What do you do when the parking garage that you need to build takes up valuable park space on a crowded college campus? Build a full-sized soccer field on the roof. This was just one of the many innovative design solutions that the project incorporated into this LEED platinum–rated three-story parking structure built on the Pomona College South Campus in Claremont, Calif.
“From the beginning the owner was very concerned about losing an existing soccer/Lacrosse field,” says Brent Dezember, of StructureCast, the precast concrete producer for the project. They also wanted the structure to blend into the natural surroundings as well as with the older stately buildings that dot the campus. “Using a precast concrete facade, enabled them to address all of these issues,” he says.
The parking structure was constructed with a cast-in-place concrete frame to meet seismic load requirements; but to make it more attractive, it was then clad with 165 architectural precast concrete panels, tinted to match the surrounding architecture. “The precast panels were a key design element to make the parking structure more attractive,” Brent Dezember says.
Because it is built on sloping land, part of the structure is underground with only one side exposed. The southeast corner of the structure is bermed so that it fuses into the campus, and provides active space on the roof. “The result is not only a durable and aesthetically pleasing parking structure, but also one that matches up with the campus initiative to go green,” he says.
To accommodate spectators on the soccer field, roof level panels were designed with integral precast concrete benches. “This was one of the biggest challenges on the project,” Dezember says. The benches were cast directly onto the precast concrete spandrels, which had to follow the flowline of the cast-in-place concrete structure. In some cases, the cast-in-place concrete features were not completely level, requiring Dezember’s team to adjust the spandrels to achieve a level base. “Otherwise, spectators would have been sitting on tilted benches,” he says.
Dezember explained that the use of precast concrete also helped the owner achieve the coveted LEED Platinum rating, winning project points for producing the panels locally and for using recycled steel in all of the connectors and other metal elements, he says.
The resulting structure is attractive, resilient, and multifunctional. Dezember says, “The client is very happy with the way it all turned out.”