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Inspiring Structural Design

On May 10, 2017, Craig German, PE, Lead Structural Engineer for Shuck-Britson, accepted an ACEC Honor Award for Engineering Excellence on the CRST Center in the Buildings & Systems Category.

“It was an honor to receive this award on behalf of the owners and project team,” shares German. “We’d like to thank CRST and the City of Cedar Rapids for the opportunity to work on this iconic structure and the important piece of the Cedar River Flood Control System that it features. We would also like to thank Ryan Companies and OPN Architects for the opportunity to team with them to make the CRST building possible.”

Shuck-Britson, a subsidiary of Snyder & Associates, served as the structural engineering consultant and the Structural Engineer of Record for the project.

Revitalizing Cedar Rapids & Mitigating Flood Impacts

Located on one city block along the east bank of the Cedar River, the CRST Center is a welcome and iconic addition to the Cedar Rapids skyline.

“CRST made a statement with this building,” states German. “After flooding damaged downtown Cedar Rapids buildings in 2008, many buildings had to be vacated. This project not only helps to revitalize downtown Cedar Rapids but also to mitigate flooding by putting essential pieces of the Cedar River Flood Control System in place.”

The Shuck-Britson structural team utilized Revit software for building information modeling (BIM) to create intelligent models that helped guide the project.

The floodwall, pump station, and gatewell are significant portions of the building located below grade and hidden from view. Currently, the pump station is empty and pump design is underway. Upon completion, rainwater that falls behind the wall within a particular area of the city will be carried to the riverside of the building via the pump station. Because the floodwall is just one, 300-foot piece of a much larger system that will take years to complete, the building is designed to mitigate and withstand the impact of potential floods that could occur before the system’s completion.

Access ports on all levels of the parking garage provide access to the pump station that’s beneath the garage. Removable floor sections will allow equipment to be loaded into the pump station once it becomes available.

Coordination Drove Project Success

Reflecting upon his experience on the CRST Building project team, German notes three key challenges:

  • Site/Foundations – A deep foundation system was essential to support the structure’s loads. After weighing the pros and cons of all options available, driven steel pile was identified as the correct solution. Many foundations from previous buildings existed on the site. Additionally, significant existing infrastructure was located adjacent to the property and onsite. To keep the fast-tracked project on schedule and within budget, removals were made, and protection was provided where appropriate.
  • Signature Features – The CRST Center has many signature features including a cantilevered 4th floor and mechanical penthouse roof. Bringing these architectural features from vision to reality was a fun and interesting challenge for our structural design team.
  • Coordination – With multiple stakeholders and a large team working on a fast-tracked project, a great deal of coordination and expertise early on and throughout the project were essential.

“It took dedicated team members on all portions of this project to make it a success,” says German.

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