Proj Overview

PROJECT OVERVIEW

The Richmond City Justice Center in Richmond, Virginia was a fifty-year-old jail that was deteriorating. It suffered severe maintenance problems and chronic overcrowding, at times reaching nearly twice its intended occupancy. The jail was to be rebuilt as an eight-level detention center with two administration levels and six housing levels that provide over 400,000 square feet of usable floor space. Seeking a distinct budget and schedule advantage over other prospective systems, a joint venture team developed unique framing approaches for the complex building, which required strong, forced-entry resistant construction that would be economical, durable, and easily maintained. The new detention facility was set on the same site as the existing city jail and demanded construction that wouldn’t disrupt the facility’s 24/7 operation. As an urban jail project, it also needed to achieve an appropriate building aesthetic consistent with the community.

The project was conceived as a cast-in-place concrete podium supporting a precast concrete frame and precast concrete cell modules. But this plan evolved after more study into a total precast concrete structure that offered more benefits and promised to shorten the project schedule by several months.

PRECAST SOLUTION

Led by the precast concrete design and manufacturing expertise of Tindall and its specialty engineer, Consulting Engineers Group, the total precast system began to take shape. The detention center featured six levels of precast modules atop two structural precast levels and used a robust system of precast concrete columns and transfer girders at the base level of the structure to emulate the originally conceived cast-inplace podium without prolonged forming and shoring phases. This approach allowed a crane to move within the structure as it set beams, walls, double tees, and modular cells throughout the full height of the building. Unfettered access let the crane stay closer to its loads for a significant reduction in its required capacity. The entire façade of the building was created with insulated architectural precast walls and modular units for increased thermal efficiency and integral structural stability. Precast modular units were delivered and installed at the site ready for connection to building mains. The jail’s exterior featured three colors of thin brick and sandblasted and pigmented buff concrete and precast fins at the roof level that added a distinctive architectural flair to the finished design. By including an architectural face mix and cast-in brick veneer, the exterior precast concrete skin met all technical and aesthetic requirements in a single secure and durable system.

Modular Precast Units

The benefits of precast concrete modular housing units have long been recognized in the correctional construction industry. Quad-cell and double-cell units for this project were fabricated at a specialized modular manufacturing facility in San Antonio, Texas. Once the units were produced, painted, and equipped with appurtenances like windows, doors, lights, plumbing fixtures, and furniture, they were shipped by rail to a facility in Petersburg, Virginia and staged for delivery to the job site. At the job site, the units only needed to be connected to services within the building, which reduced the need for on-site finishing.

The local sheriff praised the project leaders for building a detention facility that complements the community and its surroundings and offers functionality with professional entrances for public and guest access. Precast fit the tight site conditions with just-in-time delivery and erection that allowed the existing facilities to operate during construction. Other proposed systems required phased work and temporary relocation of inmates, but choosing precast meant the project experienced one phase of construction and a single relocation of inmates from the existing facility to the new structure. Precast also moved a significant amount of labor and material off the job site for better schedule control.

“The precast concrete solution was the ideal material choice for addressing each concern. Concrete’s inherent strength allows the exterior sandwich panels to act as both the building structure and security perimeter. By including an architectural face mix and cast-in brick veneer in the outer wythe, the exterior skin meets all technical and aesthetic requirements in a single economical system. Panels were erected within inches of the fully functioning jail eliminating any need for scaffolding to achieve the secure, masonry appearance consistent with the neighborhood.” – James Kessler, AIA, LEED BD+C, HOK

 

Awards
There are no records.
Project Team

Architect

HOK

Engineer

ReStl Designers, Inc.

Owner

City of Richmond

Contractor

Turner Construction Company

Precaster

Tindall Corporation

Key Project Attributes

  • The project is an eight-level detention center with two administration levels and six housing levels that provide over 400,000 square feet of usable floor space
  • The entire façade of the building was created with insulated architectural precast walls and modular units for increased thermal efficiency and integral structural stability
  • The project was conceived as a cast-in-place concrete podium supporting a precast concrete frame and precast concrete cell modules. But this plan evolved after more study into a total precast concrete structure that offered more benefits and promised to shorten the project schedule by several months

Project/Precast Scope

  • This project utilized more than 2,000 pieces of precast concrete, including nearly 200 modular housing units that were fabricated at a specialized modular precast manufacturing facility
  • The jail’s exterior featured three colors of thin brick and sandblasted and pigmented buff concrete and precast fins at the roof level that added a distinctive architectural flair to the finished design. By including an architectural face mix and cast-in brick veneer, the exterior precast concrete skin met all technical and aesthetic requirements in a single secure and durable system