January Tour History
The January tour history is provided by FWEC Vice President Rod Vargo.
Jon Rowe of MSKTD gave a wonderful presentation about their engineering work for the Ash Skyline Plaza development underway in downtown Fort Wayne. This is a combination of several projects, unusual for the Fort Wayne area in being legally classified as a high-rise building and in having different legal owners for different sections of the structure. Such work is common in Chicago and New York City.
The main 142 foot high-rise will rest on over 1300 deep pilings and have one level of basement, a ground level for conventional storefronts, four floors of parking garage, four floors for Ash Brokerage, and a covered penthouse for utilities. The ground-level footprint will cover half a city block and provide a partly covered two-lane alley with entrance on Berry Street and exit on Wayne (one-way, going east). The sixth floor, essentially the roof of the four-story parking garage, will have covered terraces on the north and south, a landscaped rooftop "Skyline" plaza on the west (alley side), and 35,000 feet2 of open-concept office space centered along the eastern frontage (Harrison Street). An additional three stories of roughly 22,000 feet2 each will be topped with the utility penthouse.
The main pedestrian entrance on Harrison Street, near Wayne Street, will be an open atrium for all levels except the basement and penthouse. The building will be steel and concrete with floors supported by outer walls and multiple inner elevator/utility cores. Much use will be made of precast concrete. The elevators will each have electric motors, largely eliminating the old-fashioned elevator wells and head houses.
The use of a single level basement helps avoid groundwater problems. Water levels have also subsided, perhaps due to engineering required in the low-lying Allen County Public Library (another MSKTD design) and Parkview Field. Those projects included facilitating flow to the St. Mary's River via a former creek, long ago converted into a storm sewer.
The four floors of parking garage will be owned by the City of Fort Wayne and are slated to hold 1,200 parking spaces (06/12/14 data). Ash Brokerage expects to employ 315 people. A residential tower expected to adjoin the main Ash Skyline Plaza building is projected to have 75 spaces for residents. Previous street parking (or traffic lanes) will be eliminated in most locations by a wider sidewalk and cut-outs for vehicles to pick up or drop off passengers. Deliveries, access to the parking garage, drive-up banking, and other activities are designed into the two-lane alley.
Starting with 12,400 volt feeds, the main electrical supply within the building will provide 2000 amps at 480 volts along a "bus" running vertically from basement to penthouse. The bus will be composed of copper bar rather than aluminum primarily to conserve space. About 1400 amps of that feed will be needed in the penthouse for 400 tons or 7100 MBH (thousand BTU/hr) of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Overall, the amount of electrical power needed for spaces occupied by people have been reduced, along with heat loading, by perhaps 70% due to modern features such as LED lighting.
This structure will have over 1600 linear feet of LED lights. There will be occupancy sensors throughout. Occupancy and other sensors will feed information to a programmable central unit which will learn and adjust to use patterns in various portions of the building. Three of the uppermost floors will have raised (often called false) floors to provide flexible room for ductwork, electrical, high speed cables, and other utilities. Expensive but adaptable open-concept office furniture is being used to better sync with the flexibility under the floor. Only three floors are being designed this way because Ash Brokerage views the sixth floor as expansion and experimental space.
The building will probably not apply for LEED status but would readily qualify for silver certification. MSKTD designed the Sweetwater building, which has platinum ranking.
Ash Brokerage has opted to install expensive Cat 6a Ethernet shielded cable (twice the capacity of Cat 6e) and will use over 100,000 feet of it. Part of the reasoning is to optimize communications with field offices. The upgrade will also probably assist with ongoing changes in technology. The cabling system will incorporate the "smart building" type systems such as occupancy sensors, lighting, HVAC usage, emergency generators, and automatic responses to events such as smoke or fire. Alarm systems include automated verbal alerts and instructions.
The Ash Brokerage portion of the structure will utilize noise canceling or masking technology. This will be similar to the "white noise" that FWEC experienced during our Franklin Electric tour last year.
The electrical grounding system for these large structures tends to use multiple pathways including a grounding loop around the perimeter of the building, the structural steel of the building, and water pipes.
The penthouse equipment will include multiple large AC units, heat exchangers, and a chilled water supply. By moving air up and down near the outer walls and central cores, the penthouse will serve extensive ductwork in the top four floors and also some systems in the parking garage. The parking garage and basement will have additional independent systems, particularly ventilation. The retail spaces on the first floor are designed for individually metered utilities including natural gas.
Ductwork in each of the top three floors is essentially a ring at floor level along the outside walls, which can be tapped into as needed under and through the raised floors. The sixth floor will have much of its ductwork in the ceiling. Overall, the repetition and amount of design work appears daunting.
MSKTD employed four mechanical engineers and four electrical engineers, plus a computer software technician (primarily CAD). Renderings of proposed buildings on paper or video screens have replaced physical models, but someone jokingly pointed out that 3-D printers are being used to print out building models. (Editorial note: A serious trial run is being conducted in Scandinavia with printing out sections of a real home and having the finished structure approved for habitation. The cost of materials is theoretically less, partially due to reduced shipping costs; the cost of labor is substantially less; and the environmental/climate impacts are potentially less.)
Our presentation largely ignored the residential tower which is undergoing changes in management and design. That tower is expected to have a footprint of a quarter City block and tie into the main Ash Brokerage development at the sixth floor level, via the landscaped open-air plaza. Otherwise, the semi-covered service alley will separate the two structures at ground level and above.
The other portion of this City block will remain occupied by an existing four-story structure with multiple office tenants and conventional parking lot.
A sincere THANK YOU to Engineers' Club and DiscoverE Committee member Jon Rowe of MSKTD for fighting a cold in order to share his inside view (and probably not the cold) of this fascinating work in progress.