Reconstruction Awards 2003


October 01, 2003 |


Revitalizing a worn-down or underused building and restoring it to a useful purpose can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding assignments for a Building Team. Often such buildings hold historic significance for the owner or community in which they are located. Others may reflect the growth of a new or reawakened market segment. Some may simply be the result of the effects of a sluggish economy and an owner’s decision to upgrade an existing facility instead of building new.

The 10 projects selected for recognition in Building Design & Construction’s 20th Annual Renovation & Reconstruction Awards all are projects that have been enlivened, re-energized, or reincarnated into better and more productive uses.

Four industry judges and five BD&C editors evaluated this year’s submissions based on the innovative and technical aspects of the their design, construction, and development.

The competition is not bound by project size or dollar amount. It is open to any member of the Building Team whose reconstruction, renovation, restoration, or adaptive reuse project adheres to the highest standards of quality. Conducted specifically for commercial, industrial, institutional, and multifamily residential buildings, projects this year had to have been completed or occupied by Jan. 1, 2002.

A mixture of all the reconstruction categories is found among this year’s recipients. Grand awards for outstanding performance were bestowed on four projects, while six others were found to be deserving of Merit Awards.

The four Grand Awards are:

·Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colo. One of the nation’s premier five-star hotels, which opened in 1918, underwent a delicate and vibrant restoration.

·600 West, Chicago. An adaptive reuse of the former Montgomery Wards Catalog Warehouse into a mixed-used residential complex was conducted along the banks of the Chicago River.

·Bartlett Hall, Chicago. A 100-year-old neo-Gothic athletic center was sensitively adapted into a modern, market-style student dining hall.

·Tweed Courthouse, New York City. The $107 million restoration and renovation of the infamous Lower Manhattan courthouse no longer serves the interests of Tammany Hall, but provides offices for the city’s Department of Education.

Merit Award winners are:

·Lofts at Old Albuquerque High School, Albuquerque, N.M. After years of failed attempts to convert the historic but outdated high school to other uses, the project at last was remade into 69 apartment units.

·PhiladelphiaAcademy of Music, Philadelphia. The city’s grand opera house underwent a seven-year renovation and modernization process, restoring its former grandeur and enabling it to stage more complex performances.

·National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tenn. An expansion of the museum involved the reconstruction and restoration of the boarding house from which was fired the shot that killed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.

·Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Independence, Mo. The seamless renovation of the 33rd president’s elegant library addressed mechanical and electrical needs and enhanced circulation patterns.

·Renaissance Grand, St. Louis. Need for convention center accommodations spurred the $265 million renovation and expansion of a once-vacant downtown hotel.

·Amtrak Arcade, Kansas City, Mo. The presence of the passenger rail carrier was re-established in fine style at the city’s classic 1914 Union Station, meriting a special mention from the jury. BDC




Gunar Gruenke

Vice President

Conrad Schmitt Studios

New Berlin, Wis.

Walker C. Johnson, FAIA


Johnson Lasky Architects


Norman Crowe


University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Ind.

Paul Westlake, FAIA


van Dijk Westlake Reed Leskosky


Grand Award


Once a training center for Olympic athletes, the University of Chicago’s

Bartlett Hall now serves as an elegant training table for students

By Larry Flynn, Senior Editor

Originally constructed in 1904 as the training facility for the U.S. men’s Olympic team, the University of Chicago’s Bartlett Hall, a neo-Gothic limestone structure in the heart of the campus, last year was transformed into a 550-seat student dining hall.

The $15.5 million adaptive reuse project “had to compete for resources and attention” with three glamour projects on campus, according to Curt Heuring, university architect. They were: a new $52 million athletic center designed by Cesar Pelli, with Chicago’s OWP&P; a $54 million dormitory from Ricardo Legorreta, which opened last year; and a new graduate school of business designed by Raphael Viñoly, scheduled to open next fall.

“The sensitivity with which the renovation was done was terrific,” says Heuring. “You have these large projects by Legorreta, Pelli, and Viñoly, and this little renovation project has stolen some of the limelight because it was done so well. It’s a credit to the skills of the architect and the entire team.”

Working in tandem

The project, designed by Bruner/Cott & Associates, Cambridge, Mass., was conceived as part of the university master plan, which called for more student housing in the heart of campus, as well as additional athletic facilities. “The pool facilities, among other things, were outdated,” says Heuring. “We were building the new dormitory on campus, but the students needed a place to eat.” So the university planners asked: Why not let Bartlett be their dining hall?

The timing of the two projects thus became crucial. “If you opened the dining hall without the dorm being open, it wouldn’t succeed, and the dorm couldn’t open without a dining hall,” Heuring says.

To facilitate the process, the projects shared equipment and locally based personnel &m> the same project management manager, The Rise Group, and the same GC, Pepper Construction Co.

Having both dining hall and preservation experience in the same office gave Bruner/Cott the edge in the selection process. Heuring was confident in the choice, having previously worked with the firm on the adaptive reuse of Harvard’s Memorial Hall performance space into a 600-seat dining hall.

“We wanted to reinvigorate the building, but be respectful and celebrate what was there,” says John Rossi, senior planner with Bruner/Cott. “In a sense, we created a new building. It has a whole new use, and occupies a new place on campus.”

Blending with tradition

One of the first things the Building Team had to worry about was the addition of a two-story steel and limestone-clad loading dock. “The Department of Interior guidelines say that when adding on to a historic building, you shouldn’t make the addition look like the old building,” says Heuring. “But in this case, with the site of the building and the prominence of the building’s corner location, we felt it needed to appear seamless &m> like it always had been there.”

The Bedford limestone veneer was removed from the area of the building that was being added on to and used to clad the addition. The harvested limestone also was used in the repair of spalled stone on other parts of the exterior. Where new stone was required, crews used limestone from the same quarry that the original limestone came from. The building’s existing limestone veneer was cleaned and repaired.

The two large loading doors were designed as gothic bi-folding steel doors, clad in richly stained oak with bronze studs. The doors echo the entry gates of the old Alonzo Stagg Field, the football stadium that once stood on the site.

The wood doors and stone portico were designed to create an unobtrusive, two-bay entrance for deliveries that blends with a newly constructed quadrangle that lies adjacent.

Blurring the line

Once plans for the addition were in order, the Building Team turned its attention to deciding which of the existing elements of the athletic center to weave into the new dining hall.

The team then sought to continue the seamless transition of the building on the inside. “There was a time when architects tried to distinguish the old and the new,” says Heuring. “We purposely blurred the line between the new work and old. If you go there now, it’s not clear that it was recently renovated.”

In addition to keeping memorabilia, such as time clocks, as part of the décor, the original basketball floor, made of inch-thick maple, was retained for the dining hall floor.

Perhaps the most striking element of the reconstructed facility is the suspended running track that encircles the dining hall. Engineers initially slated the old track for demolition because it did not meet current live-load standards. Instead of demolishing it, the team reduced the live load by cutting the usable space on the track. Millwork, with ductwork running through it, was installed on the track, occupying half of its floor space. Meanwhile, mechanical enclosures were placed in two of corners. The track, which offers a view of the entire dining hall, now is an observation deck and a space for students to study and “hang.”

The existing building had only one interior grand stairway serving the second-floor gymnasium. The stair, which actually is a divided stairway flanking a three-story lobby, needed to be preserved and upgraded to meet code. “There was nothing about the stair that satisfied code,” says the university’s Heuring. “Bruner/Cott worked closely with the city on compromises that preserved the stair and met code.”

Because the stairway and lobby were intended to be open to the new dining area, Bruner/Cott designed a separation wall enclosure at the second-floor dining hall to maintain the openness to the dining hall and views back to the stair hall.

The wall incorporated a high-tech two-hour rated glazing material, clad with a fire-resistant treated white oak matching the intricately paneled staircase walls. The wall mimicked an existing wooden screen wall separating the gym from the stair hall.

Two interior exit stairs also were inserted into corners of the building to meet code, replacing two exterior fire escapes, which were added to the building soon after its construction.

Lighting the stairway is a two-story high-stained glass window designed by Edward C. Sperry, an associate of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Valued at $7 million, the window was painstakingly removed and is undergoing a $2 million restoration.

An intimate dining setting

Inserting foodservice facilities into the structure in an unobtrusive manner called for more innovation and creativity. Foodservice occupies parts of three floors: basement cold storage; first-floor loading dock and production kitchen; second-floor market-style concept servery, where 70% of the food actually is prepared.

