High concrete group plays key role in gravity defying design of unique 4-story office building

October 11, 2016

Philadelphia, PA — High Concrete Group in Denver, PA played a key role in creating a “gravity defying” and very unique 92,000 square foot, 4-story office building in the heart of Philadelphia’s booming Philadelphia Navy Yard Corporate Center.

The $34 million building was designed by world class architect Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a global architectural firm based in Copenhagen and New York. The design concept for 1200 Intrepid was inspired by its surroundings, specifically Central Green, the award-winning park designed by James Corner Field Operations. Reminiscent of the park’s running track, activity pods and planting vignettes, BIG designed a curved façade that communicates directly with these circular elements of Central Green. The ambitious design feature is consistent with the progressive architecture at The Navy Yard and required a very creative approach to ensure constructability. 

 

“Challenged with this unique design opportunity presented by BIG, High Concrete Group’s engineering team developed the precast component system necessary to execute the innovative design. High Concrete carried the innovation forward with a design of a structural steel system that was embedded into the panels to transfer the load through them to the foundation,” said Glenn Ebersole, High Concrete’s Market Development Manager. The interlocking panels appear to be 11 inches thick. However, the backs of the panels were partially hollowed out, reducing their thickness to 4.5 inches at the face to minimize the weight. “This project presented an extremely high degree of difficulty for constructing precast in an innovative way,” he said. To create the slope and curve on the east side, “each precast panel is positioned at a different angle and rotation, requiring a high level of precision during the installation” by the erection subcontractor, said Ebersole.

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, RIBA, partner, BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group remarked that “High Concrete saw our design as a wonderful opportunity to really show off their skills, talents and products. It has been a sincere joy to work with a group of pre-casters who are as engaged as they have been, willing to roll up their sleeves to work on solutions rather than seeing obstacles and I am sure that they are as proud of their efforts as much as we are.”

High Concrete was selected by Turner Construction to produce the 421 architectural precast panels totaling 29,000 s/f of vertical surface for all 4 elevations of the building under a $2.7 million contract. Over a few short months the panels were delivered and installed from November, 2015 through January, 2016 with the anticipation of a 3rd Quarter completion date. Turner Construction’s Roger Gentry had this to say about working with High Concrete Group on the project.

“On the 1200 Intrepid Project, the High Concrete Group was able to take the Architect’s 3D marketing model, adapt it for the 3D design of the building’s panels and connections, translate it into the fabrication of the individual precast panels, and use it for the complex layout of each connection for the construction of a very complicated compound curve façade. ” Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners, the developers of The Navy Corporate Center, planned 1200 Intrepid as speculative office building, responding to growing demand for new and growing companies choosing to locate at The Navy Yard. 

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