Architectural Precast Panels
The transformation of the former Alberta Boot Company site on Tenth Avenue SW has been in the works for nearly three years in the City of Calgary’s Beltline district.
New additions to the City’s sight lines, the mixed-use project combines a thirty-three-storey, three-hundred-and-ninety-room Residence Inn by Marriott tower and a three-hundred-and-five-unit residential tower.
Using precast concrete to enclose the joint five-storey parking structure and ten-thousand square foot podium-level conference centre, the wall design features a random, and completely customized stone pattern. And while it appears effortless to the average pedestrian, the seamless appearance from panel-to-panel took tireless work on the part of the AP Infrastructure Solutions LP design team.
From the beginning, the IBI Group had a very specific vision in mind. Tasked with achieving a deliberately random pattern, the in-house team at AP Infrastructure Solutions LP worked with KDA and associates to design and detail the project right down to connection details, unit fabrication shop drawings, layouts, elevation drawings, and all the site embedded materials.
This 3-D modeling for the panels was completed so that the customer would know exactly what they were getting, and was a huge help in the coordination of all interfacing across trades, such as the curtain wall, window wall, canopies, electrical, mechanical, and most importantly, narrowing in on the random form liner pattern concept for the architect.
“This process involved multiple mark-up’s and test samples for the architect in order to achieve the desired colour and pattern,” explained Jonathan Williams, Director of Development for GWL Realty Advisors Inc.
“If it wasn’t for AP Infrastructure Solutions LP’s flexibility and ability to customize solutions for their client, we would not have been able to achieve the architectural concept as you see it today. We really appreciated how the team went above and beyond. They exceeded our expectations.”
Beyond the aesthetic profile on the face of the panels, there is a fully insulated wall panel beneath the surface providing all the elements of a wall assembly in one pre-manufactured building component.
“From my perspective, this project certainly proved precast as a viable building envelope,” says Paul Wright, Project Manager for Axiom Builders. “The AP Infrastructure Solutions LP contribution was invaluable. The collaboration between the design and engineering was paramount to fulfill the specific architectural elements and create a uniquely one-of-a-kind design for the architect. Even down to the collaboration between our formwork contractor to the coordination of the overnight installation of the panels to avoid disruption of the daily construction schedule.”
As Wright mentions, collaboration was certainly a critical element right across this project, and Axiom recognized the importance of working closely together with the AP Infrastructure Solutions LP installation team in order to overcome the site access and crane carrying weight capacity limitations.
The site challenges were a result of the north side of the site.
“The entire north side of the project could not be reached easily due to the active rail lines,” explained Jeff Beaudry, Project Manager at AP Infrastructure Solutions LP. “And to add to the complexity of the install, there was also a cantilevered slab from floors directly overhead of where the precast panels were to be installed.”
AP Infrastructure Solutions LP’s installation crew and Axiom’s site personnel designed a combined solution together that would rig the panels from the delivery trailers on the south side of the tower and lift onto a custom made transportation cart on the north side. The cart was positioned directly under the cantilevered slab, where a set of custom hoisting beams between the upper floors were positioned.
An external crane was brought in to handle the weight of the panels that could not be hoisted using the site tower crane. With each panel consisting of tworeinforced precast concrete wythes with a continuous layer of insulation sandwiched in between, the tower crane could not support these massive pieces without exceeding the safe working limit of the crane.
Proving that there is never a dull moment in the world of engineered precast concrete, from overcoming the complexity of the design and erection process, the continuous coordination provided value to this project at every turn.
Construction will continue on the project into 2019.