“The market concept is more of a performance style,” says Bruner/Cott principal Dan Raih. “So much of the preparation and cooking used to be done in the back of the house. Now it’s marked by out-front preparation and display cooking. It’s completely modern.”

To avoid penetrating the building’s sloped roof, five large exhaust fans were discreetly positioned on the limited flat areas of the roof. Existing arched gothic windows were used for all of the required louver openings. Kitchen exhaust hoods and services were tucked under the suspended running track and inside a new elevator core used to transport food.

In all, the dining hall serves 2,500 meals a day. “Studying is serious business here,” Raih says of the university. “Meal time is a time for students to relax and where a lot of social relationships develop. The university wanted the dining hall to be a place with great food where students could gather.”

The dining hall is part of the new and popular Bartlett quadrangle, created in conjunction with the new dormitory and the main library. What was once the rear door to the hall is now the front door to the quadrangle. “By opening the doors of the hall and the dormitory onto the quadrangle, life and activity have been added to what used to be a parking lot,” says Heuring.

Overall, Heuring says Bartlett Hall passes with flying colors. “We are pleased and proud we were able to recycle an old building to a new use,” he says. “We’ve shown it can be cost-effective and wise to refurbish older buildings.” BDC

Bartlett Hall’s program

·550-seat dining hall and multipurpose event space

·Market-style servery

·Prepares 2,500 meals per day

·Central campus production kitchen facility

·6,000-sq.-ft. student lounge

·New two-story receiving facility and service bay

·Major new storage facility

·Code and accessibility upgrades

·New mechanical and HVAC systems

·Two theatrical rehearsal facilities

·Dance performance facilities

·Conference rooms and student organization offices

·Campus convenience store


Bartlett Hall

Chicago, Ill.

Building Team

Owner:The University of Chicago

Architect: Bruner/Cott & Associates

Interior architect: Bruner/Cott & Associates

Structural engineer: C.E. Anderson and Associates

Mechanical/electrical engineer: BR+A Consulting Engineers

General contractor: Pepper Construction Co.

Construction manager: Pepper Construction Co.

Project manager: The Rise Group

General information

Area: 64,300 square feet

Number of floors: 3

Construction time: August 2000-January 2002

Construction cost: $13.5 million

Delivery method: Design-bid-build

Project suppliers




Weyerhauser, Electric Power Door Co., Corbin Russwin


Bega & Hydrel, Visa, Elliptar, Kurt Versen, Renovation Supply, Design Plan & ETC


Glass Solutions, Yorkshire Leaded Glass, Technical Glass Products

Fire-rated glass:

Technical Glass Products

Ornamental metal:

Binzel Metals

Roofing systems, insulation:

Metalmaster Roofmaster, Firestone Roofing


Montgomery Kone


Armstrong Industries, U.S. Gypsum


U.S. Gypsum





Plumbing fixtures:

American Standard

Resilient flooring:

Altro, Armstrong

Floor tile:

Dal-Tile, Terra Tile, Harlequin


Eustis Enterprises, F.W. Lombard Co., Brandrud & Geiger Bricket Design Group

Casework: Final Finish, Aberdeen Contract

Wires, Cables:

Block Electric

Lighting Controls:

Lutron, ETC

Power, communications:

Block Electric

Energy management controls:


Life safety, security systems:

Universal Security

Fire alarm, fire suppression system:

Simplex, Ansul Systems




General conditions:$1,450,000




Stone and masonry1,100,000


Carpentry and millwork459,000


Partition systems495,000




Foodservice and equipment1,450,000






Fire protection149,000

Building automation system276,000


Delicate touch

One of the nation’s premier hotels retains its five-star status after an “invisible” renovation effort

By Renee Young, Contributing Editor

Architecturally designed to conform to the landscape of the Pikes Peak region, The Broadmoor includes the best features of many famous European resort hotels, and affords every convenience and luxury that could be desired by the most fastidious. Yet, size and prodigality were not the objects sought. Rather, the owners have planned to make The Broadmoor quiet and home-like, rich in little touches of refinement and beauty.

That’s the description the Broadmoor founder and mining millionaire Spencer Penrose sent to travel agents and private clubs across the country when the hotel opened in 1918. Since that time, the Colorado Springs, Colo., landmark has not only maintained its luxury character, but has set the standard as one of the few resorts in the country to have earned the Mobil Five Star and the AAA Five Diamond ratings every year since the awards were established.

Upholding the Broadmoor’s rich tradition while also upgrading the facility to accommodate today’s traveler was the challenge put to the Building Team responsible for the hotel’s recent $25 million renovation, which received a Grand Award in Building Design & Construction’s 20th Annual Reconstruction Awards.

“When you have a property that sets the bar for all that follow, you need to be cautious with any change,” says Gregory Friesen, principal and design director with project architect CSNA Architects, Colorado Springs, Colo. “This hotel is one where guests come back year after year expecting the same elegant experience, and we didn’t want to harm that tradition.”

Originally, the resort opened with a nine-story, 109-room main hotel and four attached wings: the 16-room Northmoor wing; the 29-room Southmoor wing; the 27-room Northlake wing; and the 20-room Southlake wing. Over the years, the Broadmoor’s facilities have been expanded with additional meeting rooms, recreational amenities, and new hotel buildings that added 500 guestrooms. However, the original main hotel and its wings underwent only cosmetic renovations, such as the replacement of carpeting and paint.

“The rooms were designed with large closets and small bathrooms to accommodate those travelers with large steamer trunks and gowns who intended to stay a month or two,” says John Goodloe, project architect with CSNA. “People don’t travel that way anymore and are looking for larger rooms with five-fixture bathrooms.”

It was time for a revival &m> not only to appease the changing tastes of the modern traveler, but to also comply with current building codes. The project, which is part of a five-year capital improvement plan developed by the Broadmoor’s resort consultant, TAG Galyean, involved the complete renovation of the main hotel, the Northmoor wing, and the Southmoor wing.

In total, the building area covered approximately 230,000 sq. ft., contained 154 guestrooms, and included the two public level floors in the main hotel and the main entrance to the hotel.

“Preserving the integrity of the hotel’s historic character was priority one,” says Friesen. That dictate was top of mind while the team upgraded all the guest rooms with five-fixture bathrooms, inserted two new stair towers and a new elevator core from foundations to roof, and installed all new HVAC, plumbing, fire alarm, fire protection, and security systems. “Oh, and we did this all in just 27 weeks,” says Friesen.

A cautious crew

The cautious seldom err, and the Broadmoor Building Team was nothing if not cautious. They couldn’t afford not to be with the hotel closing with a full house on October 22, 2001, and reopening to a booked house on May 1, 2002.

“In actuality, we had less than 27 weeks, considering that when the clock started ticking we still needed to remove those items that make it a five-star hotel and properly store them before we could begin demolition,” says Ron Wilson, project superintendent with general contractor M.A. Mortenson, Denver. “Then, once the reconstruction was complete, we needed to replace those robes and pillows before the hotel reopened.”

In addition to the time constraints, demolition and reconstruction activity could not interfere with the rest of the hotel, which remained open and operational throughout the life of the project.

During the schematic designs of the renovation of the main hotel, CSNA Architects identified that the Broadmoor would lose 23 rooms as a result of the upgrades. With the hotel committed to a 750-room cap, a new facility was needed.

“The result is that we split the project into two phases, first constructing a new hotel building on the site of an old pool to accommodate the needed rooms,” says Friesen. This extra space also enabled the Building Team to relocate some of the offices and reception desk that were housed in the main hotel to the new facility, and to other buildings on the property during the renovation.

To accelerate the design approval process, the Building Team and the Colorado Springs building department established a process for streamlining plan reviews. “At the time this project was underway, reviews could take up to 14 weeks. This process enabled us to turn around reviews in six to eight weeks,” says Goodloe. He says this “rapid response” system is not instituted lightly. The last time this system was used was in 2000 when Intel built its nearby manufacturing facility. “It really is a testament to how important the Broadmoor Hotel is to the Colorado Springs community,” he says.

To help speed the city inspection process, the owner hired an independent building code official who was a past director of the building department’s commercial division. “Considering the speed of the project, it was unimaginable that we could give the building department a 48-hour lead time to inspect and review an item that needed to go up that day,” says Friesen.

