You may not have noticed, but the entire steel structure of the Kauffman Center moved in the past month. Well, it only moved a couple of inches, but that it moved at all is remarkable. This is part of the “tensioning process” that is critical to the stability of the Kauffman Center design. It also enables the luxurious ceiling and walls made of glass to sweep so graciously, but securely, over patrons below.
“The pull,” as the construction team refers to the process that moved the steel structure, was done by crews from the subcontractor BSC using sophisticated measurements, precise technology and large hydraulic jacks. The precise engineering process takes place slowly over a month period, focusing on one portion of the steel grid at a time. An understated Matt Jansen, project manager with JE Dunn Construction Company, admits, “It’s a gigantic engineering feat.”
The Kauffman Center architectural design calls for a steel infrastructure and a cable supported system, something not common to most buildings. This requires the construction team to first build a typical steel structure. Then they tension cable support between that steel framework and the concrete anchor wall separating the building from the garage.
The glass lobby, a signature aspect of the Kauffman Center design, was engineered by Novum Structures. They are supported in their work by two local subcontractors: BSC, that focuses on the steel aspects of the lobby construction (including the pull) and Bratton that installs the glass.
Twenty-seven steel columns, gently angled like tent poles, are attached by cables to the existing steel infrastructure of the halls and to the concrete anchor wall near the parking garage below. The anchor wall is 50 feet high, four feet thick and 360 feet long.
Bolts weighing 20 pounds are used temporarily in the tensioning process. If weather cooperates, glass will begin to be installed in April, 2010 in some areas of the lobby roof and walls, even though the tensioning process may continue in other sections.
Additional complexity in this stage of construction arises from the need for guttering, lighting and heaters near where the roof meets the south wall.
In addition, another large engineering feat will take place when four cables are installed east to west across the roof’s edge to create a snow fence that catches and keeps snow in place until melted.
Bsc Steel, Inc
Construction of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this week entered an important phase with the installation of the first of nearly 1,400 exterior glass panels.
The glass will form the dramatic transparent canopy enclosing the southern face of the arts center and what will be its four-story-tall grand lobby.
Each glass panel, fabricated in China, is affixed to a complex, intricately engineered network of masts and cables.
The glass installation is expected to be completed this fall, said Kyle McQuiston, vice president and project manager for J.E. Dunn Construction Co., the general contractor.
“It represents a big milestone for enclosing the building,” McQuiston said, “as work proceeds inside the two halls.”
The $400 million project, including an 1,800-seat theater, a 1,600-seat concert hall, and a 1,000-space parking garage, is on track to open in fall 2011.
Stainless steel cladding by ZAHNER:
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is already having a dramatic and transformative impact on Kansas City, changing both the city’s skyline as well as the experience of artists and audiences throughout the region. Designed by acclaimed Canadian architect, Moshe Safdie, the project is set for completion in 2011, and is the most highly anticipated structure in the bi-state region.
The center itself is a nearly 285,000-square-foot facility with two performance venues: the 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre and the 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall. It is sure to become the singular architectural icon for Kansas City and be counted among the finest performing arts centers. Once completed, it will become home to the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Ballet.
Above is a photograph of the architect’s model, by John Horner.
The internationally recognized design team that has been assembled includes Moshe Safdie & Associates, Theatre Projects Consultants, and Nagata Acoustics. Their design incorporates the very latest in architectural innovation and technology to create virtually perfect acoustics and optimal sightlines in both performance halls.
Zahner is working closely with both the design team, as well as the construction management team at JE Dunn to bring the final surface to fruition. The entire roof and metal wall-surface is clad in Zahner GB-60™ Stainless Steel, a product well known for its muted reflectivity as well as it’s resilience to nature’s wear.
The first GB-60™ Stainless panels were installed at Kauffman Center last week (Week of August 2nd, 2010). Below are the photographs of these first panels, giving a sneak peak of the surface which will eventually wrap the majority of the building.