Thornton Tomasetti project wins AISC IDEAS2 Merit Award for Excellence in Steel-Frame Building Design

New York — Thornton Tomasetti, the international engineering firm, was recognized by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) with a 2014 IDEAS2 Merit Award for Excellence in Steel-Frame Building Design for the Brookfield Place Entry Pavilion in Lower Manhattan. Completed in the fall of 2013, the glass-and-steel pavilion features a pair of 53-foot-tall funnel-shaped, sculptural steel columns that support the structure. The entry pavilion was designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and is connected to the existing Winter Garden atrium.

The AISC IDEAS2 Awards honor innovative design in engineering and architecture with structural steel and place an emphasis on coordination, collaboration and teamwork. A panel of design and construction industry professionals judges the entries in three categories based on construction cost. The Brookfield Place Entry Pavilion placed in the middle-range $15-$75 million category. The award was presented to the project team on March 26 at the North American Steel Construction Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Key Points

• The new entry pavilion is part of a $250 million renovation of the mixed-use Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center) intended to expand its retail and public space.

• Thornton Tomasetti was retained by Brookfield Office Properties, the owner, as the lead structural engineer for the 8,000 square-foot pavilion. The firm worked with Pelli Clarke Pelli, the architect for the project, and the steel contractor, Metropolitan-Walters LLC, to develop the complex geometry of the structure, which consists of two funnel-shaped columns constructed of seamless interwoven steel pipes.

• Thornton Tomasetti and Pelli Clarke Pelli were part of the team in the 1980s that designed the Winter Garden atrium, to which the new pavilion is connected. Thornton Tomasetti also performed repairs to significant portions of the structure after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

• Designed to accommodate an estimated 100,000 pedestrians daily, the pavilion connects to the underground passageway from the World Trade Center and the Fulton Street transportation hubs.

• Because the pavilion sits atop a new underground passageway, existing train tunnel relieving platform and a former pedestrian bridge pile cap, Thornton Tomasetti’s engineers had to focus on just two points of contact for the columns underground. This challenge greatly influenced the design and placement of the steel columns.


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