Constructing the past

The first part of the project was something like a delicate mining exercise, says Wilson. Nearly 60% of the building, including all of the guest rooms, was demolished down to the concrete structure to make room for 132 larger guestrooms and updated public and service areas.

“At one point, you could walk in and see from one masonry exterior wall to another &m> you would never guess this was a hotel,” says Goodloe.

For several weeks a continuous stream of dump trucks moved away debris. Below this demolition activity sat two ornate ballrooms, which were carefully monitored to prevent ceiling cracks from the equipment loads and vibrations above. “We photographed and cataloged every square foot of that ceiling to identify preexisting cracks, so that if new cracks did appear, we could shore those areas immediately,” says Terry McHale, director of facilities for the hotel.

Members of the Building Team were on site everyday to make certain that problems could be resolved immediately.

“Like any reconstruction project, original drawings aren’t what you’d consider accurate,” says Scott Beck, principal with structural engineer Anderson & Hastings, Denver. For example, while the concrete frame structure with flat plate floor system was sound, the team discovered during excavation that the existing footings they believed would support the new elevator cores and stairwells weren’t where they expected.

“We needed to react to that right away,” says Wilson. He organized crews to hand-dig new caissons and construct new walls to support the stairs and elevators.

Goodloe says the success of the project is evident in the admiration of guests who are convinced that the project just “freshened up” the facility instead of reconstructing it. “On opening day, you could hear a tour of senior citizens convinced that the stairwells and elevators had always been there, not understanding all the work that had gone into the project,” he says.

Many of the improvements are invisible thanks to some creative use of service tunnels underneath the hotel to run new piping and a unique roof solution. Before the renovation, the main hotel’s roof was cluttered with antennae and other equipment. To eliminate this obstruction from guests’ mountain views, the Building Team lowered the roof in that section in order to accommodate the new elevator, HVAC, plumbing, fire alarm, fire protection, and security systems.

Also unnoticed by guests are new custom windows, Italian marble flooring, and vertical fan coil units to heat and cool the rooms, which replace through-wall units that hung on the outside of the building.

“Nearly everything is new, from the new plaster moldings and wood work to the restored historic artwork and murals,” says David Fritz, principal with interior designer Design Studio Interiors, Castle Rock, Colo. “But everyone sees it as ‘The Broadmoor experience.’ It’s what they expect.”

A noticeable difference for guests is the Terrace Bar, which underwent a $1 million renovation. Murals on the walls depict the true story of how Penrose lured prominent hotel executives and journalists to the hotel with a two-week visit, full of polo matches and plane races. Correspondence following these two weeks read like a five-star review, with some attendees reporting that their stay was the best two weeks of their lives.

“This group of people proved very important, in fact the entire hotel rating system has its roots in this society,” says Fritz.

Just as that group of influential people carried stellar reviews of The Broadmoor around the globe, so do visitors today. “Even though we’ve had some of the hottest, most grueling days this past year, we’ve heard not one complaint, only raves,” says McHale.

Celebrating its 85th anniversary in June, it’s certain The Broadmoor is in line for another 85 years as the home-like hotel with little touches of refinement and beauty.

Project Summary

The Broadmoor Hotel

Colorado Springs
, Colo.

Building Team

Owner: The Broadmoor Hotel

Resort Consultant: TAG Studio

Architect: CSNA Architects

Interior Designer: Design Studios Interiors

Structural Engineer: Anderson & Hastings

Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Cator Ruma

General Contractor: M.A. Mortenson

Construction Manager: WOZ Group

General Information

Area: 230,000 gross sq. ft.

Number of floors: nine

Construction time: October 2001 to May 2002

Construction cost: $25 million

Delivery Method: Fixed, with budget administered by contractor under negotiated CM/GC contract

Project Suppliers

Windows: Marvin, Boddington Lumber

Doors/Door Hardware: Colorado Doorways, Weyerhaeuser

Ceilings: Sprehe

Elevators: Otis

Life Safety/Security: Simplex

Carpet: Axminster

Plumbing fixtures: Kohler

Merit Award


The legacy of the civil rights movement is explored in the building from which the shot was fired that killed the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 35 years ago.

By Larry Flynn, Senior Editor

In the minds of many Americans, the civil rights movement died on April 4, 1968, when a shot rang out from a bathroom window in the rear of a run-down Memphis boarding house, killing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., as he stood on a balcony outside his second-floor motel room across the street.

Dr. King’s assassination dealt a severe blow to the movement, but his legacy and that of the civil rights movement live on, according to officials at the National Civil Rights Museum.

The museum, which opened in Memphis in 1991, incorporates the infamous Lorraine Motel, where King was slain 35 years ago. Until last year, the museum’s tour ended at Room 306. A wreath now hangs on the balcony outside of the room where he fell. But visitors often commented that ending the tour in such a manner reinforced the idea that the movement also ended there.

“Tour guides often had to act as grief counselors at the end of the tour because it’s such an emotional experience,” says Gwen Harmon, the museum’s director of marketing and public relations.

Remarkably, the boarding house and the commercial retail building adjacent to it known as the Young-Morrow Building still stood across the street, as if frozen in time. Now reconstructed, the two three-story brick buildings serve to further educate museum visitors about the assassination, the ensuing investigation, and assorted conspiracy theories.

The expansion continues the museum’s use of structures that played a role in the assassination, says Harmon. “We are taking visitors through the actual rooming house. They walk across the street to the second part of the museum without losing any of the authenticity. They can see the bathroom [where the shot was fired] as it was in 1968 and be a part of that physical space.”

But just as importantly, the buildings, which are now adjoined, explore the legacy of the civil rights movement and its continuing effect on the world. “No longer is the civil rights movement simply something to talk about in history class for a couple days, if you’re lucky,” says Harmon. “It’s living testimony.”

The buildings’s additional 12,500 square feet of high-tech, interactive exhibit space, designed by Ralph Applebaum & Associates, New York, seeks to engage young people by connecting the past to the present. One exhibit connects the dots from today’s popular professional tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams through Arthur Ashe, who broke color barriers in the sport, to Dr. King and civil rights movement.

Bringing the buildings together

An initial goal of the project was focused on preserving the context of the setting. “A chief concern was the physical exposure of the Lorraine to the boarding house,” says Frank Ricks, a principal with locally based design architect Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK).

The Building Team had to figure out a way to connect the motel with the two buildings. The Lorraine was physically separated from the buildings by a courtyard wall that bounded the Lorraine; Mulberry Street, which bisects the two museum sites; and an 11-ft. grade change from the motel up to the two buildings, which sit facing Main Street.

To tie the sites together, LRK, together with Self Tucker, the locally based minority-owned architect of record, decided to remove the wall and tunnel through the hillside into the newly lowered basement levels of the boarding house and Young-Morrow Building. The section of Mulberry Street bisecting the two sites was blocked off, effectively combining the sites in a mall-like setting.

Since the assassination, the condition of the buildings had severely deteriorated. This, together with the need to accommodate the exhibit space and the building code, resulted in the removal and replacement of all floors and the roof structure, under the direction of locally based GC Wooldridge Construction Co.

“The windows were wide-framed structures,” says LRK’s Ricks. “They would not hold the live load required for the museum. So we gutted the buildings and stabilized the existing walls.”

Though Ricks says the Building Team didn’t want to gut the buildings it was the best way to save their historic skins. “We took the historic elements out and reinstalled them as much as possible,” he says. The bedroom and bathroom were rebuilt according to crime scene photos.

On the exterior, masonry brick and terracotta had to be restored and joints repointed. Because Memphis is located in a high seismic region, a pinned shotcrete system was applied to the exterior walls for increased strength and stability.

A moment-resistant frame technique, one of the first such installations in Memphis, was applied to the structure. “Pins were put into the brick,” says Ricks. “They were epoxied, so they were exposed on the interior. Then two inches of gunite was applied to the interior face of the brick walls, anchoring the pins. That vertical slab or wall is then tied with anchors to the steel frame inside the shell. The steel frame is designed to be moment resisting to carry the load of the newly reinforced brick walls.”

Doors and windows received both historic replacements and a modified curtain wall system. Historic window units on the front side of the buildings facing Main Street, as well as those at the rear of the buildings significant for their appearance in crime scene photos, were maintained. To create a crisp modern look that contrasts with the historic building and complements the high-tech exhibits located within, the remaining window openings were glazed without mullions.

