When developers of the 275 Wyman Street office complex in Waltham, Massachusetts, decided to replace an existing 100,000-square-foot building with a 350,000-square-foot facility, they knew they would need to ramp up the parking space, too. To do so, they created a six-story total-precast concrete parking structure that maximized space under zoning laws while saving time and money.
The 324,000-square-foot project features 1,025 spaces on a tight site. Designers specified precast concrete for several reasons, including its ability to provide the most efficient design, says Brad Cardoso, senior associate and project manager at Margulies Perruzzi Architects, the design firm on the project.
“There was a height limitation in the zoning requirements, so we needed a structure with minimal depth to the floors,” he explains. “Precast concrete provides the best way to achieve that. Steel needed more depth, which would have reduced the ceiling heights on each level and limited their openness.” Aiding that openness were precast concrete lite walls, which feature large round openings that add light and visual connections throughout the levels. Blakeslee Prestress in Branford, Connecticut, fabricated the components.
The use of precast concrete also saved time and money due to its inherent fire resistance, he notes. “We originally looked at steel beams, but we realized they would need to be coated to achieve the fire rating we needed, which required more material and another construction stage.” Precast concrete’s durability also offers a benefit, he adds. “The owners wanted the most durable structure they could achieve to simplify the long-term maintenance program.”
The structure connects to the new office building via a two-story precast concrete plaza. The plaza was built with precast concrete NEXT bridge girders and stair components, supported by columns and clad with architectural panels. Portions were also clad with a curtain wall to project a contemporary, eye-catching appearance.
The parking structure features a custom concrete mix of white cement and white aggregate along with a pigment. “We wanted to achieve that specific color to make it stand out,” Cardoso says. V-groove reveals were also added for visual interest and to disguise panel joints. Stainless-steel mesh was attached to spandrels on the top floor and flows down to the bottom, adding more interest.
The erection went smoothly, with one crane working from within the footprint and walking out backwards as the structure was erected, says Jon Sutphin, project executive for Commodore Builders, the project’s construction manager. “It was a tight site, so there wasn’t much room to maneuver,” he says. The plaza was constructed first, followed by the parking levels. “I love precast concrete—it goes up quickly, and it’s done. Blakeslee did a great job on both the engineering and the construction on the project.”
Cardoso agrees. “The shipments to the site came in smoothly and were erected immediately, with the crane working from one end to the other. It was a tight site, but the precast concrete didn’t need a lot of space. The client was very impressed with how quickly the precast concrete was put up.”
Erection of all of the precast concrete components was finished in December 2014, with roofing following. The project is planned for completion in June 2015.
Timeline: Start Precast Erection - August 15, 2014
Complete Precast Erection - December 4, 2014