Serving as the main headquarters building for their entire southeast facilities group, the United States Navy’s Southeast Command built a new facility at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla. Due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), the headquarters was relocated from Charleston, S.C. and the Southeast Engineering Operations Center was consolidated into one location. The facility was designed to introduce a new precedent for Naval Air Station, Jacksonville and its future facilities. The Navy’s requirements for the project’s construction schedule, budget, and durability led to the use of a Tilt-Up concrete structural system.
Sloped, floating roof forms created an architectural and structural challenge (dealing with two different intersecting roof pitches), in which a common ground was found to balance the two disciplines into a simple and well resolved, cohesive solution. Creating a clerestory anchored by stair towers that flank each side of the mezzanine presented the opportunity to filter light into a two-story space below on the second floor. Using concrete panels served a great advantage by accommodating the high wind loads that circulate the region but added the challenge of lifting eight panels in excess of 60 feet in height, all of which were different shapes and sizes.
By developing a structural system using ledger angles on the back of panels and a steel interior frame to support poured concrete over metal deck floors with a raised access floor distribution system, the team was able to erect 68 panels in two weeks leaving more time for roof dry-in and systems installation. In addition, the owner’s requirements led to a sustainable facility based on LEED v. 2.1. The widest panel was 31 feet, 8 inches, which forced the contractor to provide extra steel reinforcement in the panel to support the wide panel openings needed for aluminum glass-storefront and fixed-aluminum windows.
The campus restriction to the use of three paint colors (dark brown, medium brown, and beige) inspired the team to introduce in-lay brick as a feature, while complementing the campus colors. Tilt-Up panels were poured with a thin brick pattern, achieved through casting brick faces in form liners, resulting in wall textures which gave relief to broad and fairly massive facades. Reveals, color variety, sloped roof forms and floating roof design all further contributed.
Other key features of the project incorporate the design of a raised access floor distribution system with under-floor electrical systems, allowing for elimination of the ceiling cavity. This created the opportunity for larger window openings that allow greater daylight and views, while committing 642 tons of material to recycled content. Exposed structural steel bearing on the Tilt-Up walls creates an airy environment for both civilian and military end users.
The three protruding facades (gables) at the rear of the facility accommodate the site’s natural edge created by three massive existing oak trees adjacent to the structure, which were preserved on the open thoroughfare, allowing the space to appear as a park that just happens to have a building in it.
Jacksonville, FL 32212
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