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Block 32 UAB

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Colorado, USA
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22 months
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3 Story - 37,500 sq. ft.
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RNL Design
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JVA, Incorporated
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Adolfson & Peterson
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Three Brothers Concrete
thumb project block 32 uab page about 1
The Utilities Administration Building (UAB), a three-story 37,500 sq. ft. structure located at the northeast corner of Laporte Ave. and N. Howes St. in Old Town Fort Collins, was designed by Denver's RNL Design.
The $14.1 million building serves as a model of energy efficiency by treating windows, walls, and internal systems. It is connected to the electric utility's grid. It generates and stores energy through solar panels, batteries, and a direct-current electrical system, making it one of the country's most energy-efficient buildings.
The site also includes the restored landmark Butterfly Building, which was moved 100 feet to the east to make room for the new administration building. The Block 32 project is part of the City of Fort Collins' downtown Civic Center master plan and achieved a LEED Platinum certification.
The City's 'Arts in Public Places' program was used to place several pieces of art created by local artists in and throughout the building. These include a sculpture of the Poudre River as part of the entryway column and Colorado's first outdoor perennial living wall. Specially designed walls on the ramps and steps at the front of the building represent the different departments for the City – light/power, water, etc.
thumb project block 32 uab page about 2

Project Challenges

The City's Art in Public Places program called for A&P and BURNCO to work with local artists to create a functional, structural retaining wall. This wall would also need to allow an intricate relief panel to be transferred into the concrete. There were many small tight corners and edges in the artist's design, and the team would only get one chance to get it right for this cast-in-place artistic retaining wall. The process was very challenging due to the lack of ability to vibrate the front face of the retaining wall due to the amount of bracing needed.

Project Solutions

BURNCO met several times with A&P and the artist as we devised a plan for a concrete flowable enough to get into all the crevices of the intricate design but also needed to be strong enough to hold back the forces of the ground behind it.
Using a traditional Self-Consolidating Concrete (SCC) was not possible on this project because of the increasing hydro-static pressure along the wall as the entire retaining wall. Due to the artistic design, the wall needed to be placed at once to ensure the flow of the design.
BURNCO provided several options for maximizing flowability without increasing the pressures. We did several mock-up pours to work out the mixes fine details and ensure A&P had enough bracing to support the weight. In the end, the artwork came out excellent and is a central focus for the entrance of the building. This project also used an array of colors, including green concrete, which adds a pleasing aesthetic to the front of the building.

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