Patriots Plaza Office Complex in Washington, DC. Courtesy Trammel Crow Company.
Weidlinger Associates, which merged with Thornton Tomasetti in September 2015, provided blast engineering design services for Patriots Plaza, a three-building office complex with underground parking. The complex was constructed in three separate phases and consists of interconnected 12-story mild-steel-reinforced concrete buildings above five levels of below-grade parking. All three buildings have flat slab concrete floor systems with drop panels at the columns to maximize the number of floors, while satisfying the district’s building height limitations. The façade consists primarily of architectural precast panels with either punched openings or strip windows. There is also a glass curtain wall located directly above the one-story main entrance.
Superior Protective Design
The buildings were designed to meet the ISC Security Design Criteria to reduce the hazard to occupants of a terrorist attack from explosives. The complex has a minimum setback of 30 feet from the adjacent street curbs, which presented some challenges from a blast hardening perspective. The building structure and façade were designed to resist the specified explosive threats at the available standoff distances. The structural frame was also designed and detailed to prevent a progressive collapse failure through redundancy and alternate load paths capable of bridging over the loss of a key structural element. The facade was designed with debris-mitigating materials, such as laminated glass, to protect occupants from injury due to flying glass fragments. Other security considerations included isolating occupants from direct blast pressures, maintaining critical emergency or life support systems and facilitating victim rescue following an explosive event.
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