Challenges:NYA provided structural engineering and design services for the expansion of the Skirball Cultural Center.
The major challenge for all three phases of construction was to add design features that compliment the original structures and its beautiful concrete finish. This aesthetic challenge was complicated by a project site that featured inconsistent soil conditions due to ancient landslides and possibility for future mudslides.
Solution:The design of Ahmanson Hall's concrete structure focused not only on the structural adequacy and performance, but also on the constructability and integration with other building systems to produce the best possible consistent finish along with building use and function. The architecturally exposed concrete was required to be held to very tight tolerances and finish standards.
Due to the different programmatic demands of the main hall, a steel long-span conical roof-shell structure was used in concert with the distinctive exposed concrete vocabulary. The steel roof structure is architecturally exposed as is a suspended semicircular mezzanine structure. Structural design included evaluation of the behavior of the exposed steel structure in the event of a fire, allowing it to be installed without the addition of a traditional spray-applied fireproofing.
The below-grade parking structure serves to buttress the unstable site. The garage basement walls resist large soil loads and transmit them to the foundations. Drilled pile depths were pre-selected based upon extensive site investigations to limit adjustments and field changes.