early on that managing communications was key,” Scott says. “As we discovered things, we had weekly meetings where we’d discuss them. Many times, changes could be effected at lower cost.”
The patient-care areas of the Cooley Building represent just the first element in a three-phase expansion effort planned by St. Luke’s. However, Building Team members have set a high bar for themselves as they move ahead in this endeavor. In successfully addressing the needs of researchers, clinicians, and patients, they’ve helped both the Texas Heart Institute and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital further enhance their already world-class reputations. As Michael Jhin, THI’s president and CEO, puts it, “This building is unlike any facility in the world.”
MERIT AWARD – COMMERCIAL - ERIE ON THE PARK
BREAKING THE MOLD
A unique owner/contractor entity delivers a highly marketable tower
that escapes the mediocrity of most high-rise condominiums
By Dave Barista, Associate Editor
In the multifamily housing business, the key to success is delivering what homebuyers want as fast and as cheaply as possible. While this simple equation can fatten the pocketbooks of owners and developers, it often leads to architecturally tiresome eyesores.
This has certainly been the case in Chicago where, over the past decade, nearly a dozen no-nonsense mid- and high-rise residential towers have been filling voids in the city’s heralded skyline. These cookie-cutter giants are selling like hotcakes in the still-thriving condominium market. But as Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamen has noted, these “monuments to mediocrity” are indicative of the “sorry state of condominium design in Chicago.”
One notable exception to this sad state of affairs sits northwest of the Loop in the River North neighborhood, a growing residential area with light-industrial roots. The 25-story Erie on the Park, with its steel chevron braces, parallelogram shape, and remarkable transparency, is as eye-catching as the views of the city it offers.
Constructed over a 23-month period from October 2000 to August 2002, the 290,250-sq.-ft. building has been dubbed “Little John” by Kamen for its subtle resemblance to “Big John,” the 100-story, X-braced John Hancock Center. The structure consists of three concrete stories topped by 22 steel-framed levels and backed by a six-story parking garage. It is Chicago’s first steel-framed high-rise residential building since Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 860-880 Lake Shore Drive went up in 1952.
“I pass by many buildings on my way to work in the city each morning, and this is the one that always catches my eye,” said Raj Gupta, president of Chicago-based M/E and telecom engineer Environmental Systems Design Inc., during judging for Building Design & Construction’s 6th annual Building Team Project Awards, in which Erie on the Park earned a Merit Award not only for its unique design, but also for the close collaboration of the Building Team, led by a rare owner/developer/contractor entity.
50 years of dominance
The $20.3 million tower is the bold vision of W. Harris “Bill” Smith, partner of owner/developer Smithfield Properties, Chicago, who saw an opportunity to create a unique living experience in a market filled with status quo buildings. Steel turned out to be the answer.
“Our top goal was to differentiate our product from everything else in the marketplace &m> to build a building that was outside of the envelope of peoples’ expectations,” says Smith.
In 1998, Smithfield commissioned French-born architect Lucien Lagrange, based in Chicago, to design Erie on the Park and its rectangular sister building Kingsbury on the Park, which is scheduled to be completed this summer. The “park” in both names refers to an adjacent city park currently in the planning stages.
Lagrange collaborated with the Chicago office of New York-based structural engineer Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers on the design, which was initially envisioned as a concrete structure. Concrete has been the preferred choice for mid- and high-rise residential work in Chicago for five decades because it more easily meets floor-height and fire-safety requirements. Moreover, concrete is typically cheaper because the structural frame also serves as the exterior façade, says Joseph Burns, principal in charge with Thornton-Tomasetti.
But in Chicago’s booming multifamily residential market, where concrete contractors are in great demand, steel became an economical option. “There’re only six or seven concrete contractors ready to bid on high-rise residential projects in a city as big as Chicago,” says Smith. “The cost of a concrete-framed building went up what felt like 50% in one day.”
Several factors tipped the scale toward steel, says Lagrange, including longer column spans, smaller columns, and more flexibility in the distribution of M/E/P systems. But none was more important than the exterior design possibilities.
“[With steel] there’s a lot less structure, which gives a lighter expression to the building,” says Lagrange, who worked closely with Thornton-Tomasetti to design a steel frame that could also serve as a memorable exterior expression.
The stacked chevron braces on the east and west façade, each of which is composed of nine three-story members, are integral to the building’s main structural element, a megabrace framing system designed to resist lateral wind forces. Nonstructural architectural steel covers the actual structural members, which are fireproofed to meet Chicago’s fire code.
“This same kind of framing goes through the building between the units, basically turning the building into a big truss,” says Burns. He says the team utilized bar joints, spaced 3 ft. apart, for the structural floor system. It is topped with a 1/2 in. steel deck and 2 in. of concrete. A drywall ceiling hangs from the bar joists.
Compared with typical concrete construction, which has a 20x20-ft. grid, steel can span up to 37 ft., which allowed the design team to design 23 different unit configurations, a key selling point for Smithfield.
“Because of our spans and the geometry, our floor plans showed people a space that they could not get anywhere else,” says Smith.
Steel also lent itself better to the parallelogram shape of the building, which was designed to conform within inches of the site lines. The 10,000-sq.-ft. site once served as the parking lot for an adjacent four-story building.
Constructability was also a plus with steel, especially in Chicago’s harsh winter climate. “Steel is essentially winter-proof,” says Smith. “We can erect steel on days when concrete would have to be heated in order to pour it.”
Compressed design schedule
To get to the building to market as quickly as possible, the design was broken into three stages &m> foundation, superstructure, and M/E/P systems/tenant build out &m> based on the permit acquisition process.
“We first issued drawings for caissons to get that permit process started,” says Tim Hill, project manager with Lucien Lagrange Architects. “While that permit was in review, we worked on the superstructure, and so on. This allowed a few things to happen simultaneously. It’s an intense process with a constant series of deadlines and issues.”
Hill says that without close Building Team interaction, the fast-track program would have been difficult. The design team collaborated early in the design process with Smithfield’s sister company, general contractor Wooton Construction, to ensure, for example, that the caissons would be installed in time for the next phase. “Schedule and timing are very important,” says Hill. “Downtime can be the developer’s worst enemy.”
