Currently Reading

Bronze Award: John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Ill.

Bronze Award: John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Ill.


August 11, 2010
This article first appeared in the 200909 issue of BD+C.
The use of BIM software helped the Building Team overcome tight site conditions along Chicago’s lakefront during the renovation project.

To complete the $55 million renovation of the historic John G. Shedd Aquarium in the allotted 17-month schedule, the Building Team had to move fast to renovate and update exhibit and back-of-house maintenance spaces, expand the visitor group holding area, upgrade the mechanical systems, and construct a single-story steel structure on top of the existing oceanarium to accommodate staff office space—all while the facility remained fully operational.

To help coordinate the complex construction schedule and deal with tight working conditions along Chicago's lakefront, the team—led by Walsh Construction and Valerio DeWalt Train—modeled a significant portion of the reconstruction work, including the 24,000-sf office addition, using building information modeling software. Crane location, material staging, steel hoisting and erection schedules, and patron/staff egress pathways were all carefully coordinated using BIM.

Other aspects of the project could not be so carefully anticipated due to unforeseen conditions in the 79-year-old structure. When the aquarium's three-million-gallon tank was drained to make way for a new pool lining, the team discovered that hydrostatic pressure was the only thing holding the acrylic viewing windows in place. To avoid the costly and time-consuming process of hoisting the massive windows out of the pool during the renovation, the team devised a clever structural bracing solution that used brackets installed underwater to hold the windows in place.

The team also had to devise three custom rolling scaffold platforms to permit installation of a new theatrical tension grid and A/V lighting systems to the oceanarium's structural trusses, which span as high as 80 feet over the pools. The special scaffold platforms were designed to cling to and roll along the bottom flanges of the trusses, and to flare out as they moved toward the curtain wall, providing workers safe access to the trusses.

“This was a technically challenging project, with a passionate client and lots of demands,” said Reconstruction Awards judge Matthew H. Johnson, PE, associate principal with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Waltham, Mass. —Dave Barista, Managing Editor

Related Stories

Resiliency | Aug 19, 2021

White paper outlines cost-effective flood protection approaches for building owners

A new white paper from Walter P Moore offers an in-depth review of the flood protection process and proven approaches.

Wood | Jun 10, 2021

Three AEC firms launch a mass timber product for quicker school construction

TimberQuest brand seeks to avoid overinvestment in production that has plagued other CLT providers.

Building Technology | Jun 1, 2021

Orro Announces Google Nest Integration for the Orro Switch

Orro, creators of the professional-grade top-of-the-line Orro Smart Living System, today announced the integration of Nest products to Orro. As a certified partner in Google’s Device Access program, this latest Orro integration allows homeowners to have seamless control and access to Nest thermostats and doorbells from any Orro Switch throughout the home – creating a single unified smart home system with advanced, intelligent ambient control.

Coronavirus | Mar 11, 2021

The Weekly show, March 11, 2021: 5 building products for COVID-related conditions, and AI for MEP design

This week on The Weekly show, BD+C editors speak with AEC industry leaders about building products and systems that support COVID-related conditions, and an AI tool that automates the design of MEP systems.

AEC Tech | Mar 4, 2021

The Weekly show, March 4, 2021: Bringing AI to the masses, and Central Station Memphis hotel

This week on The Weekly show, BD+C editors speak with AEC industry leaders about the award-winning Central Station Memphis hotel reconstruction project, and how Autodesk aims to bring generative design and AI tools to the AEC masses.

Building Technology | Feb 10, 2021

Garney Construction trials new heat stress prevention device

The device helps to prevent heat injuries on job sites.

Modular Building | Jan 26, 2021

Offsite manufacturing startup iBUILT positions itself to reduce commercial developers’ risks

iBUILT plans to double its production capacity this year, and usher in more technology and automation to the delivery process.

AEC Tech | Dec 8, 2020

COVID-19 affects the industry’s adoption of ConTech in different ways

A new JLL report assesses which tech options got a pandemic “boost.”

Contractors | Dec 4, 2020

‘Speed to market’ defines general contractor activities in 2020

Contractors are more receptive than ever to ways that help get projects done faster.

3D Printing | Nov 27, 2020

The Fibonacci House: A test case of 3D construction printing

The Fibonacci House, which we have named after Leonardo Fibonacci, the medieval Italian mathematician, illustrates the potential of 3DCP and demonstrates how a complex design and challenging logistics can be solved through pragmatic planning and 3DCP technology.

More In Category



Building Technology

Orro Announces Google Nest Integration for the Orro Switch

Orro, creators of the professional-grade top-of-the-line Orro Smart Living System, today announced the integration of Nest products to Orro. As a certified partner in Google’s Device Access program, this latest Orro integration allows homeowners to have seamless control and access to Nest thermostats and doorbells from any Orro Switch throughout the home – creating a single unified smart home system with advanced, intelligent ambient control.



Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: