Form and Function
In the tight confines of a busy city's downtown core lies a unique parking structure made solely from precast concrete. Located along the city's 5 km long central riverfront park, the construction of this structure was designed to not interfere, but in fact compliment, the construction of an adjoining office tower that is home to a major Automotive manufacturer who is also the city's number one employer. This building's architectural design makes for a comfortable fit, in scale with the surrounding buildings and parks and also aids in the city's revitalization plan.
This entire 4 ½ story structure was created completely by the Precaster utilizing precast / prestressed concrete. The basement level is intended for the automotive manufacturer's private parking with no public access. The ground level is reserved for retail space, and the remaining 2 ½ stories are designed to be used as a 544-vehicle parking deck. The structure consisted of using specially designed 60' long by 12' wide double T's, precast columns and beams. The exterior precast components also had to be specially designed to carry the extremely heavy load of the curtain wall system that was attached to the building to match the architectural features of the adjoining office tower.
The Precast Advantage
This project required the building to behave not only as a parking deck, but also as the floor and roof surfaces for the vast area of retail space that was planned for the ground floor of the complex. This was an engineering challenge to the Precaster in the fact that the loading of precast concrete on the ground floor and second floor was very heavy due to the extensive amount of retail usage.
This structure was designed by a Architectural firm originally using cast-in-place (CIP) concrete. However, the City did not accept the layout of the CIP option as there were too many columns needed to support the actual parking area, which was situated on top of the retail section. This made the layout of the retail and basement delivery area exceptionally challenging due to the interference created by the columns. Also the cost of CIP design was significantly more than the city had planned or budgeted.
The Precaster and a local engineer were then asked by the city to look at the parking deck to see if precast concrete was a possible alternative to CIP. Meetings were held in various locations to discuss different precast options and alternatives. The big challenge was to engineer a structure that was able to handle the heavy loading requirements of the ground and second floors due to the delivery and retail usage without sacrificing the open concept feature that was so desired.
Finally, a decision was made to use a precast / prestressed system that featured 12' wide double T's, columns, beams and spandrels. These precast / prestressed products were capable of handling the loading requirements necessary and also provide wide, open spaces on the ground and basement floors. Precast / prestressed concrete once again proved to be the solution of choice for this project.
Precast Columns: 1,962 lf.
Precast Inverted T Beams: 1,001 lf.
Double T’s: 144,790 sq. ft.
Precast Spandrels: 22,447 sq. ft
Owner: City of Windsor
Engineer: Yolles Partnership Ltd.
General Contractor: Ellis-Don Michigan Inc.
Consultant: The Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden
Precaster: Prestressed Systems Inc.