George Mason University, Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel in Fairfax, Virginia. Courtesy Vicki Q. Galindo / The Mason Inn.

George Mason University, Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel



Thornton Tomasetti performed structural design services for this hotel and conference center. The 179,000-square-foot facility was delivered through a developer-led design-build contract awarded under the Virginia Public Private Education Act (PPEA). The center hosts academic meetings for the university, external business and government conferences, and social events. The inn also serves as a hands-on learning tool for the university’s School of Recreation, Health and Tourism and its MBA program.

The LEED Gold-certified complex provides 149 guest rooms, a restaurant and a bar/lounge area. The 20,000-square-foot conference center has 11 meeting rooms, two ballrooms and one security suite – a windowless office to accommodate meetings involving sensitive or classified information. The facility also includes 35,000 square feet of below-grade parking and a separate wing housing a kitchen and other support operations.

Each component of the project was designed with the structural system that optimized performance and economy for its function. With a post-tensioned podium supporting a seven-story hotel tower constructed of a proprietary light-gage bearing wall system, a long-span steel-framed conference center built atop a conventionally-reinforced concrete parking garage, and a single-story concrete wing housing the kitchen, the project ran the gamut of structural systems. The various components required special attention to detailing where construction types interfaced. During construction, our team took the initiative to resolve on-site issues directly with the contractor to keep the project on schedule.

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