An all-glass curtain wall system was used to connect and enclose the two buildings, where previously a 4-ft.-wide alley was located. The glass enclosure was designed to maintain the historic character and provide a wall-free lookout over the campus.

New M/E/P and fire-protection systems were installed, with the mechanical being housed partly on the roof and partly in the basement.

A place for reflection, community

On what was once a dusty vacant lot on the hillside adjacent to the Young-Morrow Building, an outdoor green serves as a link between the two parts of the museum. It also provides an open sightline of the boarding house and the Lorraine for pedestrians, motorists, and trolley riders from the top of the hill in the South Main Business District.

Designed by Houston-based landscape architect SWA Group, the plaza is bermed to provide a place for visitors to pause and rest or contemplate. The park-like setting also has become a staging place for community events.

As part of the plaza design, the architects used crime scene photos to re-create a low brick retaining wall to the south of the buildings where James Earl Ray’s rifle was found.

The reconstruction was complicated by the insolvency of the project’s general contractor, Wooldridge Construction, midway through the project. However, with help from LRK and other members of the Building Team, Wooldridge completed the project.

“We’re very pleased,” the museum’s Harmon says of the addition. “We were able to marry the past with future, and do it with dignity.”

The tour of the boarding house closes with a call to continue the struggle for civil and human rights. “We are linked by one human thread,” says Harmon, “the ability to be free &m> to be a free people.” BDC




National Civil Rights Museum expansion

Memphis, Tenn.

Building Team

Owner: Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation

Design architect: Looney Ricks Kiss Architects

Architect of record: Self Tucker Architects Inc.

Museum planner/designer: Ralph Appelbaum & Associates

Landscape architect: SWA Group

General contractor: Wooldridge Construction Co.

Structural engineer: Stanley D. Lindsey & Associates Ltd.

Mechanical/fire protection: MVS Consulting Engineers Inc.

Electrical engineer: DePouw Engineering LLC

General information

Area: 15,000 sq. ft.

Number of floors: 3

Construction time: April 2000-September 2002

Construction cost: $11 million

Delivery method: GMP

Project suppliers

Curtain wall:



Marvin, Vista Wall


Curries/Essex, Lag Designs, Stanley


Corbin Russwin, Sargent


Visco, Lithonia, Indy Lighting

Exterior architectural coating:


Ornamental metal:

Julius Bloom & Co.

Space frames:


Wall insulation:

Georgia Pacific







Floor tile:

Dal Tile

Structural steel:

Gillis Steel Co.

Precast concrete:

Arkansas Precast Shotcrete

Energy management controls:


Fire alarm, fire suppression system:





General requirements$356,000





Wood and plastic170,000


Doors and windows300,000




Specialty construction124,000




Exhibit 3,300,000

Total $8,200,000


The Old Albuquerque High School campus is revived

as a live/work/play community

By Mindi Zissman, Products Editor

Following tangled legal disputes and competing development proposals that led to 25 years of neglect, the Old Albuquerque High School (AHS) campus has been revitalized to include 69 loft apartments, two community meeting rooms, parking, and the promise of a whole lot more.

Rob Dickson and his company Paradigm & Co., formerly of Austin, Texas, have brought vitality back to the extra-wide hallways of Old AHS.

“Rob came into my office in 1989 and said he had a vision for redeveloping Old Albuquerque High School into a live/work downtown housing project,” said project architect Dale Dekker, principal with Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. “I said, ‘Boy, this buy better be patient because it’s going to take a long time.’ And it did.”

The city of Albuquerque obtained six of the seven campus buildings in 1996 for $1.5 million as a result of a legal transaction involving a condemnation lawsuit with the FDIC and 1954 AHS-grad Ricardo Chaves, whose family wanted to buy the property. The city put out a request for proposals in 1998 to revitalize the buildings. FarrMont Realty Group of Phoenix gained support for its proposal, which included an art and cultural center, a city library, and a YMCA. But, FarrMont got edged out by Paradigm & Co., whose plan to renovate the Old Main and Classroom buildings into lofts was accepted in 1999.

“Rob has the perspective that every hurdle is just another opportunity to excel,” said Dekker. “It really requires someone who has a passion for preserving the historic fabric and character of a community, who can see beyond all the broken windows and vandalized exterior walls and see the jewel of an opportunity. That’s Rob.”

Once the plan was accepted, the challenge became putting the financing together, which took Dickson a year and a half.

“Part of it was just getting enough information to put the financing together,” Dickson said. “We had to complete some of the design work and price the project. It took six to nine months just to do that. The last few months were spent really nailing down the money.”

The funding for the $6.4 million Lofts at Albuquerque High was assembled with the help of private investors Fannie Mae and First State Bank, along with the $4.9 million in funds from the city and the U.S. Department of Commerce for a parking garage and land- and streetscape improvements. The project received $1.3 million in tax credits from the federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program.

Under the rules of the tax credit program Paradigm & Co. must retain ownership of the lofts for five years, after which Dickson can sell them as condomimiums. Currently, the lofts rent anywhere from $500 to $1,300 a month, averaging $750.

Due to the high demand for Dickson to be on location in Albuquerque, he moved from Austin, Texas, into one of the lofts himself.

“It’s really a great place to live,” said Dickson. “I see firsthand the issues my fellow residents have to live with. That makes me a more informed managing owner of the project. I try to put myself in their shoes and solve the problems before they happen.”

Campus additions

Dickson will develop the library and gymnasium buildings as well.

The gym will be made into an additional 55 lofts that will be for sale immediately, as Dickson will not use the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program for that project.

Dickson brought in local developer Rick Davis to convert the library building into office space.

Chaves, whose family trust retained ownership of the Manual Arts building, is currently developing it into a 10,000-sq.-ft. restaurant decorated with AHS memorabilia, approximately 15 apartments, and a renovated classroom where lectures will be given in Old AHS-style. He says that he has a special affinity to the Manual Arts building in particular.

“That’s where I got my very first ‘F,’ so I have a real close relationship with that building,” says Chaves. “I’m happy that I got one of the buildings. Nine out of my 10 siblings graduated from there. I have great memories of Albuquerque High School. It was the center of our lives growing up.”

Due to the success of the Lofts at Albuquerque High, Dickson, local business owners, and residents have formed a neighborhood association to begin a community design process for the area to be developed in the next 20 years (See plan). Along with a team of professionals, the group created a series of plans for the development of a quarter of a mile in all directions of the campus. They hope it will be accepted by the city and zoned accordingly.The plans call for new business, housing, retail, office, entertainment, and parking facilities in the area.

“This is an important step in sustaining our efforts,” said Dickson. “We’ve still got a lot to do to create a district where you park once and walk to everything.” BDC

Project Costs:

General conditions$278,683

Building demolition$94,186

Misc. demolition & cleanup$144,163


Framing & finish$409,367


Misc. metals, concrete patch$165,223

Carpentry repairs,

new trims$300,102

Roofing, ceiling insulation$99,725

Insulation, caulk,


Door repairs, entries, etc.$155,944

Windows trim, glass replace$454,803

Drywall ceilings,

plaster repair$125,399


Ceramic tile at tubs$32,868

Ceramic patch,

polish concrete$11,802

Wood floor repair, refinish$57,800

Floor coverings$96,980



Equipment, appliances$94,779



Furnishings, blinds$37,531



Change orders$38,307

City sales tax$273,375

Contractor’s fee$221,396


Merit Award


O, beautiful music, do not cease!

A seven-year renovation and restoration project brings the poetry back to the 146-year-old Philadelphia Academy of Music.

By Barbara Horwitz-Bennett, Contributing Editor

In the lobby of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the lights flicker as the crowd sets out to quickly find their seats. The auditorium lights dim and the curtain rises, giving view to a beautiful theater appearing practically unchanged, despite seven consecutive summers of renovation and restoration work.

For this 146-year-old historic landmark, known as the Grand Old Lady of Broad Street &m> not to mention the oldest continuously operating opera house in the country &m> this major, phased upgrade was no small endeavor, especially because the building team was limited to 120-day windows of time during the summer while the Philadelphia Orchestra, a former tenant of the academy, was on tour.

