Thornton Tomasetti, Inc., the international engineering firm with practices in building structure, building skin and building performance, received Diamond and Platinum Awards for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York) Engineering Excellence Awards for the structural design of Comcast Center in Philadelphia and Carrasco International Airport in Uruguay.
The awards were presented on March 27 at ACEC New York’s annual dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Comcast Center received ACEC New York’s top honor, the Diamond Award for Engineering Excellence in Structural Systems, while Carrasco Airport received the Platinum Award for transportation projects.
At just under 1,000 feet, the Comcast Center is not only the tallest building between New York and Chicago, it also reflects engineering and design lessons Thornton Tomasetti learned after leading the assessment of the 9/11 collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Elevators, sprinklers, communications systems and stairwells are encased in a massive concrete core that stretches the full height of the building. Since the building is slender with a small footprint, the building height to core ratio is high with thicker than usual exterior walls. It was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects.
In addition to integrating new safety designs, the building has expansive open public spaces that needed to be designed without columns. This was achieved by 15-story tall vierendeel trusses. A nine-story glass winter garden leads to a three-story lobby and atrium that is a 90-foot column-free span. In addition, a tuned liquid-column mass damper — a 300,000-gallon reservoir of water — is installed at the top of the building to increase the comfort of the building occupants by limiting its wind induced accelerations.
The structure achieved LEED Gold Certification under the LEED Core and Shell Pilot Program by the US Green Building Council and uses 40% less water than characteristic office buildings of this size.
The Carrasco International Airport, Uruguay’s largest airport, is expected to serve up to 2.8 million passengers by 2010. The new 344,000-square-foot, three-story terminal is a dramatic and welcoming space for the passengers and visitors that modernizes and expands the passenger and cargo handling capacity of the existing facilities to promote tourism and commercial growth in the surrounding region. It was designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects.
Thornton Tomasetti was responsible for the structural design of the terminal’s 1,000-foot-long curved steel roof structure. The curved roof maintains a low profile on the landscape, helping its structure integrate into the surrounding. The unique roof extends beyond the building on all four sides. The curved roof has an irregular plan profile with the width varying from 415 feet to 165 feet. In addition, the steel-truss roof has an irregular vertical profile with its two ends supported on grade and the height of the roof varies from 85 feet to 120 feet. The cantilevered roof facilitates the strategic use of daylighting for the terminal building by creating shading for the interior space. The 60-foot-high fully glazed curtain wall system extending from the base to the roof wraps around the terminal building, creating transparency.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York) is the voice of New York State’s engineering companies. Whether for sole proprietors or global companies, for young principals or industry leaders, ACEC New York has, since its formation in 1921, been true to its mission: To be the leading advocate in New York State for consulting engineers and to enhance the image and business practices of professional engineering companies.
About Thornton Tomasetti (www.ThorntonTomasetti.com)
Thornton Tomasetti provides engineering design, investigation and analysis services to clients worldwide on projects of every size and level of complexity. We fulfill the needs of our clients at every stage in the building life cycle through seven integrated practices in Structural Engineering, Façade Engineering, Forensics, Renewal, Construction Engineering, Property Loss Consulting and Sustainability. Founded in 1956, today Thornton Tomasetti is an 800-person organization of engineers, architects and other professionals collaborating from offices across the United States and in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
Great Ink Communications – 212.741.2977
Eric Gerard/Lindsay Church
Thornton Tomasetti – 917.661.7800
James M. Kent, JKent@ThorntonTomasetti.com
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