University of Houston
quadrangle replacement housing
Structural Engineer |
Ensight Haynes Whaley
This freshman student-housing tower is the second phase of an expanded campus residential life initiative. At just under $45,000 per bed, it is an excellent example of quality and affordability. The design/build delivery incorporated fast-track construction methods and precast components to expedite completion at the lowest cost without sacrificing quality.
The 7-story tower houses 1,144 students in four-person suites and 36 residential assistant rooms on the upper six floors. The first floor includes two faculty apartments, student lounge spaces, university classrooms and the relocated offices of the university residential life department. Each residential floor has three student lounges with adjacent kitchens, as well as small group study spaces at the end of each corridor. The study lounges are capped with full height glass walls, bringing in abundant daylight.
The foundation is spread footings; while excavating for the footings, the team encountered abandoned utilities at depths up to 30 feet. The team also encountered undocumented utilities requiring significant redesign to the new utility tunnel for the building that ties into the campus central plant. An 8-inch thick structural first floor slab on carton forms was designed to support the form-work for the 2nd floor concrete structure. Engineers used a tunnel-form system for all standardized spaces on floors three through seven. Structural insulated precast panels were produced and quality verified off site. Close coordination from the structural team ensured tight attachments and the aesthetics required.
BIM aided the whole project team and sub-consultants to expedite design and construction. The contractor coordinated all models and produced a comprehensive model at the end of the construction documentation phase. Subcontractors then added detailed information for all building systems, allowing for comprehensive clash detection and minimized field changes.