With contractor L.F. Driscoll Co., Bala Cynwyd, Pa., carefully coordinating the phased work, the project’s highlights included upgrading all M/E and structural systems, rebuilding the theater stage, reconstructing the roof while preserving a 103-year-old ceiling mural, and replacing the theater’s outdated sandbag rigging system used for scenery backdrops. The Building Team’s ability to complete this delicate work within strict time limitations earned these builders and designers meritorious distinction in Building Design & Construction’s 20th annual Reconstruction Awards.

Serious scheduling

According to L.F. Driscoll’s Vince D’Antonio, coordinating the renovation work to meet end-of-summer deadlines was a process of fitting puzzle pieces together.

Nan Gutterman, AIA, project manager for local architect the Vitetta Group, agrees: “We all spent a lot of time together trying to figure out how to make it work.”

The most recent example of this skillfully scheduled coordination occurred last summer when the team took on one of the most challenging phases of the project: raising the stage house roof by 10 feet to replace the old rope-and-handbag rigging system for scenery backdrops, which had severely restricted the number of shows the academy could host each season.

In order to achieve this, the team installed a temporary roof made of rubber and plywood, which was chosen based upon the materials’ ability to handle minor loads, according to structural engineer Dean Doukakis, P.E., Keast & Hood, Philadelphia.

Next, the original roof was taken down. “The temporary roof was surrounded with removable hatches which we worked through to install the steel and new roof structure,” says D’Antonio.

The only catch was that every time a hatch was opened, the auditorium was left vulnerable to the outside elements. “We all prayed for a dry summer,” recalls Gutterman.

Because the situation required the utmost vigilance, one of the Building Team member’s cellular phones was connected to the weather service so that the Doppler radar could be checked frequently. In the event of an approaching storm, the hatches, which each took four minutes to close, would immediately be shut.

Even though drizzle leaked in on one occasion, the team successfully protected the auditorium during this delicate phase of construction. “This was a great example of the criticality of our work,” says Hyman Myers, AIA, Vitetta’s chief restoration architect.

Although the new roof was completed in the summer of 2002, preparatory work really began a few summers earlier, as the team first had to reinforce the building foundation in order to support the new structure.

“The walls around the stage house had to be underpinned, so we dug three- to four-foot-wide segments under the wall and filled them in with concrete to create a new foundation,” says Doukakis.

With a new raised roof, the auditorium was provided with sufficient room for the installation of a modern, mechanized rigging system, which has enabled the academy to begin hosting Broadway shows &m> and their complex scenery requirements &m> in addition to increasing the number of performance that can be staged per season.

Digging for horseshoes

In another sensitive phase of the project, the team set out to create additional storage space under the stage for the orchestra pit, and in the process, had to dig up earth that hadn’t been excavated since the theater’s original construction in 1857.

“In the middle of this elegant theater with its chandelier and murals, we had to bring up earth, debris and demolition materials,” recalls D’Antonio. “And there were all kinds of restrictions about what parts of the theater we could touch and get dirty.”

Gutterman says crews uncovered the theater’s original front-of-the-house stage lights, in addition to horseshoes, presumably worn by horses used in the theater’s original construction.

Yet another historical aspect of the project was the restoration of the theater’s original lounge, known as the stage door canteen, where entertainers such as Abbott & Costello and Glenn Miller once performed for servicemen during World War II.

Project inspires teamwork

Due to the complex nature and length of the project, the Building Team’s working relationship was crucial to the project’s success.

When the Building Team was originally chosen and assembled back in the early ’90s, the professionals were carefully selected based upon skills and experience.

However, it appears to be a combination of those raw abilities and strong relationship skills that carried the team through the project.

“They finished every summer on schedule and on budget, and maintained the historic fabric of the building,” says George Shaeffer, P.E., the academy’s project director.

“People come to the Academy now and find it essentially unchanged,” says Vitetta’s Myers. “They can’t tell that major renovation was done, and to everyone in the audience, it just seems like the Academy of Music as beautiful as ever.”

Reject me not, sweet sounds! Oh, let me live,

Till Doom espy my towers and scatter them,

A city spell-bound under the aging sun.

Music my rampart, and my only one.

&m> Edna St. Vincent Millay


Heavy-duty construction

During the several-year phased restoration of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, one noted maneuver that took place at the end of the project involved moving a 45,000-pound, 12-ft.-deep truss into place to support the auditorium’s new stage house roof.

Fortunately, back in 1992, the Building Team, led by contractor L.F. Driscoll Co., Bala Cynwyd, Pa., had installed plate girders to reinforce the building’s roof because the facility’s wooden trusses were beginning to fail. Even though these beams, installed as a temporary measure, were quite an eyesore, they came in handy when it came time to lift the new structural member into place, points out Driscoll’s Vince D’Antonio.

“We were able to utilize these beams to hang the new steel truss and then we removed the old plate girders,” D’Antonio explains. BDC

Project Summary

Philadelphia Academy of Music

Philadelphia, Penn.

Building team


Philadelphia Academy of Music


L.F Driscoll Co.


The Vitetta Group

Structural engineer:

Keast & Hood

Mechanical/electrical engineer:


General Information


221,000 gross sq. ft.

Construction time:

May 1995 to October 2002

Construction cost:

$31 million

Grand Splendor

Renaissance hotel leads revitalization in downtown convention area

By Mindi Zissman, Products Editor

For years of St. Louis struggled to attract convention-goers to their 2.7 million sq. ft. downtown America’s Center, something even a 1991 building expansion didn’t help them achieve.

When the city issued a request for proposals in 1997 to build a large, convention headquarters hotel, New Orleans-based Historic Restoration Incorporated (HRI) proposed jump starting the whole neighborhood surrounding the center by first restoring an adjacent vacant hotel.

Six years later the former 20-story Statler-Gateway Hotel, first built in 1917 by New York architect George B. Post with St. Louis-based Mauran, Russell & Crowell, was renovated and an additional, adjoining tower was built. Operating under the Marriott Renaissance name, the new $265 million Renaissance Grand is now a two-tower hotel with over 900 hotel rooms, four restaurants and lounges, and almost 70,000 sq.-ft. of additional function space.

“The city had a great convention center on their hands and they didn’t have a great convention hotel,” said HRI vice president Tom Leonhard. “Convention-goers look at transportation sources, quality of hotels, and the convention center itself before choosing [where to go]. They had everything but the hotel package that would make them competitive, and now they do.”

Urban challenge

The existing hotel was built out to the curbs on three sides, while the fourth side, facing the new building, is shaped like a U. A new building was constructed adjoining the original as its mirror image, while the Statler’s exterior renovation was completed simultaneously. Alberici Constructors, the hotel’s contractor, completed over 80,000 sq. ft. of historic masonry tuck-pointing and restoration, a project SVP Pete Gass says was the most extensive exterior renovation in the contractor’s history.

“There was not a side to this project that we could have relaxed on,” said Gass. “Having to devise ways to provide access for workmen to the upper areas of the building and have them work safely was a real challenge.”

Interior makeover

In order to create accurate designs for the interior renovation, architect RTKL used five of Post’s original drawings they discovered at a St. Louis library, but since that wasn’t enough to verify the location of all the structural elements, selective demolition had to take place before the design phase of the project could be completed.

A survey team was hired to do hand-measuring using digital photogramatry. The photos graphed every building surface, including critical lengths and heights, and entered them into a computer program, which estimated the scale and dimensions of the structure for the architects.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so the shell could not be disturbed, but the entire interior was gutted.

According to architect Todd Lundgren, vice president of hospitality for RTKL, the old hotel floor was determined to be 12 ft. high, while today’s floor heights are typically 10 ft. This enabled the Building Team to run life-safety system lines horizontally throughout the building. In addition, the taller ceilings in the new structure are also 12 ft., to line up with the old building.

“It costs money in terms of needing to add ceilings that you wouldn’t normally have, but it made it easier because we had essentially two feet more of space to work with than usual,” Lundgren said.

When the Statler Hotel was built, it was typical to have small rooms without a private bath. Also, the exterior windows were designed to fit the original rooms, so the next challenge was laying out new rooms within existing spaces.

According to Gass, the only way to lay out the hotel was to have a window in the bathroom or an unusual amount of windows in each room.

“Each room is unique in terms of its layout. It creates a really interesting place to stay and to return to stay,” said Gass. “You could stay in this hotel once a week for a year before you run out of new room layouts to experience. People are requesting the old building rooms.”