Early input from subcontractors was crucial in keeping the project moving, as well as minimizing costly change orders during construction, says Marc Sussman, vice president with Wooton Construction. For instance, mechanical and plumbing engineer Advanced Mechanical Systems, Mount Prospect, Ill., was brought in early to design a complex distribution scheme to accommodate the varying floor layouts. It involved installing plumbing risers in thickened corridor walls near the building’s core, then extending out horizontally to the individual units. The bar joist floor system provided about 18 in. of plenum space.
“When you build a standard high rise, with stack after stack, every fitting is within 2 or 3 ft. of the stack,” says Sussman. “Here, sometimes a bathroom fitting was two feet away, sometimes it was 12 ft. away, depending on the floor plan.”
For the vertical mechanical runs, the solution was to design a series of transfers. “So it literally rises two floors, goes left five feet, goes up one floor, goes back five feet, and so on,” says Sussman.
Having an owner/developer/contractor lead the project eliminated much of the “opposition at the table,” says Sussman. It also ensured that the project moved along on schedule and within budget.
To speed up the steel fabrication process, Thornton-Tomasetti and Dowco Consultant Ltd., the project’s Vancouver-based steel detailer, employed a 3-D drafting/fabrication program to design the steel frame. Zalk Josephs Fabricators, Stoughton, Wis., applied information from the 3-D model to fabricate the steel, eliminating the need for shop drawings. Rockford, Ill.-based Area Erectors put up the steel frame on site.
So, going back to Bill Smith’s goals for the high-rise &m> to differentiate the product from everything else in the Chicago marketplace and to build a structure that was outside the envelope of customers’ expectations &m> can it be said that Erie on the Park was a success?
If sales figures are any measure, the answer must be yes. More than 60% of the condo’s 125 units &m> including several $1.3 million penthouse suites &m> were sold in the first two weeks on the market, before ground was even broken. The remainder went soon after, all at a 10% premium ($310 per sq. ft.) over similar condominium projects in the area.
“The building exceeded my wildest expectations,” says Smith. BDC
Erie on the Park
Owner/developer: Smithfield Properties
Architect: Lucien Lagrange Architects
Structural engineer: Thornton-Tomasetti
Electrical engineer: Innovative Building Concepts
Mechanical engineer: Advanced Mechanical Systems
Contractor: Wooton Construction (a division of Smithfield)
Gross sq. ft.: 290,750
Number of floors: 25
Construction time: October 2000 to May 2002
Delivery method: Design/build
Curtain wall, windows: Trainor Glass
Structural steel, decking: Zalk Josephs Fabricators
Exterior architectural coating: Tnemec
Ornamental metal: Pierini Iron Works
Roofing system, insulation: Roofs Inc.
Wall insulation: U.S. Insulation
Cast-in-place concrete: DeGraf
Precast concrete panels: Dukane Precast
Doors, door hardware: F&H Door Hardware
Carpet, resilient flooring: Spectra
Floor tile: Q.C. Enterprises
Kitchen cabinets: Bulthaup
Energy management: Johnson Controls
Windows and curtain wall2,400,000
Painting and wallcovering250,000
Fire alarm system75,000
Cathedral’s Building Team delivers a structure with a planned service life of 500 years
By Gordon Wright, Executive Editor
The 1994 Northridge Earthquake was the precipitating event that led to the completion last year of a new cathedral for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, a 127-year-old unreinforced masonry structure, was damaged by the earthquake and declared unsafe by the city. When new construction on this site proved not feasible, the archdiocese purchased a new 5.5-acre site at the edge of downtown.
This series of events strengthened Cardinal Roger Mahony’s resolve that St. Vibiana’s replacement should be designed and constructed for a service life of at least 500 years. That was the daunting assignment presented to the Building Team for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels as it executed the design of Madrid-based architectJose Rafael Moneo.
Mahony’s durability directive had major implications from the outset of the project. “From a technical point of view, it resulted in doing things very differently from the way we normally do projects,” says Nicholas Roberts, project manager in the Los Angeles office of the project’s executive architect, Leo A. Daly. In particular, it led to extensive investigation of concrete mixes and of the use of alabaster, a compact form of gypsum, as a glazing material.
Research on concrete mix designs, including the use of fly ash to make a denser mix, was performed jointly with structural engineer Nabih Youssef & Associates, Los Angeles, and general contactor Morley Construction Co., Santa Monica, Calif. Mix designs were tested initially in a laboratory and then in full-sized mockups. “We probably tried two dozen different designs, somewhat in a trial-and-error fashion, covering durability, workability and aesthetic issues,” says Mark Benjamin, CEO of Morley. “That took a lot of collaboration.”
A search for the optimum mix
“The real advancement in the state of the art provided by this project was the design of architecturally exposed concrete for extreme qualities of shape and color across large exterior and interior surfaces, and durability and longevity of performance when subjected to seismic activity,” says structural engineer Nabih Youssef. Innovative concrete technology in conjunction with the use of a base isolation system beneath the building were the means by which these objectives were applied to the cathedral’s 450,000-sq.-ft. of architectural concrete, with some walls as thick as 5 ft.
Specific measures also were taken to prevent rusting of steel reinforcing within the concrete, including the placement of this rebar at least 3 inches from the exterior surface of the concrete. Additionally, stainless steel rebar was placed adjacent to horizontal surfaces might stand for extended periods, and stainless steel tie wire was used for all rebar applications.
In addition to minimizing major structural damage from earthquakes, the cathedral’s base isolation system will mitigate concrete cracking, Youssef notes. “Even a hairline crack attracts humidity,” he adds. “When this occurs over an extended period, corrosion results, resulting in staining, volume expansion and spalling.
Youssef says the base isolation system and “rational code interpretation” permitted a substantial reduction in the amount of rebar that normally would have been required. (He explains that the code requirement covering the ends of a shear wall envisions a multiple-story structure, and not a 120- ft. tall structure like the cathedral that has a single large volume). This reduction, amounting to 20% for the shear wall and pier system, made concrete placement substantially easier.
