Grand Conceptor Award – Alper Audi, Inc. Structural Engineers; and Geotechnology, Inc., St. Louis

Firm Name: Alper Audi, Inc. Structural Engineers; and Geotechnology, Inc., St. Louis

Project: Olin Library Transformation at Washington University

Client: Washington University in St. Louis

Olin Library at Washington University recently received a major renovation and addition.  The primary component of the renovation is the added vault space for the university’s growing special collection of rare and valuable items, and the addition of a two-level basement under the library where a basement did not previously exist.  Also included is a four-story monumental stair tower. Adding a basement below the library required careful evaluation of existing loads and foundation support to allow for complex temporary shoring, deep excavation, pier removal and foundation replacement. It was necessary to support the weight of the occupied upper floors on temporary shoring to allow the existing columns and piers to be removed and replaced while the library remained in use.  This required innovative engineering solutions, a custom structural steel shoring system, careful evaluation of pier loads and rock capacities, and load cell monitoring along with careful coordination of temporary shoring procedures between the structural engineer, geotechnical engineer and the general contractor to prevent building settlement and maintain a safe environment for occupants inside the library.