Posts tagged with "Radius Track":

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Fulton Street Transit Center Oculus

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An in-progress look at the new transit hub's massive skylight

After funding cuts and subsequent delays since construction started in 2005, the much-anticipated Fulton Street Transit Center is finally taking shape in Lower Manhattan. The $1.4 billion project will connect eleven subway lines with the PATH train, the World Trade Center, and ferries at the World Financial Center. In collaboration with artist James Carpenter, Grimshaw Architects designed the project’s hallmark—a 60-foot-tall glass oculus that will deliver daylight to the center’s concourse level. The hyperbolic parabaloid cable net skylight supports an inner skin of filigree metal panels that reflect light to the spaces below. AN took a look at the design’s progress with Radius Track, the curved and cold-formed steel framing experts who recently completed installation of the project’s custom steel panels:
  • Fabricator Radius Track
  • Architect Grimshaw Architects
  • Location New York, New York
  • Status Under construction
  • Materials Steel framing and decking, DensGlass sheathing, waterproof membrane, drainage mat, insulation, curved metal girts, Tyvek wrap
  • Process BIM, offsite fabrication
Metal framing was an ideal choice for the skylight’s large structure, whose 90-foot diameter required a high strength-to-weight ratio that couldn’t have been achieved with a heavier material like concrete. Cold-formed steel (CFS) could also be manipulated into the complex shapes necessary to achieve the skylight’s irregular shape. Though the project was originally designed as a stick-built structure, the design would have required workers to complete the construction of the complicated, sloping oculus walls while working five stories above ground. Proximity to the water raised concerns about severe storms that would have further compromised working conditions. The oculus also had to meet security standards surrounding the World Trade Center memorial sites, so the design team abandoned the stick-built approach and began to consult with Radius Track on an alternative construction method. The structure’s total surface area is approximately 8,294 square feet, comprised of 44 panels arranged in two tiers. Panel width is a constant 8 feet, while length ranges from 19 to 33 ½ feet excluding two smaller end panels measuring 4 feet by 14 feet. The knife-edge element at the top of the parapet is 167 feet long, with a profile that changes continuously along the diameter. Using BIM, Radius Track customized designs for the seven-layer panels that complete the walls of the oculus. The modeling software allowed the team to detect potential clashes within the panels and with other design elements early on, and also facilitated the rapid, offsite fabrication necessary for the project’s tight timeline. The custom panels are designed not only for performance but also for geometric precision. The seven layers include framing (studs, track, blocking, and knife-edge panels where applicable), steel decking, DensGlass sheathing (a drywall material used in exterior applications), waterproof membrane, drainage mat, insulation and curved metal girts to which exterior cladding is attached, and Tyvek wrap. While the materials used in the project are traditional, the methods to connect the layers are not. Each layer has its own particular pattern, making attachment details between the layers critical. (For example, the CFS layer is a grid, the decking consists of linear ridges aligned with one panel edge, and metal girts span across the panel.) Each layer required its own design and subsequent coordination to ensure the finished installation was as precise as possible. Several types of metal are used to create the oculus. The walls’ structural framing is 14 gauge (68-mil) cold-formed steel, a “beefier” design than Radius Track would typically employ because of high wind speeds and enhanced safety and security requirements that are now standard for government structures in New York City. Designers used 16-gauge CFS for the track that is wrapped horizontally around the oculus walls. Decking is VulCraft 3-inch steel decking and horizontal metal girts secure the insulation layers. At the parapet, Radius Track designed customized 16-gauge, laser-cut steel sheets to form the ever-changing slope that circles around the top of the structure. Some sections are opening to the public ahead of the anticipated mid-2014 completion, and the complex is eventually expected to serve 300,000 passengers each day with 26,000 square feet of new space that will also include new retail stores and restaurants.
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Philip Johnson’s Peace Chapel: Radius Track

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Realizing the architect's final project using advanced fabrication techniques Johnson may have never known.

Philip Johnson completed the design for the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas just before his death in 2005. Working with Johnson’s firm Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects and architect of record Cunningham Architects, the Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ and non-profit social advocacy group Hope for Peace & Justice moved forward with the building. Completed late last year, the chapel is a monument to the congregation’s pluralistic worldview and acceptance of all religions. Its smooth, curving walls are central to Johnson’s goal of creating a cave-like sanctuary that is far removed from the site’s banal location near the runways of Dallas Love Field Airport. The project team hired cold-formed steel framing fabricator Radius Track to help realize the design.
  • Fabricator Radius Track
  • Architects Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects, Cunningham Architects
  • Location Dallas, Texas
  • Status Complete
  • Material Cold-formed steel studs
  • Process Custom curved wall framing
As a contributor to projects including Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Grimshaw’s Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute outside Troy, New York, Radius Track are experts at framing large curved surfaces. Construction of the Peace Chapel began with structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti’s structural steel 3-D Tekla BIM model, which defined the asymmetrical geometry of the chapel’s approximately 3-foot-thick interior and exterior walls—the design is free of any parallel lines or right angles. Cunningham Architects converted that model into a Rhino 3-D model that contained all of the finished surfaces in addition to the structural steel details. Radius Track used that model to create its cold-formed steel framing details while identifying any conflicts between the structural and cold-formed steel systems. The team was also faced with the challenge of meeting the high wind load requirements of the tornado-prone Dallas area. Because the framing system needed to be strong but flexible enough to handle the chapel’s curves, Radius Track created twin structures to frame interior and exterior walls, using 3 5/8-inch 33-mil studs and track for the interior walls and 6-inch 54-mil studs and track for the exterior walls. The company’s CEO, architect Chuck Mears, added strength and saved time and material costs by designing a system that attaches both walls to the structural steel using a single horizontal clip. The construction also allowed consulting engineer THHinc to use only one support header in each window or door opening, saving the cost of creating additional curved header shapes. Radius Track fabricated all of the project’s steel studs in its Minneapolis shop. Clad in a skin of cement plaster supported by metal sheathing, the 8,000-square-foot, 175-seat chapel is 46 feet tall and 106 feet wide, creating the cornerstone of the Cathedral of Hope’s campus, which is home to one of the country’s largest gay and lesbian congregations. Johnson also designed a nearby bell tower, completed in 2000, but his plans for a grand cathedral adjacent to the chapel remain unbuilt.