As steel rises, design team eyes interior scheme

Union Pacific Center Omaha, Neb.

August 01, 2002 |

While general contractor Holder Construction Corp., Atlanta, and its local partner Hawkins Construction Co., Omaha, lead the erection of the structural steel frame, design architect Gensler and architect of record Kendall/Heaton Associates, Houston, have begun interior schematic design of the 19-story, 1.1 million-sq.-ft. headquarters for Union Pacific Corp. in downtown Omaha, Neb.

"We waited two years to begin the interior design in order to minimize the impact from organizational changes within Union Pacific," says Bill Hartman, Gensler's project principal.

Hartman says the design process involves, among other things, defining the finishes, office layouts and furniture systems. He expects the construction documents for the interior to be complete by spring 2003. "The contractor can then start build out from the lower floors upward, and turn the building over to the occupants during a 12-month phased occupancy plan," adds Hartman.

Conference rooms also a safe haven

One unique interior design element, says Hartman, is conference rooms on every floor that will double as a protective area in the event of a tornado or windstorm. The rooms face the building's glass atrium, adjacent to the elevator core. The interior walls, made of drywall over metal studs, will be reinforced with either sheet metal or plywood to meet local wind impact requirements. And the glass wall will be shielded by automated steel shutter systems.

"The shutter systems are similar to ones that enclose storefronts," says Hartman. "They will roll down from above the ceiling to protect occupants from broken glass in the event of a storm."

Steel frame reaches third floor Meanwhile, structural steel work, which is being performed by subcontractor Davis Erection Co., Omaha, has reached the third floor. Fabricated by Paxton & Vierling Steel, Omaha, the steel components are lifted into place using two cranes. The work, which commenced June 3, is expected to be complete by January 2003.

"They expect to erect about a story a week," says Hartman. "The curtain wall will start arriving in September and will be installed as the steel frame erection continues, a few floors below."

Supplied by Viracon, Owatonna, Minn., the curtain wall will feature low-e, tinted glass and an aluminum frame.

At press time, the Holder/Hawkins team began to pour the concrete floor slab over metal decking for the first elevated level.

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