The surprise investor

Due to the scale of this project, developer HRI was looking for an equity partner to help back empowerment zone bonds, in order to generate funds for the development. They approached global manufacturer Kimberly-Clark with the project.

Once Kimberly-Clark agreed to take on the project, the bonds had to be structured in a way that the public would want to buy them. Empowerment zone bonds, essentially public offering bonds in which the financial security is bound up in the hotel’s asset itself, are difficult to sell because they are secured only by an asset that hasn’t yet been built.

“Because we were the equity in the deal, that helped allow the bonds to be sold,” says Lynn Fournier, director of tax credit investments for Kimberly-Clark. “Our equity was just under $30 million. It was a good risk for us because once the project was built, the tax incentives on the project were substantial. We received $20 million in tax credits and direct write-offs; we ended up with net equity of $10 million and owning a hotel.”

As the largest project of this type for Kimberly-Clark to date, the Renaissance Grand is just one of 23 projects financed by the company since the founding of its wholly-Owned subsidiary, Housing Horizons LLC, in 1994. The corporation currently owns 85%of the Renaissance Grand, while HRI owns 15%.

“There aren’t a lot of substantial corporations taking this risk,” Fournier says. “We thought since we’ve been doing this for a while that we could take the risk.”

Currently, the global manufacturer of personal and health care products is involved in five other hotel and multifamily residential property ventures, including revitalizing the Detroit Cadillac Hotel, a $146 million, 700,000 sq.-ft. building that will also operate under the Marriott Renaissance flag.

“We view this project like we view Kimberly-Clark&m>we call ourselves the little big company,” says Fournier. “We are a big company, but we address ourselves by first names, we have a very intimate or homey feel to our company, and I feel that way about this hotel as well.”

The empowerment zone bonds themselves are designed to spur economic development and create new jobs in otherwise distressed areas of older cities like St. Louis. Terms of the financing require that the hotel commit to hiring 35% of its employees from within a specified 20-mile radius of the hotel, typically a lower-economic area. To date, the hotel has already hired 171 full-time employees from the St. Louis and East St. Louis empowerment zone.

“The biggest impact that the hotel had was that it made St. Louis more competitive in the convention business, and equally important is that it was the cornerstone development in creating a 24-hour downtown for St. Louis,” said Leonhard. “Without the investment the city made in this project, downtown St. Louis would have likely continued to struggle, as opposed to now its experiencing a renaissance.” BDC

General Project Costs:

Hotel renovation$56,103,105

Hotel addition$47,216,368

New ballroom

and conference center$25,446,162

New Parking structure$13,079,762

Total construction cost$141,845,397

Specific Breakdown:

General requirements$196,973

Site work$6,249,064




Woods & plastics$2,244,977


& moisture protection$1,961,356

Doors & windows$7,002,881





Conveying systems$5,689,376

Specialty construction$75,000


Electrical $14,456,212

Bonds, general conditions

And O&P$13,984,852

Permits, insurance

& environmental costs$3,430,968


Design fees$8,955,382

Total $141,845,397


The Truman Library renovation improves circulation and sight lines

By Gordon Wright, Executive Editor

A renovation project doesn’t necessarily result in a conspicuous change of appearance. A case in point is the renovation of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., on which BD&C’s Reconstruction Project Awards judges bestowed a Merit Award.

Although the project increased the size of the 46-year-old facility by only 4,365 sq. ft., it has improved circulation for visitors and enabled the library/museum to expand its community outreach capabilities. New construction represented 15% of the project’s $10.5 million hard construction cost.

Approaching the main entrance, it is hard to detect a difference in appearance. “We intentionally did not try to change the look of the historic façade,” says Dennis Strait, design principal with the project’s architect, Kansas City, Mo.-based Gould Evans Goodman Associates. Stonework was restored, or replaced if necessary. A new ramp tucked behind landscaped walls provides an accessible alternative to the entrance stairway without a noticeable impact on the building’s character.

The lobby also has a familiar look, with Thomas Hart Benton’s mural Independence and the Opening of the West surmounting and extending to either side of a doorway. However, lighting, casework, millwork, and finishes have been upgraded.

Backtracking banished

Renovation benefits start to become apparent as visitors reach the Presidential Gallery. By providing a direct connection to the lobby, a new corridor eliminates the tyranny of walking through a sequence of spaces and having no alternative but to return via the same route.

In the Presidential Gallery, visitors follow a continuous pattern, returning through new space. “This allows visitors to flow as they would in a contemporary gallery, without backtracking,” Strait adds.

Two areas of equal size &m> 1,350-sq.-ft. &m> are the largest additions resulting from the renovation. The Legacy Gallery is on the first floor, and the Press Room for the library’s White House Decision Center educational program is directly beneath it on the lower level. The remaining additions were a 540-sq.-ft. corridor connecting the Legacy Gallery to the East Wing; a 900-sq.-ft. expansion of pre-function area adjacent to the East Wing conference rooms; and a 225-sq.-ft. stair tower addition to increase egress capacity.

The new Legacy Gallery, located in a triangular addition that extends slightly into the courtyard, gives visitors a place to relax and to contemplate on what they have learned about Truman era history. Six wall-mounted, etched glass panels highlight accomplishments and legacies of the 33rd U.S. president. A life-size bronze statue of Truman faces a window that provides views of a relocated Eternal Flame and the gravesites.

Visitors now have direct views from the Legacy Gallery into the courtyard, which contains the graves of Truman and his wife, Bess.“Previously, you could find your way to the courtyard if you followed the signs, but you wouldn’t see the courtyard until you actually reached the glass doors that lead to it,” Strait says. “Within the building there’s now a major space with a major view of the courtyard.”

The gift shop was enlarged from 400 sq. ft. to 900 sq. ft. through the appropriation of former corridor space. This modification required installation of a security grille and custom merchandise casework that can be moved or locked to allow access to the building when the gift shop is closed.

New seating, carpeting, and wall treatments were provided for the auditorium.

The new Press Room provides a venue for the White House Decision Center program, an example of the library’s renewed emphasis on community outreach. Groups of up to 64 middle school or high school students gather to elect a president and appoint members of the President’s Cabinet. They view exhibits in the Presidential Gallery to learn about the historic events that occurred during Truman’s presidency &m> which included the end of World War II against Germany, the signing of the United Nations charter, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan, and the end of the war in the Pacific. The students develop recommendations for presidential action, and conclude their visit by conducting a press conference to explain the rationale behind them.

Part of the two-story original gallery was infilled to create a new orientation theater where an introductory film traces Truman’s life from boyhood days on the farm days to his swearing-in as President. Restored Chrysler limousines used by Truman will be among items on display in a gallery space being completed.

A number of project elements involved normal replacement items. For example, HVAC work, at $1.9 million, was the largest single item.

“The building was at a point [in its life] where it needed rejuvenation,” Strait observes. Coincidentally, library officials decided to make it a more vibrant learning center that would be regarded as more than just a documents repository.

Renovation boosts attendance

The library opened in 1957. Attendance has increased about 20% since the renovation was completed in January 2002. About 120,000 visited Truman Library in the past year.

Gould Evans Goodman’s work that led to its eventual commission for the Truman Library renovation began in the early 1990s, when the firm received a contract from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to evaluate needed repairs at Truman and other presidential libraries.

Walton Construction of Kansas City was general contractor for the project, which received $8 million of federal funds. More than $15 million of private funds underwrote the cost of exhibits.

GSA project manager Ann Marie Sweet-Abshire says the project has given the Truman Library a livelier atmosphere and made it able to play a more interactive role with the public.

Abshire, who has been involved with renovations of three other presidential libraries, says the age of a facility and the initiatives taken by the library itself are two of the primary factors considered in deciding the priority for renovation. The number of presidential libraries will increase to 12 next year when the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Ark., is completed.

Passenger upgrade

Kansas City Amtrak riders get a new amenity

When Kansas City’s classic Union Station opened in 1914, it was the second largest in the U.S., exceeded in size only by New York’s Grand Central Terminal. But as riders abandoned trains in favor of other transportation modes, passenger amenities went into a downward spiral.

Even before the station closed in 1983, passenger services were downsized and moved inside a large inflatable structure within the terminal, with the aim of reducing heating and air-conditioning costs. Train riders were exposed to further indignity when passenger operations were relocated to a nondescript small structure, called“Amshack,” on the station property.

