Photo by Anton Grassl/Esto
Solution

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Sports and Recreation Center

Worcester, MA

Completion

2012

Awards

2013 Design Award for Best Higher Education Building, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Sports and Recreation Center

Photo by Anton Grassl/Esto

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Sports and Recreation Center

Photo by Anton Grassl/Esto

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Sports and Recreation Center

Photo by Anton Grassl/Esto

Recognizing sports and fitness are important to the campus community, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) wanted to update its current facilities by constructing a new sports and recreation center. The facility includes a precast concrete natatorium structure housing a 25 m competition swimming pool with spectator seating and a gymnasium above it. SGH was the precast specialty engineer for the natatorium.

Scope | Solutions

The design team recognized the natatorium structure needed to be durable enough for the potentially corrosive pool environment, aesthetically pleasing, and able to span across the pool. SGH designed the structure featuring five-piece precast concrete arches spanning 110 ft across the pool.  Highlights of our work include the following:

  • Meeting vibration requirements for the supported gymnasium by designing the precast concrete arches as Class U members (uncracked concrete)

  • Achieving a clean and uniform appearance to the exposed precast structure by designing hidden connections instead of using traditional exposed, welded connections

  • Dividing the arches into practical piece sizes for lifting and transport

  • Choosing splice locations to make the pieces easier to erect and to minimize demands on the connections

  • Creating openings within the precast arches to accommodate large mechanical ducts located along the building edge

  • Coordinating the precast structure with the surrounding steel-framed structure

Project Contact(s)