Proj Overview

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Founded in 1842, Villanova University sits on 260 acres of land, situated twelve miles from Center City Philadelphia. In developing a new performing arts center, the university wanted to maintain the Gothic revival architecture found throughout the campus. The John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts at Villanova University is a three-story multi-purpose building designed to house a full-size theatre and various arts-related classrooms. The $50 million, 85,000-square-foot structure needed to fit into the campus’ existing historic architecture, which offers a beautiful Gothic look and feel unique to the university.

Achieving Historical Aesthetic

The building’s exterior needed to match the Gothic historic context of the University as well as house a full-size theatre and various arts-related classrooms but installing intricate stone masonry can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process.

A strict construction schedule and its location in a township with strict zoning review guidelines were just some of the reasons that precast was chosen. The client and design team felt that utilizing precast would offer savings by reducing the cost, labor, and lead time of the exterior wall related to a traditional stone façade construction. This was based on the rigorous construction schedule reviewing lessons learned from a traditional stone veneer project being constructed at the same time across the street.

PRECAST SOLUTION

The architects, engineers, general contractors, and precast producers held weekly model share meetings to facilitate the integration of floor, structural system, and precast materials. BIM model coordination empowered the team to continually develop precast planning and interactions with other materials throughout the construction process.

The building was constructed with a steel structure clad with non-insulated precast panels. The precast panels had stone masonry and many intricate details consistent with other buildings on the University campus. The stone was installed at the precast plant prior to shipping. This was a major component in accelerating the construction schedule and was the main driver for selecting precast as the exterior cladding. The project is tracking to achieve LEED Silver, notable items include providing reflective roofing, a Green Roof over the main Proscenium theater, providing recyclable, low emitting finishes throughout, and creating an energy-efficient building utilizing the HVAC system that was selected.

 

Awards
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Project Team

Architect

Voith & Mactavish Architects

Architect

Robert A. M. Stern Architects (RAMSA)

Engineer

O’Donnell & Naccarato 

Contractor

L.F. Driscoll Company

Owner

Villanova University 

Precaster

High Concrete Group 

Key Project Attributes

  • Precast would provide more consistency, dimensional stability, ease of installation, and detailing as well as be potentially a cost saving from a traditional stone façade.
  • The plant installed stone masonry on the precast saving time on installation. Designing a building that would work in the historic context of the University while incorporating the building systems into the project which had strict height limitations. Coordinating the theater equipment design with the building design. Providing adequate acoustic isolation between the performance spaces.
  • The project is tracking to achieve LEED Silver, notable items include providing reflective roofing, a Green Roof over the main Proscenium theater, providing recyclable, low emitting finishes throughout, and creating an energy-efficient building utilizing the HVAC system that was selected.

Project/Precast Scope

  • The client was hoping to save time on the installation of the exterior cladding by using a precast system. Weekly model share meetings were held with AOR, EOR, GC, and precaster to continually develop the precast and interactions with other materials. The precast was able to achieve intricate cornices, profiles, archways, copings, and other complex details found throughout the campus
  • Column covers -21, Copings - 101, Light sandblast solid architectural wall panels – 118, Stone clad wall panels - 102, Radius wall panels (light sandblast and stone-clad) – 16, Light sandblast walls with returns - 40