The water content of the concrete mix was minimized to reduce potential for cracking, and measures were taken to control the heat generated by the mixing of water and cement. Concrete placement was targeted to be complete by 9 a.m., with the maximum concrete temperature at 75 F., or 65 F. for the thickest walls, which are more subject to heat buildup as the concrete cures.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is a complex, non-orthogonal structure. “Its geometry posed tremendous challenges for all of us,” says Roberts. Youssef neverless points to the architectural/engineering integration implicit in building features such as buttresses that also have a shear wall function. “Except for very minor locations, I can’t recall where we asked [the architects] for something a little more” in order to satisfy structural requirements, he adds.
Youssef: finds an interesting comparison between the exoskeleton-framed cathedral and the nearby Frank Gehry-designed Disney Concert Hall, another large-volume, high-design structure, which will open this fall. The concert hall is designed with the more typical differentiation between skin and structural elements. Youssef believes the two buildings also reflect differences in the relationship between their architects and structural engineers.
Cooling the alabaster
The large-scale use ofalabaster as a glazing material has been limited. But this semitransparent variety of calcite is known to deteriorate under constant exposure to sunlight or heat(?)Accelerated life-cycle testing determined that the material should not be subjected to a temperature greater than 120 F.[?], which would have been easily surpassed if placed in direct sunlight.
The solution that was developed consists of an inner lite of alabaster panels and an outer lite of laminated glass with a 50% ceramic frit.After air is exhausted from the nave of the cathedral, it circulates in this cavity, flowing past both sides of the 5/8-in.-thick alabaster panels. “We had to make sure there would be enough cooling to take the heat away,” says Andy Howard, project principal with Arup, the cathedral’s mechanical engineer.
The glazing cavity varies in width from 6 ft. at its base to 3 ft. at the top. It is sized to permit the insertion of a bosun’s chair to enable cleaning of both the exterior glass and the alabaster panels.The temperature in the glazing cavity is monitored and has never exceeded 105 F., according to Howard.
The cathedral has one of world’s largest installations of alabaster. It utilizes a total of 27,000-sq.-ft. of reddish, brown and gray panels, which were obtained from three Spanish quarries. Major applications include the 100-ft.-long, 60-ft.-high windows on the building’s north and south elevations.
Low operating costs as well as occupant comfort were key requirements of the HVAC system. A displacement ventilation system, which is unusual for a structure with a volume as large as the cathedral’s 3.3 million cu. ft. main space, was used. It delivers air to the nave at a low velocity of 40 ft./ minute through floor-mounted diffusers spaced approximately 10 ft. apart and located below the pews. The air is exhausted at the ceiling.
“You just want to control the temperature of a zone up to about 10 ft.,” Howard says. “If you’re conditioning anything above that, you’re pumping energy and money into the atmosphere.”
A traditional overhead distribution system requires a higher velocity fan system to drive the air down to the occupied level, Howard says. The displacement ventilation system allows air to exit the floor diffusers at about 65 F., or some 10 degrees higher than would be required with a conventional system. And an overhead system would require cooling to dissipate heat from sources above the occupied level, such as lights. “We just exhaust that out,” Howard says.
None of the HVAC system’s elements are exposed.Ductwork is suspended from the ceiling of the cathedral’s basement, which primarily houses a 45,000-sq.-ft mausoleum. Since M/E system components obviously will not last 500 years, the building design incorporates enough space to facilitate their removal and replacement. Because the cathedral uses steam and cold water produced by a city-owned central plant across the street, it required a smaller mechanical room.
When the outside temperature is same or lower than the supply air temperature required, as is often the case in Los Angeles, the air can be delivered without the need to cool itSensors regulate the cathedral’s supply air intake to insure that carbon dioxide concentrations remain below [A SPECIFIC LEVEL?]. This is now a California requirement for public assembly buildings, although it was not in effect when the cathedral was designed.
The HVAC system passed its first major test on the cathedral’s opening day, when the temperature was 90 degrees, the humidity 80% and 3,000 people packed into the building. The interior temperature rose by only 2 degrees. Arup is monitoring the cathedral’s HVAC performance on an ongoing basis in order to help the archdiocese operate the building most efficiently.
In addition to minimizing earthquake-related damage to its physical structure, the archdiocese wanted the cathedral to continue to be operational after a major earthquake. “The idea of the building as a refuge was very important,” Roberts says. “Symbolically, the church is a place ofspiritual refuge. The idea was that it would be a physical place of refuge as well.”
Our Lady of the Angels is the world’s only cathedral that incorporates a base isolation system to mitigate the impact of earthquakes. The buildingis supported on 149 high-damping rubber isolators, and 47 slider bearings that accommodate rotation as well as lateral motion. Slider bearings were placed under the mausoleum floor and under lightly loaded columns. In addition to mitigating major structural damage, base isolation will minimize earthquake damage to glazing systems and other architectural features.
The controlling seismic criteria for the cathedralare based on the nearby Elysian Park Fault, which has the potential to deliver a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Base isolation is designed to accommodate a lateral movement of as much as 27 inches in the 28-in.-wide gap that inconspicuously surrounds the cathedral’s perimeter. This dry moat, an essential element of a base isolation system, has a 6-ft.-wide concrete cover with a chamfered edge that would allow the cover to slide onto the adjoining plaza area in the event of a major earthquake.
The lateral acceleration expected from Elysian Park activity is estimated at 1.2 G. As required by code, the cathedral’s walls are designed to withstand a lateral force that is one-fourth that magnitude, or 0.3 G.If the cathedral had been constructed as a fixed-base building, seismic forces transmitted to it would be at least three times greater.
Acoustical matters were among the most vexing issues faced by the Building Team. The biggest challenge was combining the reverberation time necessary for organ and choral music with a short enough reverberation time for speech intelligibility. “The Cardinal told us that the word had to be absolutely, clearly intelligible,” Roberts says. “With the building untreated, reverb time was about 9 seconds, which would have made speech completely unintelligible. After performing 3D computer modeling, acoustical consultant Shen Milson Wilke Paoletti of San Francisco recommended a series of absorptive panels to reduce reverb time to about 3 seconds. The result was spectacularly successful., according to Roberts. “It sounds great for organ music and choral singing, but speech is also completely clear.”
