RNL design in Denver has been designing structures for the Loveland Service Center, in Loveland, Colo., for decades. RNL was the original master planner for the service center in 1983, and the company was again chosen for the expansion plans for the campus, adding four new buildings last year. In the current phase, they designed new buildings for the public works’ solid wastes, storm water, and streets departments.
The primary goal for this project was to create durable, low-maintenance structures that would relate to the existing campus buildings and would provide a high level of thermal resistance to reduce energy costs, says Jonathan Flager, architect with RNL. They also needed to be erected as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to the active service center campus. “The various precast panel types allowed us to meet all of these goals.”
Using precast concrete, the designers were able to create a uniform building envelope with multiple colors and simple detailing, with an architectural gray and white acid-etched design to match nearby building color schemes. “The use of a formliner allowed for aesthetic architectural detailing on the facade of the building without the need of an extensive and time-consuming detailing process and additional drawings,” Flager says.
They chose high-performance insulated precast concrete wall panels to add durability and energy efficiency. These load-bearing panels also eliminated the need for columns inside the office, which supported the desire to maximize usable space and allow for more modular workstations. The inherent mass of the precast concrete panels and the continuous simple detailing also guards against lateral wind forces and weather infiltration at joints.
Because the panels were case off-site, erection time and associated disruption was limited, which turned out to be a crucial component for keeping the project on track. The original construction process was scheduled to begin in the middle of September, but massive rains and associated flooding on the project site threw the schedule off track. “The site was saturated by the rains,” Flager says.
Once the storms subsided, the team spent several weeks stabilizing the site, and by the time construction began, it was well into winter with temperatures dropping below freezing. “Because of the nature of precast concrete, we were still able to do the work, and that got the project back on schedule,” he says.
The project was delivered close to schedule, Flager says. The city leaders have fallen in love with the building. “These facilities met all of the functional requirements with a durable and attractive design that will improve the City’s bottom line through increased efficiencies for years to come.”