April 26 2021
Five Technically Challenging Projects at Entuitive
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In honour of Entuitive’s 10th birthday this year, we’ve compiled a list of some of our most technically challenging projects to celebrate, which we’ll be featuring in a series extending throughout the year.
Entuitive’s Commitment to Technical Excellence is centered on our One Company culture. Ensuring that all our team members have access to the same knowledge, expertise, and resources ensures we consistently deliver the highest quality projects for our clients across all our offices.
Read about our commitment here.
“We’ve developed a formal process through the use of design aids, state of the art software, and design practices that ensures that no document leaves our office unless it has been subjected to a rigorous quality control process,” says Agha Hasan, Principal. “Together with our multidisciplinary suite of services, we offer a holistic approach to engineering.”
Our commitment to these processes enables us to deliver the highest quality projects, create economical designs, and reduce construction costs for our clients.
Keep reading to celebrate these projects from our first 10 years with us and learn about how we solved their respective technical challenges.
1. 550 Washington, Google Headquarters, New York
550 Washington Street was constructed in the 1930s as St. John’s Rail Terminal, the depot for the rail tracks that are today’s High Line. The building’s redevelopment will create a new, high-performance health and wellness commercial office building described as a workplace of the future. The 1.3 million ft² building will include commercial, retail, and event space, including an auditorium and conference center. A new nine-level addition will be constructed on top of a renovated existing three-story podium structure, for a total of 12 stories plus a penthouse plant and service space.
The structure is a first-of-its-kind application of precast segmental bridge technology to vertical core construction in buildings. A technically unique aspect of this project are the precast, prestressed cores that we developed.
Although the existing building was robust for gravity loads, most low-rise buildings from this era were not designed explicitly for wind or seismic loads. Lateral resistance was provided by limited moment-frame action of the steel framing and non-structural finishes, such as partition walls and exterior cladding.
In order to bring the new, taller building in compliance with the current New York City Building Code, and to meet Oxford Properties Group’s need for reduced on-site construction time, we developed two precast, prestressed concrete core systems. By doing so, we reduced the structural construction schedule by two months.
Our work on Google’s new corporate headquarters in New York was recently featured in Engineering News Record together with all project collaborators.
To learn more about the interesting challenges and solutions on this project, view our dynamic content experience here. You can also reach out to Barry Charnish, Dave Douglas, Agha Hasan, Tanya Luthi, or David Stevenson.
2. Residential/Hotel Development, Northwest London
This project involves the design and construction of a new hotel or residential development on Finchley Road in London, UK. The scheme is at pre-planning and the client has yet to decide which option he wishes to progress. The building will be four to five storeys in height, supported on a first-floor transfer structure.
The site is heavily constrained by a London Underground tunnel and Thames Water sewer running across the front of the site, a retaining wall to the sides, and likely party wall constraints. As such, a cantilever transfer structure was required to the front of the building in order to avoid surcharging the third-party assets and to support the upper floors.
An original scheme had been developed adopting reinforced concrete walls that cantilevered from a piled raft over the tunnel structure. This solution created a very closed off layout at ground floor level and was not conducive to hotel operations.
Entuitive was brought in to advise on structural options that could open up the ground floor area and make it suitable for a hotel reception and bar area. By positioning the stair and lifts more centrally we were able to develop a system of steel-braced frames around the core that created an open internal space while keeping anticipated deflections within limits.
This was an iterative process that aimed to maximize column centres but also limit the deflections of the transfer structure. We utilized skills within our heavy structures and construction engineering teams to develop a steel-frame solution that is both highly efficient and more easily constructed on site than the original reinforced concrete solution.
To learn more about this project, reach out to Mark Goddard.
3. Eglinton Crosstown LRT – Cedarvale Station, Toronto
Cedarvale Station is one of 15 new underground stations that compose the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit project in Toronto. It is currently under construction and will serve both as an LRT station and also as an interchange station.
Entuitive is providing Structural Engineering Services on this project. Our design scope includes the below-grade LRT station, pedestrian and ventilation tunnels, surface structures for entrances, substations, and ventilation equipment. Our office also designed the temporary underpinning structural framings to support the existing TTC structures during construction stages. Because the LRT station is roughly eight stories below the existing subway, the station required complex underpinning so that it would be strong enough to withstand the excavation beneath it. We worked closely with the contractor to achieve this underpinning and stay within the given deflection limit.
4. Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Head Office, Edmonton
This multi-volume, four-storey modular structure is an outstanding result of unconventional design and new methodology in project delivery. It was an effort to foster several significant goals, from interpersonal creative collaboration to environmental sustainability. The building uses a number of green materials and mechanical systems, including solar power, to reduce its carbon footprint and operating costs.
The primary technical challenge of this project was its irregular, asymmetrical, open-concept architectural design, which required a creative structural system. Long-span, free-column spaces, vibration control, atrium area, and the building envelope system were additional challenges for our structural team.
With a great understanding of the design intent and close collaboration with the project team, we developed a regular, simple, and efficient structural framing system. We simplified and modularized the structural system to allow significant efficiencies in the use of spaces and offsite fabrication of the building components. This allowed for speed of fabrication and erection of the superstructure, while addressing the complexity of lateral force-resisting design and the required robustness against vibration.
Another significant aspect of this project was the high level of collaboration within the design-build team during design and construction. Advanced technology, such as unified BIM 360 and virtual design construction (VDC), were used for real-time collaboration between consultant and construction teams.
5. Bloom, UK
This project was a kinetic/digital art installation made for the new Medicine Gallery at the Science Museum in London, UK. Bloom is meant to represent the way a virus moves and is transmitted through the air. It comes to life as a series of lights and propellers that are controlled by software and get turned on and off in a series of patterns. As the propellers move, the light changes colour to indicate various stages of infection or health.
Entuitive was brought in as the Structural Engineer on this beautiful piece to solve the technical challenge of bringing it to life. We were responsible for designing the tubes that host the lights and propellers, as well as how the tubes connect and the stainless-steel wires that affix the structure to the ceiling. When it came to connecting the tubes to the wires and the wires to the ceiling, vibration was a critical consideration.
We also had to be careful when considering the placement of the cable wires. The weight distribution of the structure is uneven as some parts are naturally heavier, so hanging the cables was important to ensure the structure didn’t tip or lean in any one direction. To design the cables, we played with different arrangements in the analysis software. It was very important for all that the proposed eye-bolt fixings into the existing structure did not distract from the piece. We developed a crimped cable connection around an aluminium sleeve threaded through the eyebolt before crimping.
Stay tuned for more technically challenging projects in the coming months as we continue to celebrate Entuitive’s 10th birthday.