Acoustical studies indicated that the solid west wall originally planned for the cathedral would generate echoes. This was resolved by incorporating a series of piers that allow sound to pass between the piers and be absorbed by tapestry behind them.
Acoustical considerations, as well as sometimes conflicting issues such as aesthetics and fire safety, also weighed heavily in the selection of wood for the ceiling of the nave.“From the time we started thinking about the ceiling until we had something everybody agreed to probably took a year,” Benjamin says.
Moneo began the cathedral design in August 1996, and Leo A. Daly came on board in January 1997. Morley was hired when the project consisted of six sketch sheets. Moneo’s design is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Latin Cross plan that also acknowledges the Catholic Church’s desire to make the celebration of the Eucharist more visible and more accessible to the congregation.“Moneo has subtly combined the historic shape of the cathedral with the Vatican II liturgy of the congregation gathered around the altar,” Roberts notes. Although the cathedral has fixed seating for 2,800, a typical Sunday Mass finds the congregation encircling the celebrant within a distance of about 100 ft.
Precision in the field was critical to the successful execution of the project. “When we were pouring concrete, it was vital that everybody know what was going into that wall in terms of outlets, conduit, inserts and plumbing, Benjamin says. Morley hired Los Angeles-based architectSPF:ato convert two-dimensional drawings of every concrete wall into 3D drawings, showing every concrete pour.The 3D drawings served as shop drawings for building wall forms, as well as field verification for the contractor and the architect that imbeds and other inclusions were properly placed. “Everybody had to sign off on a sheet stapled to every wall form that the wall was ready to pour,” Benjamin says. Roberts characterized the 3D drawings as “very technical, but also very collaborative.”
Morley built a cathedral model that was large enough for tradesmen to stand inside. This enabled them to obtain a sense of Mineo’s design concept. The model was used to get subcontractor supervisors “as familiar and up-to-date as possible on what the drawings were trying to describe,” Benjamin says.
A scale model kept in Morley’s field office enabled surveyors to visualize the cathedral plan, which incorporated 850 individual corner conditions on hundreds of document sheets, and its complex angled wall intersections. “The layout man would look at the model once in a while to get a dose of reality,” Benjamin says. “The plans just showed cuts every 8 or 10 feet; and he had to extrapolate between that.”
Project participants were surprised to discover that the cathedral’s 333-ft. long nave exceeds the length of the nave of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York by 1 ft. This came to light when the Vatican sought to update information about the dimensions of the world’s major cathedrals, which are recorded by floor markings at St. Peter’s basilica[?] in Rome,
Reflecting on the project, Roberts says, “Everybody gave everything they had, because they knew it was such an extraordinary opportunity. At every level, everybody went the extra mile.”
Benjamin recalls that Morley was hired for the cathedral project on April 18, 1997 &m>three days after his company’s 50th anniversary. “The more challenging, the better,” he responds when asked to characterize the complexity of the project. “Challenging jobs create excitement for employees and for the company.If it’s not challenging, we’ll pass.”
In addition to seeking challenging work, Benjamin cites another factor behind his firm’s selection. “Our office is only 11 miles from the site,” he says. The Cardinal knew that if necessary, he could literally reach out and get my attention.” BDC
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Los Angeles, Calif.
Owner: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Design architect: Jose Rafael Moneo Arquitecto
Executive architect: Leo A. Daly
Structural engineer: Nabih Youssef & Associates
Mechanical/electrical engineer: ARUP
General contractor: Morley Construction Co.
Area: 121,000 gross sq. ft.[?]
Number of floors: 2 [?]
Construction time: October 1998 to September 2002
Delivery method: Negotiated GMP – fast-track
Curtain wall, windows: Benson Industries
Doors: Benson Industries, Tajima Corp. USA
Ornamental metal: Columbia Fabricating Co., Judson Studios[?]
Elevators and escalators[?]:Otis
Interior partitions: Church & Larsen
Floor tile: Rucker Tile[?]
Wires, cables: Dynalectric[?]
Lighting controls: Lutron
Energy management controls: Siemens
HVAC: Thermalair; Siemens
Doors and windows2,433,268
Expansion joint cover assemblies1,494,442
Fire alarms, sprinklers1,032,499
HVAC equipment and controls6,605,210
Structural steel/misc. iron4,920,993
Total project value144,232,451
MERIT AWARD INSTITUTIONAL
The State of California benefits from just the right approach
for a megalithic mixed-use project in its capital city
By Mindi Zissman, Products Editor
The design and construction team for the Capitol Area East End Complex, Block 225, in Sacramento, faced tightened requirements of California’s Title 24 energy code, frequent presentations to government bodies, and the need to integrate a public art program into the project.
Working with state and municipal authorities, the Building Team discovered the right formula for a 1.5 million sq. ft. mixed-use building on the state’s capitol square, leading to a Merit Award in Building Design &Construction’s 2003 Building Team Awards competition.
For starters, California required Block 225’s team members to participate in a partnering program throughout the course of the project. This state-mandated requirement brought representatives from each segment of the Building Team together for a total of five full-day sessions of brainstorming, problem solving, and team building.
Scott Johnson, a principal with the project’s design architect, Johnson Fain Partners of Los Angeles, says partnering has become a growing trend in the last five to 10 years, especially for large public projects like Block 225.
California instituted the partnering requirement because there had been what Johnson calls “train wrecks” on big state projects, where coordination problems had not been properly addressed early enough. “Smart, sophisticated owners who solicit multiple buildings over time say, ‘We have to get ahead of this and find a way to make it work better,’” he says. “The better projects are those on which there is greater communication.”
“The point of partnering is to build relationships&m> that’s what it’s all about,” says Seth Boles, project manager for the project’s general contractor, Greeley, Colo.-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. “Every day you’re going to have something come up in the field that you need to resolve. How well you work together as a team will depend on how well you deal with the things that come up.”
Boles says partnering helped Block 225’s Building Team develop processes used on the job site. At one session, for example, the team created a green building review focus group, made up of one member from each branch of the team. This group met regularly to review how the building was tracking with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings established by the U.S. Green Building Council and California’s Title 24 requirements.
