The new office building at 1200 Intrepid Ave., in the Philadelphia Navy Yard Corporate Center is a sight to behold, described by some as gravity defying in that parts of the structure are designed to replicate the shape of a ship's hull, narrow at the bottom and wide at the top.
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Location: Vestal, N.Y.
Type of Precast: Architectural precast concrete including CarbonCast® Insulated Wall Panels
Size: 343,782 gross square feet (163,563 square feet of architectural precast concrete)
Architect: Burt Hill (Stantec)
Engineer: David Chou & Associates, Blue Bell, Pa.
General Contractor: LeChase Construction Services, LLC
Owner’s Representative: Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
Owner: Binghamton University
Horizontal Precast with the Right Look Minimizes Structure for Residence Halls
Following an extensive assessment by Burt Hill of its Newing College residential community, Binghamton University in Vestal, New York, elected to build four new residence halls with architectural precast concrete envelopes. The work resulted from Binghamton’s capital plan, which called for an aggressive schedule to meet occupancy and revenue targets. Architectural precast provided the speed of construction needed to build 461,446 gross square feet of residence hall within three years.
The precast concrete envelope was chosen over a range of other systems including cast in place concrete, steel with hand-laid brick cavity wall, light gauge metal, and plank on grout-filled masonry. The design team had determined that precast concrete provided the right blend of speed, structural sheer capacity, and versatile interior space. According to Burt Hill project manager Christopher Miller, "Architectural precast allowed a more flexible footprint, minimized structure, and was constructable during cold weather so we could meet an aggressive timeline."
One residential building (Phase 1) had been completed prior to the start of the fall semester in 2009. Rising costs and budget concerns during Phase 1 had caused the design team to consider an alternative system or supplier. However, with schedule as the deciding factor, and material costs declining as a result of the slowing economy, the project team stayed with its preferred architectural precast solution and awarded High Concrete Group LLC the contract to build the remaining three residence halls.
The seven-story residence halls are closely placed on the steep Newing College site, which made the scale of the façades a design priority. The design team wanted to use brick for its traditional, residential feel and ability to help reduce the scale of the three-wing buildings. A thin brick veneer provided the right look, and the team was happy with the speed of application. To keep the residence halls approachable and not overwhelming, the design team chose a main field of red brick with bands of dark brown accent bricks. Buff-color brick on the top floor further reduces scale. The custom-color precast is similar to the buff bricks and provides a solid base to the building hierarchy.
Fire-proof steel provides the primary building structure, with cast in place concrete supporting the architectural precast panels. High Concrete Group supplied horizontal load-bearing architectural precast panels that span column-to-column, providing the sheer resistance and minimizing the need for interior cross bracing and thus savings in structure. "We believe the design is the most efficient use of materials that we could achieve from a structural standpoint. Load-bearing masonry and CIP concrete would have required more material," says Miller.
The energy-efficient walls are furred with 3-5/8" studs over 2-1/2" semi-rigid mineral wool insulation. Including R-13 batt insulation and gypsum board, the assembly delivers a composite R-25. The construction meets the college’s requirement for warm, tackable surfaces. Freestanding CarbonCast insulated wall panels complete the stair towers, with a durable, painted steel trowel finish inside. With a three-inch thickness of XPS insulation sandwiched between the two concrete wythes, the stair well panels have an assembly R-16. Hip roofs at the stair towers and gables along the sides further help with the scale and give a relatable feel.
The Newing College residence halls are registered for LEED Gold Certification.