Designers for the new Broad Institute headquarters building in Cambridge, MA, kept the building’s envelope all in the family by specifying architectural precast concrete panels to clad the structure’s steel framing. The products were supplied by sister companies in the OSCO Construction Group.
The 250,000-square-foot building is part of the firm’s 480,000-square-foot research campus that serves as a genomic medicine research center. The 15-story building, consisting of research and office space, connects to the existing 7 Cambridge Center via walkways on six floors. Ground-level retail space also was provided.
Efficiencies in communication and scheduling were achieved by having the two companies so closely related, says Gerald K. Grassby of Strecon Limited, which provided 32,000 square feet of architectural precast concrete panels. Ocean Steel supplied 5,400 tons of structural steel, with another 80,000 square feet of exterior glass provided.
“This approach allowed us to integrate the steel and precast concrete, which sped up the coordination process,” Grassby explains. For instance, the two companies shared internal drawing packages so the connections could be installed accurately and efficiently.
The panels received a light sandblast, with an insulation spray foam applied to the panels once they were erected. The precast concrete panels were erected on three sides of the building, while the façade facing the street features glass and terra cotta. “The precast concrete had no problems connecting to the glass to create tight interfaces,” Grassby says.
Because of the congested urban location, panels were picked from the trucks as they arrived and were set into place. Some panels could be offloaded onto an adjacent side street as needed, with little field work required to connect all of the panels.
As the building was erected, steel was set in place during the day, with precast concrete panels erected at night. Once the steel topped out, the panels were erected during the day. Many of the deliveries were made at night to ease congestion and to keep up the pace. The panels were erected in two phases, with the bulk of them erected in about three months.
“The decision to use us as a one-stop shop for both the steel and precast concrete was made very early in the process by the construction manager, so the construction went very smoothly,” Grassby says.