At the end of each partnering session, the 35 to 50 Building Team members present completed a survey detailing both their progress and areas where they thought they could do better.
Barr & Barr Consultants, Austin, Texas, which performed a post-project debriefing, pronounced Block 225’s partnering program “an unqualified success.”
“The surest indicator of partnership success is in the desire for partners to want to work together again,” says Norma Barr, PhD. “This partnership scored an overwhelming rating of 4.82 of a total 5, representing one of the highest evaluations Barr & Barr Consultants has ever seen.”
Savings on top of savings
Energy savings was another huge goal for the team. While California’s Title 24 energy requirements were recently made 30% more restrictive, the Building Team set out to make Block 225 an additional 30% more energy efficient, translating to a performance 60% better than typical buildings in its class. This emphasis eventually led to the project winning a Gold LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.
“Building to the equivalent of a Gold-rated LEED building forced us to constantly monitor ourselves and to document everything we did in the right way,” says Boles. “It was a challenge throughout the project.”
Actions that contributed to the LEED rating included the recycling and diversion from landfills of more than 99% of total construction waste. Building materials were specified and tested for outgassing characteristics and the reduction or elimination of volatile organic compounds and reproductive toxic contaminants.
After construction started, the state added an underfloor air distribution system to the project, a new requirement the Building Team met by working together. This accomplishment particularly impressed Building Team Awards judge Raj Gupta, president of Environmental Systems Design, Chicago.
“This is the strongest project from an M/E/P-design perspective, especially using steam for chilled water,” says Gupta, a mechanical engineer. “To reduce the energy consumption by that amount takes a tremendous amount of coordination by the team members &m> the architect, the engineers, and the owners, even the space planners. Just the collaboration and communication that goes into that type of effort is quite an achievement in itself.”
A parade of presentations
Any project of 1.5 million sq. ft. that spans five city blocks and is located across from a state capitol is bound to gain the attention of public officials and legislators, and this was no exception.
The team was called upon frequently to make presentations on its progress to numerous state and city departments. These included the immediate client, the Department of General Services; the eventual tenant, the state Department of Education; the state Department of Energy; the Department of State and Consumer Services; the mayor and city council of Sacramento; and a committee of the state senate.
“If there was a calendar of events for developing the design, then overlaying that was a whole calendar of presentations to these various bodies,” Johnson says. “In a way it was the ultimate public project.”
Because this was a Design/Build Best Value project, the state was permitted to fix the total construction cost at $395 million and to select the winning firm based on which one could deliver the highest level of performance for the price. This obviated the need to award the work to the lowest bidder, a new approach for California.
As master design architect, Johnson Fain rose to the challenge and completed the entire set of drawings (interior, exterior, and landscape) in just 10 months &m> an undertaking Scott Johnson said normally would have taken a year and a half.
“We didn’t have a choice,” he says. “It was all scheduled according to a state calendar. The budgeting and calendar went forward as part of a state bill. There was no way to change it short of going back to the state capitol and rewriting the bill. So we had to salute and say yes.”
In addition to the Department of Education, the building also houses foodservice and childcare facilities, as well as retail space.
According to Johnson, Block 225 was specifically designated to be a mixed-use project, in order to provide the surrounding residential neighborhoods with shopping, services, and nighttime security.
“The concern in any city that has a huge government population like Sacramento is that the area is dead in the evening,” says Johnson. “This was a way of understanding the 24-hour life of a community by adding services and other things that gave the project more life.”
Block 225 is the first of five buildings to face California’s State capitol building. The others are currently under construction. BDC
Site preparation and excavation2,000,000
Interior and exterior stone3,638,000
Owner: State of California
Architect: Johnson Fain Partners
Structural engineer: Middlebrook + Louie
Mechanical/Electrical engineeer: Capital Engineering Consultants
General contractor: Hensel Phelps Construction
Construction manager: 3D/International
sidebar for Artwork
As the largest art program ever undertaken by the State of California, this project incorporated art into nearly every part of the building, including the lobby, a vest pocket park outside the building, the childcare facilities, and even the elevator doors (above).
“Instead of spending money on a big guy on a horse, they attempted to infuse the building with public art,” says project architect Scott Johnson. “I like a building to be as porous and permeable and open to as many people and other ideas as possible. It seemed natural to take the art and spread it through the project, so in effect it has more life.”
The city of Sacramento requires that 1% of total construction costs for public buildings be used toward the purchase of local art, in this case, $670,000. A total of $4 million will be spent on public art for the entire complex.
MERIT AWARD INSTITUTIONAL
Partnering for success
State of California finds the right recipe for its 1.5 million-sq.-ft. mixed-use project
By Mindi Zissman, Products Editor
With a pinch of leadership training, a dash of cooperation, and a slash of the energy requirements and time constraints, the State of California discovered the right recipe for a mixed-use building on its capitol square.
The Capitol Area East End Complex, Block 225, in Sacramento, Calif., faced numerous challenges&m> including tightened requirements of California’s Title 24 energy code, frequent presentations to government bodies, and the integration of a $4 million art program. But the Building Team wasn’t fazed because its members were “partners.”
The State of California required Block 225’s Building Team members to participate in a partnering program throughout the course of the project that brought representatives from each segment of the Building Team together for a total of five full-day sessions of brainstorming, problem solving, and team building activities.
“The point of partnering is to build relationships&m> that’s what it’s all about,” says Seth Boles, project manager for the project’s general contractor, Greenley, Colo.-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co. “Every day you’re going to have something come up in the field that you need to resolve. How well you work together as a team will depend on how well you deal with the things that come up.”
Boles says partnering helped Block 225’s Building Team develop processes used on the job site. For example, at one session, the team created a green building review focus group, made up of one member from each branch of the team. It met regularly to review how the building was tracking with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings established by the U.S. Green Building Council, and California’s Title 24 requirements.
At the end of each partnering session, the 35 to 50 Building Team members present completed a survey detailing how the project was progressing, what wasn’t working, and areas in which they could all be doing better. Answers were then compared with those of the previous session.