Train riders have now regained a measure of their lost amenities with a more permanent building located on terminal property. The jury cited the project for special mention.

The Amtrak Arcade project brought together architect BNIM Architects, structural engineer TransSystems, and the Special Projects Division of Turner Construction Co. In nine months, and at a construction cost of $3.3 million, the team executed a highly organized plan. “I’ve never worked on a project that had more of a team effort,” says Devan Case, project architect with BNIM. Paul Neidlein, senior project manager with Turner, said the team had to coordinate the scheduling of work so it would not interfere with railroad operations.

The new 5,000-sq.-ft. facility utilizes the historic terminal’s entranceways to track-level platforms. A new enclosed walkway attached to the side of the terminal takes passengers to and from the track level.

The primary impetus for the new station was the terminal’s conversion to Science City, a “recreational learning” museum that enables visitors to explore scientific subjects, with a local emphasis. (Oct. 2000).

The Building Team even had to overcome a 30% cut in the original budget that resulted in a revision in the types and amounts of materials specified, including the use of perforated panels.


A New York City courthouse with a dark past gets a bright future

thanks to this Building Team’s innovative restoration effort

By Dave Barista, Associate Editor

At the time of its construction in the mid-19th century, Tweed Courthouse was at the center of political corruption in New York City.

The project’s lead city official, local politician William “Boss” Tweed, was the elected leader of Tammany Hall, a corrupt political club that slowly took control of the local Democratic Party, and, in turn, seized control of the city government. The organization had a history of profiting from city business by taking bribes, giving city contracts to members, and stealing funds from the city treasury. Tweed took Tammany’s corruption to a new level during construction of the courthouse, which would become his final and most controversial heist.

Tweed purposely inflated construction costs to a then-astonishing $13 million &m> nearly twice as much as the purchase of Alaska in 1867 &m> and received hefty kickbacks from contractors. The cronyism was blatant &m> a carpenter was paid $360,000 for one month’s labor in a building with little woodwork; a furniture contractor received $179,000 for three tables and 40 chairs.

Tweed also purchased the stone masonry from a quarry owned by one of his close associates. He even profited from a city investigation into why it took so long to build the courthouse &m> Tweed’s printing company printed the committee’s report.

Tweed’s chicanery eventually led to his arrest in 1871. He was convicted and died penniless in prison. It would be another decade before the building would be completed.

While the lore of Boss Tweed’s dirty deeds has faded through the years, the courthouse that helped to end his corrupt political reign still stands magnificently next to City Hall in lower Manhattan, thanks to a $107.8 million restoration effort.

The four-year project involved restoring the building’s interior and exterior historic features, bringing the building up to modern code standards, and converting the facility into offices for the city’s Department of Education. The Building Team’s innovative solutions to challenges and careful attention to detail earned it a Grand Award in Building Design & Construction’s 20th Annual Reconstruction Awards.

Designed by two of New York’s most prominent architects of the 19th century, John Kellum and Leopold Eidlitz, the five-story, 177,700-sq.-ft. building features a full-height central rotunda with two projecting wings that house 30 courtrooms.

The building was threatened with destruction several times between 1903 and 1974, when it received historic landmark designation from the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission.

“It’s unusual to have both the interior and exterior designated as landmarks,” says Jack Waite, principal of architect John G. Waite Associates, Architects. The Building Team had to work closely with the landmarks commission to ensure the building’s historic integrity was not undone.

Performance-based compliance

Most crucial was bringing interior spaces up to modern code, especially with regard to HVAC and fire- and life-safety systems.

“It was readily apparent that if we applied the city building code to that building, we would really cause major damage to its historic integrity,” says Waite. “So the city agreed to work with us to develop a performance-based code compliance.”

M/E engineer ARUP worked with city building officials and the fire marshal to devise a performance-based design for fire protection. Under the existing building code, the central rotunda would have had to be completely closed off from the offices. Instead, ARUP used the rotunda as a smoke reservoir. In case of fire, four computer-driven fans installed near the rotunda skylight would pull smoke out of the offices and corridors into the rotunda, then vent it out of the building.

“By considering realistic fire hazards, occupant behavior characteristics, and the inherent fire-protection features of the courthouse, we were able to limit the use of architecturally intrusive active fire-protection systems without compromising life-safety,” says Imtiaz Mulla, project manager formerly with ARUP (now with Meinhardt USA).

For instance, he says the smoke reservoir concept eliminated the need for sprinklers in the rotunda. And by using the grand stairway in the rotunda for egress, they were able to justify installing only two fire stairs, instead of the four required by the code.

As for the HVAC system, ARUP utilized more than 200 existing masonry ventilation shafts to run flexible ducts for a forced air-distribution system. The firm conducted air-speed and temperature-gradient studies using computational fluid dynamics analyses, which showed that conditions could be maintained with high-level supply and low-level return using historic grilles and constant airflow, says Mulla.

This approach not only reduced costs, but also protected the historic integrity of the interior spaces, says Waite. “To install ducts throughout the building would have required suspended ceilings covering the existing ornamental vaulted ceilings,” he says.

All air-handling equipment was installed in the basement and attic spaces, previously used for furniture storage.

In the office spaces (once the courtrooms), the Building Team specified a 23/4-in. raised-floor system for distribution of electric and communications cable.

Stone restoration

Years of exposure to the harsh weather and lack of maintenance took a toll on the stone façade.

Most badly damaged were massive marble cornice moldings that extend four feet out at roof level from the top of the building’s 900-ft. running perimeter. Portions of the double-layered cornice had deteriorated so badly that parts of the property had to be fenced off and temporary shoring towers erected.

Instead of repairing the individual cornice stones, the Building Team decided to cut off the entire cornice &m> 2.5 million pounds worth of stone &m> and replace it with new Cherokee marble, quarried in Tate, Ga.

Structural engineer Robert Sillman Associates, New York, employed a novel technique for supporting the replacement marble cornice. They inserted 1,800 six-foot-long stainless-steel threaded anchor screws five feet into pre-drilled holes in the building’s existing back-up stone and grouted in. Each cornice piece &m> weighing about 3,500 pounds &m> is supported by five anchor screws.

Although the steel anchoring system may have been a rather high-tech method for supporting the cornice pieces, it was actually less complicated than more traditional techniques. “Originally, we were going to take away all that mass and pour concrete in its place, which would have been a more complex system structurally,” says Waite.

The new cornice pieces were laser cut from blocks and hauled from Georgia in 45,000-pound shipments. In all, four million pounds of new stone was required to replace the cornice and fix other damaged façade elements, such as the projecting windowsills and heads.

Replacement elements were hand cut from the old cornice stones, as well as from 125 untouched blocks that were found at the original quarry in Sheffield, Mass., which also supplied stones for the Washington Monument.

“Literally, the day the Tweed Ring was exposed, the government cancelled the contract with the quarry for the Washington Monument,” Waite says. “So there were all these stones that were half out of the ground that had been cut for the monument. The workman must have just dropped their tools and left them.”

Other special details, including missing ornate stone leafs that once adorned the capitals of the building’s columns, were hand-carved on site. “These leafs started to fall off sometime in the 1940s, so the city maintenance people went up there and chipped them all away,” says Waite. Craftsmen hand carved new leaves on site and pinned and glued them in place.

The grand entrance stairway on the north side of the building, which had been removed in 1944 for the widening of Chambers Street, was rebuilt with the addition of 17 new Vermont granite steps.

Final price tag for the stonework was $16 million, making it one of the largest stone façade restoration jobs in the U.S. at the time, says Waite.

Re-creating a cast-iron roof

The courthouse’s original tin-coated, corrugated cast-iron roof had rusted away years ago. That left the team with nothing but scrap pieces of the original roof from which to work. They re-created the roof with a two-part system &m> 22-gauge tin-coated stainless-steel corrugated panels over an EPDM system &m> installed on the existing iron trusses, which were found to be structurally sound.

Because it was determined that the roof could not be worked on in sections, a temporary roof spanning 75,000 sq. ft. had to be erected. The roof was supported by a custom, four-pole scaffolding system design by Atlantic Scaffold, Maspeth, N.Y. It completely covered the building and the scaffolding that surrounded the perimeter, guarding the stone façade work from the weather. Moreover, the scaffolding was engineered to support the weight of the replacement stones, which average about 3,500 pounds.

