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  Children’s Health System Parking Deck & Data Center, Page 26Children’s Health System Parking Deck & Data Center

1827 First Avenue North, #100, Birmingham, AL 35203

LOCATION: Birmingham, Alabama
Date Bid: Sep 2003
Construction Period: Feb 2003 to Sep 2005
Total Square Feet: 280,000 Site: 1.38 acres.  Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: Parking deck, 180,000; office building, ground level, 50,000; level one, 50,000; total office building, 100,000; total 280,000 square feet. 
Building Height: Parking deck, level 2, 9’6”; level 3, 12’; level 4, 12’; level 5, open; Office building, ground level, 14’; level 1, 15’; total office building, 29’; total building height, 62’. 
Basic Construction Type: New/Type 11, Unsprinklered/sprinklered.
Foundation: Drilled piers, micro piles. Exterior Walls: CMU, curtainwall, metal panels, barrier cables. Roof: Membrane, metal, vehicular traffic coating. 
Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: MBA Structural Engineers - 300 20th Street North, #100, Birmingham, AL 35203
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Brice Building Company - 2311 Highland Avenue South, #200, Birmingham, AL 35205
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: CRS Engineering - 3504 Seventh Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Davis Dumas & Associates - 2720 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233
CIVIL ENGINEER: Civil Consultants, Inc. - 528 Vann Road, #105, Birmingham, AL 35235
GEOTECHNICAL CONSULTANT: Bhate Geosciences - 5217 5th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35212

Efficiency in structure and space are essential for a cost-effective parking deck. Owners consider such buildings commodities. A good architectural solution addresses these concerns and finds a way to meaningfully engage the urban fabric and its inhabitants. 

The owner asked the architect to design an 800-car parking deck addition incorporating an office and data center. Through a series of studies, the design team convinced the client to invert the concept. By utilizing the adjacent existing deck’s entry and ramps, the large parking volume of the addition was pushed up and away from the street, revealing the office levels, generally embedded in a building’s interior, in a two-story bar of clear glass at the street fronts. Because of the massing limitations of a deck, the designers looked to materiality to further the building’s layering, to define the masses and their functions and to create a textural richness for the city. The clear glass skin of the office levels reveal the building’s structure and the functions it houses to the pedestrian. 

At upper floors, the design team worked to invent a cost-effective veil to neutralize the view of parked cars while still expressing the structure and its utilitarian functions. After studying digital and full-scale mockups, the architects developed a regular 5-x 5-foot perforated steel panel module. Each panel is anchored to a vertical galvanized mullion with four pegs. Each peg varies in length and, when tightened with a bolt, creates a uniform deformation in each panel that attracts and reflects light. The perforations make the panel virtually invisible from the inside and opaque from the outside. At night, interior lights glow through the perforations adding new transparency to the skin.

In a profile that promises to grow into its context as the neighborhood grows around it, the glass box office and the metal-clad deck offer city views to users and an ever-changing palette to passersby. 

DIV. 5: Perforated Metal Panels: Harrington & King. 
DIV. 7: Membrane: Firestone; Vehicular Traffic Coating: Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing.
DIV. 8: Entrances & Storefronts, Curtainwall: Texas Wall System; Glazing: Viracon Insulated Low-E; Special Doors: Overhead Doors.
DIV. 9: Rubber Flooring: Nora® by Freudenberg Building Systems; Carpet: Milliken.
DIV. 16: Lighting: Lithonia. 

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