Scott Johnson, a principal with the project’s design architect, Johnson Fain Partners of Los Angeles, says partnering has become a growing trend in the last five to 10 years, especially for large projects like Block 225.
“The better projects are those on which there is greater communication,” Johnson adds. “A lot of this is beginning to happen because there have been train wrecks on big projects, where the problems aren’t solved. Smart, sophisticated owners who solicit multiple buildings over time say, ‘We have to get ahead of this and find a way to make it work better.’”
The partnering program was facilitated by Barr & Barr Consultants, CITY???, which performed a post-project debriefing and pronounced Block 225’s partnering program an unqualified success.
“The surest indicator of partnership success is in the desire for partners to want to work together again,” says Norma Barr. “This partnership scored an overwhelming rating of 4.82 of a total 5, representing one of the highest evaluations Barr & Barr Consultants has ever seen.”
Savings on top of savings
California’s Title 24 energy requirements were recently made 30% more restrictive. Nevertheless, the Building Team set out to make Block 225 an additional 30% more energy efficient &m> translating to a performance 60% better than typical buildings in its class, and eventually winning the second-highest LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.
“We decided to build a building to the equivalent standards of a Gold-rated LEED building,” Boles says. “It forced us to constantly monitor ourselves and to document everything we did in the right way. It was a challenge throughout the project and something we were all really proud of.”
Actions that contributed to the LEED rating included the recycling, and diversion from landfills, of more than 99% of total construction waste. Building materials were specified and tested for outgassing characteristics, reduction or elimination of VOCs, and reproductive toxic contaminants.
Additionally, the state added an underfloor air distribution system to the project after the start of construction, a challenge the entire Building Team had to work out together.
This was an accomplishment that particularly impressed Building Team Awards judge and mechanical engineer Raj Gupta, president of Environmental Systems Design, Chicago. “This is the strongest project from the M/E/P-design perspective, especially using steam for chilled water,” says Gupta. “To reduce the energy consumption by that amount takes a tremendous amount of coordination by the team members &m> the architect, the engineers, and the owners – even the space planners. Just the collaboration and communication that goes into that type of effort is quite an achievement in itself.”
A parade of presentations
Any project of 1.5 million sq. ft. that spans five city blocks and is located across from a state capitol is bound to run into challenges.
One of the greatest tests was the need to make presentations on its progress to a variety of state departments. These included the immediate client, the Department of General Services; the Department of State and Consumer Services under the Governor; the Sacramento City Council; the mayor of Sacramento; the Committee of the Assembly in the Senate; the Department of Energy; and Department of Education, which now occupies the building.
“If there was a calendar of events for developing the design, then overlaying the top of that was a whole calendar of presentations to these various bodies,” Johnson says. “In a way it was the ultimate public project.”
As a Design/Build Best Value project, the State was permitted to fix the total construction cost at $395 million and then select the winning firm on the basis of who could deliver the highest level of performance for the price. This precluded the necessity of awarding the work to the lowest bidder, a new approach for the State.
As master design architect, Johnson Fain accepted the challenge and completed the entire set of drawings (interior, exterior, and landscape) in just 10 months &m> an undertaking Johnson said normally would have taken a year and a half.
“We didn’t have a choice. It was all scheduled according to a state calendar,” he adds. “The budgeting and calendar went forward as part of a state bill. There was no way to change it short of going back to the state capitol and rewriting the bill. So we had to salute and say yes.”
In addition to the Department of Education, the building also houses food service and childcare facilities as well as retail space. It is surrounded by a residential neighborhood.
According to Johnson, Block 225 was specifically designated to be a mixed-use project, in order to provide the surrounding residential areas with shopping, services and nighttime security.
“The concern in any city that has a huge government population, like Sacramento, is that the area is dead in the evening,” says Johnson. “This was a way of understanding the 24 hour life of a community by adding services and other things that gave the project more life.”
Block 225 is the first of five buildings to face California’s State capitol building. The others are currently under construction. BDC
Site preparation and excavation2,000,000
Interior and exterior stone3,638,000
Principal Building Team Members:
Architect: Johnson Fain Partners
Structural Engineer: Middlebrook + Louie
Mechanical/Electrical Engineeer: Capital Engineering Consultants
General Contractor: Hensel Phelps Construction
Construction Manager: 3D/International
As the largest art program ever undertaken by the State of California, this project incorporated art into nearly every part of the building including the lobby, a vest pocket park outside the building, the childcare facilities and even the elevator doors (above). “Instead of spending money on a big guy on a horse, they attempted to infuse the building with public art,” says Johnson. “I like a building to be as porous and permeable and open to as many people and other ideas as possible. It seemed natural to take the art and spread it through the project, so in effect it has more life.”
Block 225 is just one of many buildings in which the City of Sacramento requested that 1% of total construction costs to be used toward including local art in the building. A total of $4 million was spent on art in this building.
Grand Award -- Commercial
Nestled in the wooded wetlands of rural Ohio, the campus of clothier Abercrombie & Fitch reflects the company’s hip, natural image
By Larry Flynn, Senior Editor
An old-school wooden canoe hangs from the ceiling in the lobby of the main entrance of the Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) headquarters, a symbol of the active, nature-loving lifestyle that reflects the company’s corporate identity and its hip brand of casual clothing for young collegians.
The canoe isn’t the only symbol of the company’s identity. Its entire 260,000-sq.-ft. office campus and 700,000-sq.-ft. distribution center are themselves extensions of the company’s brand. This is exactly what chairman and CEO Michael Jeffries had in mind when it came time to move the company from traditional office space it was leasing from its former parent company, the Limited, in Columbus, Ohio.
Upon the purchase of an undeveloped rural site located on 300 acres of wooded wetlands in New Albany, Ohio, adjacent to Columbus, Jeffries selected New York-based anderson architects to conceptualize his vision. The collaborative team of Jeffries and anderson president Ross Anderson, together with the Columbus offices of architect-of-record NBBJ and construction manager Gilbane, turned Jeffries’ vision into a bucolic reality. It also culminated in the project’s selection as a Grand Award winner in Building Design & Construction’s 2003 Building Team Project of the Year Awards.