“To be able to accomplish what we did for the amount of money and time we had allocated was very satisfying,” says Melvin A. Glickman, executive VP with owner’s representative New York City Economic Development Corporation. “It was job where everybody was proud to work on the project. I tell everybody that I would have worked on this job for no salary at all.”

Project Summary

Tweed Courthouse

New York, N.Y.

Building Team

Owner: City of New York

Architect and interior architect: John G. Waite Associates, Architects

Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates

Mechanical/electrical engineer: ARUP

Construction manager: Bovis Lend Lease

General Information

Area: 177,500 gross sq. ft.

Number of floors: 5

Construction time:February 1999 to February 2003

Construction costs: $107.8 million

Project Suppliers

Exterior stone: Georgia Marble Co.

Lighting: Spring City Manufacturing Co.; Chelsea Lighting

Ornamental metal: Allen Architectural Metals; Melto Metal Products

Skylights: Super Sky Products

Elevators: Millar Elevator Industries

Door hardware: E.R. Butler

Floor tile: H & R Johnson Tiles Ltd.; Port Morris Tile & Marble

Furniture: Herman Miller


The massive Montgomery Wards warehouse, where the mail-order catalog business was spawned, is retooled for the Information Age

By Gordon Wright, Executive Editor

A mammoth, nearly century-old industrial building on the banks of the Chicago River has been turned into a center for high-tech firms and residential condominiums. This metamorphosis, in a neighborhood that until a few years ago was shunned by developers, has been recognized with a Grand Award in BD&C’s 20th Annual Reconstruction & Renovation Awards competition.

The Montgomery Ward & Co. catalog warehouse, constructed in 1908, has been recast as a mixed-use development. Its south portion, which was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1978, is called e-port. It houses high-tech and other commercial tenants.

The north section, which lacks landmark status, consists of additions made in 1917, 1940, and the 1970s. Its 298 apartments, priced from $262,000 to $690,000, comprise a residential development called Domain.

The west façade of the building, which follows a bend in the river, is nearly 1,100 feet long. In its heyday, the ground-level shipping platform could accommodate 24 railroad freight cars. The company remained exclusively a mail order business until 1926, when it opened its department first store, in Indiana.

At the time of its construction, the building was the world’s largest reinforced concrete structure. It is also a good example of the Chicago school of industrial architecture.

New dimensions in measurement

A critical first step for both the owners and the design team was to quickly document the building in CAD &m> primarily to establish the building’s square footage, according to Grant Uhlir, project principal for Gensler, the architect for e-port. Sizing up the 150,000-sq-ft. floor plates required more than a notepad and tape measure.A four-to-six man crew moved through the building on roller blades using lasers to shoot dimensions and downloading the data into laptop computers strapped to their waists. The information was converted into CAD drawings at the Gensler office. “Within less than eight weeks, we had an electronic 3-D representation of the building,” says Uhlir, who estimates that a conventional survey might have taken six months to complete.

“It was a major challenge to quickly get our arms around this 1.5 million-sq.-ft. building and develop a cohesive master plan that could be implemented over a number of years, and also be adaptable to a changing market conditions,” Uhlir adds.

Exterior restoration was high on the list of project priorities, requiring close coordination with city and state preservation officials. Original brick was exposed by removing 120,000 sq. ft. of nearly inch-thick paint.Because sandblasting the brick was prohibited, a chemical cleaner was used. Terra cotta ornamentation was also restored. All original 1906 single-pane windows were replaced with replicas that matched their four-section pattern.New elements, such as entrances, canopies, and exterior signage, were required to be distinctly different from original features.

On the interior, brick firewalls used to define tenant space played into the loft architecture the designer wanted to create, Uhlir says. They were sandblasted and left exposed.

An eight-story circular atrium that highlights e-port’s main lobby incorporates a five-story media wall with 12 plasma screens that deliver images from television and other graphics, including weather reports, train schedule information, and websites of building tenants. Walls adjacent to the elevator lobby are lined with sheets of translucent plastic that are backlit with LEDs, allowing color shifts that create a high-tech effect. Old electrical apparatus removed from the building and displayed on an adjacent wall pays homage to an earlier, less complex era. Large tenant spaces were oriented around this core, which houses elevators, stairways, and toilet facilities.

Tony Andrus, project manager for e-port’s Chicago-based structural engineer, Klein and Hoffman, notes that the lower floors are designed for loads five times greater than design loads for a typical office. He says the structure was in good overall condition, and its rebar was equivalent in strength to current reinforcing. “We thought something built before World War I would have fairly mild steel, but they had used very strong steel, which surprised us,” he says.

Round columns found in newer sections of the warehouse reflect an improvement in technology compared to the octagonal columns used in the original section. Octagonal columns were used in conjunction with column-to-column beams. By the 1940s, however, bay spaces were slightly larger, beams had been eliminated, and flat plate, two-way concrete slabs were used.

Telecom tenants were originally programmed to occupy about 40% of e-port, on floors two through four, with more typical office space on floors five through eight. The collapse of the dotcom bubble dictated a change of plans. Telecom firms often provide their own HVAC equipment to meet specialized requirements, says Morris Toporek, project manager with mechanical/electrical engineer Environmental Systems Design, Chicago. As a greater proportion of conventional office tenants moved in, they were accommodated with more centralized systems. Nevertheless, the building is technologically robust, a “tremendous infrastructure looking for users,” says Toporek.

Tenants currently occupy 650,000 sq. ft. of e-port’s office and retail space, with 700,000 sq. ft. remaining available. Retail tenants include a Japanese restaurant, a grocery, a convenience store, and a dry cleaner. Maintaining a relationship to the city street grid, storefronts are located in punched openings at approximately one-block intervals.

Individual elements of the overall e-port project were fast-tracked, and contract administration was complicated by the number of entities involved, according to James Sikich, VP of W.E. O’Neal Construction Co., the project’s construction manager, which also acted as general contractor for portions of the work.

Triggering a turnaround

In December 2000, 16 months after emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Wards went out of business. Chicago-based Centrum Properties purchased the 31-acre Wards property, paying $92 million for the catalog house and two other buildings. New York City-based Taconic Investment Partners signed on as developer of e-port.Angelo, Gordon & Co. is an equity partner.

The catalog house is just one element of the massive redevelopment taking place in Chicago’s hip-hoppin’ River North district, which a few years ago was “the kind of neighborhood where you rolled up your windows, locked your doors, and got through it as quickly as possible,” says John McLinden, a partner with Centrum. Across the street are the eight-story, 1929 administration building, which is being converted to 241 residential apartments, and the 27-story former headquarters, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and completed in 1972. McLinden projects that the buildout of all the projects on the Wards property will represent an investment of about $1 billion. The blocks adjoining these key buildings are exploding with new and renovated low-, mid-, and high-rise residential buildings.

E-port was planned with the expectation that the telecom industry would deliver a stronger and more sustained performance. “Unfortunately, the market moved on us,” says Jeff Sussman, a principal with Taconic. If they were to develop a similar project in the current environment, “we’d be more cognizant of the shallowness of the telecom market, and focus more on office tenants,” he adds.

The City of Chicago is expected to provide$32 million of tax-increment financing for infrastructure improvements, including construction of a riverwalk alongside the building.

Local firm Pappageorge Haymes, Ltd., served as architect for the Domain residential portion of the project, with Thornton-Tomasetti Group, New York, N.Y., as structural engineer.

Construction costs






Demolition, plumbing,

windows, elevators, etc.54,200,000


Project Summary


Chicago. Ill.

Building Team

Owner: Taconic Investment Partners

Architect and interior architect: Gensler

Structural engineer: Klein and Hoffman

Mechanical/electrical engineer: Environmental Systems Design

General contractor: W.E. O’Neil

General information

Area: 1.2 million gross sq. ft.

Number of floors: 8

Construction time: December 1999 to December 2001

Delivery method: Competitive bid

Project suppliers

Curtain wall: US Aluminum

Windows: Graham

Doors: US Aluminum, International Steel, Nano Door Systems

Exterior glazing: PPG, Cardinal

Exterior architectural coating: Soneborne, Edison

Lobby glazing: Polygal

Wall insulation: Owens Corning

Elevators and escalators: Schindler

Ceilings: USG

Door hardware: Raco, Steelcraft, Schlage

Plumbing fixtures: Kohler, Bradley, Toto

Energy management: Andover

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