“The collaboration between the design team and the owner, in terms of creating a spectacular environment for the owner’s young workforce, and between the entire Building Team and the environmental community, was wonderful,” says Building Team Project of the Year Award juror Phil Tobey, a vice president of Detroit-based A/E SmithGroup.
But it wasn’t easy. A “ridiculous” project schedule brought on by the impending expiration of A&F’s current office lease necessitated the overlapping of processes, including programming, design, bidding, and construction, to complete the project by the May 2001 move-in date.
Building on a virgin site further complicated the project by requiring installation of all new infrastructure, as well as mitigation of wetlands. A&F selected the site because of its natural surroundings and intended to preserve the landscape. However, local environmental groups concerned about the project’s impact on the land and Blacklick Creek, which flows through the property, became involved in the process.
The concern was understandable, says Tom Lennox, A&F’s director of corporate communications. “The community didn’t know exactly what we were out to do,” he says. “When we presented the plan, they became more comfortable. We went to great lengths to preserve the streams and the natural elements.”
The Building Team worked with the environmental groups to avoid any disturbance to the creek. Along with the groups, it handpicked the trees that would remain on site and worked around a Native American archeological site. Except for a disagreement over compliance of on-site containment of construction mud, the project was a successful example of corporate environmental stewardship, says Bill Resch, a member of the Friends of the Blacklick Creek Watershed. “Our experience with Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the best examples of mutual efforts and collaboration to protect our beloved Blacklick Creek for our children and grandchildren,” he says.
“Our brand is a northeastern, Adirondack theme aimed at college kids. It’s hip. It’s cool,” says Lennox. “We found a beautiful piece of land that fit Mike Jeffries’ vision for the company.”
The idea was to not only preserve the natural setting but to celebrate it and incorporate it into a campus theme for the complex. “We call it our campus because a ‘headquarters’ really isn’t the Abercrombie way,” explains Lennox. “It’s laid out like the great college campuses. Ross [Anderson] really managed to maintain the natural elements while also building a $130 million office campus in a very efficient, cool way that motivates our young employees even more.”
The agricultural-industrial aesthetic of the campus was the result of close collaboration between Jeffries and Anderson. “Mike said, ‘Let’s keep it simple,’” says Lennox, who compares the construction of the campus to the making of a pair of A&F denim jeans. “They both use simple materials and processes put together in a very detailed way.”
Anderson took this direction to heart, choosing the simplest of concepts from which to base the campus design &m> the shed. The concept acknowledged the rural landscape and helped meet the programmatical requirement of an open, flexible office environment. “Agricultural buildings seemed to offer what we were looking for both structurally and spatially,” says Anderson. “We weren’t building offices, we were building large open sheds. The openness helped underscore the kind of community they were trying to build.”
Collaboration is a tenet of the A&F corporate model. Spaces for impromptu meetings are found throughout the campus, both indoors and outdoors in the many common areas located along the campus streetscape.
There are only 30 offices in the entire campus that houses 1,300 employees. Jeffries doesn’t even have an office, a desk, or a file cabinet, says Lennox. Instead, he prefers to work in a conference room. Worktables define workspaces rather than desks and cubicles for the clothing designers and other corporate employees.
The Jeffries/Anderson team conceived a campus comprised of a collection of buildings bounded by nature on the outside and tied together by an urban streetscape. The buildings use common industrial finishes and materials in unconventional ways. They are clad using exposed concrete slab, cement board panels, stucco, galvanized metal panels, plywood, and aluminum and operable-glass curtainwall.
The structures also feature galvanized metal roofs and wood windows. Tongue-and-groove cedar board is used as welcome mats at entrances. Exposed steel framing and glulam timber comprise the buildings’ structural skeletons. Open ceilings reveal metal ductwork meticulously planned and installed according to Anderson’s directions.
Designed to rust, Cor-ten steel panels give the barn-like structure that houses the dining hall and fitness center a distinctive appearance. Another eye-catching structure is the tree house conference room perched atop the executive administration building. Along the urban streetscape, a wall section of the main building is left open to the elements. This area, known as the “bite,” is paneled entirely in cedar board. Along the wall, a large wooden staircase leads up to the building’s upper floor. It also contains a 7-ft.-6-in. by 9-ft.-4-in. board-formed lodge-style fireplace. A similarly constructed fireplace is located on the exterior of the dining hall.
Bucolic look belies complexity
The project’s rustic appearance is deceiving. Although the campus seems to be a collection of simple agricultural sheds, the compressed project schedule and anderson’s exacting design concepts pushed the entire Building Team. “It was a very aggressive timeline, almost ridiculous,” says A&F’s Lennox. “But thanks to Ross, and partnering with Gilbane and the subs, the project came in on time and under budget. We moved in without a hitch.”
From the time anderson was hired until construction of the office campus and distribution center was completed, the project took only two years. “There was a high design quotient placed on the project,” says Anderson. “Not only did it have to be done in a hurry, the client also set the design bar high. It got people’s attention and focus. Actually, the project benefited by decisions having to be made quickly.”
The schedule mandated that the Building Team be brought on board early. “The project team worked well together because we were all assembled very early in the project planning,” says Gilbane project manager Mike Giuliani. “The goals were clear, the course was set, and the decisions were timely.”
At the time the project got under way, steel was difficult to procure and deliver in the Columbus area, says Giuliani. This prompted Gilbane to bid out the steel for the campus and distribution center as mill order packages to guarantee the team a spot in the production line.
Environmental concerns about damage to Blacklick Creek required the construction of a 300-ft. bridge across a ravine that bisected the campus. Because no traffic could cross the ravine until the bridge was built, the campus was divided into two separately bid construction sites with entrances two miles apart. “In preconstruction, we thought this was going to be a big hurdle to overcome, but it worked out very well,” says Giuliani.
The nontraditional use of finishes and materials required adjustments in construction. “The finishes and materials were used in ways we hadn’t experienced before,” says Giuliani. Suppliers were required to produce special runs that did not include the various stamps typically found on the material, such as plywood and sheet metal ductwork. For bidding clarification purposes, 4-ft.-tall mockups gave bidders evidence that what was shown on the drawings was not complicated. “This helped get good, tight bids,” says Giuliani.
Tree house structure stands out
From a structural standpoint, the executive administration building, which contained the tree house, received the most attention. “It was the toughest to detail, draw, and build,” says NBBJ project architect Robert Hatfield. “The geometry was very complex. Structurally, it was a nightmare.”
“It was three-dimensionally complex,” says Scott Hawk, principal in charge and project manager for the Columbus-based structural engineer Lantz Jones & Nebraska. “The roof of the administration building sloped in two different directions. None of the four corners the roof was the same elevation, and we didn’t have any of the elevations when the steel bid package went out. We had to put elevations at every structural member so the detailer could figure it out.”
Structurally, the tree house is self-contained and sits on four 12-in. by 12-in. tubular steel columns that stick out of the roof of the administration building. “The administration building structure wraps itself around the tower with the tree house emerging out the top,” says Hatfield.
The campus’ exposed structures also required attention to detail. One example is the dining hall, which features glulam tree columns with exposed branches. “We had to make the roof system and lateral load system work for the design,” says Hawk.
Staircases near the main entry and at the west end of the campus puzzled structural engineers. “The structure supporting the stair landings was entirely exposed, but the design required that none of the supporting members be vertical,” says Hawk. “We spent many hours computer modeling the staircases before we figured out how to make them stand up.”
While most central heating and cooling plants are hidden in a corner, anderson turned A&F’s into a work of art, cladding the large concrete block structure, known as the “tower of power,” with horizontal wooden lattice members made of Douglas fir. At night, trellis lights set the structure aglow.
The campus’s electrical power facility is one of the most unusual technical aspects of the project, says John Mrofchak, mechanical systems project manager for M/E/P subcontractor M-Engineering, Westerville, Ohio. A&F purchases primary power from the local power company and delivers to the campus via two independent power feeds. In the event of a power outage, the redundant system will continue to supply power to the campus.
A recruitment tool is born
Though the campus was not designed as a recruitment tool for A&F, it has become one, according to Lennox. “Our employees work long, hard hours and we want them to enjoy spending time here.”
Chairman and CEO Jeffries reportedly is pleased with the facility. “He said he couldn’t imagine it looking any other way than it does,” Lennox says. One measure of that success is that the anderson/NBBJ design team has been retained to do an addition to the campus for the company’s Hollister clothing line for teen-agers.
“A lot of real trust and equity was created during the first project,” says Anderson. “It’s nice to see it enforced.”
Distribution center delivers with ‘Abercrombie’ style
The 700,000-sq.-ft. distribution center, which shares the 300-acre site with the Abercrombie & Fitch office campus, is not your standard big-box industrial building. New York’s anderson architects applied the same high-styled “shed” concept to the distribution center as it did to the office campus.
The designer also created a separate identity for the facility in areas such as the office, locker rooms, kitchen and cafeteria, and common areas. Windows in the distribution area allow views of the outdoors and natural light to enter. The office area is left open to the distribution area. It also contains a large sloping roof that appears to be carved out of the big box. Several sculptural skylights penetrate the roof. The cafeteria contains a full production kitchen, which serves the dining hall in the office campus.
Many of the same materials were used on the $53 million center as were used on the office campus: exposed concrete slab, steel frame, corrugated metal panel siding, glazing, plywood, CMU, metal mesh, poured resin flooring, integrally tinted concrete, cement board, and aluminum and glass curtainwall.
“We tried to bring some attitude and care to what otherwise might just be an equipment-filled space,” says Anderson. Locker rooms are exposed and open. In the common areas, plywood, cement board, and cedar boxes within the big box add style and scale to the space. “We tried to be playful, even though a lot of work has to get done there,” Anderson says.
“The little boxes are all self-contained and set at different angles so that they intersect each other,” says Robert Hatfield, project architect for the Columbus, Ohio, office of architect of record NBBJ.
Because the distribution center’s schedule was as tight as the office campus, the conveyor material handling contractor worked in one section of the building while concrete slabs were being poured in another, says Mike Giuliani, project manager for the Columbus office of CM Gilbane.
“It’s tough to make a distribution center look cool,” says Tom Lennox, A&F’s director of corporate communications. “But it’s very ‘Abercrombie.’”
PHOTO CAPTIONS TO COME ----
CALLOUTS FOR SITE PLAN
"It's totally hip. They did a great job of working with the local environmental groups. Used materials in unusual ways.”
-- Elva Rubio, design director of architecture, Gensler (Chicago office), assistant professor of architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago
"A great example of a design team working with an owner to capture the brand."
-- Philip Tobey, VP, The SmithGroup
Abercrombie & Fitch headquarters
New Albany , Ohio
Abercrombie & Fitch
anderson architects p.c.
Architect of Record:
Lantz Jones + Nebraska
Area: 260,000 sq. ft.
Construction time: January 1999 to May 2001
Construction cost: $33 million
Delivery method: Fast-track construction management with guaranteed maximum price
U.S. Steel Cor-ten
Weather Shield; Alumitech
Pilkington-LOF; Viracon; AFG Industries; RPS
Roofing system, insulation:
Pacemaker Plastics; Galvalume; Dimensional Metals; Carlisle
Space frames, skylights:
Elevators and escalators:
Otis Elevator, Gunderlin LTD
Tectum; LumaSITE, American Acrylic Corp.
Doors, door hardware:
Ceco; Steelcraft; Eggers Industries; Nagel Manufacturing Co.; Kinnear;
Sargent; Hager; McKinney; Markar; Glynn Johnson; LCN; Von Duprin; Rockwood; Lenel
Lithonia; Holophane; Abolite; Stonco; Delray; Shaper; Fostoria
U.S. Gypsum; GP Gypsum Corp.; Unistrut; Gaylord Cork Panels; Beckley Cardy Cork Panels; Forbo-Nairn; Finland Color Plywood Corp.
Lane’s Floor Coverings and Interiors; Collins & Aikman
American Standard; Kohler; Elkay
VCT – Mannington Commercial; Johnsonite